How to Introduce Kids to the Great Artists

Tips on how to introduce kids to the great artists.

Hands-on art history for kids

Because art captures a piece of the world and shares it with the world through a single person’s lens, I love using art as way to teach my children about the world. I believe that studying works of art – current pieces as well as those done by great artists – helps us understand different perspectives. Because of this, I surround my kids with art. We were lucky enough to inherit a copy of Paintings in the Musee d’Orsay, and my kids enjoy looking at pictures in that book. Sometimes we even try our hands at imitating these famous paintings. These past few months, my kids have taken this imitation art to an entirely new level by trying to paint some of the most recognized paintings from art history.

How to Introduce Kids to the Great Artists

Fun ways to introduce kids to the great artists

Last Fall, Timberdoodle sent me a the Paint-by-Number Museum Series that is part of their 3rd grade curriculum kit. These kits are for ages 8+; my four children chose to each tackle one. Ten-year-old Emma picked The Eiffel Tower by Georges Seurat that you see at the top of this post. Seven-year-old Lily (pictured above) picked The Japanese Footbridge by Claude Monet.

Teaching kids about the great artists

Eight-year-old Johnny (in third grade this year) picked The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, and four-year-old Anna picked the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.

Fun ways to teach children about the great artists

Each set comes with a small canvas, a nice paintbrush and paints, and a picture of the completed paint-by-number. There are also instructions on matching the lines on the canvas to numbers for different paint colors. You need to mix the paints to create some of the colors, and instructions are included on how to do this.

My children have slowly worked on these pieces over the past several weeks. Ironically, 10-year-old Emma’s piece is turning out to be the easiest, and four-year-old Anna’s is the most challenging. At the same time, Anna has been the most persistent in completing her painting.

How to Introduce Kids to the Great Artists

These kits don’t teach anything about art techniques, but my children have a new appreciation of just how much work goes into creating a work of art. I notice them looking more carefully at paintings in books and museums, trying to work out how many different colors and layers were used.

Your Turn

How are you introducing your kids to the great artists? Do you have an activity or resource we should try? Please share in the comments! You can also share a photo or post on my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

8 thoughts on “How to Introduce Kids to the Great Artists”

  1. Your kids always do such interesting activities! I love that you are teaching them about famous artists. You will have to visit the Musee D’Orsay with them one day! My kids want to go to Paris too one day!

  2. We’ve been learning about the artists as we learn about their home country, which of course means France had a whole slew of artists, and we’ll hit that again when we hit Italy. It’s been lots of fun to try out.

    I wonder how my kids would do with paint by number…… They’re not so good with structured art projects.

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