'Muff'in Dome

Museum Exploration with Young Children

painting details

Visiting museums with young ones can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning and prepping, the visit can go well and you might actually enjoy yourself too!

legion of honor painting

A couple weeks ago, we accompanied Steve on the train down to Sacramento for the day, so that we could visit the Crocker Art Museum downtown. {Stay tuned tomorrow for a special guest post from a friend of mine on how to travel by train with young children!}

on train with daddy

with mommy on train

I had done my research and discovered that they do a special, hands-on toddler art class called Artful Tot {and others different days for older kids} on the first Tuesday of every month. Evelyn is beginning to enjoy the crafting process so I signed us up to go.

out the window

We arrived about an hour early in order to explore the artwork before class started. We meandered through the galleries taking time to stop at a few favorites along the way and discuss what we were seeing. Evelyn talked to me about what colors she predominately saw in certain paintings and what objects were depicted in statues.

look!

so many colors

She even took a few moments while I stopped to nurse Lucie to discuss with Pooh Bear the finer points of art viewing. 😉

Pooh museum tour

The toddler art class was fantastic! They had five different projects going at once which the kids could switch between at their own speed. Evelyn’s favorites were rolling and stamping playdough with various stamps and painting with a large dot brush.

dot art

stamping playdough

spilling the beans

We also encountered glue for the first time, and she was confused as to why it didn’t work like stickers after it dried {i.e. you couldn’t replace it once you removed it}.

gluing

We stopped in the courtyard for a snack after class before making the trek to Steve’s workplace to meet him for lunch. All in all, I believe we spent about two hours at the museum, a sufficient amount of time to explore much but not get overwhelmed.

 

baby and art

To recap, some quick tips to help you enjoy a museum visit with your young children:

  • Spend some time beforehand doing research on what to expect when you’re there. Grab a map at the front to figure out where bathroom and rest stops can occur. Tickets are often free or deeply discounted for young children.
  • Take advantage of children’s programs at the museum. This includes literature. They had a great pamphlet at the Crocker that explained how to enjoy the artwork with children as young as Lucie’s age!
  • Bring snacks and take frequent breaks so children (and you!) don’t overtire. Make sure to do it in an area designated for food, though, if you’ll be eating and/or drinking. {They frown upon that in the galleries.}
  • Discuss what you are seeing with your child. Engage them in the works. Don’t do this with every one or you will burn out quickly, but stop when they show some interest or point out something in one that you know will be of interest to them.
  • Bring a stroller, if they are allowed {check because sometimes they’re not} or a baby carrier or wrap. You can’t back carry with little ones for fear they might damage paintings inadvertently, but you can do front carrys. I swapped the girls back and forth between a stroller and Ergo. {I explored the Getty Museum with Evey when she was about two months old for half a day, carrying her in the Ergo, and it went splendidly.}
  • But most of all…ENJOY! 🙂

painting

One Thought on “Museum Exploration with Young Children

  1. Pingback: #write31days ~ Day 6: Artful Tot | 'Muff'in Dome

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