One year ago I was with my father at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, walking quietly through the galleries when I saw a woman with a child in a stroller. The child was less than a year old and I was shocked. I never considered packing up Cole and strolling a gallery alone . . . with him. But it made me think about it, and it is something I just may try this week.
Since then (and a little before then), Andrew and I together have been intentional about exposing Cole to Art. (Below Andrew and Cole are in Stowe, Vermont earlier this summer).
I have to admit I love outdoor, interactive art, because then Cole does not have to be in a stroller, and he can participate in art. The school I work at has an outdoor art show in the fall, it became one of our 31 Adventures in October. The town we live in also started having an annual outdoor art show . . . more to come this week.
Already this summer Cole has been to two gallery shows.
The first was Art in the Barn, a joy for me as a child whose grandparents had art shows in New England barns . . .
Tips for Taking Toddlers to View Art:
- Preview – We have found this helpful for Cole in all kinds of situations, but especially with Art. We are going someplace with lots of pretty things that people made. They are not for touching, but they are for looking at. We challenge him to be ready to see things.
- Talk – We dialogue with Cole pointing out paintings we like or things we see. We engage him about the art.
- Focus – Cole had not ridden in a backpack for almost a year, so it was a novelty for him. He is three so we do still keep him “contained” when in a gallery. Sometimes on Papa’s shoulders or in a stroller, it helps him focus. Attention spans are still short for toddlers, help them enjoy the experience.
- Make it a game – We do find things we know he will love seeing (animals or boats or lots of colors) and then ask him to find them.
- Interact – We love to find the art he can touch. Art in the Barn has art in the barns and outside, so when he can touch or interact, we encourage it.
While we were in Vermont we brought him into a the Bryan Memorial Gallery in his stroller, it is a perfect space for a stroller – and with art on all different levels, Cole enjoyed it.
May his love of art grow and grow.