6 Activities to Make Your Art Room Even More Fun

It’s no secret that the art room is generally thought of as one of the most enjoyable classrooms in the school. However, before breaks and at the end of the year, even art teachers need to pull out some extra tricks to keep kids engaged. Below are 6 fun activities to pull out during those challenging times. For example, these were great when my school had to make up snow days in June!
 

Cloud Jars

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This is truly a magical experience. Not only can you incorporate science and explore how clouds hold precipitation, but you can review color mixing too! I divided my students into pairs. Each pair got a cloud jar. The cloud jar is just a clear jar filled with water with Barbasol shaving cream on top. Then, students poured water tinted with food coloring into their jars and waited for the cool results! Depending on how many jars you have, you might need to make groups of three or dump and re-fill jars to take turns. It is a huge hit!  
 

Jeopardy

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This works just like the TV game show, but with specific art categories (see image). The harder the question, the more money it’s worth. I generally split my classes into teams of three. One team picks a dollar amount and category. If they don’t get the question correct, the question moves to the next team. If no team can figure it out, I announce the answer and the “money” is forfeited for all. Don’t forget to have a final jeopardy question for the end of the game!
 

Art Bingo

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I got this fantastic idea from my good friend, and colleague, Deb Leventhal. Students fold a normal, letter-sized piece of paper in half four times, then unfold for a bingo board of 16 spaces. There is no free space. As a class, we come up with a word bank of 30 to 40 words (depending on time and age group). I write the word bank on the board. This word bank generally consists of objects or people that are relatively easy to draw. It is art bingo after all! Students then choose 16 of the words from the word bank. They write each word at the bottom of a space, then go back and illustrate the words.

To play this with multiple classes back-to-back, I have a cup with cut up papers numbered 1-40. The word bank is numbered as well, so I simply call out the word listed next to the number. That way, I don’t have to rewrite new words on new scraps for each class’s word bank. To play multiple games, I just place a checkmark next to the words I’ve called to double-check when bingo’s are called. Then, I can simply erase the check marks, put the paper pieces back in my drawing cup, and start a new bingo round. We mark cards with small flat disks I found in my art room, but cut up, scrap squares of construction paper work just as well. See more Bingo ideas here and here!

 

Shadow Drawing with Sidewalk Chalk

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A quick, fun lesson on action and silhouettes. Students take turns tracing each other, then “dress and accessorize” themselves. This was especially fun when one of my classes had hat day!

 

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

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To make sidewalk chalk paint mix 1 part cornstarch, 1 part tempera paint and 3 parts water. My recommendation is to start with less paint than you think you might need, as you can always add more. You could use this to decorate for a special event, work on color mixing, or create a temporary mural!

 

Light Prints/Photograms

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This activity is great for younger students. I took old photo paper that I had leftover from my darkroom photography course in college. I did a brief, age-appropriate explanation of what the paper was actually used for, and then we placed our hands over the paper and let them develop in the light of the classroom to create “artist hand photograms”.

Other ideas I would love to try include art around-the-world (like the rapid-answer math facts activity done in classrooms) and light graffiti.
 
 

What do you do for “fun” in the art room?

What are some of your students’ favorite art games?

 
 
 

Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek

Alecia is an elementary art teacher in central Iowa who is passionate about teaching and reaching her students with an innovative and meaningful arts education.

Related

  • Heather

    Pictionary- but without the game board. I use the pictionary cards from the game. The kids break up into even teams of no more than 6. Each team occupies a table. I give out markers and scrap paper. For the first round, I select a category and the artist from each table comes to me to see the card. I give the go sign and each artist starts to draw. When a teammate guesses correctly, he or she AND the artist must stand up. That team gets a point and the “guesser” gets to choose the next category… Or blindly select a Skittel from a bowl… The colors align with the categories.
    Close your door, as the guessing and excitement can get noisy. I do this with grades 7-12. The same rules apply… The artist cannot talk or draw letters, numbers or symbols.
    This is a great spur of the moment activity if we have shortened periods for an assembly or a half day.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Oooo! Good one Heather!

  • Lydia Herrmann Dommel

    Hangman with art words. Perfect to play if you get done with a lesson a few minutes early.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Love that idea for review too!

  • erica

    Make your own art bingo is pretty great stand by activity for the time when you get the unexpected class. Nice.

  • I just cannot get over the cloud jars. SO COOL.

  • Maggie Hitchcock

    When one of the first sunny days of spring came and I had “spring fever” I tabled my planned lesson plan and took the kids outside to the school garden to do gesture drawing with heavier paper and ball point pens. Then we came in and added watercolor. Aprox. timing was 5 min explanation. outside and settled and drawing another 12, Back inside materials gathered and painting another 13. Clean up 10 min.i told the students to draw several plants and arrange them on the paper. I used it with k-8. The kids were great. and we all enjoyed being outside. For me, spring is best, I have the students pretty well trained by then.

  • Melanie Nicosia Interdonato

    I got this idea from a website somewhere. Each students gets three small pieces of paper. On the first piece of paper they have to write an animal (could do any kind of noun but elementary kids love animals). I collect these and put them in a bowl. On the second piece of paper students write a verb. I put these in a second bowl. On the third piece they write an adjective and I collect those. I choose one from each bowl to create a silly phrase and the students write it. For kinders and firsties I usually have them brainstorm and I just write down the answers. If we don’t finish them all I save them labeled by class so I have them for other times a little quick drawing time is left.

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  • BossySnowAngel

    At the end of the year, my painting class studies Theibaud and we have Cupcake Day. I bring decorated cupcakes, they draw from observation, eat the cupcakes, then draw from memory-citing Theibaud’s claim he painted from the memory of his seven year old self pressed against the bakery glass for his paintings. Then they create a composition based on the cupcake. I’ve had step animation, negative space cupcakes, cupcake portraits and even a mid century hassock repurposed as a cupcake.