Curriculum Approaches

5 Games to Put an Artistic Twist on Field Day

bozo buckets

Spring is in the air. This time of year brings warmer weather, new flowers, and that age-old rite of elementary school passage… Field Day! Typically, Field Day is focused on our students’ athletic abilities, but it doesn’t have to be. Many PE teachers are in need of quality volunteers for their event.

Why not volunteer to plan and run your own art-centric station for this year’s Field Day?

It will keep you off dodgeball duty and promote your program. Here are a few kinesthetic art game ideas to get you started.

1. Art Bozo Buckets

bozo buckets

Materials Needed:

  • Plastic buckets
  • Ping Pong balls
  • Copies of art images

How to Play:

If you lived anywhere near the Midwest during the early 1980s, you are surely familiar with Bozo buckets. If not, here’s how it works. Simply line several plastic buckets up in a row, and have students stand behind a line and toss a Ping Pong ball into each bucket. It’s harder than you would expect! For an art history twist, print copies of art images used in your class and tape them to the buckets. Require kids to call out the artist or the painting while their ball is in the air. With all this identification and rehearsal, your kids will know those paintings by the end of Field Day!

2. Famous Painting Ring Toss

ring toss

Materials Needed:

  • Plastic buckets
  • Large plastic rings (Ask your local ice cream shop. Sometimes these types of rings come on the top of those huge buckets of ice cream.)
  • Copies of art images
  • Index cards

How to Play:

Here is an alternative take on art history identification using some of the same supplies. Flip those buckets upside-down, so they are ring toss targets. Tape images of multicultural arts/crafts from around the world to the sides of the buckets and tape a card with the country of origin to the inside of the bucket (so students can check the answers). Instruct teams of students to stand behind a line and toss rings at the buckets. Give each team one minute to launch as many rings as they can. Teams get one point for each ring that hooks the target IF they can correctly identify the origin country of the image.

3. Egg Hunt Drawing

Materials Needed:

  • Plastic eggs
  • List of words
  • Clipboards
  • Pencils
  • Paper

How to Play:

At this time of year, plastic eggs are cheap and plentiful in dollar stores. Type a huge list of nouns, associated with spring, Field Day or any theme of your choice. Put each word inside a plastic egg and throw (or strategically hide) the eggs around the school yard. Instruct the students that they will have 30 seconds to grab three to four eggs each. When they open the eggs, give them clipboards, pencils/paper, and five minutes to create a drawing incorporating all the words they found. To save time (and your sanity) have students re-stuff and re-hide the eggs for the next group.

(Note: Although this game is totally secular, an egg hunt can obviously have an Easter connotation. Only you will know whether this is appropriate for your school community.)

4. Art History Speed Puzzles

art history puzzle

Materials Needed:

  • Old art history posters

How to Play:

Laminate old art history posters and cut them into puzzle pieces. Give the pieces to teams of students and time them as they assemble. For an added challenge, do not provide a copy of the original image. Keep a “Hall of Fame” on a piece of butcher paper, listing the current fastest time for each image. You will be amazed at how competitive your students will get.

5. Art History Team Tic-Tac-Toe

tic-tac-toe game

Materials Needed:

  • Large piece of canvas or fabric
  • Colored duct tape
  • Construction paper Xs and Os

How to Play:

Find a large piece of canvas or fabric. Using colored duct tape, create a larger than life tic-tac-toe board. Divide the students into teams and provide them with large construction paper Xs and Os. A team can only put their marker on the board if they correctly answer your art related trivia question.

Approach your PE teacher and see if they would be open to hosting an art station on Field Day. This proactive arts advocacy will prevent you from running a game of dodgeball, and will promote your program in the process!

What is your role on Field Day?

What other kinesthetic art games do you use in your classroom?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Lindsey Moss

Lindsey Moss, an elementary school art educator, is AOEU’s Content Specialist and a former AOEU Writer. She enjoys art history and finding creative and fun solutions to educational challenges.

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