ART GAMES - Make Learning Art Content Fun

Make Learning Art Content Fun

Ideas from Getty TeacherArtExchange Members



Art Auction form Anna-Louise Haynes Myers

Collect examples of art (cut out of magazines, catalogues, calendars, postcards etc) and create a set of art cards. Each student is randomly given a set of 4 cards and "$500" (you can make you own play money or purchase some from the dollar store). One student is chosen as the auctioneer. In order to sell a piece of art, the student must stand and give a brief talk about what they see (must include some of the elements and principals) and ask for a minimum bid. The auctioneer takes over and the rest of the class may bid on the piece of art. Often the more dramatic the presentation by the seller, the more exciting the bidding will become. Each student must keep track of their account (good math practice). As the students are successful selling their art, they then have more money to out bid others for pieces that they really like. My students love to play this and will often play on their own if they finish a project early. I have played this game with students grade 3-12.


From Pam Stephens:

Art games have always been something I use to teach art concepts, whether the class is for pre-school or pre-service or in-service teachers. Meaningful art games make certain art concepts (e.g., aesthetic issues or critical analysis) less intimidating.


I have had several articles published about some of the games I have created. If you subscribe to "Arts and Activities" or "School Arts," perhaps you have these back issues that will provide some ideas:


October, 1996, School Arts, "An Assessment Strategy: Fun & Games" (about a BINGO sort of assessment game).


Sept. 1996, Arts and Activities, "Meaningful Art Stations: More than Busy Work" is about games pre-service teachers in one of my classes developed and field tested.

Sept. 1998, Arts and Activities, "Thinking Like an Artist" a puzzle game that older kids can create for themselves or younger students.


Nancy Walkup and I have also published through Crystal Productions two commercial art games, ARTiculate (which is really high school appropriate) and Art Card Dominoes (adaptable for most grade levels from upper elementary)

Board Game - from a Getty List Member:

I developed a board game consisting of art images collected from post cards, etc. Each student (or groups of students) have individual game boards composed of 7 images. Game cards which include art vocabulary are drawn from a stack. First student to locate an example of the word receives a point. (Back in my High School days I also had students place a token on image - much like Bingo.) Cards could include words like split complementary color harmony, cross hatch technique, etc. I also used these boards at elementary level.

Music - Stamping Game from a Getty list member (see Art Synetics by Roukes)


I have never played this game but always wanted to after I got into high school. The book Art Synectics. (by Nicholas Roukes) has a game in it that is played to music. Seems like it is a design project on a large sheet of bulletin board paper. Students are divided into groups and have different tools for stamping designs (round sponge, square, etc.) . A tape is recorded which has different kinds of music, when the music changes the students stamp their designs on the paper. I know I seem really vague here and I might even be combining two projects, but my book is at school.


Art Bingo from a Getty list member

I did make an Art Bingo game using general terms (media, elements, principles, form) as an introduction to the language of art. Also, every item has a visual and the written term. It's very simple because we don't call out "B - relief sculpture", just "relief sculpture." Everyone eventually wins because the teams that win have to clear their board and start from scratch, while the others keep playing. All winners earn a treat. They always play until everyone wins, too.


This summer I made a "McGugan's Color Bingo." It's more complicated and uses words or phrases that coordinate with definitions. For example, "yellow, red, orange" is "warm colors". It does use the bingo letters. I made it on Publisher so it looks better than my first game. It would be more of a review than an introduction.


Art Bingo from Jennifer Auble (Art Education List)

Art Bingo - make blank boards that are laminated and have the kids write all the vocabulary words they learned from the unit on the boards in random fashion. Read the clue or answer out loud and have them cover the words until someone gets a bingo. Good review for quizzes too.


Art Bingo from Mary Jane

I made up an Art Bingo game several years ago and still use it. I made up several bingo boards with different shapes on them. Circles, rectangles, squares, organic ,etc. then colored them different colors. I have a circle in every color, a square and so forth in a box. I pull one of these out of the box, for example, a red square, if they have a red square on their board, they cover that spot. Works like regular bingo. The boards and my shapes that I pull from the box are all laminated. They love this game and it is good review for the little ones for their shapes and colors. Their prize is that they get to call the next game!

"Wheel of Fortune" (Hang Man) from Jennifer Auble

Jennifer Auble (Art Education List) We play a kind of "Wheel of Fortune" game on the chalkboard. I put blanks on the board that represent a saying about an artist or technique they learned and they divide into two teams taking turns until the winning team gets the phrase correct. It is a good half-day or finishing activity to review for a quiz too.


