The fear is real. Priceless works of art. Hushed reverent tones drape the pristine halls. Add a bunch of curious, loud, sticky handed children who are still learning you don’t need to feel to see and you have an art museum field trip.
However, exposing children to art early on is a privilege I just cannot pass up!
So how do we navigate the art museum with little ones so that they have a positive meaningful experience and no one gets arrested?
- Do your research before you go! Print out pictures of some of the works of art that are housed in the museum. Then the kids can find art scavenger hunt style as you walk through the museum. Stop in the museum gift shop for postcards or art cards, if you don’t have time to print beforehand.
- Visit the front desk. Curators love to share exhibits that are especially kid friendly. At our most recent visit they gave the kids a list of exhibits that were gently touchable my kids absolutely loved finding those exhibits!
- Mini focus. Pull out a style, a movement, a time period, a technique etc) and give the kids a little extra information about it. We talked about and observed a variety of still life paintings at our most recent trip. Everything from Renaissance still life paintings to a Picasso still life. Everyone had a ton of fun observing, comparing and contrasting the vastly different looks of the paintings while observing that the subject matter was similar.
- Describe the art in three words. This is one of my absolute favorite things to do. We don’t do every painting but when the kids are getting unfocused it is a great way to bring them back to what we are doing. Plus it is an amazing way to practice using words concisely. If you only have three words you don’t use very.
- Set a realistic time frame. Younger elementary children won’t last as long as older children will. It isn’t realistic. Plan snacks. Be mindful about the amount of energy that it takes to sustain attention that long. Rate the exhibits you want to see and start with the most important first. Don’t be afraid to come back later!
- Mini curators portfolio. This is something we work on when we get home often in the next day or two. I am actually going to write a separate post about how to build one of these so stay tuned!
So go forth and enjoy the art! You will all be better for the time you spend there! And share this post with a friend!