When you think about visiting you local art museum with kids what images does that conjure up for you? Maybe a sweaty anxious mom worried that my kids are too loud, my kids don’t know proper etiquette, my kids might topple a priceless work of art. It’s a panicky world I live in, I know. Use these free printable museum activities for kids to make your visit stress free and fun!
What if I told you planning some fun ahead of time along with a set of realistic expectations could make that gallery trip a success? You’re in, right?
Books about visiting the museum with kids….
As always I rely on books to bring an experience to life! Any of these books would be a playful introduction to visiting the museum with kids. If they’ve never been to a museum or gallery then they don’t know what to expect. I don’t know about your house but if my kids don’t have some idea what is coming it becomes prime time for a meltdown simply because they are overwhelmed.
Knowing what to expect feels good no matter your size. Some of these books are more realistic and informational than others. Pick and choose what works for your family!
More series of books talking about art…
The Come Look with Me Series has over a dozen titles. Each of them focuses on questions to ask about a specific genre of art. While you certainly don’t need all of them they are excellent conversation starters whether you’re in a gallery or not.
I go more into depth about the above titles in this Artist Response printable post. Check it out here.
Let’s talk museum expectations…
Maybe the best thing you can do to make a trip to the museum with kids a success is to lower your expectations. Literally lower the bar. That doesn’t mean you do not expect good behavior; just that it will not be the same as being there with an art loving adult.
They are children. They will not last all day. If the thought of spending your hard earned moolah on admission for just an hour or two kills you; look for alternatives. Seek out free family day or smaller art centers that have no admission charge.
Less expectations tend to reap greater experiences at our house.
We’re going on an art gallery hunt…
For the proper effect this should be sung to the tune of “We’re going on a bear hunt.” Just in case you want to be accurate.
Why an art gallery hunt? Because having a list of things to look for gives kids a reason to slow down and really look at the artwork in front of them.
Some kids will naturally have a connection with the artwork they see and want to discuss it. I think this is the exception rather than the norm, especially if it’s their first visit. A gallery or museum is an easy place to be overwhelmed, adult or child. Sometimes giving them something to look for can add an element of fun and a sense of purpose.
Use this art gallery hunt as you see fit for different ages. Kids can simply check the boxes when they find what they are looking for. Older kids could write the title of the artwork on the line below it. Do what works for you.
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This printable and dozen of others are available in PDF form. (For free, of course!) The thumbnail for this printable can be found under the heading “Art Appreciation Printables!”
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Sketch it out…
I picture using this gallery response printable with kids that are either a little older or a little more accustomed to writing and talking about art. I never put ages ranges on my printables because I don’t want to limit how you can use them!
This printable asks the kids to sketch. This can be done with just a pencil. They don’t need to be armed with a whole supply box. Again, this can be overwhelming. Encourage them just to make marks on their paper, any kind of marks are a start.
I would encourage adding a blank piece of paper or two for them to sketch on freely as well. The more kids get used to drawing what they see in front of them the better they become at really looking!
As a side note, you may want to see what sketching materials are allowed in the museum you’re visiting. Museums have different rules!
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