Lauren Hodson | October 2016

Action Art Making Strategies: Visual Art, Music, and Movement

Action Art Lessons is always an exciting way to get those bodies moving while walking, or dancing away with a work of art. Even better is that Action Art lessons provide opportunities for our special education students who may typically struggle to have a chance to shine.  Art is being made in some exceptional ways… while skateboarding or bike riding, flying drones or helicopters, using robots or electrical circuits (like the art of Phil Hansen, keynote speaker at the 2017 Winter Arts Integration & STEAM Conference). The possibilities of movement and art alone are enough to excite any maker out there.

The original action painter is Jackson Pollock with his drip paintings. While watching vintage footage of him in the studio, I thought to myself, “I wonder what music he might be listening to. I wonder what music would mesh well with his movements in a video?”

Here are three strategies and creative activities for kids for incorporating Visual Art, Movement, and Music. Work with physical education, music, and visual art teachers to create in a new way.

Scooter Drawing

Use scooters and partners to create a work of art. While listening to a dynamic piece of music, one student rests their tummy on the scooter and holds art materials in their hands. With the help of their partner, the students move along the paper and creates marks based on the rhythm and tempo of the music.


  • Scooters
  • Large Roll of Paper
  • Art Materials:
    • Chalk and Charcoal can get messy, but very fun.
    • Markers, use 1 at a time or a hand full.
    • Crayons and then watercolor paint over the lines created using a wax resist technique.
    • Combine materials when you can.
  • Music

Artist Link:

Musical Chairs: Painting to Music while Moving

Use the well-known game of musical chairs to create collaborative movement and art with your class. Play a piece of music and have students dance while painting to the rhythm and tempo. Students make a few marks at each spot that reminds them of the music being played. When the music stops, ask students to paint something specific wherever they “land.”

For example… Have students create a creature that reminds them of the music. If the music is whimsical, it may be a fun, happy monster. If the music is dark, then the monster might look grumpy or mean. When the students land the first time, have them paint a body. The next time they land, eyes. Then a mouth, and so on until the table is filled with abstract, action painting and monsters that personify a piece of music.


  • Paint or other art materials
  • Paper
  • Music

Freeze Figure Drawing

Assign each student a number. Play music and have a dance party. Shout, “Freeze.” Students will freeze in their final movement. Then call out number groups (Even numbers, Odd numbers, 1-5, 5-10, etc.). The numbers you call out will be the Artists. They will select a frozen classmate and draw them in their dancing position. Figure drawings should be quick and capture the shape of the frozen people. Begin again!


  • Hard surface to draw on, like clipboards.
  • Sketch paper
  • Charcoal, chalk, or pencils
  • Music

Possible Extension

Document the movement and art experience with photos or videos and put them to music using imovie or a slideshow platform.

How do you incorporate action art lessons, movement, music, and visual art?

About the Author

Lauren Hodson is a middle school visual and computer art educator in Plymouth, Massachusetts. As a mentor teacher and professional development presenter, Lauren is passionate about creativity and making art accessible for everyone. Her passions in STEAM and Arts Integration are at the root of her goal to collaborate with classroom teachers everywhere.