Art History for Kids – Playing Dress Up

Playing dress up is a fun way to bring the "characters" from art history to life! Kids get to use their creativity to come up with costume ideas, and then they can take on the persona of their subject– bringing drama and flair to the activity!

How to Play

The next time you're looking for a last minute art history activity, try this:

  • Download the Art History Dress Up Activity Guide in the library, and ask you kids who they want to be. (Or research your own art to use as inspiration!)
  • Introduce them to the name of the painting, when it was painted, and the artist and who created it.
  • Ask them to come up with ideas for how to make the costume. This is the fun part... anyone can go out and buy a costume, but it takes some clever thinking and creativity to come up with your own ensemble using only what you already have at home. 
  • If your kids like to play pretend (and who doesn't?!) tell them a little about the "character" they are dressed up as, and invite them to play the part.
  • Make sure you snap some photos and post them on instagram using our hashtag! #arthistorykids. And share the fun in our private facebook group, too!

Make the most of it

This is a great activity for tactile and kinesthetic learners, and anyone who likes to be immersed in activities. You can take your project a step further by doing dress up with a twist– pretend to be Mona Lisa, or the couple from American Gothic, but with some elements deliberately different. (Think modern clothing, a new facial expression, some other variation that changes the character a bit, or makes it more unique somehow.)

This is a great game to play to:

  • Encourage observation skills. (What does the composition look like? What details can we add to our scene?)
  • Practice problem solving. (How can we make this using only what we have?)
  • Have fun with open ended roll playing. (Make believe is a powerful learning tool!)
  • Invite kids to interpret what they see. (Make something 2D come to life in 3D.)

Your kids might love this activity so much that it becomes a weekly ritual!

Please remember to share your photos, and join us in the facebook group! I'm really excited to see how this project "plays out."