Children's Games

Children's Games

Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Companion Card


Pieter Bruegel the Elder, painted Children's Games, in 1560. This painting is a depiction of children playing different types of games in medieval times. There are no adults pictured in this scene, just some 200 children. This very large painting is 118 x 161cm. The idea behind this painting is said that Bruegel wanted to create a series depicting the ages of man. This painting, would have represented youth. However, more likely, is that Bruegel painted a picture that represents the seriousness with which these children are absorbed in their games, much the same way adults are absorbed in their everyday lives.

Writing Prompts

Why do you think the artist chose to only paint children, and not include any adults in this picture?

What types of games do you like to play outside with your friends?

If you could play all day long, anything you could, what would it be? What would you do?

Lesson Idea

Content Objective: Students will create a drawing that depicts themselves "at play."

Language Objective: Students will participate in a dialogue with their classmates about the painting, Children At Play, by Pieter Bruegel.

Key Vocabulary: Medieval

TEKS: 4.1(a) - The student develops and organizes ideas from the environment. The student is expected to:

(a) communicate ideas about self, family, school, and community, using sensory knowledge and life experiences; and

(b) chose appropriate vocabulary to discuss the use of art elements such as color, texture, form, line, space, and value, and art principals such as emphasis, pattern, rhythm, balance, proportion, and unity.

National Standard: 3. Content Standard: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas.

Achievement Standard: Students

a. explore and understand prospective content for works of art

b. select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning

Procedure: Start by having students brainstorm as a group about what sorts of games they would like to depict themselves playing. Students need to think about if they are going to draw just themselves, or if they are going to include any friends or family. Students also need to think about what sort of environment they are going to draw themselves in. If they are playing a board game, or a video game, they wouldn't necessarily be outside.

Give students a piece of white drawing paper, the size is up to you. Think about your students and decide if they would work better on a large or small scale. Have students begin their drawing with pencil so that they can erase mistakes if they need to. Have students draw out their ideas on their paper. They can color or paint their drawing with the material of their choice.

At the end of the project, have students discuss what they drew. Have some students share their ideas, and as a class, talk through their projects.


Bruegel, Pieter. Children's Games. 1560. Wikimedia Commons. 2 July 2008. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. <

Orrock, A. (2012). Homo ludens: Pieter bruegel's children's games and the humanist educators. Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art, 4(2), 1-20.