I love when I can involve my love of art into an experience with my husband and children. One of the most exciting aspects of exposing young children to art, is beginning a dialogue about art - how it makes them feel, why the artist created the works in a certain way, and what the message behind a piece might be.
I recently came across an article by Gwyneth Paltrow on Visiting Art Museums With Kids and it's spot on.
I love her idea for interacting with abstract art:
"Ask about the visual cues like shape, color, texture, and then, "if this were a person, what kind of person would it be?" Trying to make abstract art more narrative is a good approach."
We recently visited Dia.Beacon - a large contemporary art space on the Hudson River in Beacon, NY. My children loved walking through the gallery with Imi Knoebel's 24 Colors - for Blinky, 1977. Each work was larger than life and provided the opportunity to talk about different objects or associations with each piece.
When we returned home, we talked about what we saw - the kids had the opportunity to create their own drawings and paintings, and even extended the activity with a little play doh sculpting. Going to museums and looking at art with you children can be an amazing and enriching experience at any age.
At the end of her article, Gwyneth posted some great art related books for young children, including a favorite of mine:
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Here are a few more that I love:
Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw
Let's Make Some Great Art