Visiting a museum with kids of all ages

It's never too early to make a habit of enjoying art with your children! 

Here is our quick guide to visiting museums or art spaces with children of all ages. 


Before you go:

Check the museum site for children policies and stroller rules. Unfortunately not all museums are kid friendly. Find out what the museum offers for families and children. Many museums have child oriented tours, classes and activities scheduled throughout the day. Museums often have kids activity pack or games to play while looking around in the galleries.
Grab a notebook and a pencil (but not pen or markers). Most museums allow sketching in the galleries.
Grab a snack with you. You don’t want hunger to get in the way.


Art with Babies

While looking at art, talk to your little one about what you see, what you are thinking.  Even if they can’t “enjoy” the art, they will enjoy hearing your voice and the bonding time together.


Toddlers Love Art!

Instead of looking at a lot of artworks, focus on just a few in each visit. Search for shapes, colors, and recognizable images as you walk through the galleries.  Remember to talk about what you see and listen to your child’s observations. There really are no wrong answers.  Count objects you see together. Compare and contrast sizes of artworks, find the smallest and biggest one. Think of funny titles together for your favorite works. Play I spy!


Use your imagination with Preschoolers

Remember to focus on a few works of art as opposed to trying to see the entire museum. Use the five senses to help your budding art enthusiast think about artworks. Think about the sounds, smells and tastes an art work might have. Foster academic skills by counting objects, comparing and contrasting works, or looking for things that start with a particular sound. Look at works from different angles, look for symmetry. Look for patterns and make up your own. Use your imagination! Make up stories about the art works together. Think what would happen if the artwork moved.  Come up with silly titles. Act out scenes! Pose like a sculpture! Sketch an artwork! Discuss the process of making a particular work and think about the materials.


Inspire Inquiry with Elementary Schools Children

While focusing on select artworks, ask lots of open-ended questions!  Use your imagination to think  deeply about the works. What might it feel like if you could touch it? What sounds could you imagine hearing from the art? Discuss the materials and process and the challenges the artist might have had in making the artwork. Sketch!  Write a    short poem about the artwork together. Find a common theme among a few pieces, or contrast emotions expressed in various works. Think about themes- mystery, tranquility, chaos, love, etc. Make up your own titles to art works that emphasize the themes.  Take photos (if allowed). Choose any three works of art and find what connects them


Challenge Teens

Debate. Pick a few artworks and find a connecting theme. Ask challenging open-ended questions. Question their initial reactions and reinforce defending their ideas. Look up an artist’s biography. Play sketch mash up: sketch various parts of a few artworks into one. Look at an artwork for 1 minute, turn around and try to sketch or describe as much as you can remember to each other. Think of a random theme to describe an artwork. Convince each other how the artwork expresses this theme.  


It doesn’t stop at the Museum

On the way home Discuss what you saw, what you liked, disliked, want to learn more about are confused about
Be inspired and make some art at home!