Visiting an art museum with kids doesn’t have to be a chore; here are 9 simple tips to make the visit an interactive and interesting session for everyone.
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas
We have all heard so much about the benefits of art for kids and how it helps them in all areas of life. We sincerely want our kids to get in touch with their creative selves and learn about other artists and their work. We imagine the day our child will pronounce ‘Delaunay‘ without effort, or the day she’ll identify a Warhol painting at first glance. We will then smile all over our faces, proud that we’ve raised an art lover!
However, while most kids are naturally creative, getting them to learn and appreciate art as we know it may not be as easy as you think. Learning to appreciate art is a slow, gradual process – one which is also very individualistic in nature. The key is to let kids discover art at their own pace, and your role is to just show them the way; not walk them through it.
One of the best ways to do this is by visiting an art museum with kids. This can be tricky, since being forced to spend a day staring at Kandinsky’s circles may just put your kid off art forever! Yet, with a little forethought and planning (and lots of patience), you can ensure that your kids have an enjoyable learning experience at an art museum. Here are some of the best Artsy Craftsy Mom tested tips for Visiting an art museum with kids without boring them to tears!
9 Tips For A Successful Trip To An Art Museum With Kids
Picture Credit – Juhi Khanna
Visiting an art museum with kids Tip #1 – Do Your Homework
Picture Credit – National Gallery of Modern Art – Wikipedia
Visiting an art museum with kids Tip #2 – Check out a Book or Two
It’s a great idea to check out a couple of art books with lots of pictures before you go to see the real thing. Have a casual see-through with your kids, without dwelling too much on details. The idea here is to see the kind of art that appeals to your child – it may be animals, landscapes or sculptures. Use this opportunity to share some trivia too – but keep some for the visit as well!
Visiting an art museum with kids Tip #3 – Prepare Well
No trip with kids can be expected to turn out well without adequate preparation – even if it’s to an art museum! Make sure to pack enough of everything you need – snacks (if allowed), water, camera (again, if allowed) and a notepad and sketch pens for older kids.
Be sure to wear weather appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes. Most importantly ensure you have protected your kids from mosquitoes, remember to apply personal mosquito repellent before they step out.
I use Good Knight Fabric Roll-On, it is a new personal mosquito repellent. This 100% natural product is made of pure citronella and eucalyptus oil and is applied on clothes, not skin. By just applying 4 coin-sized dots on your clothes, you can stay protected for up to 8 hours outdoors.
Visiting an art museum with kids Tip #4 – Do the Tour at Your Own Pace
Picture Credit – Arthi Anand
Many museums have guided tours, but unless it’s targeted specifically for kids, it’s best to skip them. 30 – 60 minutes is a good guideline for how long kids can tolerate in an art museum. Younger kids will probably tire in 20 minutes and pre teens or teenagers may be enamored enough to stay longer. Definitely, avoid seeing the entire museum in one go – focus on the time spent at each exhibit instead.
Visiting an art museum with kids Tip #5 – Make it Fun
Picture Credit – Arthi Anand
Most art is old and that makes it hard for kids to relate to. Find something in history that your kids are interested in and place art in the same context. Talk about the way of life in the era the art was created. Act out the painting, pose like the characters, Talk about the artwork- what the person depicted must be thinking or doing.
Visiting an art museum with kids Tip #6 – Appreciate and Interpret the Art
Once your child lands at a work of art that has caught her attention, stop there. Give her some time to absorb the art quietly on her own and then engage her in conversation with some questions. What was her first impression? What is happening in the painting or sculpture? If they had made it, what would they call it? Open ended questions like these encourage kids to think about art in a different way and you’ll get some valuable insights too! Our Art Appreciation Worksheets are perfect to print & carry along.
Visiting an art museum with kids Tip #7 – Read more about the Artist
Try to learn more about the Artist and the period of Art you are observing. Let the kids pick out the similarities between his or her different works. This will introduce them to the concept of different styles of art. For older kids, let them try to find similarities and differences between artists of the same style, like how Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso were both fans of cubism.
Visiting an art museum with kids Tip #8 – Take enough Breaks
You know how they give you coffee beans to smell after you’ve tried out a few perfumes at the makeup counter? Well, your kids need a coffee break too! Walking through an art museum isn’t just physically tiring, it’s also a bit of a sensory overload. Let your kids hit the play area, go get some snacks or visit the gift shop. It’ll help their brains refresh for another round of art-watching.
Visiting an art museum with kids Tip #9 – Know when to Quit
Picture Credit – Rahul Chandana
We all know that any trip with kids can go downhill pretty fast! If you begin to sense that the kids are getting fidgety or upset, end the trip and go home. It can seem tempting to make the most of your entrance fee, but remember that you’re trying to build a lifelong appreciation of art.
They may not become museum enthusiasts after a single visit, but I hope these tips will help you encourage your kids to appreciate and gain a better understanding of the art in front of them. Remember, when you turn visiting an art museum with kids into an interactive event that is led more by their interests, you’re setting the stage for an honest appreciation of art that’ll last their entire lives.
What do you think? Got more tips? Which Art Museums have you visited with your family? Don’t forget to leave a comment below.