How to get your kids to love Art Museums! No Really!

4 years ago

You know we have traveled all over the world and one of the biggest challenges for everyone with kids is getting them to be excited and even interested in seeing the amazing things the world has to offer.

Museums centered on art are usually the hardest to get the kids to Love ~ am I right? I mean seriously speaking, sometimes all that art is hard for us adults to take in! When I told my 9-year-old that we were going to Paris on a mother son trip for 2 weeks he was really excited.  We did our normal procedure, where I made a list of great places to see, he did the research, made a plan, and was our tour guide! He of course picked great things, the Eifel tower, Montmartre, Arc De Triumph ... BUT you can bet that the Louvre was not on his list.  Now, we are in Paris, as a mom I thought it was a disservice to him NOT to take him through the Louvre!   BUT how could I get him to enjoy it, learn something, and not

When I first Mentioned the Louvre When I first Mentioned the Louvre

make me feel like I was dragging him through a miserable day of torture that would eventually end in a fight, tears, and misery? First let me clarify, that my son is a normal crazy, never sits still kind of boy who would rather be playing basketball then doing anything else, so this was really a challenge for me ~ I am sure many of you can relate!

Well I thought, and I thought, and I thought about it ~ Then, One day this great idea just popped into my head!  How about we have a scavenger hunt inside the Louvre!  A scavenger hunt you say? Well Yes, a scavenger hunt ~ or at least that is what we called it, you can name it anything you want! We learned about some of the coolest pieces of art in the Museum (read below on how we did that) and then I asked my son to help me find them in the Louvre,  ~ which you know is a HUGE place!  Then I asked him if he would help me to remember the stories about some of the pieces of art we were going to look at!   Being the man of the Trip, helping me was pretty cool, a scavenger hunt was even cooler ~ and guess what every time he found a piece that we were searching for HE explained to me and anyone else standing around that would listen to him.  If he didn’t remember it by heart, he took my iPhone and read about it and summarized for me! He was my official tour guide for the Day! We found almost everything on our list, wandered around for over 5 hours, had a blast, and guess what ~ we actually learned something!

The Mona Lisa The Mona Lisa

First thing I did was download a free app for my iPhone called the Louvre Top 100! The app can be used offline; it has pictures and descriptions of the top 100 things to see in the Louvre.  It also has a map of the museum, and it classifies everything by Painting, Sculpture, and type of art!

Then we sat down for a great lunch, a Croquet Madame the great open-faced ham, cheese and egg sandwich, and had a look at the app together. First we went through the pictures and when we saw a picture that we thought was cool, pretty or interesting we stopped to read about it.  So here is one example, my son likes all the stories of the Gods and Goddesses.  I am sure this comes from our trip to Egypt where we learned all the cool stories of all gods! When he saw the picture Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss ~ we stopped and read about it.  Yes, it has all the stuff about the artist, the period, the critique, ~ but what it also had, was a story.  If I could make these stories come to life , with summaries and cool facts, then I was hoping my son would love the artwork and enjoy himself! Now I am by no means an art expert AT ALL ~ so this little app sure helped me out.

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss, Photo by Stacey Veikalas

Photo From WikiPedia

SO here is what we discovered, in a nutshell ~ Psyche was born the most beautiful girl in all the land. Venus who was the Goddess of Love became jealous of Psyche and sent her son Cupid to shoot an arrow that would make her fall in love with a HORRIBLE UGLY MONSTER! Once Cupid sees Psyche in person, he decides to shoot himself with the arrow, so she will instead fall in love with him! Short version like every good love story they fight, Cupid runs a way and Psyche looks for him.  Venus hoping to punish her for hurting her son, gives her a mission to redeem herself (of course thinking she will fail) She sent her to the underworld, and is instructed to put some of her beauty in a Jar, and share it! This would redeem her, and the only rule is that once her beauty is in the Jar, she can’t look inside.  Well of course everyone is going to look inside, RIGHT, and when she did ~ POOF she was put into internal sleep, never to wake up.   Cupid who is heartbroken and looking for her, eventually finds her sleeping! Cupid leans in to kiss her and the spell is broken! YEAH! They are so happy that he asks Zeus to make her immortal and they run off to get married and live happily ever after!  WOW! What a cool story right? So what is the statue? It is of the kiss that broke the spell!

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss, Photo by Stacey Veikalas

So this Statue became part of our scavenger hunt, and he was super excited when we walked into the Gallery of Sculptures and there it was! He actually ran to the statue, reminding me of the love story, and who these two people were!  He not only could recant the whole story, but he then walked around the statue and actually looked at it, noticing Cupid’s bag of arrows. Then, he saw the Jar, where she put her beauty, and pointed it out to me! “Look mom there is the Jar of her beauty!”

Having Fun in the Louvre Having Fun in the Louvre

We did this with many of the sculptures and paintings in the Louvre, and we had so much fun! Not only looking for them, but learning the stories behind them! Now does he remember who the artist is, no probably not. He doesn’t know when it was made, what the period is, or what the critics say.  Would an art snob be appalled at our fun way to remember art? Yes, most likely! 

But, he will always remember seeing the Louvre.  He will always remember that trip.  He will always remember that statue, and better yet ~ he will always remember that story.  In my opinion, this is what art and travel are really all about THE STORY! Hope you all are creating your own stories! Until next time ~ Thanks for following our Wonderful Baskets Life! 

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