Take your Toddler to the Art Museum

Lilah loves the art museum. She is two and a half. Here are our tips for a great art museum visit with your toddler.

Build excitement about going to the art museum. Tell your children you are going somewhere special (which you are). Ask your children what they think they might see. Ask your children what they like about art. Ask your children if they have a favorite color we should all look for. Make the art museum a visual adventure.

Before you go in, set a few rules.
In the art museum…
Walk. No running.
Use quiet voices.
Keep your hands to yourself.

At the art museum talk to your children about the art!
What do you see?
What colors do you notice?
Which painting is your favorite in this room?
What shapes do you notice?
What do you like about this piece?
What does it look like?

As always, modeling goes a long way.  Tell your children what pieces you like and why. 

Let your toddler be your tour guide. S/he decides which way to walk and how long to stay. If a half hour is all s/he’ll do, that’s fine.  (Many museums including major art museums in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Washington D.C. are free.) Several museums have beautiful grounds and/or sculptures outside, so when you finish with the art inside you can still have a stimulating and fun afternoon exploring the grounds.  

Keep the conversation going after your visit. When you get home encourage your children to make art. You can even set up your own museum by displaying paintings, drawings and sculptures on table tops and windows.

There is no need to wait to help your little one cultivate a lifetime love of art.  

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  1. THANKS for sharing! His dad and I are, unfortunately, no longer together, but my son is the product of two museum professionals. Mostly historic sites for me and art for him, but our son has been visiting galleries and museums since he was 3 weeks old and in a sling. He knows how to behave and now -- at almost 5 -- is able to communicate what he sees and likes; as well as asking questions. He also is very careful in stores. I tell him to explore using one finger, so that he gets the experience but we don't end up 'breaking and buying!'

    The funny thing is that his preference are parks and nature....a little different than his dad and me but we will take it. I always encourage people to start children young. And, as a museum educator, there are a lot of us happy to see your kids visit museums :)

  2. Thank YOU! We've met only wonderful people at museums.
    Best, Kathryn F-W


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