Fine Art for the Under Fives

‘The Fine Arts’ can appear daunting, even to us grown-ups! However, using professional works to focus and inspire your little ones can be both hugely effective and surprisingly easy.


Between television, the internet, and the millions of apps on our phones, we are constantly surrounded by photos, videos and graphic design. And, a lot of the time, they’re trying to get us to do something, whether it’s buy a new travel mug or subscribe to their channel. But, just as we curate our own homes, choosing the way we want our own living spaces to look, we can curate the rest of our - and our children’s - visual environments too.

There are many ways we can do this. For example, we could schedule in ‘no-screen’ time, where we ditch the TV and phones and head outside for some play or a nature walk. Or, alternatively, we could take some time to look at art.

The work of great artists can be a great source of learning and inspiration for our little ones. It can encourage them to take a moment to stop, look, and focus their attention onto one image. It can provide inspiration for the kinds of things they could try painting or drawing at home. It can, also, encourage our little ones’ empathy, creative thinking and analytical skills, as they begin to consider ‘what is this a painting of?’, ‘why did it get painted?’ and ‘what was the artist feeling when they painted it?’

By introducing our children to the work of professional artists, we can inspire their own expression in a mindful and thoughtful way, building their skills of interpretation and letting them know that, they, too, can be artists.


Here’s a fun activity you can use to introduce your little ones to fine art:



1 - Gather Your Images

If it’s possible for you, the best way to do this is by taking your child to an art gallery. Not only will this provide you with an exciting range of art to choose from, but can also be a learning opportunity for your little one, as they navigate the social etiquette of whispering and walking.

If this isn't an option, however, the internet is your friend! Try to gather images in a wide range of styles - we’ve popped some suggestions below!



2 - Pick One

Encourage your child to look carefully at each image. Once they’ve taken a look at each one, ask them to pick one that stands out to them.



3 - Find the Story

Ask your child to think about the story of the painting. If it’s a painting of a person - what has or is happening to them? If it’s more abstract, what does the painting show?

Give them some time to take a good look and think before you ask them to tell you.



4 - At home, provide them with some paints, crayons or pencils, and ask them to create their own version.

For example, if they chose a scene with a landscape, try asking why the painter might have chosen to paint that place - what emotions might it have brought up in them? Then, ask your child what their equivalent would be, e.g. what place makes them feel happy?

This way, you can help your little one to develop their own taste and style of visual expression.



For a little inspiration, here are just a few of the artists we love here at MEplace:


Salvador Dalì

With his dream-like landscapes and bizarre imagery, children can interpret the works of Dalì in endlessly fun ways.


Frida Kahlo


The vibrant colours of Frida Kahlo’s work can easily draw in a young audience. On top of this, the elements of surrealism and folk-art provide wonderful inspiration for storytelling.


Claude Monet


The Impressionists are famed for the beautiful way they captured movement and light. Because of this, their works, and, more specifically, the works of Claude Monet, can provide children with opportunities to consider ‘what is happening’. You can also encourage your little one to think about the difference between light and darkness.


Yayoi Kusama

‘The princess of polka dots’, Yayoi Kusama, uses repetitive patterns to immerse the viewer in her work. Encourage your little one to consider what patterns they could use to show how they are feeling.


Henri Matisse

When asking our children to think about colour, Henri Matisse can be a wonderful source of inspiration. Try asking your child why they think Matisse chose the colours he did, what colours they would choose, and why.



Lastly, remember, you don’t need to be an art buff to introduce your children to fine art. You can discover it together!



Content Creator @MEplace

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