A Week of Art Activities for Kids

1. Visit a local art museum. Before leaving home, learn about special exhibits and family programs. When you go, stimulate thinking by asking your child questions about what he sees and having him look for and count shapes and objects in paintings. At home try these:

2. Create abstract art by taping paper to the bottom of a flat pan. Squirt paint randomly around the paper then roll a marble through it. Log onto www.jacksonpollock.org to learn about this abstract artist and try splatter painting with your mouse.

3. Carve a soap sculpture by whittling a bar of white soap with a plastic butter knife. Mold your own sculpture with homemade baker’s clay. Create three-dimensional art using cereal boxes, straws, wires and other recyclables.

4. Use a pencil to create a design impression on the backside of a Styrofoam meat tray. Spread paint over the design and then place paper over top to make prints.

5. Sketch a portrait of yourself using a mirror. Sit across from a sibling or friend and draw one another. Create a collage portrait by drawing an oval head and cutting out facial features from magazines.


Field trip fun: The following museums all have extensive art displays, as well as regular programming for families.

The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University includes an outdoor sculpture garden with 20 bronzes by Rodin, as well as 27 galleries of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Free family tours and art-making activities happen on Sundays. Any day, you can sign out an art pack with colored pencils and paper for your little sketch artist. 328 Lomita Dr., Stanford. 650-723-4177. www.museum.stanford.edu.


The de Young Museum has a huge collection of American art from the 17th centur though the present, plus regular special exhibitions by famed artists. Family programming includes free Saturday classes and a monthly Artist Studio for Families. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive. 415-750-3600. www.deyoung.famsf.org.


The Oakland Museum of California’s Gallery of California Art has one of the largest collections of California art in the world. Hands-on exhibits, such as a digital drawing pad that allows you to draw your own self-portrait and project it onto a gallery wall, help immerse children in art. Family programs include monthly hands-on drop-in workshops as well as large annual festivals. 1000 Oak St., Oakland. 510-318-8400. museumca.org.  

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