There’s nothing quite like gazing at an Impressionist exhibit to the mellow sound of “Mommmm, can we go yet?” Any parent who has tried to instill love of art and culture into children knows it can be a challenge. Luckily, many New York City museums have special programs aimed for children.
Story Time at the Metropolitan Museum
1000 Fifth Avenue
To children, museums can sometimes seem like a giant scavenger hunt-to the occasional chagrin of parents and museum guards. But the Metropolitan Museum of Art chooses to actually turn their museum into a scavenger hunt for children, with the “Story Time in Nolan Library” program. On Wednesday and Friday mornings, Met employees read tales about art to children aged 3 to 7. Children are then given a list of objects displayed in the exhibits to find. The event, free with admission, is held in the Children’s Reading Room in Nolen Library. This week it is occurring on Wednesday, July 28, and this Friday, July 30, from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Art Club at the Frick
1 East 70th Street
It is one thing to get preteens to go to a museum, but it’s another to get them to stop texting and look around. Programs at the Frick Museum are intended to get middle-school-aged children to engage with their surroundings. The ongoing Art Club workshop encourages children to write and illustrate short stories inspired by the art and architecture of the Frick. The next Art Club class is Saturday, Aug. 14, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It is free with museum admission, but requires reservations made through the Frick Museum’s Web site.
‘Drop-in Dig’ at the
1109 Fifth Avenue
Families participate here in a simulated archaeological dig, allowing children to learn about excavation procedures hands-on. The next one is Aug. 8, from noon to 3 p.m. Or put on your yellow hat, head over there earlier and catch the final days of the exhibition “Curious George Saves the Day: The Art of Margret and H.A. Rey,” which ends on Aug. 1. With nearly 80 original drawings, the exhibit documents the Rey’s work and their life story, including their escape from Nazi-occupied Europe. The exhibit opens every day at 11 a.m., and is closed on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Admission is $12 for adults, free for those under 12.
Film Screenings and
Shape Lab at MoMA
11 West 53 Street
A film screening at the Museum of Modern Art is just like going to the movies, sans the sticky floors and the smell of over-”buttered” popcorn. This week MoMA is screening the World War I classic All Quiet on the Western Front. To watch, stop by the Celeste Bartos Theater this Wednesday, Thursday or Friday (July 28-31) at 1:30 p.m. In August, older children might enjoy some of the thrillers on the calendar. For younger kids, MoMA has the “Shape Lab,” an interactive space in the Cullman Education and Research Building that allows children to experiment with shapes to learn about art.
‘Just Drop In!’ at the Guggenheim
1071 5th Avenue
Parents who have their baby sitters on speed dial know how futile it can be to make plans with children. Perhaps this is why the Guggenheim’s aptly named “Just Drop In!” is so popular. Requiring no reservations, it invites people to bring their kids, aged 3 to 10, to the museum for a weekly family tour. The event is free with museum admission and the next one is this Sunday, Aug. 1, at 1 p.m.
Children’s Museum of
212 West 83rd Street
Grown-ups may have the Louvre, but kids have this Upper West Side space. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has frequent free programs for younger children to learn about and make art. One exhibit, which goes until the fall, teaches museumgoers how toys, from an Etch-A-Sketch to a dancing Elmo, work.
King Tut Exhibit at Discovery Times Square Exposition
226 West 44th Street
They may have learned about it in school, but it’s another thing entirely for them to actually see King Tut’s gilded sarcophagus in person. The much publicized “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” exhibit is worth the price ($20 for children 12 and younger, $30 for adults) and the wait, and is even worth braving the masses of tourists in Times Square. The exhibit is perfect for kids; seeing the Egyptian artifacts they have read about can supplement their history textbooks in a way every parent hopes for. The exhibit opens daily at 9 a.m.
MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF
1220 Fifth Avenue
This terrific museum on Upper Fifth Avenue has some special programs for kids, including a six-week “Saturday Academy” class on American History, but it really doesn’t need more than its own holdings to keep a youngster’s interest. The museum has a fabulous 10,000-item-strong historic toys collection reaching back to the Colonial Era. A highlight is the 1920′s Stettheimer Dollhouse, with its miniature art gallery of original paintings and sculptures by New York’s foremost avant-garde artists of the period.
of the Arts
182 Lafayette Street
Another museum specifically for kids, the Children’s Museum of the Arts tries to help children learn to appreciate art, and even displays other children’s art. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon until 5 p.m., and has daily workshops to help kids discover and make artwork. On Wednesday, Aug. 11, children over the age of 6 will learn about blind contour drawings and how to improve observation of the subject. All workshops are free with admission.