20 Fun Art Games for the Classroom: How to Break the Ice with Students
Featured on Home - October 28, 2022

Middle school art games for the classroom are a great way to get students interested in art. Here are some of our favorites which happen to be great icebreakers for the first day of school.

watercolors for fun art games in the classroom
Palette of multicolor watercolor paints with paint brushes on wooden background

For the most part, Middle schoolers enjoy Art Class and learning art techniques, however, sometimes they need a break from the lesson plan. Fun classroom games are great icebreakers for Art Teachers to get to know their students. It’s not easy being a new teacher and finding fun ways to get them excited about art is sometimes a little bit of a challenge. It takes a special person to connect with a student.

How to Make an Exciting Lesson Plan

So, we mix it up. We start a fun art project that takes about 6-8 classes. We learn about different techniques, optical illusions, and different patterns. I want the students to learn important concepts, different art skills, and color theory. However, we take Friday off to watch Bob Ross videos. For some reason they love him. Personally, I want to go to sleep when watching his videos, even though he’s a fantastic artist. His art lessons are just too relaxing.

I find that they like visual arts, whether they are younger students or older students. Drawing and painting are their jam! So, we have a lot of fun doing our projects, whether it’s a single art piece or something done in small groups.

Why Have Art Games?

But part of having art activities in Art class is having fun art games to play where everyone is engaged with each other. Whether it’s a board game about historical events or a card game about famous paintings, playing games is a great way to learn while having fun. The school year can’t be just about lesson plans solely. The art room has to be a place they look forward to.

Get Your Art Supplies

Having fun art activities ready in an art sub-plan folder in case you are out sick is also a great idea. Art-related games are great for substitutes and are especially great icebreakers.

The Art Teacher’s Survival Guide for Elementary and Middle Schools

Art Games for the Classroom

  1. The Great Art Race: This game is perfect for large groups of students. Divide the class into teams and give each team a list of art-related tasks to complete. The first team to complete all the tasks wins!
  2. Art scavenger hunt: This game can be played indoors or outdoors. Give each student a list of items to find, and see who can find the most items in a set amount of time.
  3. Guess the artwork: Hang up several pieces of art in the classroom, with the artist’s name hidden. Students will take turns guessing which artwork is by which famous artist.
  4. Art history trivia: Test your student’s knowledge with this art history trivia game. Questions can be about famous artists, art movements, or specific works of art.
  5. Draw the other students: Give each student a piece of paper and a pencil. Students will then take turns drawing the other students in the class. This is a great way to get students thinking about proportions and perspective.
  6. Simon says, “Draw!”: This game is played like the classic game of Simon says, but with art-related tasks. For example, “Simon says, draw a picture of a tree.”
  7. Charades: Divide the class into two teams. One student from each team will act out a scene from a famous painting, and the other students on their team will try to guess which painting it is.
  8. Pictionary: This game is similar to charades, but with pictures instead of words. One student will draw a picture, and the other students will try to guess what it is.
  9. Draw, pass, repeat: Give each student a piece of paper and a pencil. Students will start by drawing a picture, then folding the paper so only the next person can see what they drew. that person will add to the drawing, then fold the paper again. This process continues until everyone has had a chance to contribute to the drawing. You’ll end up with a Funny (and often surreal) picture at the end!
  10. What’s Missing?: This game is played with a group of students. One student will start by describing a work of art but will leave out one crucial detail. The other students will try to guess what’s missing.
  11. Art Trivia: This fun game can be played with any number of students, especially high school students. Divide the class into teams and ask trivia questions about art history, famous artists, or specific works of art. The team with the most correct answers wins!
  12. I Spy: This game can be played with any number of students. One student will choose an object in the room and say “I spy with my little eye something…” and then describe the object. The other students will try to guess what it is. Elementary students love this game.
  13. Word Ladder: This game can be played with any number of students. Choose a work of art, and have the first student say a word associated with it. The next student then has to say a word associated with the first word, and so on. The goal is to see how long of a “ladder” of words you can create before someone gets stuck.
  14. Sculpture Garden: This game can be played with any number of students. Each student will need a piece of clay. The object of the game is to see who can create the most interesting sculpture in a set amount of time.
  15. Blind contour drawing: This game can be played with any number of students. Each student will need a piece of paper and a pencil. One student will choose an object in the room and describe it to the other students. The students will then try to draw the object without looking at their paper. The goal is to see who can create the most accurate drawing.
  16. Telephone Pictionary: This game can be played with any number of students. You will need a piece of paper and a pencil for each student. One student will start by drawing a picture of something related to art. The next student will then look at the picture and try to draw their version of it. This process will continue until everyone has had a chance to contribute to the drawing. The goal is to see how accurately the final drawing resembles the original.
  17. Memory: This memory game can be played with any number of students. You will need a deck of cards and a piece of paper for each student. Each version of it. This process continues until everyone has had a chance to contribute to the drawing. You’ll end up with a Funny (and often surreal) picture at the end!
  18. Name That Tune: This game can be played with any number of students. You will need a music player and a list of songs with a connection to art. One student will start by choosing a song and playing a short clip of it for the other students. The other students will try to guess what song it is. The goal is to see who can guess the songs correctly.
  19. 20 Questions: This game can be played with any number of students. One student will choose an object in the room and the other students will try to guess what it is by asking up to 20 questions. The goal is to see who can guess the object correctly in the fewest number of questions.
  20. Password: This game can be played with any number of students. You will need a list of words related to art. One student will start by choosing a word from the list and giving the other students a one-word clue about it. The other students will then try to guess the word. The goal is to see who can guess the most words correctly.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. There are endless possibilities when it comes to classroom art games, so get creative and have fun!

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