Celebrating Robert Burns and Scottish culture with young children

Food

Involve children in cooking and tasting porridge, oatcakes, haggis, neeps and tatties, Scotch broth, dumpling or shortbread.

Movement

Play a selection of different types of Scottish music and encourage children to respond to mood and rhythm.

To celebrate Scottish culture, Jamestown Early Education and Childcare Centre in West Dunbartonshire arranged for a piper to pipe the children into nursery as they arrived for their nursery session. Dancers from Jamestown Primary School then entertained the children at the nursery while the children joined in the dancing and had great fun.

Creativity

Photo of two children making tartan-coloured paper

Allow the children to design their own tartan:

  1. Use model car wheels, dipped in paint and rolled across paper in top-to-bottom and side-to-side movements.
  2. Drip thin paint down a sheet of paper, then turn the paper at right angles and drip again.

Heriot Primary School Nursery Class in Paisley, Renfrewshire, is combining various elements of the curriculum in its Burns events. The children have been learning simple Scottish poems and songs as well as performing a sound picture of the Tam o' Shanter story for an audience of parents, carers and Primary 1 and 2 children and staff of Heriot Primary. Other activities currently being undertaken include paper weaving, transient art in Scottish colours, food tasting and lots of storytelling.

Children at Parkhead Primary Nursery Class (West Lothian) designed tartan and made their own 'kilts' for St Andrew's Day, an activity which could be used for other celebrations with a Scottish theme.

Word file: Arts and crafts ideas: making a 'kilt' (288 KB)

Singing/Scots language

Sing songs like 'Ali, Bally Bee', 'Three Craws' and 'Ye cannae shuv your grannie aff a bus' with children. Useful websites and resources include:

Photo of a paper 'kilt' made by children at Parkhead Primary School, West Lothian

Burns Day and Scottish Culture

This case study describes how nursery staff used Robert Burns's birthday to widen children's understanding of Scottish culture.

Early Years

Find up-to-date guidance, news and resources for learning in the early years.

More from Education Scotland

  • Robert Burns

    Information and resources about the life and work of poet Robert Burns on the Scotland's History website.