NGAkids Art Zone is a phenomenal app from the National Gallery of Art to engage children of a broad range of interests and immerse them in some fundamental art techniques. The app includes eight different activities based on paintings from the National Gallery. Students can change backgrounds, add objects to the scenes, and change color palettes to create their own distinct imagery of famous paintings. For those who like dress up, there is a painting where they can change characters' dresses and hairstyles. Children who like animals will have an activity where they can add animals to the scene, adjust their size, and hear them make noises. Another activity allows a student to add George Washington dancing in a marionette format. There are directions for each activity along with an overview of the painting. Unfortunately, the text is small and specific information about paintings limited. However, this app provides a wonderful opportunity for students to enjoy famous works of art and experiment with fundamental elements of art including color, texture, foreground and background effects. PROS
- The variety of art and activities will make this app appealing to children of a wide variety of interests and abilities.
- The app enables students to experience the effects of artistic techniques and spatial impacts.
- Students can easily save and share their work.
- Although most activities are intuitive, the instructions for each activity are written in small font with no voice-over so younger students may need adult support at times.
- The teaching about fundamentals is experiential rather than explicit. For example, students play with the color wheel but they are not offered a formal explanation.