Parenting Tips and Strategies
Museums are a great resource for families during the winter, especially in Kansas City. We are fortunate that many of our museums are free of charge! The Nelson-Atkins, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art are just a few of the fabulous places favored by our Brookridge Day School families!
Mind your Museum Manners
Make sure to discuss “Museum Manners” before you go so your kids have a clear idea of how to behave during your visit. Some pretty basic manners museum staff will pass on include: use your walking feet, inside voices are preferred, and please don’t touch the works of art. Other than that, museum staff loves to see families interacting with and exploring their galleries.
Look for activities
Most museums have gallery activities available for you to use either at the entrance to specific exhibits or that you can check out from the visitor services desk. If you are new to visiting museums with young children, these activities can really help keep your child focused and interested while in the galleries.
Focus on a common thread
For very young children, it’s fun to pick one subject to focus on during a visit. You can just talk about the different colors or shapes you see as you look at different paintings, or look for animals or children. Modern art may be a little hard to understand at times, but they are great pieces to look at with children. There are bright colors and specific shapes. There are often a lot of found objects that you can play “I Spy” looking for in both paintings and sculptures.
Pictured is Jeffrey Gibson’s, American Girl, sculpture from 2013 on display at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. This piece would be a lot of fun to talk about with young children. You can talk about shapes, colors, and materials. It’s a good idea to ask questions in different ways when talking about art with children. You don’t want to only ask questions where you will get a “yes” or “no” answer. For the piece below, you could start by asking the following questions:
- What colors do you see?
- Do you see any triangles? Do you see any squares?
- Which parts look bumpy and which parts look smooth?
Remember museums belong to everyone and the earlier you start visiting with your children, the more comfortable they become, and the more likely they are to be life-long museum visitors!