This summer I already spent time with my 17 year old grandson. In two weeks I will spend time my other grandchildren (the 10 year old and have a day experience with the three year old.) Obviously, they will be very different experiences but the one thing in common will be a museum experience.
One of the most effective ways of teaching your (grand)children about art is to bring them to museums. Not many grandchildren would say ‘Oh Grandma, I want to go to a museum!’ but if the correct museums are chosen with the right exhibits, it can be a wonderful experience for all. The museum does not need to be a fine arts museum. For example in Chicago, there is a museum where you can experience a cool damp coal mine. http://www.msichicago.org Or a car or air and space museum will do. An antique car is a visual art to me: http://www.sdautomuseum.org
To experience the arts one needs to concentrate by looking and listening. Studies have shown children exposed to the arts; dramatic, music or visual arts develop more confidence, articulate better, and are more accepting of others. Learning to focus on art can help children focus on all of their education, thus boosting their grades.
Another idea is to have some great fine art books lying around. Go to your local bookstore or library and pick up some of those big coffee table books. Just leave them on the table when your grandchildren come to visit. (P.S. I had an atlas on the table and my youngest now knows every country in the world!) They do open the books.
During your summer travels it is easy to plan an hour long visit to a museum. You do not need to see the entire museum, just an interesting exhibit. If your child is young, there are over 200 children’s museums in the U.S. Check out http://www.bostonkids.org It is as good as they get. Many have hands on experiences. For most children, a science museum, aquarium, or planetarium is always a success!
One more thought.. if you are taking several children, make a scavenger hunt. Find a Degas, a Monet, a Copley… this will depend on the museum. But a search will make it lots of fun for the children.
Happy summer travels…