Visiting the MFA With Your Little Ones

It is February vacation, time to relax! Oh wait….you are a mom…….well, I hear ya, sister! Resident art teacher and mom here….Alexandra, happy to help.

During this vacation, here are some ways to fill your time with artistic, fun and educational opportunities for your kiddos.

First, I suggest you take a trip with your children to one of the amazing museums the city has to offer.  The most obvious choice is the Museum of Fine Arts, and it is an amazing place….plus there is free admission during vacation week!  They have incredible programs (such as this)  including artmaking and family tours too.

Sometimes though, you just want to go and hang with your babes, all by yourself! Be sure to stop by the Visitor Center for a connection card and more information from the museum itself.  Here are some homegrown ideas on how you can enjoy your trip:


1.Try to create a short scavenger hunt for you and your child. You know your kids….maybe they are little and you keep it simple. Ask your child to find a different color in each gallery as you walk through. If your child is older, ask them him to see if he can find various faces, places and things. Explain to him all about the fancy vocabulary words that artists use; portraits, landscapes and still life.  Have your child check off what they she sees on a page with a clipboard. She will feel like a real hotshot, and look cute doing it.


Here are some famous things to you could try to find at the MFA Boston:

-a ballerina

– a  tree




a man rowing a boat 

  1. Bring a sketchbook and a pencil and have your child try to draw one of the paintings or sculptures that she sees. If she likes to write, find a painting that has a fantastical story (Watson and the Shark is a good choice) and have them write or tell a story about what happened.
  1. Ask your child to go up close to a painting, and then to go far away. How does it look different? How does it change? Do you see different colors? Shapes? Motion?
  1. Pretend you are shopping.  If you could bring one piece of artwork home in this gallery, which one would you choose? Which one would you choose to hang in your bedroom?
  1. Play I Spy. An oldie, but a goodie.
  1. Guess what materials the work is made out of. You, yourself may be surprised to discover out the answer.  For example, Tara Donovan’s sculpture  below is made out of styrofoam cups!


Remember, by the end of your trip, you will all be tired. Keep it simple and make it a shorter trip….the museum is not going anywhere and you will be back!

When you get home, ask your child to bring out the sketchbook.  This is a great time to ask your child to draw what she remembers and enjoyed from your trip.  This provides a great opportunity for them to reflect on their experience as well as provide a chance for you to catch your breath!

What is your favorite part about visiting the MFA?


Not in the mood to go out? Bring the museum to your house!

-Make a still life. Set up a bowl of fruit and ask your child to draw it in pencil and then watercolor it.

-Museums often have paintings on the ceilings. Don’t be scared mama….bear with me. Take some paper and tape it under a play table and let them paint upside down, Michelangelo-style.

-Find a book about a famous artist. Here is my favorite series, by Mike Venezia.  Read all about the artist and then choose a theme to recreate. If it is Mary Cassatt, have your child draw a portrait of you and him together, or pull out a baby picture of the two of you together. If the artist is Claude Monet, have your child draw some waterlilies and then paint them!

-Your child is more an action painter? No problem! Grab some toys, paint and paper! If you are like me and prefer less of a mess….head to the bathtub! Your child can sit in the tub and paint with legos, toy dinosaurs or trucks on the paper and then scrub it all down with a baby wipe and take a bath, poof! You are the mom of the year.