Snow Day? Here Are 7 Museums With Great (Mostly) Free Children’s Programs

art classes for children

Maybe it’s a snow day. Maybe rain. Or, maybe you just need someplace new to take your child that doesn’t involve waterslides, bouncy houses or pizza!

Turns out, there are plenty of excellent — and (many) free — art classes for children across the country. Here are seven of them:

art classes for children
Storytime in Nolen Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York). Look, learn, and create together during fun, interactive programs for kids of all ages and their parents/caregivers. Program times and topics vary. The Met’s offerings include:

  • Storytime in Nolen Library: Look, listen, sing, and have fun with picture books; then continue your adventure with a self-guided gallery hunt. Toddler Storytime is offered on weekday mornings for families with children 18 months–3 years old.
  • Start with Art at The Met/Start with Art and Music: Share ideas and enjoy stories, sketching, singing, and other gallery activities that bring works of art to life. On the first Thursday of every month, explore art and music in the galleries while you look, move, and sing.

High Museum of Art (Atlanta). Each month, the museum organizes events including story times and art-making projects around a theme, such as “Make a Difference” or “Build It!”

Dallas Museum of Art. The DMA says they ” heART families”… and it shows! Among the programs:

  • Classes & Workshops for children ages 0 to 24 months; ages 2 and 3; ages 3 to 5; and beyond.
  • Open Studio: Drop in on the third Sunday of each month and enjoy free art making in the Art Studio for the entire family.
  • First Tuesday: Programming specifically designed for children ages five and under, but all ages are welcome. “Enjoy thematic art-making activities, story times, performances, and gallery activities.”

Museum of Fine Arts (Boston). The MFA offers several programs, including Junior Artists, Family Art Cart, MFA Playdates, and more. Another great offering: School Vacation Weeks — “Enjoy free drop-in activities during public school vacation weeks, including storytelling, musical performances, family tours, and art activities.”

Denver Art Museum. Options include:

  • A Walk in the Woods, “a new family space… [where kids can] step into the forest and experience new animal-inspired activities created to celebrate the exhibition Stampede: Animals in Art.
  • Gallery Games, “a fun way for kids and families to look closely at artworks and for families to enjoy exhibitions together. As with all hands-on family activities at the Denver Art Museum, gallery games are available in both English and Spanish.”

Art Institute of Chicagoart classes for children. Options include:

  • Artist’s Studio: “Create an art project that you can take home or leave behind for others to admire. Activities are thematically linked to artwork in the museum galleries. Artist’s Studio programs take place every day and are designed for visitors of all ages. Children must be accompanied by a caregiver.”
  • Picture This: “Designed especially for our youngest visitors and their caregivers, Picture This offers a chance for all to enjoy picture books that relate to works of art in the galleries.”
  • Artful Play: These workshops “offer a guided and joyful experience in the museum for preschool-age children and their caregivers. Led by experienced museum educators and developed with early learners in mind, thematic workshops change regularly and include storytelling, guided gallery visits, dramatic play, and creative exploration of art materials.”

American Museum of Natural History (New York): The Museum offers a variety of educational experiences for children and families. From classes and camps to events, there are offerings to suit a range of interests and skill levels for children in grades Pre-K through 8. Children can enjoy classes and special events.

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