How to Help Children Enjoy an Art Gallery

The thought of being dragged around an art gallery when you don't want to be there will make anyone's inner child throw a temper tantrum. Here's some tips to help children enjoy an art gallery:


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    Do your research. If you don’t already know what art gallery you plan on visiting, search online or call around to find out what your local galleries might offer. Some things to take into consideration include:
    • Current exhibits and collections. Choose a gallery that houses the kind of art you’ll think the children will like. Public art museums are more likely to have a children’s art gallery within, or an age-appropriate exhibit. If not, consider that modern, abstract or sculptures might fare better with children than landscapes, or paintings created during the Renaissance period. Also, keep on the lookout for touring exhibits that come around once-in-a-lifetime — a perfect opportunity to create a lasting memory.
    • Activities and events. Depending on whether or not the art gallery caters to children, you might find that they offer entertainment events, activities or interactive exhibits that children would enjoy.
    • Admission cost and “free” days. Whether you decide to visit a publicly-owned art museum or a private gallery, the cost will most likely vary from free to “Wow, I didn’t realize museums cost so much.” Find out the admission cost for children, or check out the calendar to see if they offer any upcoming “free” days. This might apply to the general public, once a month, or to children under a certain age on a designated day.
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    Know your route. You don’t have to memorize the floor plan of the museum, but it might be good to know in what direction the nearest “potty” is at all times. Also, you might be dealing with multiple floors, in which case, prioritize what levels, or rooms, you would like to see, and in what order. This will help avoid aimless wandering or lulls during the tour, which might affect the children's interest.
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    Create your own art. Chances are children will be more excited if they at least know what “art” is. Before your trip to the gallery, provide them with some paint and paper, or even a pen and napkin, and ignite their imagination. Art can be created with many mediums — make a sculpture using twigs, grass and other objects from nature, or paint on cardboard using only food condiments — be creative.
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    Make it an adventure. Once you're at the gallery, play a game. Go on a scavenger hunt for things depicted in art, or play "I Spy." Maybe even create your own handmade treasure map — anything to encourage them to discover art for themselves.
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    Everyone's a critic. Ask them to describe what they see, or what they like and what they don't. Try to focus on colors and shapes, and avoid overwhelming them with advance elements and principles of art. This will keep their interests peaked, and their answers might even be surprisingly insightful.
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    Cut the day short. You don't have to see everything, and no matter how much fun they're having, children will most likely get anxious after an hour or so of being told "Just look, don't touch." Leave while they're still in awe of the art and offer to bring them back or to another gallery. Who knows — you might have just awakened a lifelong passion inside them.


  • Exit through the gift shop — especially if they were struck by a specific painting or artist. Gifting children with a poster print or a souvenir will allow them to take the memories of their day home with them.


  • Always ask about photography policies if you are planning on bringing a camera.
  • Some art may contain nudity or offensive material. Ask ahead of time if there are rooms or exhibits that are not age-appropriate.
  • Don't touch the art — unless you are in an interactive exhibit, or a children's gallery, which allows touching.

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Categories: Exhibited Arts