How To Play The Art History Detective Game

Invite your kids to be Art History Detectives! It's a fun game you can play with any piece of art, and it's a great way to get kids to use their observational and critical thinking skills. Here's how to play...

Play the art history detective game!

In this game you'll be guiding your kids through as they find answers to 5 questions about a piece of art. It could be a sculpture, a painting, a drawing, a collage, or any other type of art.

  1. Have kids look at the art very carefully (don't give them any clues yet). Ask them if they can solve the mystery of who, what, when, where, and why.
    • Who might have painted this? Who might this be a painting of?
    • What is this painting about? What is happening in this painting?
    • When do you think this was painted? 5 years ago? 50 years ago?
    • Where do you think this artist lived/worked?
    • Why do you think they made this art? What were they trying to say? 
  2. After your kids have had a chance to think it over, give them a little guidance if they need it. Ask them to look for clues in the style of the art, the color palette, the subject matter, etc. Have them think about if they've seen any other art that looks like this (context clues!). Gather information, and if they need to they can make an educated guess.

This game works best with really famous and obvious paintings for beginners, and as your kids learn more and more about art history you can give them more obscure works of art to raise the difficulty level. If you're working on the scientific method, you can apply some of the same principles to this game!

Try it out!

Sign up to receive weekly emails from Art History Kids, and get access to a Learning Library full of fun projects and activity guides. I've made a download to get you started playing the Art History Detective Game at home. You can print your own worksheet from the pdf file, pop in a photo of a piece of art your kids might enjoy, and you'll be playing in just minutes! For extra fun, try this... choose  3 amazing works of art to explore. Travel from ancient times, through the Renaissance, and finish up with a modern art masterpiece.

Free art history game for kids. Download the guide and play the Art History Detective Game!

Have fun! And, remember to join us in the Facebook group where we share kids art projects, discuss great art history storybooks, and brainstorm fun new projects to try.