interactive art that you can make online

Collage Machine MobilePixelFace3-D TwirlerCubitsDiamondsDutch House Photo Op PaintBox

WalloversRiverRunSwatchBox Flow Jungle BrushsterStill Life • Faces and Places • Sea-Saws

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NGAkids CDs provide offline access to many of our most popular interactive programs. No internet connection is required. The freestanding applications do not require Adobe Shockwave and they are compatible with Mac OS 10.7 (Lion). LEARN MORE.

NGAkids CDs 





SEA-SAWS is fun for kids of all ages. Select photographs of natural and man-made objects, then arrange the pieces to create a seascape or an abstract composition. The BUILD tool helps you construct animated characters and set them in motion. (Shockwave, 7.5 MB)


faces and places

FACES & PLACES helps children of all ages create portraits and landscape paintings in the style of American naive artists. By combining visual elements borrowed from more than 100 works in the National Gallery's permanent collection, this two-part interactive activity offers an overview of American folk art of the 18th and 19th centuries. The original paintings illustrated in these online presentations were a gift to the nation from Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch. (Shockwave, 6 MB).

Photo Op


PHOTO OP (Shockwave, 7 MB) is a two-part interactive activity that introduces you to digital photography and digital photo editing. Use the virtual camera to create snapshots and explore lighting, focus, shutter speed, and compositional effects. After you've taken some photos, switch to the Photo Op editor and transform your pictures into something completely different.

This Art Zone interactive is suitable for all ages. Young children will find it easy to take simple snapshots and transform or recolor their virtual photos. More advanced users can create complex artistic compositions by layering, applying filters, and experimenting with various special effects, lighting, and blends. If you need help, scroll down for some hints about how to use the program.  If your Internet connection is slow, allow the program to load fully, then come back to play.

SNAPPER: With Photo Op you can make portraits, landscapes, architectural or still life photos, and abstract designs. Select a subject, then zoom in and out to frame your picture. Experiment with aperture, focus, and shutter speed settings to capture different photographic effects. Click on the red button at the top of the camera to SNAP your picture.

EDITOR: Review all your photos by clicking on the red PIX icon, or click on a picture you've taken to enter the EDITOR mode. (HINT: You must take at least one picture before you begin to edit.) Apply filters and blends, or use the dodge and burn brushes to lighten and darken selected areas. You can change colors, create collage layers, explore mirrored effects, and more.  

Use the EDITOR to create art based on the photos you have snapped. Explore mirror effects, color tints, blending tools, collage-like layering options, and other special effects. Young artists may enjoy tracing and coloring some of the photos they have taken to practice drawing. Be sure to SAVE your work often so you can backtrack if you change your mind. You can save 18 images before the program begins to overwrite them with new pictures. Saved images will remain available as long as the program remains open, but they are not stored on your computer. To keep a digital copy of your art, take a screenshot or print to PDF. 

silkscreen effect mirror effectdrawing of cat

 Photo Op is a large program and it may take some time to download.  A fast Internet connection is recommended, or you may find it easier to pre-load the module before playing.  Once the program is downloaded, Photo Op will remain active until the browser window is closed, refreshed, or resized.


NGAkidsStill Life 

Still Life interactive

The NGAkids Still Life (Shockwave, 8 MB)  helps you create interactive art that mirrors the paintings of the old masters. Mix everyday objects and painted elements while experimenting with composition, scale, and perspective. This Art Zone activity is suitable for all ages. Young children can compose engaging interactive still lifes online while learning simple spatial and math concepts. More advanced artists can create complex compositions and then switch to the painting mode to add and manipulate textured 'brushstrokes" that give the art a more abstract quality.

 screengrab of slideshow

A still life slideshow (Flash, 32K) features photographs of real paintings and art objects in the National Gallery of Art that were the inspiration for this interactive. When viewed in their original context, these works may give you some ideas about how to compose a still life of your own. Here's a printable checklist (PDF, 220k) of images in the slideshow, so you can learn more about the art and artists on our main Web site.  Click the picture above to launch the slideshow, or design your own still life now.

Still life ChapterTeachers and older kids may enjoy reading a chapter on STILL LIFE PAINTING from our new book on 17th-century Dutch art. (PDF, 561k)  



NGAkids BRUSHster


BRUSHster is a painting machine for all ages. This interactive has more than forty brushes and many customizable size, transparency, and stroke options. A rainbow palette, along with a toolbox of special effects that blur, ripple, smudge, blend, and fragment your designs make BRUSHster a full-feature painting program. You can use it to draw pictures, but BRUSHster is programmed to create ABSTRACT art. Are you more interested in exploring color, gesture, shape, or line? BRUSHster can do it all. Check out our Flash slideshow of BRUSHster paintings for ideas, then create an abstract painting of your own.

imagae: Brushster screenshot image:art since 1950 teaching packet cover art

If you're interested in learning more about abstract art, tell your parents and teachers about Art Since 1950, a 95-page book with classroom activities and essays about modern paintings and sculpture in the National Gallery of Art. (PDF, 2.4 MB)

Dollhouse cutawayNGAkids  Dutch House

In Holland during the 17th and 18th centuries, the "poppenhuis"  or dollhouse was an adult diversion, but our online DUTCH HOUSE is fun for kids of all ages. Paintings by well-known artists such as Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen, and Johannes Vermeer spring to life as you mix and match colorful characters, create decorative objects, and explore the kitchen, living quarters, artist's studio, and courtyard of this make-believe Dutch house.

