Visiting Art Museums with your Children

Visiting the Art Museum with ChildrenMake your next visit to an art museum with your children a success. Get a copy of a handy resource by Francoise Barbe-Gall called “How to Talk to Children About Art.” Teachers and parents will love this book because it includes age appropriate questions about 30 paintings. The book will help you to confidently answer common questions about art. It is available at Amazon, along with two related books by the same author. We recommend these books for classroom Docents as well as parents who will take their children to art museums. Here are some tips from the book.
5-7 year olds are attracted to warm, bright colors and strongly contrasting shapes and colors. They like textures, pictures of people and familiar places, as well as pictures of movement and familiar poses. They fall for simple compositions and minute details. Remember that sometimes books are better than museums for this age group, as they get tired and have short attention spans. If a child seems to prefer a particular work or type of work, so see the real thing if you can.
8-10 year olds like pictures with a story behind them — a story of either the artist or the subject of the work of art. They like heroes, scary pictures, and ones that make you laugh. Show them paintings full of color and/or contrast as well as ones that depict daily life in different eras. Stand in front of a painting long enough to feel part of it. Also, this age group has curiosity about materials and technique.
11-13 year olds are interested in the artist’s personality and the main points of the artist’s life. They like to talk about the illusion of depth created by the use of perspective. Feelings, symbols and technique used by the artist are all appropriate topics of discussion.

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