Your Child at the Museum

 

Exposing children to art at an early age helps them to do better in school because art improves problem solving abilities and children learn to connect to the ideas and feelings expressed by other artists and become more alert to new experiences.

Their own artwork shows their experiences and through observing art they can apply priceless experiences to other areas of their lives as well.    

Museums can help stimulate our critical thinking by making us describe the objects we see while we make our own deductions and by helping us to recognize similar and different objects.     

There are different museums such as art museum
and galleries, history museums, science and technology, children museums and other educational places. Since most museums have a free day once a month when you can visit, going to the Museum on a monthly basis is a great idea.

Go on a day that you have time so you will not rush through the exhibit and perhaps only see part of it, depending on your children’s interest.      

Don’t go with the idea of seeing it all to get your money’s worth, this may turn your kids off to museums completely, so instead just follow your kids lead and take your time.        


If you plan ahead of time, the whole experience should be rewarding. Here are some tips:

Getting Ready To Go

1) You must first make the trip interesting for the children. Find out what your children like and see if there are any exhibits related to what they enjoy or something they are currently learning in school. 

2) Tell them the story behind the art in their own level of understanding. Go to the library and get a book or video of what they may see. If they have a web site you may want to view it first.    

3) Go over the rules. For instance, no touching artwork on walls. If you separate from each other, where will you meet. How the Museum Staff can help.

4) Call the museum and double check directions, prices, parking facilities and their free days of admission.

At The Museum 

1) Stop at the information desk:

  • Check out the museum map so you know where the restrooms are and water fountains for thirsty kids. 
  • Get any free pamphlets they may have to take home with you. If possible get two or more of each, as you may want to use one of them for art projects or games later on.     
  • Find out if they have any upcoming events for children. Perhaps join their mailing list. 

2) Play a game with one of the pamphlets or catalogs you picked up by circling a few pieces of artwork and see who spots them first.          

3) Remember to follow your children’s lead and to be open to any of their questions. If you don’t know the answers it’s ok to write them down and look for the answers later. 

4) Ask your children simple questions about what they see. Print the Looking At Art With Your Child article and take it with you. Take turns answering the questions. 

5) Visit the Museum Gift shop and look for mementos of your visit, like postcards, a book or game.  

6) Be patient and watch how much they learn as they discover the world of art. 

7) Remember not to do too much, as little ones can get tired or bored. So take a lunch break or return on another day.        

At Home 

1) You can reinforce their experience by talking about the trip. What they liked and didn’t liked and why. Let them describe their visit to their grandparents, other family members or friends. 

2) Find out the answers to those questions you couldn’t answer through the Internet or library. 

3) Make a game out of the catalogs or pamphlets you got at the museum. You can make the Match-Up game. Cut two pictures that are the same and glue them to poster board. It only matters that the poster board cards you cut are the same size. When you have 8 pairs, turned them face down and see if they can remember where each pair is and the one with the most pairs wins.   

4) You can have them start their own mini-art collection from art catalogs. Usually they will mail them to you for free.  

5) Encourage children to do a piece of artwork too. It can be a plain drawing, a sculpture or a collage, anything they can imagine.        

If you had no time to prepare, and are going on the spur of the moment, it’s all right too. What’s important is that you have fun learning together as a family.

Gladys Jimenez is a mother, artist, and author. She currently lives in Escondido, California, with her dogs and cat. You may contact Glad by email at GladJimenez@yahoo.com or visit .happyscribbles.net


 
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