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Gallery Games for Caregivers and Educators

Gallery Games for Caregivers and Educators

Playing Gallery Games is a great way to make viewing art a fun and engaging process for children and can help foster visual literacy skills. Many of these games can be played one-on-one as well as in a group. Try playing them while viewing art in person, reproduced in books, or in an online exhibition. 

All Ages 

Shape Detective
Notice and draw the shapes and symbols you see in an artwork on small cards. Children can work alone or in pairs to find shapes in the artwork. For younger children, this activity can be done as a large group to find simple geometric shapes, such as circles and triangles. 

Line Hunt
Notice and draw specific lines from the artwork on small cards. Children can work alone or in pairs. Ask a volunteer to act out his or her line through body movement while the rest of the group tries to figure out which line in the artwork is being represented. 

Painting in Action
An artist (one of the children) arranges the other children to become the artwork. Childrenuse their bodies to become lines, shapes, colours, as well as objects in the work like rocks, trees, buildings and figures. The artist can guide them to where they need to stand and make suggestions for how to move their body. This is a great activity to learn about space in a painting, like the foreground, middle-ground, and background. 

Ages 6-9 

A caregiver or educator writes descriptive words on small cards, one word per card. Some descriptive words examples are smooth, rough, warm, gloomy, bounce, surprise, lonely, etc.  Have children choose one card from the pile and try to find a piece of artwork that best matches their word. Encourage them to explain their choice. 

What will you choose?
Divide children into groups and assign a space to each group of children. For example, laundromat, grocery store, school, museum, kitchen, office, restaurant, library, hospital, etc. Each group then must choose five pieces of artwork that they believe would best fit in their assigned space. For example, a group assigned “kitchen” might choose a painting of a bowl of fruit. The group presents their choices and explains why those were chosen above the others.  

Amazing Shrink Machine
Imagine shrinking down to the size of your thumb. You are now able to enter right into the artwork. Where would you enter the picture? Where would you travel? How far could you go?  What would get in your way? What sounds can you hear? What can you taste? What can you smell? 

Art Charades
A child chooses an artwork without telling the group which one. Without speaking, they describe the artwork (lines, shapes, colours, and objects) through movements and actions. The rest of the group tries to guess the work. 

Older Children and Teens (9 – 17) 

Imagine that the next place this group of artworks will be exhibited is very small and one of the artworks must be removed. Which one would you choose and why? Be prepared to defend your choice and explain your reasoning.  

Personal Taste
Choose one of the artworks that would appeal to each of the following characters and describe why it would attract them: an elephant, a mosquito, a dancer, a baby, or a teacher. 

Curator Game
Ask children if they know what a curator is. Explain the job of a curator, which is to select and defend artworks to be exhibited in a gallery. In small teams, children are assigned a work of art (or to be more challenging, they choose one they already like). Children then place themselves in the role of the curator and write down some positive statements about the artwork and a statement on why it is included in the gallery. 


The 33rd annual Children’s Art Exhibition, created by students at Wildflower Arts Centre and North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre, is online at the Calgary Public Library! Enjoy art created by nearly 100 students, ages 3 to 17, in sculpture, drawing, and mixed media. 

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