The Metropolitan Museum in New York City has definitely made a strong effort to push past the stereotype of boring museums and has created some amazing family friendly programming for all to enjoy.

Children's Classes at the MET Museum

Drawing at the MET. Photo Credit: Suzanne Chan, Allergy TMOM

On rainy days I find my kids’ cabin fever always at an all time high. Normally it’s no bother if it’s a sunny day. They don’t care to go anywhere or nowhere at all. But telling them they can’t go anywhere because of the weather always has them eager to escape. Although if you’ve ever tried to suggest going to an art museum, the mood instantly reverts back to “let’s stay at home.” I get it. It conjours up images of  dimly lit endless hallways filled with pictures hung up on a wall. Sounds pretty boring indeed!

Museums are soooo not boring! When I was a budding child artist, I loved visiting the museums, especially the MET, short for the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.  Yes, there were endless hallways filled with pictures, but they also had sculptures and beautiful gardens and courtyards. For a budding artist, it was fun just wandering around a different hallway each time I visited, but that was it… I wandered around without any guidance. There wasn’t a map for kids, or a guide, or even audio tours back then. The MET has definitely made a strong effort to push past the stereotype of boring museums and has created some amazing family friendly programming for all to enjoy. It’s also the perfect excursion for this Allergy Traveling Mom: no worries about food allergy contamination as you can check all drinks and food at the door.

Resources

  • Kids Map
  • Family Guides
  • Audio Guides for Kids
Fantastic Museum Fun for Your Little Artist at the MET

The Finest in Chinese Craftsmanship, not a single nail use in the beautiful Astor Chinese Garden Court. / Photo Credit: Suzanne Chan, Allergy TMOM

Museums are so kid friendly now. The MET created a beautiful kid’s map worthy of framing to commemorate your visit, where they can map out their entire visit before they even step foot into the museum. Looking at the map, you may feel overwhelmed. Rest assured, you need not tackle the entire museum in one day. In fact, I’ll bet after your first visit, you’ll want to come back again. The map is a great starting point to your exploration.

Need a little more guidance or focus? I absolutely love their Family Guides. These are perfect for the skeptics in your family – you know, the one person who rolled their eyes when told they were going to a museum and it was going to be so much fun! Let them choose a Family Guide that they would possibly enjoy. They cover everything from Arms & Armors – where you can decide if it’s a weapon or a work of art, to Kings, Wings and other things.  You can download these handy family guides directly from the website or pick them up at the information desk where they regularly rotate the selection.

Complementing the guides is the available Audio Guides for Kids. There are 13 Tours that are geared towards kids ages 6-12 years old. Personally I favor them over the adult guides as I learn so many more interesting facts and details about the artwork.  The Audio Guides for Kids are available in a web app for your phone, or a rental player can be picked up at the information desk.

Interactive Programs

  • Start with Art
  • Art Trek
  • Storytime in Nolen Library
  • Children’s Classes

Needing a little more personal attention? The MET hosts several interactive programs each week. There is something for every age group!

Start with Art is perfect for families with kids ages 3 to 6. This program is FREE with museum admission and the family can all join in and enjoy stories, singing and gallery activities like sketching.

Fantastic Museum Fun for Your Little Artist at the METEvery Saturday the MET hosts Art Trek, also FREE with museum admission, which is perfect for kids ages 7 to 11 years old.  This is my daughter’s absolute favorite (mostly because I don’t get a say in the tour that day). Each session takes them on a journey to a different part of the museum ad genre where they can immerse themselves in the art and sketch their favorite works.

A very popular program is Storytime in Nolen Library. For good reasons, it is completely FREE, museum admission is not required for entrance into the library but space is limited; first come, first served. They host several sessions broken out into age groups of 18 months to 6 years old and Toddler Storytime on weekday mornings for families with children 18 months to 3 years old. Who said nothing in New York City is free?!

Got a budding artist in your family? They’ll love the Children’s Classes offered at the MET. They have a huge offering of different classes for little ones – Hello MET! for kids ages 2-4 to older kids – Art & Invention for kids ages 9 to 12. These classes are taught by teachers and teaching artists who know the museum inside and out, using it as an expanded classroom. These 8 week classes are available weekdays and weekends, in the spring and fall. As a member of the museum, the Children’s Classes are available for early registration as well as a lovely 15% discount.

Yes, Museums are COOL now and just recently my daughter was asked which museum was her favorite. She responded with such enthusiasm when she said, “the MET!” We can’t wait to go again!