Sidewalks make good easels for chalk drawings.

Fun Art Games for Kids

by Barrett Barlowe

Any mother who finds walls covered with crayon scribble knows that kids need creative outlets. Art games can channel the energies of budding artists into appropriate non-destructive activities. Occupying rainy days with age-appropriate art games helps keep kids entertained while you attend to bills or other chores. Joining in the games with children is beneficial too--some kids enjoy playing with adults--and showing off newly acquired skills.

1. Definition

Games are interactive fun activities that challenge and reward players. Art games tie elements such as design, color theory and perception in to the workings of the game. Art games also ideally encourage creative thinking and exploration. Older kids benefit from games involving information about artists and art history.

2. Function

The function of art games is to entertain kids while exposing them to new thoughts and ideas. Certain games that allow children to try out different color pairings might get participants thinking about the effects of color. Well-crafted art games should also help liberate a child's mind and encourage creativity.

3. Types

Digital games feature interactive screens as well as sound and animation. Museum websites, such as the National Gallery of Art website, have activities and games that allow kids to recreate paintings, add special touches or just play with digital paint. Computer-based puzzles challenge digital skills, manual dexterity and memory. Traditional board games, such as bingo, altered to include art terms instead of numbers, are a good choice. Playing cards that feature art trivia questions on the front and back encourage learning and memory. Outdoor games allow kids to be physically active. An art-themed Twister requires players to place hands and feet on circles matched with the artist assigned to them, for example. "Action" painting games might involve children being allowed to fling paint at a large canvas whenever they answer an art question correctly--making this an outdoor-only game.

4. Benefits

Art games benefit children and adults alike. Participation in group activities can help shy children gradually build confidence. Kids that read a lot can excel at art games--whereas they might not enjoy soccer or softball. Having an opportunity to spend constructive time with kids is another benefit.

5. Considerations

Tailoring games to appropriate age groups is important. Adults should supervise any games that involve painting. Using water-based, non-toxic paint aids clean up and minimizes exposure to solvents and chemicals. Different children have different skill sets and tasks that require concentration and memorizing might frustrate some kids. Perceived competition might intimidate other children. Emphasis on individual accomplishment rather than winning helps diffuse tension. Art is for every child.

Photo Credits

  • artists at work image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com