Do you wanna grab your kid’s attention when introducing the idea of talking and writing about a famous artist? Then Vincent Van Gogh for kids is a perfect place to start!
A quick look at his life and you can see this Dutch Post Impressionist was anything but boring. Tragic and unfortunate, yes. But also fascinating and relatable in that he was not celebrated in his day at all!
The artist as a person…
Most of us are not lucky enough to have access to original work by Van Gogh. Check out these virtual gallery tours to bring amazing collections of art into your home!
However, his work is some of the most recognized by kids and grown ups alike. His swirling brushstrokes almost tell us who painted the picture.
My hope in discussing an artist with kids is to go beyond dissecting their artwork and to view them as a person. I think it’s hard for kids to view a “dead, famous guy” as a real person with a life that influenced and drove their artwork.
Books about Vincent Van Gogh for kids…
Children’s literature is always my first choice when learning or teaching something new. When talking about Van Gogh kid’s books are even more perfect. Children’s book on this artist abound. I mean, there are literally dozens of books on this guy.
His life was tragic. He lived a life of mental illness, poverty, and criticism. These sensitive subjects are presented in a child friendly way through these books.
When we hear his life presented as a story it becomes less abstract. People become real through books. Connections are made and that is where real learning takes place.
Check out this post for an extensive list of books about other artists! Books are such an easy way to learn SO much!
Do you need all of these books about Van Gogh for kids? Nope. Pick one, or two, or three. Read them with your kids and see what questions they have and what piques their interest. I am always amazed at how much I learn from reading children’s books with my kids!
The reading and the talking….
So you read some books, now what?
Talk to your kids about what you read. Seems like a no brainer, right? It can be easy to shut the book and go about your day. I find that the best conversations come up later, after my kids have had a chance to digest what we read about.
Van Gogh lived a pretty sad life. Kids are sure to be empathetic to his loneliness and sadness.
Van Gogh was not famous during his lifetime. He only sold one painting while he was alive. I think there’s some kernel of a lesson about perseverance in there.
And the writing…
This printable artist study is designed to be used after the “reading and the talking.” It really does not require a large amount of factual information. This is purposeful.
While lots of art history is fact based I want to focus on the people, the feelings, and your kid’s responses to those things. Writing about art can be intimidating. This printable is meant to get your kiddo used to putting their opinion out there in the universe and being comfortable using art vocabulary.
I think those are the things that stick anyways.
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Just for fun…
I threw this little word search puzzle in my Resource Library too, just for fun! After you subscribe you can grab this word search right beside the other Van Gogh for kids artist response printable!
Where to look for art….
Whether you’re a mom or a teacher (or both, like me) scrambling to throw together resources to teach with can be time consuming and daunting. Beyond children’s books here are a couple of sources I use to teach about any artist!
Local art centers and museums often have prints and other materials available for educators to borrow. Our local art center has “portfolios” of artists work that can be checked out by educators…for free! It’s worth a couple of phone calls to see what’s out there!
The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. provides digital access to a large body of “open access” work. This means there is a large body of work that is no longer under copyright and is available free of charge for download and use. The NGA can be a huge resource for educators looking for ways to expose their kiddos to great work!
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