Creative Encounters of the First Kind

Creative Encounters of the First Kind

What is it?

‘Creative Encounters of the First Kind’ is our first course aimed at babies and crawlers, created by Carousel artists & designed to encourage parents & caregivers to engage babies with art & learn ways to facilitate their early development and visual literacy skills.

Who is it for?

It aimed at babies and crawlers (c.4 months to nearly walking age) and their parents/carers.

What’s Involved?

Over six weeks, Carousel artists work creatively with a small group of very young babies and their parents/carers, providing the unique opportunity for parents and their babies to delve into a world of open-ended creative discovery together. Through Carousel’s ‘Creative Encounters of the First Kind’ course, parents explore how their babies respond to art and sensation – touch, massage and its links to movement, and how exposure to art fuels their learning process.

The course also incorporates a ‘baby led’ excursion to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum with lots of time for exploring the museum and seeing what interested the babies by watching their expressions, and listening to and seeing their reactions.

Baby-led tour of RAMM Museum. Exploring.

The course is designed to reach the following aims:

  1. To develop activities that will give parents ideas about how to enhance their relationship with their babies using the arts.
  2. To promote babies’ discovery of themselves through sensory stimulation and creative play.
  3. To introduce babies to the world around them through exposure to the arts.

What people have said… (Our Impact)

Creative Encounters has given parents new and creative ways to interact with their babies at home…

Past participants have unanimously agreed that this course has provided them with new creative activities to do with their baby in their home. Many parents shared the types of activities they have incorporated into their play, such as using flour, mirrors, paints, movement, and the popular ‘pizza massage technique’. Perhaps the most exciting impact is that many of the parents have not simply re-enacted what they have done in the course, instead they have taken on new values and philosophies around how they engage with their baby in the broadest sense.

“I now provide more creative opportunities for him to play, learn and have fun, giving more thought to textures, colours and sensory opportunities and effects of the resources I offer him.”

“It’s shown me that you don’t need lots of fancy toys to stimulate them. Just simple use of brushes and mirrors can give them new sensations.”

“More about the process of playing than the result itself”

Parents are now more confident to stimulate and engage their baby using the arts…

This course has started many parents on a stimulating journey to greatly increase their babies exposure to the arts. Participants have comented that they are now confident to engage their babies in more established art experiences, such as paintings on walls and visiting art galleries and museums.

“I’ve learnt that no one is too young to enjoy art and that at 9 months my daughter gained a lot from visiting the museum.”

“I’m more confident to visit art galleries & museums for the broadest sensory experience than merely visual.”

“I had never considered taking him to an art gallery until I did this course, where as now I try and include a trip at least once a week.”

“I have learned to appreciate the value in holding him up to the picture so that he is on level with it, allowing his body freedom to move in response, such as when he kicks his legs or quivers with happiness.”

Parents have learnt new things about how their baby discovers their world

This course has improved parents/carers ability to respond creatively and sensitively to their babies’ needs. Parents particularly enjoyed this insightful aspect of the course as it directly benefits their relationships with their baby.

“I have learnt that taking his socks off gives him more opportunities to explore textures.”

“I’ve learnt that she really likes time when I copy her sounds and actions.”

“I am now more in tune with observing his responses, enabling me to take cues from him.”

“ I used to sit with her on the floor but now I try to mimic her body position, like lying or crawling. It’s helped me to see the world from her level.”

  • A kit to explore the world with your baby

    A kit to explore the world with your baby

Download the Creative Encounters Carousel Kit… a kit to explore the world with your baby.

Creative Encounters has been an enormously successful project with a proven impact to make a difference. The Carousel Project is now wanting to explore more opportunities to deliver the course and build upon this strong start.

Background to the course

The course has been developed based on the findings from our Action Research project, Round and Round you Turn Me, in partnership with University of Exeter’s (UoE) Graduate School of Education, via Dr Kerry Chappell.  Through this project we researched into ‘how and why creativity has an impact on young lives’, delivering six mini projects over 2013/14, across a diverse range of early years settings, targeting a variety of age-ranges under 5.   For ‘Creative Encounters of the First Kind’, we questioned ‘How do artists, parents and babies collaborate to develop babies’ senses?.

Find out more about ‘Round and Round you Turn Me‘ and watch the film below.

Round and Round You Turn Me – An Action Research Project from RA Projects on Vimeo.


If you are interested in booking the course,  or to find out more, please contact We are always keen to work with EY setting to raise the funds to deliver our courses so please do get in touch.