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Activities / Children / Denver Fun

Five Ways to Make the Most of Your Art Museum Visit with Kids

Five Ways to Make the Most of Your Art Museum Visit with Kids

When I think about taking my kids to art museums, I get excited, and it’s not because my kids are especially well-behaved, and an outing to an art museum promises to be a cakewalk. My kids are the slightly rowdier kind that incite other people, usually gray-haired and prim looking, to make comments like “aren’t they a little out of control” and “maybe you shouldn’t be here.”

I’m not a glutton for punishment either, so why does taking my kids to art museums excite me so much? Because kids’ minds are like sponges and in art museums they learn critical thinking skills and develop a visual vocabulary. They also learn about art, history, culture, and even science and math. Perhaps the most important reason is that it’s a fun shared learning experience.

So how do you make the most of your visit to an art museum? And how do you make the experience fun and rewarding for you and your kids?

I recently took my children to the Clyfford Still Museum (CSM) and I have a few tips on how to get the most out of your visit to CSM and any other art museum on your list. Admission at CSM (and the Denver Art Museum) is always free for kids under 18, and it’s a real Denver gem.

  1. Consider your kids’ temperaments. Would your child benefit from a trip to the museum without siblings? I decided to take my kids individually on different days. We made it a special date with Mom. You know your child best so plan accordingly.    
  2. Take time to do a little research and look at the museum’s website. You want the visit to be fun, so set the tone by talking about it in a positive way. Look for a few pieces of information that will engage and excite your child.
  3.  Come up with some guidelines with the help of your child. The conversation will vary depending on age, but discuss the importance of respecting the art and the other visitors. You want this to be a fun and successful visit for everyone.
  4.  When you get to CSM, take a minute to look at the building. Let your child feel the hand-poured concrete walls. You can’t touch the art, but you can touch the building. It will give you a tactile experience that you can refer to later when you’re looking at the surface of Still’s paintings. Pick up CSM’s guidebook for looking at Clyfford Still’s art with children at guest services. It’s important to let your child set the pace as you explore the galleries. Ask questions and take turns sharing your thoughts. Consider playing a game like I Spy. Or look at the paintings and try to find all the colors of a rainbow.
  5. Make time afterwards to discuss the visit, and be sure to emphasize how much fun you had. I took my kids for hot cocoa to celebrate the experience. We all agreed that it was one of the best dates we’ve had.

The Clyfford Still Museum is free Friday Nov. 27, 2015 in an effort to encourage culture and personal enrichment instead of shopping.

If Kristin isn’t working or running her two rascally but adorable kids to ballet, soccer, music, and hockey, she’s probably writing in her office that doubles as a laundry room. She blogs as Plain Spoken Mama at If she’s not writing, she’s cooking, reading, exercising (hopefully outside), and debating whether or not to get a dog.

Photo: Loredana Gaudiuso

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  1. All wonderful ideas! Admittedly, we need to do a better job of visiting Denver’s art museums.

  2. Great ideas! It’s always a challenge to make learning fun for kids, I’ll definitely be trying these tips moving forward.

  3. It’s such a great museum and the current exhibit is terrific. Also, it’s a good way to introduce kids to color and abstract expressionism. (And, unlike the Kirkland Museum- there’s not much that’s breakable, so enter with confidence!)

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