Art helps children make connections with the world, teaching
them to better appreciate the experiences and points of view of
other people. Creative expression through the arts helps children
communicate their own observations and feelings, encouraging
sharing and self-expression.
Nurture the artist within your child by setting off to explore the
art treasures of Chicago. Take advantage of the amazing array of
free art classes, tours and more.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is host to Family Days, where every
second Saturday of the month, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., families can learn
about art through hands-on activities, scavenger hunts and more.
Admission is free for families with children 12 and under, and
activities are tailored for children of all ages. Upcoming themes
include I Heart Art on Feb. 13 and The Artist Studio on March 13.
Free daily tours are also offered Tuesdays at 1, 2 and 6 p.m.,
Wednesdays-Fridays at 1 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at noon, 1,
2 and 3 p.m. www.mcachicago.org.
Chicago's very own world-class art museum, The Art Institute of
Chicago, values and promotes art education for children through a
variety of free programs. The new Ryan Education Center, a
state-of-the-art facility, features five classrooms, three large
studios and a kid-friendly gift shop. Stop in to view a family
orientation video at the center to better guide your way throughout
Play with blocks and puzzles, play an interactive game,
participate in a drop-in art activity or storytelling hour or enjoy
quiet time with a book from the extensive children's library. Free
classes, from mini-master classes for the tot set (age 3-5) to teen
digital art studios, are sure to match the interests of the budding
young artists in your family. Check out the family programs
calendar at artic.edu for information on classes and family
Located within the University of Chicago's Hyde Park campus, the
Smart Museum of Art houses a permanent collection of more than
10,000 art objects, spanning five millennia of both Western and
Eastern civilizations. The Smart's small galleries and outdoor
sculpture garden are excellent spaces for children and adults to
explore art together. Check out the museum's Web site before you
go: Print gallery guides and play interactive games and activities,
including an art detective game and an interactive sketchbook. www/smartmuseum.uchicago.edu/education.
The National Museum of Mexican Art, located in Chicago's vibrant
Pilsen neighborhood, is the nation's largest Latino arts
institution. The museum presents the Mexican culture from ancient
times to the present, on both sides of the border, and offers great
family learning opportunities. Don't miss Kraft Family Sundays, a
free, year-round, hands-on program where you can create art with
Throughout the year, the museum's education department offers
Saturday morning or after-school art classes. Class themes may vary
by exhibition, medium or technique. In July, children will have an
opportunity to learn about diversity in the arts at the museum's
summer camp. nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org.
The Apple Store on North Michigan Avenue offers free computer arts
workshops on everything from composing a song in Garage Band to
building a photo album for families with kids (age 6-9 and 10-13).
Concordia University has just launched a new online program to
introduce first- through eighth-graders to art history. Ten online
lesson packets for each grade level focus on higher level thinking
and cover artists from Rousseau to da Vinci. www.uchicago.edu/artlessons.
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
See more of Amy's stories here.
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