Are you a NYC family wanting to expose your children to the fascinating world of art around you that they can enjoy? Do you have friends or family members traveling through NYC seeking a truly memorable cultural experience together?
We all know that New York City is known for its culture and the arts. It’s world-class museums and galleries provide an extraordinary opportunity to learn! So how can your child take advantage?
Creating unique professional artist or theme-based visits that are educational AND entertaining is not an easy feat! First, children tire easily. Even getting to the artwork can be intimidating in large museums, especially those like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And how do you know where to begin?
There are ways to demystify not only the museum, but also the art processes, while making them easy to understand and fun to learn! Following a few simple rules can help.
For many museums, just getting to certain galleries can be a hike. First, know where you are going before setting out. You don’t want your child to see it as a chore if you have to cover too much ground. Pick a small section each visit to explore more fully.
Next, select just a few pieces that are in close proximity with each other, which provide ample learning opportunities based on one theme. Locating the artists with something in common helps to bring home specific ideas, without wearing out your child.
Many artists may seem too sophisticated to share with kids. Not so! Breaking down the art processes of artists and making them easy to understand and fun to learn can be exciting! Of course ages and special interests are important to consider for each visit; Explaining color theory to a 4 year old by using the Impressionists may be too much, however, Ellsworth Kelly or Roy Lichtenstein is a great start. Balance and line exploration using Calder’s mobiles, or even metal-working with pieces from David Smith and John Chamberlain, is a pragmatic way to teach.
Kids don’t want a lecture! Since there is no teacher like doing, actually making artwork in front of a piece of art is instrumental for kids! Knowing what materials work best, and which ones are appropriate in a public space, is also not easy. That’s often where experts come in. You may not feel comfortable bringing in recycled materials to discover El Anatsui’s magic, however, you can never go wrong with pencils, colored pencils or wire for your first endeavors as a parent.
Be sure to switch it up: construct, collage or create colors with separate visits. Since a child’s attention span is short, each project needs to be divided into simplified steps, and include more than one simple hands-on project.
Some great first galleries I would suggest are the modern painters at the Met. There are beginning discovery lessons in line, shape and color here like no other! Then those lessons can be applied to more artists, once digested.
Keep it simple and fun. You want your child to be eager to not only go to see art, but excited by the process… and if you become a learner with your child along the way, you’ll see them making connections and coming to their own conclusions you would never have thought of!
Don’t miss out on the amazing educational opportunity to discover art with your child by using your city’s resources. You may also wish to take advantage of an experienced and engaging tour leader to illuminate your experience.
By Claire Munday, Founder of Claire’s Creative Adventures, LLC for kids ages 2-12. Museum and Art Adventures uses NYC’s modern, contemporary and multicultural art resources to go beyond school curricula to “demystify” artists and their processes. Children (and their accompanying adults) are introduced to modern and contemporary artists as well as diverse cultures, based on current exhibits from the myriad of NYC museums and galleries, providing all of the supplies, education and entertainment while actively engaging the children in the fantastic world of art from museum arrival to departure… Click here to book your next tour or class!