Here at Raleigh Mom’s Blog, North Carolina Museum of Art is one of our personal favorite spots in all of Raleigh. It’s the kind of place that effortlessly combines what kids love (expansive outdoor space, incredible art, exhibits, and events), with a mama’s need to dress-up (or not), mingle, and be inspired by beautiful things.
While the museum boasts one of the most robust calendar of events, including things like the upcoming Art In Bloom, summer concerts, and Iris After Dark, it’s their family events that make art appreciation and creativity a fun and easy activity for the entire family, including the youngest members.
So given my personal love for this place, and how much I use this museum as a gathering spot with family and friends, I was surprised that there is something fun that I had missed all the time – a Tour-in-a-Tote! A simple yet innovative way to get the kids involved in understanding art and making a game of it, the Tour-in-a-Tote is a free resource that is kid-friendly and hands-on.
I recently met with Courtney Klemens, who is the family program coordinator at the NMCA and asked her if she would show me just how hands-on and fun it could be. I, of course, brought along my almost 3-year-old and 5-year-old who have heard me one too many times yell out “don’t touch that” at the museum.
It was amazing to see how excited they were to get “a bag full of puzzles inside”. Courtney showed me how simple it was to get them interested in individual pieces of art on a whole different level. My favorite was the game showing Frank Stella’s ginormous and colorful Raqqa II all broken down into small puzzle pieces that the kids could put together to match the original.
5-Tips To Make the Most of the Tote
- If possible, check out a tote for each child so that there are no arguments or disputes.
- Play a scavenger hunt to find the art pieces in the tote, rather than simply taking them to it inside the museum.
- Encourage kids to focus on various elements within the piece, like colors, textures, mood, counting, and objects they might find unusual. This is art appreciation at its simplest and best.
- Ask your child how they can use the pieces inside the tote to make their own art.
- Try the games and techniques in the tote on a new exhibit or art piece not included.
Available for free in both English and Spanish, make sure to borrow a tote at the West Building Information Desk the next time you visit the museum. And in case you are wondering just how much fun we had with the tote, here is a fun little video I made just for you…