Posted Sep 01, 2018
Mention the words “Art Museum” to kids and get ready for the eye-rolling to begin. Take a deep breath and realize all hope is not lost of introducing your kids to a little culture. Check out our top tips for getting kids to actually enjoy art and turning visiting art museums into a fun experience for the whole family.
1. Take a Museum-Based Class.
Many art museums have art-based classes designed just for kids. This is a great way to participate in a program designed just for little ones without fear that your child will disturb the adults in the museum or be bored. In a typical museum-based class, kids listen to a story about an artist or related to a work of art, talk about a work of art in age-appropriate terms like identifying colors or identifying the expression on a sculpture’s face, and then complete an art project themselves.
2. Look for Interactive Art.
Kids love art that isn’t just hanging stoically on a wall but that is fun and accessible. Keep an eye out for exhibits like the very popular Infinity Mirrors by Yayoi Kusama or The Art of Burning Man. These exhibits tend to be shown at modern art museums and are well worth the visit. Be sure to plan a visit when you see an interactive visit planned as many are temporary or traveling exhibits, although a few museums around the country do specialize in interactive exhibits.
3. Look for Exhibits Kids are Likely to Enjoy.
Even if the Mona Lisa showed up in your city, it’s unlikely your kids would be impressed. For an experience the whole family will enjoy, look instead for art exhibits and museums likely to appeal to kids. Think creatively. If your kids love boats, traditional landscapes may be a perfect fit. Many kids enjoy modern or off-beat art. Do some research and you just may find a museum or exhibit that offers the perfect opportunity to expose your little (or big) kid to art.
4. Look for Museums with Kid-friendly Activities.
Many art museums host regular or occasional events for families that help get kids interested in the art around them. Some museums have self-guided scavenger hunts where kids are guided through the museums in search of specific works of art in a way that feels like a game, challenging kids to find specific paintings or portraits with clues like “this painting has a yellow car and a blue house” or “find a portrait of a man in a white collar who looks sad.” Don’t worry – parents are given cheat sheets to help easily locate the work of art. Many museums also host Family Days that can feature anything from art projects to music and other live performances.
5. Take it Outdoors.
Most kids would rather spend time outside rather than inside a museum. For kids that won’t stay still to look at art, bring them to their happy place and look for an outdoor sculpture garden. Kids usually love both the larger-than-life statues and the ability to roam around while getting their dose of culture.
Jamie Davis Smith is a Mom of four from toddler to tween living in Washington, DC. She is a writer and photographer who loves exploring all that the area has to offer families. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and many other blogs. She can be reached at [email protected].
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