Do you have an art lover in your family? The new, interactive app NGAkids Art Zone helps kids to identify and create art in the styles of portrait, landscape, still life and abstract paintings. The app features 8 works of art from the National Gallery’s collection as well as a sketch book application and a gallery for storing your child’s creations.
We downloaded the app for free on our iPad and spent a few hours playing around with the different art applications. To start you select a work of art from the gallery and follow the prompts to recreate the picture or painting in your own style.
There is one portrait activity, 2 different landscapes, 2 activities that focus on color, one section that highlights different types of brush strokes and a collage building activity. To access each area, double click on the work of art from the home page. For detailed directions hit the blue information button at the bottom of the screen in each section. The directions do not have an audio component so kids under 8 may need parent assistance with reading.
The favorite activities of my 8 and 10 year olds were both of the landscape sections. Here you can recreate the famous paintings Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks and Seascape by Fitz Henry Lane using a multitude of options for foregrounds, backgrounds and scenery in the pictures. At the end of each of these creations you can make your landscapes “come to life” through the play button. Be sure not to miss this option on the Peaceable Kingdom activity as there is a fun surprise visit from George Washington in the picture!
When your child is done creating their masterpiece in each section you can save it to your gallery so they can come back to revisit, change or restart each project when they visit the app again. There is an option to “share” your work by printing the pictures if your iPad is hooked up to a wireless printer.
One problem that we encountered was the ability to import photos into the app in the portrait section. We were able to take and use new pictures through the app but our efforts to use the “import existing photos” function did not work for us.
This app is aimed for kids in upper elementary school but could be enjoyed with parent help for kids as young as 5. My girls learned a lot of new art vocabulary and enjoyed exploring the different styles of painting featured in the app. We hope to be able to make it down to the National Gallery of Art soon to find the works of art in person that we have been playing with on the iPad.
- Photo 1: The National Gallery of Art’s NGAkids Art Zone app for iPad features a virtual gallery space with a selection of eight paintings from the permanent collection, each leading to an interactive activity with custom art-making tools.
- Photo 2: The National Gallery of Art’s NGAkids Art Zone app for iPad features an interactive exploration of Edward Hicks’ Peaceable Kingdom (c. 1834), complete with animal sounds and lively animations that will appeal to young users.
- Photo 3: The National Gallery of Art’s NGAkids Art Zone app for iPad features a gallery space where children can save and display their creations.