Tips for Exploring with Children

Review Rules

A successful Museum visit with kids starts with preparation.  Review the Museum Guidelines with your kids before you visit.  Most importantly, our "six-inch rule" asks that visitors stay a dollar bill's length away from the art.  Showing your kids a bill may help them understand this concept. 

Talk

Ask children questions. Discuss artworks that attract you and your child. You can always start by saying, “I wonder what’s going on in this picture; what do you think? What do you see that makes you say that? What do you think will happen next in this picture? Why? Would you want to visit the place shown in this picture?” With abstract works of art, it can be fun to ask children to think of a name for the artwork. Compare your answer with the one on the label. Discuss which name you like better.

Play

Games and activities are allowed at the Museum. Old standards like “I Spy” are a great way to get kids to focus on details in artworks. For very young children, ask them to look for shapes, colors, animals, or people. Older kids could search for things that begin with a specific letter, or even an action taking place in an artwork. Bring a pad of paper and a pencil (not a pen). For children who like to write or draw, you can play this either by making a sketch of the item once it is found, or by having them draw or write something for you to find.

We hope these ideas help you get started! If you would like further assistance, contact the Museum Education Department at 413.585.2781 or museduc@smith.edu.