Exploration of Art & Artists

Exploring Art and ArtistsWe have been busy creating our Artist Trading Cards for Blair and Erin’s exciting kid’s swap. We decided to take this opportunity to explore a variety of art and artists. We started by looking at some postcards I had (see Child Sized Masterpieces below) of art by a variety of artists. The girls were inspired by a few of the pieces and asked if they could do observational drawings of them. I took out different materials (oil pastels, watercolors & markers) and let the girls choose the medium they wanted to use for each piece of art. As they were working on each piece, we discussed the artist they were focusing on. We had some children’s book about artists handy (see below) and pulled them out to explore the style of each artists.

The girls were so excited about the process that we decided to extend the experience by taking a trip into Manhattan to explore MoMA. Before the trip we checked out the Dropping in on Matisse & Dropping in on Picasso DVDs from the library, because we knew that we would be seeing a lot of their work. The fact that the girls were familiar with a few artists before the museum visit really enhanced their experience.
Tip: When their interest started to wane, we gave them both a camera and asked them take pictures of their favorite paintings. The camera helped to give them both a second wind and gave us more to discuss after our trip.

These shared experiences have given our family a foundation of common vocabulary and understanding of techniques that are used in making and appreciating art. We look forward to building on this over time as our understanding of art deepens.

For a dose of inspiration visit the Kids Artist Trading Card Swap at Flickr!

Resources & Materials
Artist of the Week by Thrilled by the Thought
Miro Watercolor Painting by Art Projects for Kids
Lessons on Artists by MoMA
Getty Games
Everything Art by Smithsonian Education

The girls were excited about seeing a Miró at MoMA—one of the artists they replicated on their Artist Trading Cards.



With over 10 years of EDU experience and a growing family, Mariah started Playful Learning in 2008 as a resource for parents and teachers. In 2010 Playful Learning received the Parent’s Choice Gold Medal, and in August of 2011, Shambhala Publications released her first book, Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder. Mariah has an M.S. Ed in Elementary Education and was that girl sitting in the back of class thinking about what she would do differently if she was the teacher. Now she is happily working with a team of gifted educators to bring life-changing lessons to children, families, and schools around the world. In her free time she can be found taking long walks, enjoying a cup of tea, or swimming in the Atlantic with her husband and two daughters.


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