From Making Art to Appreciating Art

September 27, 2011

Preschoolers love to create art. They like idea, the process, the mess and the final product. If you have a little Picasso at home who just can't get enough of drawing, painting and creating, take his art to a new level by introducing him to an art museum. This is the perfect age to expose children to art and to start instilling an appreciation for different kinds of art. Use these Savvy tips to make the most of your visit to a local art museum or gallery:

Do your homework:  Look online for details about the size of the museum, any children's programs they may offer and any interesting facts about artists or specific pieces that might peak your little one's curiosity. Decide ahead of time if there are certain rooms or particular pieces of art you want to see with your child and head to those spots in the gallery first.  If you want to see a little of everything without wearing out your new museum-goer, try making a scavenger list for him to check off certain works you see (just print out pics of each item and make a space for a check mark next to it).  He will surely stay focused and exclaim with excitement each time he identifies an item on the list.

Take it at the pace of a little one:  Make sure your first day at the art museum is a day for your child to become comfortable with the quiet, the space and the works without pressure.  Let him wander and let him sit. Let him be the leader and you will be fascinated by what pieces intrigue him.  Keep a pad and pencil at the ready so when he finds these special pieces he can sketch his own rendition or something different they inspire in him.

Talk about shapes, angles, colors and textures:  Your little artist may not be able to engage in a conversation about Impressionism or Cubism, but he can recognize shapes, textures and colors.  Ask him what he finds interesting about a piece or what shapes and colors he likes best.  Help him compare and contrast the various works he encounters.

Exit through the gift shop:  Stop by the gift shop to reward the completed scavenger hunt or to find a special trinket that reminds your little artist about his favorite part of the museum visit. 

If your day at the museum is a huge success, look up your local gallery night or art walk. Your little art critic will certainly have opinions and impressions to share.   


From the Parents

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