Teachable Moments: Visiting Museums

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Let’s go to museums, theaters even with 3-5 year-old children, and get them to speak about their expectations and experiences during our visit. Children need to feel at ease, secure and confident, so let them just walk around the rooms, chat another people around them if you are in a museum. Any museum is great; don’t panic if they finish their first visit too quickly or if they are to loud first time. Eventually they will get used to the special atmosphere and they will learn the manners too. When children are actively involved in learning they gain a sense of satisfaction, so be prepared and get them find special objects, colors or strange forms on a picture. Try to play as much as possible. Don’t be ashamed if you are too noisy.

With my daughter we visited Fernando Botero’s recent exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest last week. The painters’ works display his very special talent of art. The pictures are like the screen, because of the coloration. Those remind me blew up story-books. My daughter liked all of the pictures, and told us about the details, e.g. cat is in the corner. If you choose an exhibition to see with your children, try to find one with touchable objects. Botero let us touch his sculptures; we could even pet his little pony. After going home we made refrigerator magnets using Botero’s rotund and expressive figures. Here I explain easy step-by-step instructions about the method.

First I downloaded some of his pictures. We talked about the variations of colors, e.g. carmine-, coral-, scarlet (red) or forest-, sea-, emerald-green. The painter is using three additive primary colors: red, green, blue (called RGB color system) and three primary colors of the Natural color system (red, yellow and blue) as well. We also mentioned the forms: rotund, chubby people. We talked about his characters e.g. fat ladies, babies in the corner, playing kids.

After a short discussion I asked my daughter which was her favourite painting, and I printed it on a printable magnetic paper. (It is not cheap, so test sheet on normal paper is necessary.) Then we cut into small pieces, mixed all up and put them on the fridge. She could play with it and made the people first by herself. A 5-year-old boy or girl doesn’t need help, could piece together the whole picture, while you are cooking. It is important to explain the method first time. Always give clear instructions, tell details as much as possible. Then let them try by themselves. After finishing their work, get them explain the method. It helps them to improve their communication skills.

What can you expect? 3-year-old kids can find, match and identify people, animals, basic colors (red, green, blue, yellow, orange, purple etc.) and forms. 4-year-old kids can piece together the whole picture with a little help, and can identify all of the characters. 5-year-old children and 4-year-old kids with lots of practice do all by themselves without any help, and name even the variation of colors.

Enjoy the extraordinary moments in the museums and always do some activities after visiting an exhibition!

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