Try inspiring children with art masterpieces

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling, and Katers

People have always used art as a way to record an event, express themselves and their emotions. Children can learn a great deal from art since there is so much to observe and talk about.

By sharing art, families can open up a world of richness and diversity for children to explore. You can search for art pieces either from a book, library (some loan pieces out), a visit to an art gallery, or online.

While sitting next to your children, look at art together and discuss things that you see in the pictures. Talk about the clothing, colors, facial expressions, animals, light, shadows, or weather in the picture. Have a conversation about how the picture makes you both feel. Is it a happy picture? Does it look noisy or quiet? Does it look like a photograph from a camera? What might you change in the picture?


Children can pretend to be in the painting running in the field of flowers, smelling a sunflower, being knight riding off on a horse or an animal stalking prey. Children can make up a story surrounding a scene or have a treasure hunt looking for objects in paintings.

Matching picture games are quiet activities. After downloading from a computer print two copies and cut one up. Your child can match and glue cutout details to the picture such as a child from the painting, an animal, or a piece of scenery.

Art inspires

Since artists are inspired by others, your children might enjoy copying a painting printed from a computer by using tracing paper over it and coloring it in. They might like to draw their version of Van Gogh’s sunflowers, Turner’s storms, or Monet’s flower gardens.

You may want to look up the Norman Rockwell Museum for” Saturday Evening Post “magazine covers that have inspired children to draw their own scenes that tell a story. Your children might enjoy painting flowers, sunsets, or scenery on a large rock to decorate the garden.

Older children may like to copy geometric designs, patterns and bright colors of paintings by Mondrian. These help children use a ruler and protractor.

Children can make their own at-home art gallery. Frame some of your children’s artwork. Display them on a wall or refrigerator. A string with clothespins or paper clips holding artwork adds color to rooms. When that space is full, move some to a special folder for safekeeping. Pictures can be scanned and saved in computer folders. The next time your family is on a picnic or walk in the woods bring along some art supplies and draw the scenery. Children around the world often do this on family outings.

For more ideas see and Learning Through the Seasons live and pod casts.

Editor’s note: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.