Hang Man from Janet

Variation of game above - I make each team answer a question before they can guess a letter. You can use art terms or artist names you studied.


Art in A Bag - Acting Game from Jennifer Auble

Jennifer Auble (Art Education List) Art in a bag - put a different art reproduction in several paper bags. Have the kids get into small groups and choose a bag. They meet for about 5 minutes to get organized and then they act out (with no speaking) the scene in the reproduction. The other groups try to guess the actual title (2 points) or the name of the artist (1 point) who created the artwork based on the frozen pantomime-like action of the group. Winning teams get points for guessing the title. This is a great year-end review of all the artists and artworks we learn about.


Who Wants to be a Millionaire? - From Marcia

For the first two weeks, my elementary art classes are only fifteen minutes... for fun, I decided to create a game on the bulletin boards on the way to the gym/cafeteria. Every year at the NAEA conference United Art and Education gives out a poster based on the work of a famous artist and with an art slogan--"Art Unlocks Possibilities" (or something like that). I have six different posters now. I found copies of the artworks the posters are based on-- Picasso's Guernica (a detail), M.C. Escher's Reptiles,.Dali's The Persistence of Memory,.Edward Hopper's Nighthawks,. etc. and reproductions of other artworks by the same artists and a few others-- O'Keeffe, Van Gogh,.Matisse and set up a game in which the students are supposed to guess which artist's style is being spoofed in each poster. For my first lesson I took in one of the posters (Picasso) and Art Image reproductions and we looked together for elements of style. The kids really seemed to enjoy looking for the visual clues and they were amazingly perceptive. I think after we get into the new building I will put the posters in my room, make up packets of all the accompanying reproductions and have the students fill out a sheet, "For my final answer I think poster #1 is in the style of__________. These are the visual clues on which I based my decision. ___________ ....... also have a little box where they can draw one of the visual clues that they see in the poster and reproduction.


I had fun dreaming up the game--now let's see how well the students respond to it.

Other teachers have come up with adaptations of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire".

Can You Guess the Artist? Melissa Chaney

You know those catalogs that you get in the mail selling us art prints? Well I cut up the catalogs. I glued the tiny prints onto scraps of Mat board. and then glued the mat board to pin backs. I wore one art print every week (pin size ranged from 1" in size to 6") - Monday through Friday the same print. Kids just loved looking at my pin and guessing "Who is this artist?" I had boxes in my classroom for guesses. I pulled out 10 names every Friday and gave away prizes. I announced the answer and winners every Friday at the end of the day, over the PA system. It really encouraged the kids to look up information and learn. Parents got involved too. Some kids would sketch the pin on paper to take it home and have mom or dad help find the answer.

Guess the Artists from Sky McClain

I'm having great success with a contest I came up with at my school. I teach art to grades one through five.

I hung up 10 big prints by famous modern artists (19th and 20th century) in the hallway outside of the art room. I covered up the information at the bottom and taped over the artists' signatures. I taped a clue to each picture such as:


"This artist invented pointillism." or "She was famous for her paintings of mothers and their children." Inside the art room door I have a box on the counter filled with pencils and small pieces of paper. The children have to guess the names of 5 of the artists if they are in 5th grade, 4 for 4th graders and so on down to the first graders who just have to guess one correctly. They have to write their guesses on the slips of paper and drop them in the raffle box which is also on the counter near the door. The contest is open to teachers and parents but they have to guess 6 artists out of 10. On April 15th I'm going to pick a winner from each grade level and one adult winner. I have art supplies to give as prizes and a great book on Van Gogh which I got for the parents.


Many of the artists are familiar to my students because we have studied them in class. But I put up some web sites for them to visit and encouraged them to look through any art history books that their parents might have.


I am amazed at how excited everyone is about this contest. Some of the teachers have taken a surprising interest in the contest and refuse to put their slip in the box until they have guessed all ten artists. I've taken pictures of the children out in the hall filling out their slips. They are not allowed to do it during class. This has turned out much better than I expected.


