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Get the most out of the museum

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

taking your kids to art museums

If you want to introduce your child to art but you’re not sure how to proceed, start here.
Introducing kids to the art world
Girl in art museum

Discover ways to get the most out of your museum ticket and how you can continue to foster a love of art at home.

Children’s museums are great for very small children. As your kids mature, don’t be afraid to branch out to museums that aren’t structured specifically for kids. Try these easy tips for taking your children to museums and getting the most out of the experience.

Do your homework before you visit

To make the most of the time and cost of admission, prepare before your visit to the museum. Find out if the museum offers deals or has upcoming special events. Read about the various wings and exhibits, keeping your child’s interests in mind. Research the history and meaning behind a few key pieces so that you can talk to your child about them when you visit. Many museum websites have additional educational materials online. The more you learn, the more you and your family will get out of the visit.

Take advantage of programming for kids

Even fine arts museums have programming for kids, especially if the facility is frequented by school kids on field trips. Call or email the museum to find out what kinds of events and programming are available to kids. Some museums offer tours specifically for children, with age-appropriate educational materials. If you’re doing your own “tour” with the research you’ve done independently, make sure you build in unstructured time for wandering and winding down. Focus on a variety of types of art or types of exhibits to help keep kids occupied.

Read about the importance of art in schools >>

Play to your child’s strengths and weaknesses

Think about your child’s interests as you plan a museum day. Is she interested in performing arts, science or history? Look beyond traditional fine arts museums. Unique attractions like the Circus Museums at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida aren’t specifically for kids, but the content captures young imaginations. Keep your child’s mood and attention span in mind as you time your trip. Don’t visit during nap time or a time of day when your child tends to be cranky or wound up. Eat a filling meal before your visit or head to a museum with a cafeteria.

Bring the museum home

Your visit to the museum doesn’t stop when you walk back to your car. Bring the museum home by continuing a dialogue about what you saw. If your child was inspired by abstract art, help him work on his own art at home. If your child was captivated by a particular historical era or type of fashion, head to the library or hop online together to find more information on the subject. Consider your museum trip a foundation for an ongoing journey of learning.

Learn how to display your child's school art >>

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