For parents, click on visitor information, where there’s a special section on visiting with kids.
- Make the Most of It, from Smithsonian Education
Look here for many additional suggestions for activities before, during and after the visit.
Gloria (ages 4 to 8)
To Be an Artist
By Maya Ajmela and John D. Ivanko
Published by Charlesbridge Publishing
Visiting the Art Museum
By Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Tolon Brown
Published by Puffin Books (1990)
First Ladies: Women Who Called the White House Home
By Beatrice Gormley
Published by Scholastic
Into the Air: An Illustrated Timeline of Flight
By Pamela Greenwood, Ryan Ann Hunter, and Elizabeth Macalester
Published by National Geographic (2003)
Mistakes That Worked: 40 Familiar Inventions and How They Came to Be
By Charlotte Foltz Jones and John O’Brien
Published by Doubleday (1994)
Clyde (ages 6 to 12)
The Nine-Ton Cat: Behind the Scenes at an Art Museum
By Peggy Thomson, Barbara Moore, and Carol Eron
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company (1997)
The Book of Flight: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
By Judith Rinard
Published by Firefly Books (2001)
The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins
By Bea Uusma Schyffert
Published by Chronicle Books (2003)
Science Smart: Cool Projects for Exploring the Marvels of the Planet Earth
By Terry Krautwurst, Gwen Diehn, Bobbe Needham
Published by Main Street (2004)
Sally (ages 9 to 12)
Art Fraud Detective: Spot the Difference, Solve the Crime!
By Anna Nilsen
Published by Kingfisher (2000)
Looking at Pictures
By Joy Richardson
Published by Harry N. Abrams (1997)
What’s Happening? A Book of Explanations
By Patricia Relf and Francis H. Schwartz
Published by Mondo Publishing (2001)
Fandex Family Field Guide: First Ladies
By Carolyn Vaughan
Published by Workman Publishing (2003)
- web search
- purchase journals
- purchase glue sticks, special colorful pens and pencils, safety scissors
- Give each child things to find by making cards you can carry in your pocket and hand to them in the museum. Use words (“find 5 red or round or metal things”) or illustrate with downloaded images from the museum’s website. Some of the things will be objects on display (from bugs and rocks to tools and airplanes); others might be details in an artwork.
- Purchase a disposable camera for each child and let them practice using it at home, trying both outdoor and indoor locations.
- Write for maps or download them from museum websites. Have children figure out where you will be and the routes you’ll take.
- Start journal writing by listing the things you want to see and any questions you want to answer.
- Make a special activity bag to carry all of the art supplies.