June 13, 2010

visiting the art gallery

Welcome to the June Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival, 'Kids and Learning.'

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is "Art" which doesn't just mean doing craft - it includes music, performance art and appreciation as well! Our bloggers have come up with many different thought-provoking takes on this theme. Please read through to the end to find links to the other participating blogs.


Visiting an art gallery (I’m talking here about a public art gallery, not one where they are selling art) with young children can be an exciting and enriching experience.  It can also be a bit scary for parents to think of art gallery meets loud, boisterous children.  Here are my tips to make it a positive experience for you and your children.

Plan Ahead
It will help if you know some things about the gallery beforehand
  • what will you see?  especially, are there any artworks that might particularly interest your children?  Animals or other children are themes that especially interest children.
  • are there any special children’s materials or activities that you can access?  Many galleries have wonderful children’s trails, special collections that children are allowed to touch or even art activities.
  • what is a good time to visit?  ideally, try and visit at a quiet time when there are fewer people, so that your child can see properly, go the wrong way, ask question loudly and so on.
  • and it is always handy to know where to find the toilets and baby change rooms.
Most galleries will have a website where you can find out this sort of information..

One other thing to do before you get to the gallery is explain to your children the special rules about behaviour.  Tell them they need to walk, use a quiet voice when talking and keep their hands in their pockets.

When you visit

Keep your visit short (I would say less than an hour) and follow your child’s lead about what they are interested in and when they are ready to move on.

To make it all more fun and exciting have a treasure hunt.  For example, while you are at the gallery can you find …
something cuddly
something old
something red
a star
something furry
something shiny
something that makes you laugh
an animal
When you find an artwork that your child seems interested in, talk to your child about what you notice about the artwork and why you like (or dislike) the artwork.  Be specific.  Ask your child why they like that artwork.

Read the information panel, artworks often have interesting stories that your child will appreciate.

If you can it is fun to finish with a visit to the gift shop to buy a postcard or reproduction of an artwork your child liked to help remember the visit.  This is the start of their own art collection.

Oh, and if you visit and your child is most interested in the water bubblers, security guards and the lift for wheelchairs, don’t fret, the more you expose them to galleries the more they will notice the art and not the other novelties.

Do you take your child to the art gallery?  Does your child have a favourite artwork?

Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival. Teach/Learn
Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on "Art."

  • CatWay at Adventures With Kids is getting the most out of a trip to the art gallery with ideas of how to prepare children and interest them while they are there.
  • Mamapoekie from Authentic Parenting argues for the importance of art and why we should be encouraging it as our children get older.
  • Miss Carly from Early Childhood Resources talks about how to create an environment that encourages young children to explore art.
  • Sharon at Hear Mum Roar has done a fantastic video post by getting her children to do an activity two different ways and letting you see the very different results.
  • Amanda at HomeAge has been admiring art with her daughter since she was a baby, taking her to several art exhibitions and reading books.
  • Kate from Picklebums talks about why art is important for little people and has a huge list of activities you can try.
  • The Planning Queen from Planning With Kids has tips for visiting the art gallery with kids, including links to different galleries and some ideas for activities afterwards.
  • Colin Wee at Super Parents is thinking about his son's musicality as he learns to play the violin.
  • Deb from Science@home has her children investigating materials while making sculptures and bravely let the 2 year old use a hot glue gun.
  • Lisa at SMMART Ideas has a sidewalk chalk festival in her own driveway!
  • Leechbabe from Stuff with Thing started out looking at patterns in nature, but the activity changed because she followed her children's lead.
  • Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey has used an indoor activity, giving her children magazines to cut out and create collages.
Thanks for visiting, we hope you enjoy some of the posts in our carnival.


amandab said...

Oh, the gallery gift shop!

We have two Salvador Dali jigsaw puzzles, which are definitely NOT for kids as they are not easy to do, but Princess loves them.

I've probably seen more exhibitions with Princess than I ever did when I was a child, and I agree that it is an important thing to do, even if it is just for the brief period time that the experience currently allows.

PlanningQueen said...

The elevator is probably the highlight for my youngest one! Great tip on talking to the kids before about how they need to behave in an art gallery.

Marita said...

I like the treasure hunt idea, think my girls would really get into that. Thank you :)

Hear Mum Roar said...

You've got some sensible but also really fun ideas in here! Well done!

Miss Carly said...

I love the idea of taking children to art museums! I'm a huge fan of excursions. These are excellent tips!

Your Cheeky Monkey said...

Love, love, love all these tips. Especially the bit about what to plan ahead, thank you so much :)

The Original SuperParent said...

The last time we took the children to a small art experimental gallery in the city, we had their grandparents with us who kindly provided lots of entertainment - slapstick humour and inappropriate comments. It was quite funny.

Deb said...

I love the idea of having specific things to look for. We took the girls to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, the big girl recognises her now when she sees her on prints and things. The funny bit was that none of us had realised there were murals on the ceilings in one section until the big girl spotted them.