Art History for Kids

How do you make art history for kids fun, interesting and engaging? Educating your children about art is a great way to whet their creative appetite and get them interested in art’s main branches such as sculpture, painting and architecture.

But it’s not as easy as picking up any old art history book and reading it to your kids. For instance, they might be more receptive to certain styles or eras of art than others, but how do you figure out which one? In this blog we’re going to take a look at the main areas of art history, why art history for kids is so important and the best ways of teaching it to them in an engaging way.

Art History for Kids

The Main Areas of Art History

From cave paintings 100,000 years ago to the modern art we see today, humans have been creating art almost as long as we have existed – so there’s a lot of subject matter to cover!

When we think about art we can firstly think about the various forms of art that exist, such as painting, sculpture and architecture. All of these disciplines have changed and evolved over the years, making each type of art an interesting area of study.

Art history can be divided into eras such as the Renaissance, Baroque and Impressionism periods. Each era of art history has its own characteristics and hallmarks, so teaching your kids about them can be a rewarding experience for both parent and child.

We can also compare the art that is specific to different countries. By learning about the art produced in each part of the world, kids can work on their geography skills and begin to draw connections between the two things.

The Benefits of Teaching Your Children Art History

Introducing your children to art from a young age is a great way of bringing out their creative side, which in turn has a number of benefits for your child including greater self-esteem, stronger communication skills and development of problem solving abilities.

Because art history is a highly visual topic, you may find that it is useful for helping children to read and keeping them engaged with the topic. This could make them more receptive to learning about other subjects, get them used to learning at home and ignite their curiosity about the world around them.

What’s more, art history can improve the attention to detail of your children by encouraging them to comment upon certain components of a piece of art, or maybe even the differences between artworks. Subsequently you may find that your child starts to develop the ability to understand the visual narratives that are present in art.

How to Teach Art History to Kids

Art history can be taught in many different ways depending on both you and your child. Here are some of the different ways in which you could teach it to kids.

By Type

As we mentioned earlier in this blog, art can be divided into many different forms. For that reason you may wish to focus on a specific type of art, such as Sculpture, to see how your child responds to it. If they take an immediate interest in one form over another then it may be an idea to focus future learning on this topic. Additionally, this approach could also help to focus your children’s creativity into one discipline of art.

My First Discoveries Sculpture

By Era

Arranging art history into a chronological timeline can provide a clear learning pathway for both you and your child. Rather than jumping from one topic to another, with this method your child will be better equipped to contextualize each piece of art as they see it. If you’re unsure where to start with art history then going back in time and working through it chronologically with your kids could be the best approach.

By Artist

Zoning in on a specific artist such as Vincent van Gogh or Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s portraits allows kids to create a personal connection with the art at hand.  This method may make it easier for them to create connections between different pieces of art and associate a specific style with a specific artist.

If you need some inspiration then our range of art books for children are a great place to start. The My First Discoveries range is full of beautiful illustrations that bring art history to life, with accompanying text on each page to aid your child’s understanding of the topic.