Monday, 9 February 2015

Art Activities to Engage Children

Drawing Activities


       1)      View Finders – Use small and varied shaped view finders to concentrate children’s focus on to parts of a piece of art.


2)      Observational drawing (ks2 +) – Give the children a time limit to draw exactly what they see in a piece of art. You could possible combine this with the use of viewfinders. Another version is for the children to stare at the piece of art for one minute then remove the picture and ask the children to draw what they saw. Alternatively, the children can only look continually at the picture whilst moving their pencil across their paper for a full minute. Then share and reflect on their work. Was there anything you missed?


3)      Guided drawing – highlight an element of art within a piece of art work. I.e. line, shape, colour and ask the children to focus on reproducing this element.


4)      Draw and describe – In pairs one child is to sit with their back to the piece of art and another to sit opposite facing the art. The child facing the art work is to describe what they see in detail. The child facing away is to draw what is being described. The only real rules for this activity is that the drawer is not allowed to ask any questions whilst the describer should not respond in any to the drawers reproduction. Giving this activity a longer time limit can help to ensure the describer gives good quality detail.


Sound and Movement                              


1)      Guided Looking (follow a line) - show children a piece of art (best carried out on an abstract pieces of art). Ask the children to find a line within the art and follow it across, around or through the picture. Then ask some questions about the journey the line took the children on. What was the quality of the line? Was it thick or thin, broken or solid? Did it travel under or over other lines? What does it tell us about the artist?


2)      Living Sculpture (cross curricular links to PE) – Ask children alone, in pairs or as a group to strike a pose or gesture that they observe in the painting or piece of art.


3)      What Sound (cross curricular links to Music) – Ask the children to identify an element of art within an artwork and then assign sounds particular parts. For example, when looking for colours, get the children to assign a sound to each colour and use them to create a beat or sound to the piece of work.

Talking Activities 

1)      Turn and Talk – in pairs children to spend time sharing ideas about what they see and why in a piece of art.


2)      Whip Around – show children a piece of art and then go around the class asking the children to say the first word that comes into their mind when they look at it. The only rule is NO REPEATING. You could encourage the children to say either nouns or adjectives. If you keep a record of the word they could be displayed around the room.


3)      Visual Inventory – in pairs or alone children could make a list of all the things they can see in a piece of art. Great with works of art like Lowry. Then share and reflect. The sharing stage allows children to look again in detail is there anything that they didn’t see?




1)      Exceptional corpse – Give the children a piece of paper folded in four strips. The first child draws a head of a character folds it over so it cannot be seen and passes the paper to the next child. The second draws the tors and repeats the fold. The third will draw the legs and finally the fourth child will draw the feet or tail. Once all the sections are drawn the children unfold their work and discuss the results.


2)      Material Bingo (Great for trips to an art gallery) – Give the children a bingo card but instead of numbers they have pictures of possible materials that art can be made from. Whilst the children explore the gallery, they check off the materials the first to get a line could get a prize or to fill the whole bingo card.


3)      Everyone’s a Critic – children will need to be in teams of 3. Two children will be the artists and one the critics. Give the class a theme word and either three options of art work. If being played in an art gallery they can explore for themselves to find a pieces of art that represents that theme. The two artist have to convince their critic that their chosen piece of art fits the theme. Whichever one the critic choses as the most convincing wins.