Drawing & Painting blog

SOME FUN ART RESOURCES FOR KIDS

I’m such a big believer in introducing children to as many varied types of art as possible. A quote famously attributed to Picasso says that ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one when he grows up’ . We lose our confidence as soon as we start to shut down our ideas about what art can and should be. I’ve observed that surprisingly early on young children can start to lose their confidence if they think they aren’t ‘good at drawing’. Exposing them to a wide range of artistic styles and media can show them that there are so many valid ways to express themselves creatively.

MetKids
Picture credit: #Metkids Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Just like adults some children will be better at drawing from observation, some will draw imaginatively from their heads, and others will just have a great sense of colour and pattern and enjoy playing with design. A child who likes cutting and sticking more than drawing with pens might get inspired by Henri Matisse’s paper cuts. One who likes geometry and patterns might love Bridget Riley’s Op Art, or Damien Hursts’ famous Spot Paintings. And almost any kid can learn from artists like Juan Miro and Paul Klee that doodling can create fantastic art! For older children exploring various artists’ work can be a good way into discussing social history and current affairs and questioning the images they see in visual media all around them.

Taking kids to art galleries – if you live near any – can be great, particularly those really geared to children and who have created child-friendly exhibits. Sometimes though galleries can overwhelm children (as with adults) and there are other ways to get them enjoying art. There are lots of books about art aimed at children, but during the Covid-19 lockdown I also discovered some really great online resources for kids. Here I’ll show you two outstanding sites to get your kids into art – one by the UK’s Tate Gallery and the other by the Met Museum in New York.

TATE KIDS

Tate Kids is a subsection of the Tate gallery’s website entirely aimed at children. It’s divided into three sections: ‘Make’ which contains ideas for all sort of art to create, ‘Games & Quizzes’ which is very interactive, and ‘Explore’ which curates a selection of the museum’s items.

Tate Kids

Picture credit: Tate kids Tate Museum

The site is full of really high quality content including some nice videos, such as a tour around the Tate by children’s author Jacqueline Wilson encouraging children to use the artworks to spark off stories and ideas, or a film about contemporary British artist Steve McQueen and his artwork ‘Year 3’ involving primary school children from all over London.

Tate Kids gallery

Picture credit: Tate kids Tate Museum

There’s an online drawing app which kids can use to create a work of art and then upload to a ‘Kids Gallery’ where some of them are chosen to be displayed. It’s full of drawings from hundreds of kids all around the world.

Tate Kids Art & Technology page

Picture credit: Tate kids Tate Museum

The ‘Make’ page is broken down into drawing and painting ideas, collage or craft based projects, sculpture inspired ideas, images to print out and colour in, art and technology, and performance. All the ideas are inspired by artworks in the museum collections and vary in simplicity and in the age group that they target. They all introduce the kids to various works of art and get them to explore it them in a creative way.

Tate Kids Games and Quizzes page

Picture credit: Tate kids Tate Museum

The ‘Games & Quizzes’ section is equally big and varied and full of clever interactive games to get children thinking about artworks in different ways or be inspired to create their own.

Tate Kids Games and Explore page

Picture credit: Tate kids Tate Museum

Lastly the ‘Explore’ section showcases many of the gallery’s objects by grouping them in different themes based around either subject or style. Clicking on one brings up mall descriptions tailored to children, that ask them questions to get them thinking imaginatively and even critically. I like how the choice of artists and artworks isn’t remotely sanitised and covers everyone from the Impressionists to the Guerrilla Girls.

#METKIDS

Part of NY’s Metropolitan Museum of Art website, #MetKids is also an excellent resource that is like a separate website to that of the main museum. Like Tate Kids, its content is written by top curators and is really good.

MetKids
Picture credit: #Metkids Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

This site is also divided into three categories. The first is a vast picture map of the museum and all its exhibits, that goes on and on if you keep scrolling upwards or side to side. Kids can click on the little coloured dots to bring up information about the exhibit.

MetKids Map

Picture credit: #Metkids Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

You could locate an item for them and then challenge them to find it! If you were actually able to visit the museum it would also be a good way to get them interested in advance and find items they’d like to see.

MetKids Time Machine

Picture credit: #Metkids Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

The next section is called ‘Time Machine’. On this page you can select a time period, geographic region or theme.

MetKids Magic and Mystery

Picture credit: #Metkids Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Press the interactive ‘push’ button and it will take you to a curated list of items from the museum’s collection.

MetKids Exhibit details

Picture credit: #Metkids Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Clicking on an item zooms you back to the picture map and locates it, and brings up a child-friendly description, audio and other resources

MetKids Videos

Picture credit: #Metkids Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

The last category is a page full of videos, including simple and well-designed art projects, films of children interviewing museum curators on many different topics, asking challenging questions (for example ‘Can a painting tell more than one story?”), learning about conservation, and many other cultural resources.

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