Need a Break from Screen Time? Try these Hands-On Art Activities

With the majority of students engaged in virtual learning for the foreseeable future, we are all getting our fair share of screen time. In order to stay creative and energized, it’s important to take time for screen breaks as well. The following is a list of engaging hands-on art activities and resources we’ve gathered from across the web. These are all activities you can complete with materials at home, no screen required!

  • Activity 1: Make a collage flag. This activity from the Hirshorn is inspired by Nam June Paik’s thought-provoking Video Flag – a sculpture which combines 70 TV monitors to project an image of the American flag. For this activity, materials needed include a newspaper or magazine, a piece of paper, scissors, and glue. Consider how you want to represent America through your materials and design when making your own collage flag.
  • Activity 2: Get messy with pop-art paper mache. You’ve probably heard of Andy Warhol or seen his iconic prints. Warhol’s work as an artist takes the familiar, mass-produced imagery of advertising and transforms it into fine art. In this activity, you will build a paper mache sculpture in the style of Andy Warhol. First, choose an object to recreate. This should be a product that you consume – remember, Warhol found inspiration in objects as diverse as shoes, Campbell’s soup cans, and even bottles of Coke! Next, gather your materials. We recommend this recipe for mixing your paper mache paste. In addition, you will need newspaper, cardboard, tape, paint brushes, and paint. Once you have gathered your materials, it is time to build your structure using one of the methods in this article. Finally, paint your sculpture to complete your pop-art masterpiece.
  • Activity 3: Create an optical toy. In this activity, courtesy of the MET, you will create a thaumatrope, which is an optical toy that was popular with children in the nineteenth century. It features a disk with two images, one on either side. When the disk is rotated, the images combine to create the illusion of motion. The result is an early style of animation! To learn more about thaumatropes and how they work, check out this article from Scientific American. To create your own thaumatrope, you will need paper, drawing materials, and string or rubber bands.

For more art inspiration, the Hirshorn, the MET, and SFMOMA all have great learning-at-home activities for you to explore.