When to go
? Make sure your child’s well rested before your outing. Limit your visit to a few rooms of an exhibit, followed by a treat in the café — but leave at the first signs of boredom, and be sure to avoid crowded weekend afternoons, particularly rainy ones.
While you’re there
? Look first at any artwork that relates to your child’s current obsessions. A medieval exhibit will excite any kid who’s into knights and castles; Degas paintings will enrapture your budding ballerina. See whether there are special interactive exhibits or outdoor sculpture gardens to check out.
? Ask your child to describe what he sees. Be specific: Does that man in the portrait look happy? Would you like that painting in your room? What would happen if it came to life?
? Let him view the art from different angles, including close up (but tell him not to touch!), standing on a bench, and on the floor. Have him imitate a work of art by stiffening up like a mummy, say, or sitting pensively like Rodin’s “Thinker.”
Ending the visit
? As a memento of a fun day, let your child pick out a magnet or postcard from the gift shop depicting his favorite work of art. Or have him bring a drawing pad to the museum so he can sketch his own interpretation to keep.