headerkids at computer

NGAkids Art Zone interactives require the Shockwave player. Without it, activities will appear blank. There are other parts of our web site that use Flash, QuickTime, and Acrobat (PDF). If you're using a recent browser you're probably familiar with these popular plug-ins. Let's see if you're ready to use them. If you have the necessary software, you'll see animated QuickTime, Shockwave, and Flash displays in the box below. If not, you will see broken icons, which means you need to download and install the plug-ins. After downloading Shockwave, follow the installation directions. Once the program is installed, relaunch your browser and come back to NGAkids. 

If you have an older version of the Shockwave player installed already, you may be prompted to "'update." For best results, do not use the auto update option. Click the "Different operating system or browser?" link on the Shockwave page, select your operating system (Mac or Windows), and then download the "FULL" installer (not the "SLIM" version). Use the uninstaller to delete the earlier version, then use the new installer you downloaded to replace it. Occasionally it will take several attempts to fully install the plugin.

For Windows-based PCs, we recommend Internet Explorer, Firefox, or the most recent version of Chrome with the latest Shockwave player. If you experience any display difficulties, please update your Shockwave to the most recent version using the FULL installer as described above. Here is a direct link to the full version. Shockwave Player runs best in 32-bit browsers.  This link explains how to install Shockwave if you have a 64-bit system. 

For the Macintosh, we recommend Safari 5 running in 32-bit mode. Recent versions of Firefox and Chrome will run the NGAkids Shockwave programs that do not require drawing or painting actions. The online programs that manipulate pre-cut shapes (such as Sea-Saws, Dutch House, Collage Machine, etc.) should work well on your Mac. The interactives that include painting or drawing actions (e.g. PaintBox, Brushster, Wallovers, etc) will load, but you will not be able to see what you draw. Please use the downloadable version for  Mac OS. If you have an older Mac, Firefox 3.6 still works well.


In order to provide full compatibility for Mac users who cannot access some of the online interactives, we are offering downloadable desktop apps for Mac OS X. These offline programs (offered as compressed .zip for faster download) are fully compatible with recent versions of Mac OS, and they provide additional functionality and opportunities for customization.
The freestanding applications do not require the Shockwave plug-in or live internet access.

Windows users: If you run into plug-in problems we are happy to help you troubleshoot. Please tell us what version of Windows you are using, what browser and version you  haave installed, and be sure your Shockwave plug-in is up-to-date. Our CDs are PC and Mac compatible. If you need a downloadable copy for your Windows PC, please use the contact form on the main page of NGAkids to send us a request. 


We published a set of eight NGAkids imteractive CDs for MacOS and Windows. If you are experiencing playback problems with our web programs, if your network access is slow, or if you wish to limit your children's access to the internet, you can register and request the free discs from LEARNING RESOURCES. The freestanding applications do not require the Shockwave plug-in or internet access.They are identical to the downloadable options.  Some teachers prefer installing programs individually so the single interactive can be used with a specific lesson plan, but if you want all of them, order the NGAkids Art Zone CD, which combines eight activities under a unified menu to make installation and navigation between programs easier. 

NGAkids CDs

To switch your Mac browser to run in 32-bit mode:

  1)  Quit Safari if it is open. 2) Right Click (or command click) on Safari  3) click on 'Show in Finder' in the Menu that appears.  4) in the Applications menu that opens, view the applications as a list, then right click  (or command  click)  'Safari'  5) Select 'Get Info'.  6) On the window that appears make sure that you check box the box that has 'Open in 32 bit mode'.  It looks like this:


After you have checked "Open in 32-bit mode," close the info window and launch Safari. Your browser will now be running in 32-bit mode. Art Zone programs work with Safari running in 64-bit mode, but the program offers a more intuitive screen drawing experience in 32-bit mode.

We have been working with Adobe  to identify a solution for this new incompatibility, but the prospects for Shockwave compatibility do not seem promising for Lion or Mountain Lion OS.


We have updated the printer drivers on our program so Windows and Macintosh users can print the art created with NGAkids interactives. You also can save a screenshot and then print the saved file. Here's how.  If you have trouble printing the online version, use the CD or downloadable application.


Shockwave 12+ addresses most compatibility issues, but some Mac users'  screens turn blank after the Shockwave module has loaded and occasionally they do not display at full scale. 

corner of browser - drag diagonallyAn easy way to fix this problem is to simply resize the browser window by dragging or slightly repositioning the lower right corner. After you resize the window, the interactive should reappear and be fully functional. If not, please "refresh" the page. We hope Firefox's developers will address this "onmousedown" bug in the next browser update. Until then, the best way to avoid the problem is to use Safari on the Mac.


Adobe has additional tech support information that may be useful if you are getting other "shockwave errors" or if you're having trouble updating the plug-in.  Please read their SHOCKWAVE HELP page. You may need to adjust download permissions or security settings on your computer before installing the player. If you do not have administrative access to install plug-ins, your Windows-based browser may send an error message. In most cases, the program will work correctly, even though an error message was generated at Shockwave's launch. Press "continue" and give it a few seconds to see if the program loads normally after the error message is dismissed.

Here's a link explaining how to install Shockwave if you have a 64-bit Windows system.


Use the following links to download Shockwave Player, QuickTime, Flash, and Acrobat.

get shockwave Get Flash Get Acrobat

Get QuickTime


dollhouse screenshot



Click the print button at the top right of the interactive to send the picture to the printer. print button
Do not use the browser's print menu -- if you do the print out will be blank.

To save a version of your art on your computer, you also can take a screen shot. Here's how:

Macintosh users:

To save part of the screen image, hold down the APPLE KEY (COMMAND) + SHIFT KEY + 4 with one hand (HINT: use your thumb + pinkie + index/pointer finger at the same time). CLICK and HOLD DOWN the mouse button with your other hand, then DRAG/SELECT the area you wish to save or print. When you release the mouse button, the picture will be saved.

To save the entire desktop, hold down the APPLE KEY (COMMAND) + SHIFT KEY + 3 and a screen shot of your entire desktop will be saved automatically. In OS X a PDF file named "Picture #" will appear on your Desktop.  On an old OS 9 computer, a PICT file (named "Picture #") will be saved on your hard drive, instead.

PC/Windows users: click the PRINT SCREEN key (it's usually located near the F12 key), then open any word processor or graphics program and create a new document. Use the PASTE menu command to insert the "remembered" screenshot into your new document. NAME and SAVE the new file, then PRINT it.

If you have a picture editing program on your computer, you can CROP the screenshot, RESIZE it, or make other adjustments before printing.  If you don't have graphics software, just print out the full screen shot and then cut out the part of the screen shot you'd like to save.

Remember, use the print button at the top right corner of the interactive. If you try to print directly from the Web browser's FILE/PRINT menu, the interactive portion will print blank.

If links don't seem to be working, or if you keep getting redirected to the top of a page you're already viewing, that simply means that your browser is not reading javascript pop-up window links properly. Check your preferences to make sure javascript is enabled and that pop-ups are not being blocked.  



Copyright © 2013 National Gallery of Art