Mystery Masterpiece (similar to above)

I do a "Guess the Mystery Masterpiece" display in the showcase periodically throughout the year and then usually again at the end. I choose a reproduction from my supply and cover the title and artist. Each day for as long as I want it to go on, I put a clue in the school daily newsletter (you could give the clues to the students in art class). These clues should eventually lead the students to the library or Internet at home and to the answer. I ask them to find out the title and the artist. The answers are written on specially prepared "answer sheets" which are hung in a pocket outside the showcase, and deposited into the "Mystery Masterpiece Answer Box" also found there. Each day, I collect these and put the correct ones into another box. At the designated end of the time, I take the box of correct answers to the principal who chooses 3 winners by reaching into the box without looking. These 3 are announced over the intercom in the morning and come down to the art room for a prize. I usually give out art supplies for them to use at home for the summer. This is VERY popular and has the kids asking for more!


Drawing Game - Kimberly Hutts

One of the games my kids seem to love is a group drawing game. One person in selected to draw a line or simple scribble on the board. Then they select someone else to make their line/scribble into a picture of something recognizable. I usually call up two at a time, one boy and one girl, and set a time limit of 5 seconds for the line/scribble and 30 sec. -1 minute for the completion of the picture.


Drawing Game - from Jeryl Hollingsworth

I also let them play a drawing game on the board - I have everyone write a fairy tale or nursery rhyme on a small piece of paper. Separate the papers into a boys box and girls box. Divide the class into two teams (boys and girls) Girls use the boys' box to choose one paper and then draw the rhyme on the board . they get one minute, while the girl is drawing only girls can guess and the boys are the clock watchers (they call time after one minute) Then it is the boys turn to draw. They love this game -you can use variations -TV shows, books ,etc. But I find the nursery rhymes and fairy tales work best. The older kids love to recite the rhyme after we finish the drawing. That surprised me. I take away points for rowdy behavior (not at the end of the year). Anyway , this is a great time filler if you don't even want to get out supplies but still keep them active in an art activity.


Telephone - Kimberly Hutts

Another is a version of "telephone" or maybe it's called "operator." I play this when they are already in line waiting for their teacher to pick them up. I whisper a secret, usually something having to do with art history, to the first person in line and they have to whisper the secret down the line one person at a time until it reaches the end. When it gets to the last person I ask them to say the secret out loud. If they get it wrong I ask the next person ahead in line until someone gets it right. If their teacher comes in before the message gets to the end of the line I ask whomever received the message last to say it out loud. I use the most exciting and unbelievable facts that I can think of, so that they all say "Really?" when I tell them "and it's all true."

I SPY - Kimberly Hutts
Sometimes we play "I Spy" using the art prints around the room. I will select a specific print and give them one clue at a time until the guess the correct print. It's fun, but we usually only get through one before they have to leave.


Timed Drawing - Round Robin - from Tammi Fox

I gave each kid a sheet of paper and told them that they had to stay VERY quiet in order to hear the directions for each step of this art game. I told them each to select one colored pencil. I held a stop watch and told them when I said "go" they would have 60 seconds to draw a person. When I say, "Hands up!" they had to show me the colored pencil, which means they HAD to stop drawing immediately- half the fun of this game is leaving your drawing unfinished. (Anyone who didn't stop drawing immediately had to sit out the next step.) Next, I told them to leave the colored pencil and paper at their seat and when I say "go" to find another seat with a paper in front of it. Then they picked a crayon, had one minute to draw an animal... switch seats... Pick a marker, one minute to draw the ground and a plant...switch seats... Get a regular pencil and draw a house (could be a pet house, birdhouse, people house, etc.) ... Then they went back to their original seat and had the rest of the class period to finish the drawing at their seat, using any writing utensils they wanted. Since they switched seats so much, I told them it was sort of like musical chairs, and one of them said I should call it "Art-ical Chairs!". It might be fun to actually have the students draw to music, too - and have the music stop when it is time to move to the next chair.


Twelve Questions - from Linda Eastman

Get about a dozen paper "pockets" from the library (the kind they put in the backs of books) and glue them in rows onto a poster or mat board. It looks cool to have the board and pockets decorated somehow - wrapping paper is cheap and fast. Number the pockets with bold numerals. make up a title - mine says "Art Smart" but that might be copyrighted by now.

Make up 12 questions about your lesson geared to whatever age you're working with. Write each question on a 3x5 (7.6 x 12.7 cm) card and the answer on the back. Put one card in each pocket. The kids take turns; pick a number, read the question, tell the answer correctly and win a prize. (Incorrect answers get to choose another student to answer the question. For prizes: little ones love those die-cut things which you can get a PTA mom to do for you (if you have one of those stamping machines). All kids love pages copied from the anti-coloring books or the masterworks coloring books, mazes, etc. I always try to have a few choices and relate the prize to the quiz subject matter. You can make up sets of question cards for lessons through all grade levels and use the same board. One nice thing about this is you can do it for 5 min or 20. you don't have to get to all 12 questions, but it holds the kids interest if it goes longer


Various Art Games submitted by Deana Gualtieri

Old Maid with specially made cards that pair an artist's picture with one of their artworks (this was a great idea I got when I was student teaching). You can make your own card set using images from art supply catalog and print catalogs.


