Yes, we are all busy. And yes, there is already a lot to do with school, homework, extra curricular activities, and social events filling up our already packed schedules. But sometimes the things we cut out of our calendars are actually the very things we need most.
If you feel like you can never make it to the art museum with your kids because your schedule is always overbooked, you probably need a day off more than anyone!
So, cancel everything and just go!
Or at least clear an hour to sit down at the kitchen table and look at beautiful art books and sketch.
The importance of Art History
It doesn't have to be messy or take a long time to be a valuable exercise for both you and your kids. The time won't be wasted, and the energy you gain from the break in your routine will give you a boost of creativity and will leave you refreshed and ready to approach your work with a renewed and revitalized spirit.
There really is something magical about being in the same room with world class art.
And there are magical benefits for your kids as well!
1. Kids who are exposed to great art have an appreciation for beauty
They respect their community, and feel a responsibility to help take care of it. They see loveliness in the little details of life that often get overlooked. They pay attention to detail, and feel gratitude for all the goodness that surrounds them.
2. Kids who study classical art feel a connection to the past
And that understanding of history helps them feel more connected to their place in the present, and better able to envision where they want to go in the future.
3. Kids who are taken to art museums are respectful
They learn how to show appreciation for art by learning to speak quietly, walk slowly, and look carefully without touching the art. The trust you show them by taking them to such a special place makes them feel like they are special. Extending this trust to them gives them a great sense of self confidence and pride.
4. Kids who study art know there is great value in diversity
You don't have to like every style of art. But every style of art has someone who thinks that style is the best! Learning from a young age that different isn't necessarily better is a lifelong perspective that will allow them to be adaptable, open minded and extremely resilient later in life when someone doesn't like something that they do. My kids LOVE the art of Jackson Pollock, and when they learned that most of the art world hated his art when he first made it, they were shocked. Now when someone doesn't love their (dance, story, game, idea), they don't take it so personally. They know there will always be some people who love what you do and some people who just don't.
5. Kids who look closely at art remain curious, and become critical thinkers
Why did s/he paint that? Why did s/he paint it that way? What political, societal, and scientific changes caused the progression of art to develop as it did? What does the _____ symbolize in this painting? What does this mean?
Remember when your kids were 3 and 4, and they asked questions NON-STOP?
That level of intense curiosity is a primal instinct that we actually need for survival. We feel a strong urge to understand the world around us from a very young age, and that instinct may grow quieter in some children as they get older, but if you fan the spark of curiosity in them, they will continue to wonder, to ponder, and to think. They will be able to assess situations and form opinions based on fact. They will also be in touch with their intuition, and have a better understanding of why certain things make them feel a certain way.
These are all valuable gifts we give our kids when we explore art history with them. And it's a gift that goes both ways. We give the gift of encouraging curiosity and supporting their journey into the world of critical thinking (a journey which most adults never take, let alone kids!), but we also receive something in return. Watching your kids light up when they make a connection between art and something else they've been interested in, watching them loose their inhibitions as they paint/draw/sculpt, watching them as they explore and discover who they are... that's the gift our children give back to us, without even knowing it.
A Daily Reminder
If you need a little reminder to stick up on the wall, I've got just the thing! Join the email list and you'll get access to the resource library – which is full of fun stuff – and where I've just added a pdf download for you to print your own copy of the Art History Kids philosophy. It's a fun reminder to make art part of your every day plan– even if it's only for 5 minutes.
I'd love to hear about your aha-moments! Has art history been on your to-do list for too long? Let me know where you are, and if there are any topics you'd love to see me cover. I love chatting with you and seeing your kids work. Share it on Facebook and Instagram with #arthistorykids.