Do you want to look at artworks with your toddlers and preschoolers, but you think they are too young? They are not! Looking at art opens kids up to new cultures and ideas, helps them learn empathy, and develops creativity and critical thinking skills.
Try some of these activities out with your little one in front of any artwork of your choosing to get him or her engaged with works of art.
- Talk about it. This can be as simple as pointing out funny things, counting objects, or discussing shapes. (Try these artworks for a great place to start. And check out these tips and these for more suggestions.)
- Move! Put your bodies into the position of the characters, pantomime the actions, make up a dance, or play charades. (Check out this post for some great artworks for this activity!)
- Play “I spy.” One person choose something from the artwork and gives hints about it while the other people guess what it is. Or, check out this I spy art book series!
- Make a texture bag. Place a textured object that is similar to something in the artwork in a bag. Have the child reach into the bag, feel the texture, and describe it without looking at it.
- Make up a story about the artwork together. What happened before the scene in the art? What will happen next?
- Integrate your child’s toys. Use the artwork as the spark for some pretend play. Use blocks to build the scene or use toy characters to act out the story. Take the child’s lead.
- Draw the artwork. Drawing the artwork makes the child spend more time looking at it. The more looking they do, the more they benefit from the experience.
- Practice description skills. Have the child describe the artwork to someone who has never seen it before. If old enough, have the second person draw the artwork based on the description of the child.
- Visit an art museum and play. Did you know that most art museums offer special materials for families to use in the galleries? Ask at the front desk if they have any family guides or resources to use on your visit. These often include scavenger hunts, discussion guides, games, and/or books to read in front of artworks.
- Have a museum scavenger hunt. Before you go, print a small clip from the artwork or a picture of an item from the artwork. (Check out the museum’s website to find out what is on view). Then, have the kids look for their picture in the museum.
Try it out, don’t stress, and have fun!
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