DUTCH HOUSE requires Shockwave Player. A high-speed Internet connection or preloading prior to play is recommended. If your Internet connection is slow, just preload the game while you're doing something else, then come back to the Web page after the program has transferred to your computer. The dollhouse will stay open until you close your browser window or shut down the computer.

Click the DUTCH HOUSE to begin.

NGAkids logo Jungle interactive


Jungle interactive

Create an imaginary landscape online with the NGAkids JUNGLE interactive. Mix and match the colorful characters, control the environment by changing weather and lighting conditions, or construct flowers, trees, and plants using special tools. An "AUTO" button generates random compositions, so you can sample program options and experiment with special effects as a starting point for your own designs. This Shockwave interactive is for all ages. Click the picture above to launch the program.

JUNGLE is inspired by the paintings of French artist Henri Rousseau. Visit My Jungle for some art and photography project ideas. 


Flow is a motion painting machine for children of all ages. Enjoy watching the changing patterns and colors as you mix pictures on two overlapping layers. Choose  designs from four sets of menu icons, or add to the flow by clicking the pencil tool to create your own designs. The movie below shows how to make new icons and set your art in motion.

menu guide



sample paintbox

Choose a background image or start with a blank slate, then draw something in PaintBox. Add WARP EFFECTS to make silly pictures. PaintBox is fun for children of all ages. Click the printer icon to save your art.

SwatchBox color mixing and drawing tool

SwatchBox sample

SwatchBox is a tool for mixing and drawing with millions of colors. 

MIX COLORS: click and drag on the rainbow palette
SELECT COLOR: click in the swatchbox
CREATE: draw something in the empty box
PRINT: click the printer icon to save your art

PixelFace George Washington

PixelFace is an interactive portrait maker and drawing board. You have 49 colors and 24 brushes to play with. Select a model to begin. The sliders adjust pixel size and transparency levels. The green arrows change brush menus. Click the red AUTO button and PixelFace will create a portrait for you in the style and resolution you've chosen. Experiment by changing brushes and transparencies, or continue drawing while AUTO portrait is on for some surprising effects!

To draw your own design, click the pencil. then select a color, pixel size, and brush. For help while in the program, roll the cursor over the question mark and hold down the mouse button. 



Orbital jam, depCharge, and pool are easy-to-use animation kits that inspire young children to create and manipulate interesting, colorful shapes and patterns.



  collage machine I and II     

sample collage from the Collage Machine

Collage Machine II

Collage Machine and Collage Machine II are fun for children of all ages. Click a picture and see what happens, or roll over the question mark and hold down the mouse button to learn how the program works. The AUTO button makes a new arrangement for you each time you click. Use the big green arrows to change picture menus. Your collages will disappear if you click the eraser, close your browser, or shut down your computer. 

Try creating a real collage made with colored paper, photographs, magazine clippings, cardboard, string, and glue. Here's how.

children making collages

Learn about the life and career of an important African American artist, Romare Bearden, who was well-known for his paintings and collages. Download the Children's Guide to The Art of Romare Bearden (PDF 900k). You'll need Acrobat Reader to view this brochure.


Wallover sample Wallovers are symmetrical decorations painted on a virtual wall. Select a grid, pattern, and background color, then create your own designs, or click the AUTODRAW button and watch the computer generate patterns for you. Click the printer icon to save your art.



NGAkids Mobile

Watch the virtual mobile change and grow as you add branches, shapes, and colors. Adjust the orbit speed and make the pieces spin. See how the mobile casts shadows on the wall, then change your point of view and watch it create spirographic patterns as it moves through space.

3-D Twirler

3-D Twirler

Use 3-d TWIRLER to design and texturize three-dimensional shapes. Learn how artists create these special effects without a computer.

find the shapes

Build a geometric sculpture online with Cubits


River Run


River Run encourages younger children to orchestrate a flowing array of colorful shapes and patterns online.

Collage Machine Mobile PixelFace 3-D Twirler Cubits Diamonds Dutch House   Still Life Photo Op
RiverRun Paintbox Wallovers SwatchBox 
Flow Jungle • Brushster Faces and Places  • Sea-Saws

NGAkids Home

Art Zone interactives require Shockwave player. PDFs require Acrobat Reader.
If you are experiencing trouble with Adobe Shockwave, NGAkids CDs  are available
for offline use through the Gallery's Learning Resources portal.

get shockwaveget acrobat

NGAkids Art Zone is supported in part by a generous grant
from the Ruth S. Willoughby Foundation.

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National Gallery of Art, Washington