Using rich activities

Rich Activities header


 ‘Children and young people require rich, stimulating environments where they can explore and experiment with ideas and resources, collaborate actively with their peers and make dynamic connections with a clear sense of purpose to construct learning.’ 

                      The Donaldson Report 


Written by a team of artists and teachers from across Wales, the Rich Activities contained in this Toolkit aim to provide fresh and exciting ideas for developing literacy and numeracy skills through arts-based activities. 


The rich activities aren’t designed to be sequential. There’s no fixed starting point. Take a look at what each rich activity covers (the opening overview section in the Teachers’ Notes is a good place to start) and see which activities seem appropriate or likely to appeal to your class. Adapt where necessary. You can choose to complete all the tasks within a Rich Activity spread over a half term or select just a few to focus on over one or two lessons. Although the Rich activities are organised by Key Stage, you will find that many of the tasks, themes and approaches can be adapted for work across a range of different ages. Experiment with different ways of using the Rich Activities relevant to your own teaching context.

Arts Rich

The starting point for all the activities is an artistic idea itself and ideas for linking to contemporary artists, musicians, dancers and theatre practitioners are threaded throughout the Rich Activities. Where you are able to collaborate and draw on artists’ expertise, it will enrich the activities but all tasks can be undertaken as standalone classroom exercises (without partner input) as well. Since the key driver for the activities is the art itself, the literacy and numeracy tasks should flow naturally from each exercise without feeling forced.

The sample activities support learning in and through creative writing, dance, drama, film, music and the visual and applied arts and show how the various tasks link to the LNF. The Rich Activities offer opportunities for pupils to use, demonstrate and progress a range of skills through cross curricular activities which encourage creative learning and thinking. 

Common features of the Rich Activities include:

  • A stimulus to invite learners in to learn. This could be a performance, a piece of music, film clip or images.
  • Opportunities for collaboration with artists and arts organisations, to enrich the learning experience and add ‘a real world context’
  • Outcomes, created by the pupils, that allow learners’ progress in certain aspects of the LNF to be measured (this could be a speech, research, written work or numeracy task planning art work and related costings)
  • Tasks encouraging learner-directed time in pairs and small groups  - to  improve outcomes and increase  motivation
  • The potential  to use tools that can  help structure learning and guide thinking, as learners work through a task
  • Links  showing how the activity relates to various art form and curriculum areas
  • Detailed coding indicating where tasks can potentially link to / are relevant to Literacy Numeracy Framework (LNF) progression pathways  
  • A Teacher Assessment Tool linked to each rich activity enabling you to track individual pupil progress in specific aspects of literacy and numeracy within the LNF. 


Questions also form an integral part of the activities and underpin the  Rich Activity approach – encouraging and supporting progress in literacy and  numeracy, as well as in the arts. The Rich Activities include questions which encourage metacognition, helping learners to think about their own thinking by using reflection (what they know) and ways of managing their learning. Pupils can be encouraged to devise their own success criteria by using the questions, whilst the tools can be used to support planning, as well as evaluation and reflection.