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Children's Art Week

29 June - 19 July 2020

Childrens Art Week logo


We’re excited to be joining with venues and organisations across the UK and taking part in Children’s Art Week 2020.

Over the past months, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how essential creativity and the visual arts are for learning, connecting and wellbeing. Children’s Art Week encourages thousands of children, their teachers and their families to take part in fun, creative activities at home and in schools across three weeks in June and July – we’re proud to be joining the fun.

Each week there will be a special theme:

  • Week 1 (from 29 June): The Natural World;
  • Week 2 (from 6 July): Connecting across generations;
  • Week 3 (from 13 July): Literacy and creative writing.

We have developed creative activities to match these themes for children of all ages. All activities are free to take part in and use simple materials that can be found around the house.

We hope you enjoy joining in and don’t forget to share them on social media using #GetKidsCreating.

Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed

From ruffians to royalty; from sailors to socialites; from pilgrims to punks: tattoos have been etched into bodies throughout history.

Tattooing occupies a deep, sometime troubling, place in British history and the British popular imagination but tattoos are not at all a modern invention.

In Tudor times, artists and writers created grotesque, fanciful images of ‘Ancient Britons’ with bright blue bodies and fierce body art. These were inspired by fantastical accounts of Pict warriors by Roman historians, who were horrified and fascinated by accounts of these apparently barbaric tribes.

Although this was probably non-permanent body painting, the idea of ‘ancient Britain’ and tattooed bodies was so powerful that it became fixed in the popular imagination.

Our spring exhibition, Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed tells the story in more detail. Whilst the exhibition is not open to the public due to the current lock down restrictions, much of the exhibition is available to view online. We recommend grown-ups view this exhibition first – it is at your discretion which elements you feel comfortable sharing with a younger audience.

Our family friendly Children’s Art Week activities are themed around this exhibition.

Week 1: The Natural World

... body art

There’s no better way to explore body art than with temporary tattoos. Get creative and follow our simple, step by step guide to making your own body art using resources from the natural world.

Week 2: Connecting across generations

... Hands at Work

To coincide with the Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed exhibition we went into our local community over a number of months (prior to lock down) to gather tattoo stories and deliver art workshops.

The aim was to reach as many different age groups as possible so we targeted local Age UK Centres and other community groups, such as the Young Carers of Carers First.  Through these creative workshops, designed and delivered by members of our learning team, Dockyard volunteers and UCA student Pip Hornsby, participants were invited to experiment with a range of materials including ink and stamps to create their own tattoo designs.

Originally, the artworks where to be displayed at the Historic Dockyard alongside the Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed exhibition. As we have been unable to open the exhibition to the public, these beautiful artworks will be compiled in a handmade artist book designed and produced by Pip Hornsby as a commission for the Dockyard. The commission will be called  ‘Hands at Work’ and will be available online for all to see.

Your “Hands at Work”

As part of Children’s Art Week, we encourage you to speak to members of your family or people in your local community (only if you are safely able to do so) who have tattoo’s. Find out about their tattoos and the stories behind them:

What is the design? Where is it on their body?

Does it have a maritime connection?

What does it mean to them?

Where did they get the tattoo done? Who was the artist?

Do they like it? Or maybe they dislike it?

Did it hurt?

Once you’ve gathered some information, get creative and design your own tattoo using our template (or draw around your own hand).

We would love you to submit your finished artwork to our community project, select pieces will be featured in the “Hands at Work” book.


Week 3: Literacy and creative writing

There are many tattoo artists around the world, all with a unique story to tell. If there is a particular design style that you like, an artist who interests you or a tattoo that you find interesting, do a little bit of research and tell us what you discover.


Here’s an example of the types of questions you can ask about a piece of tattoo artwork …


Write up your research, maybe make it into a story or a poem and share it with us.

Just for fun

Tattoos are a living and uniquely three dimensional form of art and they have a well-documented maritime link. It is no exception that service personnel and dockyard workers based at Chatham’s naval base got tattoos to mark special achievements.

But did you know, tattooing actually has an ancient heritage in many cultures? The oldest example of tattoos on a human body are the 61 tattoos found on Ötzi the Iceman who dates from around 3200 BC.

Grab your pens, pencils or paint; print off our tattoo colouring sheet and get creative with the colours.

Special thanks for this design goes to resident Dockyard tattoo artist, Fraser Peek. Among many other businesses that call the Dockyard home, Fraser Peek has his own studio in The Joiner’s Shop. Fraser named his studio after the Dry Docks located on site and has had clients visit from all over the world.

Earn a certificate

... Complete Arts Award Discover

Arts Award Discover logo

Why not get rewarded for your creative efforts?

Accredited by Trinity College London, Arts Award Discover is an introductory award, designed for ages 5 and above, but is open to children and young people aged up to 25.

To gain the Arts Award Discover certificate all you need to do is complete the 3 tasks above, plus 3 more fun, creative activities and submit a Log Book.