A well-rounded education should include plenty of right-brain creative time! Art can act as a decompressor for children if incorporated correctly into their curriculum. While math is hard for many and science takes focus, art can be completely liberating for some. These art games for kids aim to release their inner genius and give them the freedom to craft a masterpiece all their own. From improving drawing skills to helping with communication and fine motor skills, these fun art games are educational tools that your kids will love!
Getting Creative With Adventures From Scratch
From in-home game nights to weekend adventures, our Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition book contains everything you need for some seriously fun quality time! There are more than 50 activities that you can mix between these art games for kids. Our activities are expertly crafted for maximum enjoyment with a focus on strengthening relationships. While using our conversation prompts, we guarantee you’ll learn something new about your closest family members. The process is easy, too! Just consult the handy key. Pick a scratch-off adventure, and get started!
The Best Art Games for Kids
Like all other forms of education, art lessons must be age-appropriate to be effective. We’ve gathered some of the best art games for kids of all ages. As you peruse this list, remember that art is about creativity. Feel free to add to, take away, or bend the rules of the games to make it fit your objective and your child’s interest/skill level. The beautiful thing about art is that there’s no wrong way to play!
Art Games for Preschoolers
The best way for preschoolers to learn and express themselves is through play. These art games for preschoolers work on the fine motor and communication skills they’re mastering at this age and allow them the self-expression that most three-year-olds are so desperately demanding. Break out the finger paints and the stickers, and let those littles get their hands dirty. It’s a learning experience!
1. Shaving Cream Drawing Game
When I used to be a preschool teacher, this was one of my class’s favorite drawing games. The kids love it. It smells nice, and it actually helps clean your tables. Seat your kiddos at a large table, and squirt each child a large plop of shaving cream. Let them spread it out with their hands, and then allow them to scribble on their own. Or, you could give them specific things to draw with their fingers.
2. Colored Noodle Art
For this one, you’ll need some kid-friendly glue, construction paper or cheap canvases, and colored macaroni. You could also use beads or beans if your kids are old enough not to ingest them or put them up their noses. You can allow them to glue their pieces freely, or you can put up a prepared piece for them to attempt to imitate.
3. Quiet-Time Art Game
This is a great interactive art game for kids that you can do at home, just before nap time. Sit down on opposite ends of the couch. Each of you will have a crayon or other drawing utensil and a piece of paper. Take turns calling out an item to draw. Each of you will draw it independently, not showing each other your drawings until the end.
4. Double Doodle
Work on those motor skills with this two-handed art game. Give your child two fat markers, and encourage them to draw a specified object with both hands at the same time. Double Doodle exercises both sides of their brains, and it often creates very interesting abstract art!
5. Drawing Emotions
An important aspect of the preschool years is learning how to recognize and portray emotion appropriately, control strong emotions, and empathize with others. Work on emotions with a fun drawing game. Present your child with a piece of paper with six circles drawn on it. Call out an emotion, and have your child draw a monster making the appropriate face. If drawing the faces is too advanced, provide them with emotion stickers or pre-printed faces instead. Have them pick the emotion from the collection and put it on their page.
6. Sticker Jellyfish
Little kids love stickers, and that’s a fact! Give each child 25–30 round stickers in five or six different colors. These will serve as the jellyfish tentacles. Each child will decorate half of a paper plate, drawing the jellyfish’s face. They will then line up the colored stickers to create tentacles.
7. Color by Number
Color by number is a simple activity that helps reinforce number recognition and allows kiddos to work on following directions. Free printables are available online, but keep them simple. Shapes should be fun and kid-friendly and include no more than five numbers.
You can also change this game up with a traditional coloring book. Let your child choose a page. Then, have them choose an item on that page. You will draw a random color out of a hat, and the child will color their chosen item in the color you’ve drawn.
8. Paint Mixing
Start learning basic color theory with this basic painting game. Color mixing fosters color recognition, and stirring also works on motor skills—bonus! Give each child a few plastic cups. I like to use medicine cups or something small. You will call out two colors and have the children guess what color the mixture will be. Then allow them to gather a sample of each color and mix them together in their cup with a paintbrush or finger. The person who guessed it correctly gets a sticker!
9. Simon Says Play-Doh
Pull out the Play-Doh, and give each child one color. Collect a few simple ideas for them to create, and call them out in traditional Simon Says form.
