Make Fun Digital Art:

Meet Me At Midnight; Smithsonian American Art Museum
Metkids;, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
NGAkids Art Zone; Art Games at the National Gallery of Art
DMA Connect - Games and Interactives, Dallas Museum of Art
The Tomb of Perneb, The Met Museum (Ancient Egypt)
Design Your Own Mudcloth, (African Art), Smithsonean Institution

  • SCULPTIONARY - (game idea from Annie Thomas-Eyster - use with modeling clay) "The 'Game Show Host' has a jar filled with the selected topic written on folded paper that the teacher wants to reinforce for that lesson. The game show host pulls a word and shares it secretly with the sculptors by cupping it in their hand. The students who are guessing may turn around in their seats so they do not see the word.
    The 'Time and Score Keeper' tells them when to begin sculpting and guessing and when to stop. Students have up to 2 minutes to communicate their word using modeling clay. They are not allowed to use words or letters. Their team partner may begin guessing the word after students have sculpted for 1 minute.  They have 1 minute to guess the topic. The first student to guess what the term, concept, tool, technique, or artist wins the round. The score keeper makes a mark on the score card for that team and round.  Then students rotate."

  • Exquisite Corpse (Accidental Art) or collaborative/group doodling (ideas from Jen Polillo and Rachel Hessing Wintemburg) For the "Exquisite Corpse" game: fold a piece of paper so you wind up with around 8 sections. One student starts a drawing on one of the sections and folds it back so it is partly concealed. The next student starts a drawing connected to the first, and so on. They can't look at the whole picture until the last student finishes his or her section. 

  • STUMP THE TEACHER review game (secondary) - the students ask the teacher questions from the study guide and get a small prize if the teacher doesn't know the answer

  • "TOSS" REVIEW GAME: "I played a game the day before Christmas break that my middle schoolers loved. I divided them up into two lines. I had a trivia question they had to answer. If they got it correct they got to shoot a huge paper ball I made into a trash can. They got 2 pts. for the right answer and 1 point if they rung the trash can. This appealed to boys and girls." Penny Adamson

  • EMOTION GAME (Shelly Bailey - elementary)

This game is played if the kids clean up in a mannerly way (and quickly).
1. The kids line up to leave and pass a bedazzled paint brush. 
2. The teacher assigns an expression. 
3. The kid with the best face (mad, happy, sad, monster, and so forth) gets to hold the brush. 
4. Then, the person with the brush gets to pick the winning face. 

  • ROLL AN ALIEN (design by Hannah Smith)

  • PICASSO ROLL (Lindsay Mouyal - elementary)

  • PIN THE EAR ON VAN GOGH (Lindsay Mouyal - elementary)

  • PICTIONARY (Anna Nichols - middle school)

 This is a guessing game played on the board at the end of class - I use this as a reward for cleaning up quickly and efficiently. Sometimes, I will provide a theme (sports, food, entertainment, etc.) if a student is stuck for ideas.
1. A student stands at the board and draws one line or shape of something.
2. Other kids raise their hands to guess what it is. They have to wait quietly for the student at the board to "call on them." In my middle school classroom, they are disqualified from the game if they get out of their seat or make a lot of noise to get attention, such as saying, "Oooooh! Pick me! ME!"
3. After every guess, the student draws a little more of the picture.
4. The kid who guesses correctly gets to draw on the board. 

These ideas are from Tarin Majure's AAEA 2014 Fall Conference workshop, "Visual Communication." Tarin is an elementary art educator and art therapist, MA, ATR. 


1. Draw a scribble on the board. 
2. A student comes up and turns it into an object. 
3. The first student to correctly guess what it is gets to go next.

  • "SCRIBBLE CHASE" Tarin Majure

1. Please scribble freely all over one of your sheets of paper (with any of your art materials).
2. Now find five objects within the lines of the scribbles - list the items on the sides of your paper.
3. Now write a story using all 5 items. The story should be at least a paragraph - 4 to 5 sentences.
4. If time allows, draw a picture or cartoon strip to go along with your story (be sure to include all 5 items).


1. Pair up and get your partner to do something that they can easily do within the room:
2. One person draws a simple diagram of what s/he wants the other person to do.
3. Words, letters, or numbers may NOT be used.
4. Directional arrows and shapes of signs MAY be used.

  • "WHERE, WHAT, AND WHO?"  Tarin Majure

1. The teacher provides a theme.
2. The students draw out their answers, providing enough information in order for someone else to guess what the drawing represents.
3. The teacher shows the pictures one at a time.
4. The class guesses what its about (in relation to the theme) and who drew it.

  • "I AM?" (an art history appreciation game) Tarin Majure

1. Students "become" the art work and write from its point of view.
2. Example: Mona Lisa - "I am bored, bored, bored and if this crazy man would stop painting me, I could finally draw my eyebrows back on!"

  • "WHAT HE/SHE/IT SAID" (an art appreciation game) Tarin Majure

1. Students write about another student's or a famous artist's piece of work. 
2. They can write about what it means, what was going on in the artist's mind during the artistic process, or even how the art work itself would answer a question - often a silly one. 


1. "Crayon-a-thon" - challenge high energy students to scribble away a whole crayon OR challenge the student to color in a large circle until no white is showing.
2. "Put it in a Jar"-  students are asked to draw a jar without a lid. They next write or draw everything they are thinking of inside the jar in 2 minutes. Now, have them draw the lid on and tell them that when class is over they can get their thoughts back out.
3. "Simon Says" or "Teacher Says" - is a quick but fun way to let your students know they need to get refocused on the activity at hand. This can be accomplished by drawing on the board or the traditional method. 


Provide Calming Activities:
1. Sorting: beads, sequins, markers crayons, etc.
2. Pointillism: plain paper over a simple color sheet and let them dot their hearts out. (be sure to use old markers)
3. Dot Pictures: save the dots from your hole punches and have students glue them into a picture or pattern (or whatever gets them working). They also love punching their own dots. (It is best to have a container ready with necessary items to complete one or more of the projects.)


Click on the following links for awesome game ideas:

1. The Best Games to Play in Line, by Sarah Dougherty,

2. 3 Super Fun Art History Games, by Ian Sands,

3. A New Twist on Memory Makes the Perfect Art Room Center, by Jennifer Borel,

4. 6 Activities To Make Your Art Room More Fun, by Alecia Eggers,

5. Best Behavior Bingo - Free Download, by Sarah Dougherty,

6. 3 Must Have Drawing Activities For Your Free Choice Center, by Alecia Eggers,

7. Whatchamadrawit - A Creative Drawing Game For the Classroom, by Alecia Eggers,

8. A Game to Incorporate Play in the Art Room, by Heather Crockett,

9. Surrealist Games, The Art Curator For Kids, by Cindy Ingram

10. 3 Ways To Motivate Your Students On Tough Days (with the art game, TAG), Melissa Purtee,

11. How to Introduce Symbolism in the Form of a Game, by Matt Christenson,

12. The Marshmallow Challenge, Tom Wujec (great for team-building!)

article by Mrs. Anna Nichols

1 comment:

Jane Ryder said...

Fabulous ideas. Thank you for sharing.