Surrealism & Through the Looking Glass

One of the great advantages of exploring art history with your kids is the way it seamlessly goes along with so many other subjects. You can incorporate art history into your study of math, science, history, geography, philosophy, music, film and literature.

It's amazing how it relates to everything!

Have you read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass? Follow up with this fun art history project for kids, and unlock all the amazing similarities between the stories and some very famous surrealist paintings.

We just finished reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, and I couldn't help but to notice how many references in these books were reminiscent of surrealist art. As we excitedly await the release of the movie this weekend, we've spent the past few days recalling the book and looking for similarities in surrealist paintings. There are 2 really great ones we thought of immediately.

1. References to time

In the stories, there are several references to clocks, time going backwards, and other strange time-based anomalies. Have your children look at Salvador Dali's painting, The Persistence of Memory, and ask them if it reminds them of the book, and why.

An art history unit study for kids comparing art and literature. Read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass, then study some similarities in Surrealist art.

2. Magically disappearing people (and cats)

Remember how the Cheshire cat would disappear into thin air? Check out this Magritte painting... there is a fun play of positive and negative space that makes it look like there is an invisible man.

A study guide comparing Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with surrealist art. Art history for kids is fun and easy to learn at home. Sign up for full access to printables, games, and fun project ideas.

A quick introduction to Surrealism

Surrealism began in the early 1920's, and was really a response to the structured, rigid nature of society at the time. Artists in the surrealist movement wanted to make a statement about the validity of imagination, the creative benefits of chaos, and the curiosity that led them to explore their secret dreams and desires.

All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.
— Andre Breton

I've made a Surrealism Study Guide for Kids for you to use in your lessons and independent projects... sign up here to get your free download!

Read more!

Here are a few great art books for kids...

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Magritte's Marvelous Hat
By D.B. Johnson

More surrealist fun

If you're kids are having a good time with the concept of surrealism, why not make it part of your day to day routine? You could have them...

  • write a surrealist story
  • paint a surrealist painting
  • dress up in a surrealist outfit
  • cook a surrealist lunch
  • come up with a surrealist game idea
  • have a surrealist conversation with you
  • make up a surrealist song
I do not understand why, when I ask for grilled lobster in a restaurant, I’m never served a cooked telephone.
— Salvador Dalí

Download the free printable guide

Did you know there is a whole resource library of engaging art history materials for kids just waiting for you?! Sign up with your email below to get access to all the downloads. The resource library makes it easy to make art history games and projects a regular part of your daily fun!

Let's connect!

What did you think of this project? Are your kids amused by the quirkiness of surrealist art? Did you think of another surrealist painting that relates to the Alice books? Let me know in the comments below, or we can chat on social media. Remember to use the hashtag #arthistorykids!