I first read about this game in a blog post by another homeschooling parent. I’m always looking for new, fun, exciting things to do, and while there’s no shortage of things to do to make art fun, this game had one advantage that many of those other things didn’t: 32 artists.
The Art Game is a card game. With artists’ trump cards, you begin by dealing the cards out among the players. You divide them all, even if it ends up being unequal. Then, the first player chooses one of six categories, names the category and the value assigned to that category, and the other player(s) announces their value for the same category. The player with the highest value keeps their card, gets the cards used in that round from the other player(s), and gets to go again. The winner is the person who has the most cards at the end.
There are many reasons I like this game.
1. It’s just fun. It’s a different kind of card game, and it’s fun because there’s no way to know if you’ll have the highest value or not.
2. It provides your young artist/student with some exposure to a wide variety of artists, without being overwhelming. The idea that “a little knowledge can go a long way” is really brought into play here, and it’s played to wonderful effect. A short biography is provided on each artist, and then the six categories each provide another small tidbit of information about their art. It’s enough info to whet the appetite and build some curiosity, without making your kids feel like you’re forcing them to learn. And it’s a good jumping off point to learn more about the artists.
3. The categories and their values give you something to discuss/debate. As is pointed out on a card included in the game, some of the categories (in particular, beauty) are quite subjective. What one thinks is beautiful, another thinks is just average, and another, ugly. This can provide some great starting points for some lively discussions about whether a particular artist’s work is beautiful or not, what makes it beautiful or not, and to argue whether two artists values might deserve to be higher or lower than each others, and the reasons why.
4. It opens up the world of art. I, for one, knew that I wanted to expose my children to a wide variety of art and artists. But there are so many! It can be hard to know where to begin. These cards provide a great place to start. With 32 different artists, from Picasso to Warhol to Edward Hopper, it introduces some of the most famous names out there, while also including some names that might not be as well known. We’ve begun playing the game on a weekly basis (we play more often, but once a week, we play for this reason), with the winner being allowed to choose, from the cards in their hand, which artist we study that week. We learn about the artist’s life, their work, their inspiration, whatever information we can find about the artist. Then we play around with our (pathetic by comparison) attempts to imitate their style.
Another great thing about this game is that it’s less than $10 on Amazon. Curriculum prices can be overwhelming, and art supplies can often seem too expensive for the benefit you get (I know I’m not the only one who’s found we spent $5 on a huge pack of construction paper that was gone within a week). This game is a great balance between the two: it works as a mini-curriculum by providing a variety of artists to study and learn about, and also counts as an art supply (at least in my book), since it can give you ideas for ways to play around with art.
This is a great little game to play to have some fun, quality time with the kids, and still get that educational aspect as well. And as a bonus, with the holidays coming, it can (a) be a great stocking stuffer, and (b) provide some entertainment on the long road trip to Grandma’s, if you’re traveling for the holidays.