Monday, January 10, 2011

Learning to Look

Quality art and design are everywhere you go! Learning to look at art and design not only helps develop art appreciation, but can also foster many important skills children need for lifetime learning! Make it a new year's resolution to look at art and design with your children. Here's some great tips from our Interdisciplinary Specialist Marcia MacRae:

Learning to Look Everyday
Start by hunting for simple colors or shapes with young children. Note every time you see the color red while running errands. You'll be astounded by how much your child will find. Building powers of observation and concentration will go a long way in developing study skills.

Older children are ready to make comparisons and judgments about objects. For example, help your child notice differences by inviting comments of the windows of the houses and shops near home. You'll be surprised at how many different types of windows you may discover in your neighborhood.

Helping children develop judgment and aesthetic sense fosters an ability to form opinions. At any age, point out a building or sculpture and tell your child what you think of it. Ask their opinion and let them know it is OK to disagree. Showing your children that their ideas are worthwhile, even if different from yours, helps them respect the opinions of others.

Learning to Look in the Museum
DCM is filled with art and designs for children to notice. All of our artwork is chosen to make connections with the learning goals of our exhibits. You can count along with Andy Warhol's 100 Campbell Soup Cans in Math Connections; trace the curving design of our cloud-shaped tables in AirWorks; build zigzagging ramps like the three different artistic interpretations of San Francisco's famous Lombard Street in Make it Move; or work on wonderfully textured surfaces in one of the exhibits in Creativity Connections.

Observation, appreciation of design, and good descriptive vocabulary are skills needed in science and math as well as art. Practice taking a new look at these things you see everyday. Talk about them with your children and they'll make new discoveries and connections in the world around them.

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