Inside: Ten fun kinesthetic activities to help students connect with works of art.
One of the best ways for young people to connect with artworks is through movement. Exploring art with their bodies helps students connect with the art and artists by helping them clearly understand the emotions, actions, and conventions. It makes them think about the art in new ways and best of all, it’s fun! Here are some kinesthetic activities to get students moving and inspired by artworks.
1. Have students pose as the characters in a painting or sculpture and discuss how it feels.
2. Make a tableaux vivant (a living picture).
3. Play charades.
4. Have a conversation about the artwork through only pantomime. (Gestures only — no words!)
5. Create a dance inspired by the artwork. (This one is especially fun with abstract art!)
6. Trace the lines in an artwork with your finger in the air.
7. Get up and look at the artwork from far away, up close, down below, and from the side and notice how the artwork changes depending on where you look at it from.
8. Make the shapes in the artwork using your bodies, and work with others to make the shapes you can’t.
9. Play mirror. Have one student have their back to the artwork and one student facing the art and the other student. Have the student who can see the artwork do movements from the art, and have the one with their back to the work mirror the moving student.
10. If you have a group of students, form a line and have all the students work together to mimic the lines and shapes in the artwork.
If you want more creative games to play with kids, traditional theater games are always fun to adapt to studying art. Check out this book about theater games which includes 130 theater games, music and videos, and learning standards. It’s an amazing resource for the classroom–and not just for theater teachers!
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Try these kinesthetic activities out and let me know how it goes in the comments.
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