10. Revelation Art
Revelation art is mesmerizing, and it’s easy to do. Give children a piece of paper and plenty of stickers. Have them decorate their paper however they like, or give them a scene to imitate, like a starry night. After they’re satisfied with their placement, allow them to paint over the paper with acrylic paint. Once it’s completely dry, let them pull off the stickers, revealing the white or colored space beneath.
Art Games for Grade Schoolers
By the time they get to grade school, they’ve likely mastered holding a crayon correctly, and their fine motor skills are more refined. They can follow more advanced directions, and the games can become more challenging. The best art games for bigger kids incorporate problem-solving, memory work, and following directions in addition to drawing skills.
11. Your Turn, My Turn
Pair up your students, or complete this one as a chain game involving the whole class. Have the first student draw a random shape or object. The next person will add to it, and they will take turns drawing additions until the time is up. Each student must draw their addition in less than 20 seconds. If you want to make the game more difficult, you can create a theme. For instance, they can only draw items that occur in nature or items that are found in the kitchen.
There’s a popular form of this game, regretfully named Exquisite Corpse, in which each person draws a body part until a complete human form emerges.
12. Color Wheel Race
Hang a color wheel at the end of the class. Split your children into two groups, and give each of them strips of colored paper, one for each spot on the color wheel. Also, give them some scotch tape. You will call out two colors, and the teams will race to pick out which color will result from the mixture of the two colors you announced. A representative will then run that piece of paper to the front and tape it on the appropriate section of the color wheel.
13. Dot Drawing Prompts
Dot drawing unleashes complete creativity. Give each child a piece of paper with randomly placed dots. Five or six dots are usually good. Challenge them to create the most unique drawing they can by connecting the dots. Alternatively, call out a random object, and challenge them to create their best rendition using the dots.
14. Blind Pictionary
Blind Pictionary is a great game for the end of an art class or a Friday night at home. Give one person a marker, and bring them to the board. Blindfold them, and whisper an object for them to draw on the board. The class will attempt to guess what they’re drawing. The first student to get it right gets to be the next artist.
15. Quick Scribble
Quick Scribble is an interactive drawing game for partners. Each person will draw a random scribble on their page. It can be any shape, just whatever comes to mind, but should be simple and quick. They will then swap pieces of paper and create a masterpiece from their partner’s scribble.
16. Dice Doodle
Create a master key for the numbers one through six. You can do this with a simple 6 x 3 table. Number the columns one through six. In row one, place a different colored dot in each square. In row two, write the name of a body part. Fill each box of row three with a fun pattern, like stripes or polka dots.
When you’re ready, players will roll the dice to first select a color, then a body part, and finally a pattern. Then they’ll draw! For instance, they may have to draw a face with green polka dots or a foot with purple stripes. Keep going until you have five or so body parts, whatever feels right. It makes for an interesting creature at the end!
17. Washi Tape Collage
Washi Tape isn’t cheap, but it’s fun. For a single-child art game, provide your kiddo with a blank canvas or even an object like a picture frame. Provide them with several colors and patterns of Washi Tape, and then set them free to create!
18. Raised Salt Painting
Raised salt paintings have all the allure of glitter but with none of the mess. All you need is some glue, salt, and watercolors. Have your kids draw a shape on cardstock. It can be as simple or intricate as they want, but they must draw it fairly quickly before the glue dries. They will then sprinkle salt on top of the glue and shake off the excess. Once the salt dries, have them touch it with a wet paintbrush of watercolor paint, and watch it travel through the salt, tinting their design with color!
19. Easy Dip Dye
Tie-dye is a traditional kids’ game that still works! It doesn’t have to be difficult, either. You don’t have to make a T-shirt, though that’s possible. If you need a budget-friendly version, you can use a dried-out baby wipe or a scrap of white fabric. Tie the fabric up with rubber bands, forming little bulbs. Then paint the sections with different watercolors or fabric paint. After it dries, remove the rubber bands so they can admire their creations!
20. Ice Painting
Fill an ice tray with water, and dye each section a different color with food coloring and a short popsicle stick. Freeze overnight. Give your child a few sheets of watercolor paper, and allow them to create a painting using the ice cubes and paint brushes.
21. Body Art
For an at-home art game that is sure to please, let your kiddos strip down to their underwear, and roll out some craft paper in the yard. With a brush, paint their body parts, or fill a kiddie pool with watered-down paint, and let them roll in it. From there, they will roll, stamp, stomp, and splat on the craft paper. It’s messy, but it’s fun!
22. Marble Art
For a more contained painting game, gather a few marbles and a cardboard box lid or shallow plastic tub. Place a piece of blank paper in the lid. Cover marbles in thin, acrylic paint, and drop them in the box. Have the kids roll the marbles around to create patterns.
