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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The next section is called ‘Time Machine’. On this page you can select a time period, geographic region or theme.
Press the interactive ‘push’ button and it will take you to a curated list of items from the museum’s collection.
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
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.