Looking at Art with Kids

Looking at art is an emotional, thoughtful, and very personal experience.

Help kids get the most out of the experience by following Dr. Seuss’s advice: Look it over. Think it over. Talk it over.

Look it over.

Opening yourself to the energy of a work can take a minute! Let kids look at their own pace. Sometimes what is in front of them won’t hold their interest, and that’s okay. Sometimes—especially for younger children—what they are looking at is overwhelming and they need help to focus. Help with questions like: What colors do you see? What shapes do you see? Do they remind you of anything?

Think it over.

How you see art depends on how you view the world. It’s the same for kids. They will think about how the art connects to their interests, what it reminds them of, and what they find fascinating about it. Give kids the opportunity to think and examine their reactions.

Talk it over.

Looking at art raises questions. Questions lead to conversation. When talking about art with kids, let them lead and listen with care. By hearing what kids have to say, you let them know that what they think about the artwork is just as important as what someone might tell them it means. You can still share what you know or think about an artwork or artist, but start the conversation with their ideas and questions or by asking them the simple question: What do you see?

When everyone shares what they see and think, all gain new insights, grow empathy, and build creative connections to each other and the world.

Encourage kids to look at art, make art, and share art by visiting the art museum, encouraging kids to keep an art journal, and prompting activities like Living Art, The Story of Art, and Kid Curator.