23. Straw Blow Painting
This one is probably better done outside or on a big table that’s easy to clean. Give each student a few plastic straws and some acrylic paint. They will use the straws to suck up paint and then blow it onto the paper, creating free-flow designs!
24. Floating Chalk Art
Gather some plastic tubs big enough for a sheet of paper. Fill them with one to two inches of water. Use a plastic knife to scrape different colors of chalk into the water. Work quickly, as you don’t want the chalk dust to get waterlogged and sink. Once your child is satisfied with the floating pattern, have them gently place their paper on top of the water. Use soft pressure to press the paper slightly. Gently pull it from the water, and reveal your marbelized art!
Art Games for Teens and Tweens
By this stage, it’s hard to convince some kids to play games. They are capable of (almost) adult-level thinking, so you have to up the ante. Their projects can include elements of drafting, geometry, concepts of shading and perspective, and much more. They should also have full reign to create as they get inspired. Provide an inspirational environment, and set them free!
25. Origami Video Tutorial
There’s something weirdly soothing about folding paper over and over. Use a YouTube tutorial to teach your kids basic origami. There are tons out there. To make it more interesting, turn it into a game. The student who most accurately creates the intended object in the allotted time wins a prize.
26. Roll of Tape Zentangle
Zentangle is an increasingly popular method of drawing that centers on, well, you probably guessed it—the concept of zen. This type of creative drawing uses just a black felt-tip marker and patterns. Start with a roller of tape. Have the students create many overlapping circles on their page. Once they’ve filled the space, direct them to fill each intersecting space with a different pattern. Craftwhack has a great collection of pattern templates to help get them inspired!
27. Symmetrical Notan Art
Notan Art is inspired by the Japanese concept of light and dark. Again, it only requires a black marker. Fold a sheet of paper in half. On one side, students will draw any pattern they like and color it in with the black marker. On the other half, they will mirror the pattern but fill the background in with the marker, creating the pattern in white. The high-contrast result is eye-catching, to say the least!
28. Nail and String Designs
For teens who don’t love art, something practical is often best. Let them create a sign for their room or locker with nails and colored yarn. You’ll need a few hammers, some small nails, and some hanging wire as well as a plethora of fun yarn.
29. Parabolic Curve Creation
For the math-minded kiddo, parabolic drawing is a must! This method involves creating intricate curves and designs by using only straight lines. To really branch out, consider making it an architectural game by challenging your child to build a parabolic shape with pencils and glue. Check out these amazing parabolic ideas from Wonder How To.
30. Create and Uplift
Your teens won’t like this at first, but once they eventually give in, they’ll love it, and they’ll get to know each other so much better in a short amount of time. Split them into groups of five around a table. Set out some basic craft supplies in the center of the table: scissors, tape, glue, construction paper, etc. Give the students very basic instructions and five minutes of time. They are to create an item, using the supplies on the table, that describes them. You can repeat the instructions, but don’t elaborate any more than that.
After the five minutes is up, they will go around the table and describe their object and how it represents them. After each person has had their turn, you’ll go back to the first person. They will hold up their art piece, and the other kids will use this time to encourage their friend, telling them what they admire about that person or how they think that person’s traits offer value to the world.
31. Architect Challenge
Teens love a competition game, so put their building skills to the test. Split them into small teams, and provide each team with the same directions and the same supplies. They are tasked to build the best, most efficient object—it’ll be tested at the end! This could be a myriad of things. It could be a toothpick bridge that must bear weight or perhaps a “nest” for an egg that will be dropped from a ladder. It could be a tissue paper outfit, made from only paper and tape. Get creative!
32. Poetry in Motion
Art doesn’t need to revolve around drawing and painting. Challenge your teens to step into the realm of poetry with an interactive team game. You will start with a given prompt or allow the first student to come up with the initial line. They will pass the poem around the class, each student adding the next line. The end result is usually hilarious. To make it more challenging, you can add rhyming rules or make them write in iambic pentameter!
From coloring games to complex design challenges, the number of creative art games for kids is almost inexhaustible. We didn’t even touch on online games! When trying to engage children with art, remember that there’s no right or wrong way to create. Every artist’s mind works in a different way, and that’s the beauty of it. You might even challenge your kids to come up with their very own DIY art game!
For more fun educational games, check out “The 32 Best Classroom Games for Kids.”
If your kid loves to bang a drum, take a look at “The 20 Best Music Games for Kids!”