There is a lot of wonderful art and culture to see in Paris. Of course ‘wonderful’ can be in the eye of the beholder, right? 😉
Paris Art for KIDS – Build upon the knowledge you already have
Let’s take Picasso for example. I’d be remiss as the EDUCATIONAL tourist to not tell you he was actually from Spain and thus a Spanish artist, but we think of him as French because he loved Paris and worked there so much. When people think of Picasso they think of art that looks something like this:
Some people refuse to think of it as ‘art’ at all because it is so……unusual, shall we say? But kids LOVE him. His work is colorful! His work is crazy! His work makes YOUR art look good. 🙂 I think Picasso makes everyone feel like an artist because the crazier (or more pitiful) your art looks the more like Picasso, right?
What a lot of people don’t know about Picasso is that he worked in many different styles of art and even invented some like cubism, which is the weird style he is so famous for..AND collage. You remember collage from elementary school, don’t you? Glue a bunch of random stuff on a posterboard and voila! Collage! Who knew there was no collage before Picasso? What did kids do in elementary art class before Picasso?
Paris Art for KIDS – Visit the Louvre
If you LOVE art, visit art museums. Even if you feel ‘meh’ about art,visit just the top art museums and see only the most famous exhibits. You’ll love some, hate some, and be…confused by some! But you can say you were there! At the Louvre! Who goes to Paris and doesn’t visit the Louvre? At the very least you have to see her….
Miss Mona Lisa…the most famous painting in the world. The kids will be stunned by the small size of this painting. She is also the most parodied painting! Parody (to make fun of) is a great vocabulary word and this is a fun way to teach it.
Do not shy away from taking kids to a big museum like the Louvre. With some prep work on your part (or my kids’ travel guide to the Louvre in hand) march in happily confident that you’ll have a wonderful time.
Kids enjoy art. They love to create art! They love to share their art and hang it everywhere. Why wouldn’t they love to look at art? The key to enjoying a trip to the art museum with kids is to tell them the story…the story behind the artist and the story behind the piece. Prepare them for a museum visit by reading books and looking at the art ahead of time.
Paris Art for KIDS – Picture books are not just for kids
Katie and the Impressionists by James Mayhew
Katie is looking for some flowers for her grandmother’s birthday and finds a wonderful selection as she walks into famous impressionist paintings by artists like Monet, Renoir, and Degas. Written for art lovers of all ages. Lexile Measurement: Not Available Length: 35 pages
Charlotte in Paris by Joan MacPhail Knight
Charlotte visits Paris for 6 months and she celebrates her birthday by visiting Mary Cassatt’s impressionist art exhibition. Showing kids these museum art pieces will help get them ready to see them live and in person! Discuss how dreamy and smeary impressionist art is! You’ll all enjoy this journal type book and seeing the city of light through the eyes of Charlotte. Written for kids 8-11 years old. Lexile Measure: Not Available Length: 52 pages
Paris Art – Fashion
Different like Coco by Elizabeth Matthews
Once upon a time, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel felt different from other girls. She was poor and didn’t have a family and felt like she was too skinny. As a young girl she sewed clothes for her dolls and as a young woman she designed clothing for her figure type – which was too skinny for what was ‘perfect’ at the time. Later, she channeled her work into fashion design. Thanks to her we now have the little black dress and her legacy of an enormous fashion empire. Written to inspire; that if you feel different you can overcome with spunk and determination. Excellent. However; there is a dark side to Coco Channel (nazi sympathizer and ‘kept’ woman) that is thankfully left out of this delightful book. If her political past or less than ladylike ideals offend you then you might want to avoid this book – though none of those things are mentioned. Written for grades 2-6 it is a nice overview of the fashion designer for any age. Lexile Measure: 990L Length: 40 pages
Paris Art for KIDS – Artists
Edgar Degas: Paintings that Dance by Maryann Cocca-Leffler and Kristin N. Cole
Degas is known for his paintings of ballerinas but that isn’t all he painted! Learn what makes Degas’ art special. Written for kids aged 5-9 years. Lexile Measure: N/A Length: 32 pages.
Edgar Degas and the Little Dancer by Laurence Anholt When Marie wants to take ballet lessons, but can’t afford them she finds an interesting way to earn money. She poses for the famous sculptor Edgar Degas! Written for kids ages 6-9 years but wonderful for tweens as well. Lexile Measure: 730L. Length: 32 pages.
