I love art. Correction. I love looking at works of art. I do not like creating works of art. Trust me, no one would consider those works of anything. But I really enjoy being an art consumer and living in Capitol Hill, DC right down the street from some fantastic and super accessible (read: free!) art museums, I like to go as often as I can. And now that my kids are old enough to walk around the museum with me, I love to take them too.
But let's face it, it's hard for kids to appreciate art. Not impossible, but not exactly easy. But so many art museums have fabulous kids' programming nowadays. Can I get my 5-year-old to appreciate Monet's brushstrokes? Um, no. But can I bring him to the National Gallery of Art to watch a film about monkeys narrated by Tina Fey (the latest that we went to go see)? Yes, please! And on the way out, we can check out some of the artwork.
So what about the diversity? How do you incorporate that into your visit? Here are a few suggestions. Keep in mind, your kid may not be ready for actual discussions about the art - some of these concepts are really nuanced and too advanced for little ones. But if you start taking your little one to the museum now, they will be more used to it and primed to have conversations when they are developmentally ready. Also, museums are great indoor spaces for kids to run around in when the weather is crappy - just a tip.
Live too far to make it to the museum? Visit online! There are tons of museums throughout the United States and the world that showcase incredible art through the internet. Here are some great art museums throughout the United States and the world. This is just a sampling - there's sure to be one closer to your town as well.
I know visiting these isn't as easy as a quick drive down the street for most people, but try to visit in person if you can! While the internet is great, there is no substitute for the real thing. Going to museums is not yours or your child's thing? Check back next week for letter B! It's sure to appeal to pretty much everyone. Better yet, sign up for the newsletter and you won't have to remember to check. Get the blog as well as Just For Fun Fridays and other great information delivered weekly to your inbox. Enjoy & share!
Dr. Sweeney is a licensed school psychologist and cultural competence expert. Here are her musings on life in a multicultural world.
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