Taking kids to art galleries in London is a good idea. Yes, we said that. Artist Georgina Wedderburn (a well-known ‘art mum’ on Insta @bigfatsatsuma) has been taking her three kids to art galleries since they were babies, and wow do they go often. There isn’t a week that goes by that this family isn’t exploring an art gallery!
Here are her top five tips for enjoying art galleries with children…
A Little Prep Goes a Long Way
One of my favourite tips is to view exhibitions online before visiting, where possible. This can literally mean flicking through the images at lightening speed, or leaving a virtual walkthrough running in the background. I love hearing their exclamations of recognition when we see a piece of art in the flesh that they viewed online. They’re always keen to spend more time exploring a work that they feel a connection with.
This means chucking the guide book out the window and ditching any idea of reading information panels. Children respond naturally to art without the baggage of having to try to intellectualise what they are seeing. This leads to the most joyful, hilarious and often very fast exhibition visits. But don’t dismiss their insights – they’ll often engage with a work in a surprising way and share views that not only lead to deeper discussions about the way they’re interpreting the world, but that can also provide a refreshing take on a work of art.
RELATED CONTENT: Museum Mum’s Top 5 Family-Friendly London Museums
Let Them Have Fun
Be selective about which galleries and exhibitions to visit. Not all shows are interactive, but I’ve had much more engagement success taking the minis to see bright contemporary art than traditional exhibitions. And if there’s the opportunity to roll around on the floor giggling – even better! This might change as they grow and develop – or not as it’s still my preference too!
Exploit Family Resources
Most larger art museums have fantastic family activities. There are trails, art trolleys and very often free events, such as story telling or workshops. Find the families section on the website of your local art museum and get involved. If you’re new to taking children to galleries, this is a great way to build your confidence. All of the Tate galleries are exceptional at this.
Ask Your Child for an Art Tour
This really helps to focus little minds. If my kids seem disengaged I sometimes ask them for a tour of the exhibition. They are soon happily taking me from picture to picture, pointing out details I’d missed and sharing their ideas about each one.
Don’t be surprised if you find other adults and maybe even the artist if they’re in attendance (it’s happened to us more than once!) taking an interest in your offspring’s interpretation. There are not many other adult spaces where a child’s opinion is so often asked for and really listened to. This is a sure-fire way to boost their self-esteem and another reason that taking children to art galleries is a great idea… most of the time.
Georgina has more tips for visiting art galleries with kids, click HERE to read more.
Be sure to follow Georgina and her family on their inspiring art adventures in London and beyond on her Instagram account.
All photos from @bigfatsatsuma.