Claude Monet: Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists by Mike Venezia
These books are oldies but goodies and my favorite way to introduce artists to children. The pictures are wonderful and the information is easy to understand. Written for kids aged 7-10 years but wonderful for tweens as well. Great all around resource. Lexile Measure 880. Length: 40 pages.
Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson
Linnea is a lucky girl who gets to visit Paris and also Monet’s garden. She learns about the painter and impressionism. Written for kids aged 4-8 years. Lexile Measure: 710L. Length: 48 pages.
Manet (Monet/Manet…not a typo – two different guys!)
Edouard Manet: Great Artists by Iain Zaczek
People think of impressionism and Picasso, but in fact, Edouard Manet is the father of impressionism. Enjoy facts and paintings! Written for kids aged 8-11 years but any age can enjoy a simple introduction to Manet’s work. Lexile Measure: N/A. Length 32 pages.
Color your own Manet Paintings by Marty Noble
Explore paintings by the famous impressionist artist by coloring them yourself. Published for kids aged 8 and up. Lexile Measure: N/A. Length: 64 pages.
Paul Cezanne: Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists by Mike Venezia
This wonderful series is excellent for introducing artists to kids of all ages. This series is my go to for any artist. Written for kids aged 7-10 years but great resource for older kiddos, too. Lexile Measure: 940. Length: 32 pages.
Cezanne and the Apple Boy by Laurence Anholt
Lovely story of the artist and his son as they explore the mountains of southern France and paint. Written for grades 1-4. Lexile Measure: N/A
Vincent van Gogh and the Colors of the Wind by Chiara Lossani
This lovely book full of how Vincent viewed the world and his art was based on letters from Vincent to his brother Theo. Written for the older kiddos grades 4-8, lovely for adults, too, wanting a flavor of the master himself. Lexile Measure: 730L. Length 36 pages.
Camille and the Sunflowers: A Story about Vincent Van Gogh by Laurence Anholt
Camille, the son of a postman, lives in a small town. The painter Van Gogh comes to town to paint and he and Camille become friends. Based on a true story. Kids will really enjoy. Written for ages 5-8 years. Lexile Measure: 660L. Length: 32 pages.
Matisse: The King of Color by Laurence Anholt
Monique, a home nurse, visits the home of a new patient, Henri Matisse. She is amazed at the colors of his art and they become friends. Their paths cross again later in life when Matisse helps fund the construction of a chapel in Vence, France. Based on a lovely true story. Written for kids aged: 5-8 years but all of Mr. Anholt’s works on artists can be enjoyed by older children as well. Length: 32 pages. Lexile Measure: 600L.
Most people have strong reactions to Picasso – a love or hate with no in between. Whatever you feel about his style personally, think about how it encourages you to create without ‘messing up’. Kids naturally gravitate to art with faces and three noses!
Who was Pablo Picasso? by True Kelley The biography shows Picasso’s different stages of art through his lifetime. Kids will be interested to know not all of Picasso’s art was unusual. Written for kids aged: 8-12 years. Lexile Measure: 700 L. Length: 112 pages.
Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail by Laurence Anholt
Sylvette meets her neighbor, Pablo Picasso and he asks her to pose for some art. She is inspired by her friendship and collaboration with Picasso and becomes an artist herself. Written for kiddos aged 6-9 years. Lexile Measure: 670L. Length: 32 pages.
Paris Art for KIDS – Create art
After reading about art, try creating it! Make your own versions of the styles you like the best. Get out the paper and crayons and try your hand at one of these styles. Do not be shy! Young kids don’t worry about making mistakes or doing it ‘wrong’ like we do. Take a deep breath and do it with them.
Here are some books to give you ideas on interacting with the art. Besides being loads of fun and giving you something to put on the refrigerator, this will help solidify the learning. When you ‘do something’ with information you are more likely to remember it.
,centerSpot the Differences Books 1, 2, 3 and 4 by Dover Publications
Get your detective cap on and start really studying the paintings. While looking for the differences between the two which sharpens your visual and observational skills, you’ll be studying world class paintings as well! Great fun for all ages. Written for kids aged 8-11 years but older and younger siblings can join in the fun. Lexile measure: N/A Length: 64 pages.
Dover Publications makes fantastic coloring books! I used these books when I taught school and everyone from 1st grade -6th grade was delighted.
Of course the internet is a fantasic tool for locating lessons and other coloring page type stuff. Just google “teaching Picasso” or another artist.
There are some wonderful 1 hour lessons at Teach Kids Art Appreciation.
Kids enjoy and appreciate things SO much more when they understand it and have some background. Give the kids the information they need to make the journey EVEN better!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist