Five tips for introducing kids to art

Five tips for introducing kids to art

Yesterday we went to the Lake County Discovery Museum and learned interesting facts about local history. There was also an exhibit at the museum called Modern Masters which included many works from artists such as Picasso, Dali and Chagall.

When we left the museum the kids each took turns talking about their favorite parts. They both named a theater made to look like a roller coaster, the dinosaur exhibit and exploring the outdoors. No mention of the art gallery.

Fast forward to this afternoon.  Lilia was hard at work on something in our living room and she kept telling me not to look. Finally she excitedly came running in and asked me to follow her.

As soon as I walked into our living room I noticed a new drawing propped up against our planter with puff balls in front of it. Crepe paper cordoned off the area.

There was a sign that said, Artist, Lilia and there was Lilia, holding a pair of scissors. "Welcome to the art opening of the artist, Lilia!" (I had to run and get my camera for this one.) Then, she cut the "ribbon."


She explained that her drawing was half girl and half boy. I thought she wrote the letters "U" and "L" but turns out those are separate noses. "I made it because I was thinking about that artist Avocasso." Yes, only our child would have a love of avocados so great, that she would combine Picasso and Avocado.


It's a cliche that kids are sponges, but sometimes I naively forget that they take in so much in those brains of theirs. I didn't quite realize how our trip to the museum had such a strong influence.

Kids are inherently curious and they are naturally drawn to art. It doesn't take much time or effort to encourage this innate creativity that seems to come so easily to them.

Here are some tips on introducing your kids to art:

1. Head to an art museum. The Art Institute of Chicago offers family programs including stroller tours, stories, games and hands on art activities. The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago also runs summer studios for families as well as stroller tours. Looking for an art museum in your town? Click here to access Artcyclopedia's complete list of art museums in the United States.

2. Visit a museum collection online. The National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and The Museum of Fine Arts Boston all have phenomenal online interactive art collections.

3. Ask questions. Ask kids to find a painting with people, with elements of nature, bright colors, etc. Ask open ended questions about what they think about the artwork, what they think inspired the artist or how the artwork makes them feel. You can also try the "I see" game as in, "I see a yellow moon. What do you see?"

4. Look for art all around. Teach children that art is not just found in a museum. Art can be found in many places including sculptures, buildings or children's books.

5. Create art at home. Allow children to express themselves through everything from finger paints for young children to sketchbooks and photography for older kids. The possibilities of creating art at home are limitless. Besides store bought art materials, children can use leaves, paper towel rolls, dried pasta, flower petals and much more.

By following these five tips, you could open a whole new world for your kids by encouraging them to appreciate art and become artists themselves.

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Filed under: artwork, kids

Tags: kids, museums

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