If you child has a passion for the arts, why not take him or her to a real art gallery and provide some inspiration from the masters? In cities all across the United States, art museums offer terrific programs for kids. But these three stand out from the rest, and it isn’t hard to see why.
The Art Institute of Chicago
At the Art Institute of Chicago (ARTIC), admission for children under 14 is always free, so any day is a good day to bring your child to see some real works of art—from the impressionist masterpieces of Claude Monet to Edward Hopper’s American classic Nighthawk—while leading him or her on an audio guide designed specifically for families. Of course, if acting as your own tour guide seems a little overwhelming, don’t fret! Look for their Mini Masters classes, open to children between the ages of three and five; enjoy an hour of reading with your child and looking at the art in the galleries, and finish it all off with a hands-on art project. And if your child is a little bit older, consider enrolling him or her in one of the Institute’s many art workshops or their well-regarded summer art camp. There are so many ways for kids to learn about the arts at ARTIC; from the touch gallery to the picture book gallery and beyond, the museum is just waiting to be explored.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA) offers more family programs than just about any other art museum around. With a non-circulating library of 450 picture books and an eatery featuring special kids’ meals, it’s clear the museum places a value on children’s art education. Classes are just one example of the way kids can get involved in learning about the arts; offering introductions to various styles of art—from still lifes to surrealism—kids of all ages get the chance to discover and sketch the masterpieces. The museum also offers guided tours designed for specific age groups, as well as kid-friendly self-guided audio tours. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, try out Storytime in Nolen Library. Open to children from 18 months to 7 years, your little one will listen to a story in the kids’ corner and then take off on a self-guided treasure hunt through the galleries. What could be more fun than turning learning into a game!
Dallas Museum of Art
Geared toward families with busy schedules, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is open for late-night family activities, including performances in the galleries, film screenings, and bedtime stories read by professional storytellers. But if it’s not time to put the kids to bed just yet, get them moving! Your child will love the DMA program called Passports Around the World; after receiving a little blue passport and a list of objects to find, the DMA sends your child on a hunt through the museum to earn stamps from the countries of origin of each work of art. On top of that, the museum offers free weekend art activities, workshops for children of all ages, programs for kids with special needs, and an exciting summer art camp for kids between the ages of 4 and 12. What more could you ask for?