Beach Ball Toss: A beach ball with sections, each section has a different question written on it with permanent marker (examples: How does this artwork make you feel, What kind of music would you pair with this artwork?, In what style was this artwork created?, etc.) Give the students a specific artwork to concentrate on and then have them pass the beach ball around answering the question on which their left thumb lands when they catch the ball.


Articulation - where there are two teams and each team has a set of five different artwork picture cards. Each team pairs one of their pictures with five phrases (this artwork employs great use of proportion but lacks color, etc.) the phrases are the same for both teams (you can make your own phrases to fit grade level and ability). They then debate each other on which picture is the best example of the phrase. This gets fun because sometimes the five pictures they have don't have any relation to the phrases but they still have to figure out a debate.


Drawing -Switch: Give a pair of students a theme and then have them each draw for 3-5 min. then have them switch papers and give them a relating theme to draw for another 3-5 min. (an interesting theme is portraits)


Token Response: (This game is available from Crizmac but you could make your own). Have a series of artworks set up and then give each student five tokens that represent a feeling or opinion (dollar symbol: expensive, smiley face: personal like, etc) and then have them go around and place the tokens by the pictures. When finished it is interesting to see the cluster of tokens by each picture. Have students volunteer to explain why they assigned specific tokens to specific pictures.


Art Vocabulary Game - Submitted by Rebecca Burch

This game requires some preparation time. You could make the cards on your computer and print on Tag board.. Most ink jet printers will accept tag board (Or you could photocopy on to tag board). Rebecca makes the cards 2" square - but any size will work.


Each student is handed a card that has one art word (I HAVE) and one definition (YOU HAVE). The idea is to go around the class


#1313. Line and Shape Game


Art, level: all
Posted Sat Sep 25 07:07:15 PDT 1999 by Cheri Harrell (
Early County High School, Blakely, GA, USA
Materials Required: paper, pencil, markers
Activity Time: ½ to 1 hour
Concepts Taught: art elements: line and shape

This lesson could also be used in math (geometry) Teach about types of lines (vertical, horizontal, slant, curve, wavy, zigzag) and shapes (circle, oval, square, rectangle, triangle, trapizoid, parrallelogram, pentagon, hexagon, octagon)


To reinforce how to draw these, display all the above on the board or on a hand-out. Each student is to create a picture of an actual scene or overlap the called out lines or shapes into a space-breaker. If someone calls out a line or shape a student had not planned to use in the art, they have to figure out some way to use it anyway. Each student is given a turn to call out any shape or line that they want. All the class must use that shape or line in their art. If the class is small, it might require students having to call out a choice twice. Color the resulting picture.


My younger brothers and I used to spend many a rainy day playing this game we invented. I took a chance that my high school students would like it. They did. I got my proof when a few students finished another project early and, - on their own - busied themselves "playing the game."

Art Games


ARTiculate: The Game of ARThought and ARTalk

A game for use with the Take 5 Art Prints or other large art reproductions developed by Nancy Walkup, Pam Stephens, and Kay Wilson. This easy-to-play game facilitates critical thinking about art through the four disciplines that contribute to the creation, understanding, and appreciation of art. Can be played with any art reproductions; large posters such as the Take 5 Art Prints are suggested for large groups.

American Art Bingo By Lucy Hammett Games - Teachers Edition: 24 Player - Lucy Hammett Games presents the award winning" "American Art Bingo". Fun, educational and made in the USA this is a game that is a work of art itself. Contains 4 sets of 6 cards with instructions for group use. First on to say bingo wins!


Art Shark! - Outbid other players at an auction! Switch fakes with original art! And discover 64 master pieces as you play.


Mobile Game: Jigsaw Fine Arts - Jigsaw Fine Arts is the ultimate art-geek game experience! You may think you know just how Mona Lisa smiles, but when great works of art are scrambled into jigsaw pieces and your goal is to rearrange them back to their original splendor, are you up to the task?


See your Dick Blick Catalog and Crystal Productions Catalog for more art games.





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