Art Gifts for Kids

Growing up with two parents who were both deeply devoted to art, who had art in the house (one of my earliest art memories is of a print of Eduard Charlemont’s The Moorish Chief  hanging in my parents’ bedroom), with a father who was an Impressionist-style artist and who kept an amazing, packed studio of tools and easels and paints, stacks of canvases in closets, his art hanging on our walls, spending every Sunday morning at the museum, going to every major exhibit in every city we visited on vacation…it all filled me with such a reverence for and appreciation of fine art. Sundays weren’t for football in my house (and thank god for that).

As someone that still finds going to the museum to be the ultimate way to spend a few free hours, who seeks out the reflective, quiet solitude of hushed galleries and Old Masters, I can’t wait to take my (very future, very hypothetical) child there. I have this plan to give them a few postcards of major works from the gift shop, and then wander the galleries with them and have them try to ‘find’ the paintings that match their cards. That sort of joy, of sharing something so special and important and meaningful, is something I am looking forward to more than anything else. And because, as my dad was fond of saying, “every cultural experience must end in a retail experience,” herewith are a bunch of art-related presents to give to kids, to provide them with a solid background and exposure to some of the greatest artists and painters in history.


1. Dancing with Degas book / 2. Renoir nightlight / 3. Mona Lisa watch / 4. Van Gogh Rubik’s cube / 5. Rodin tee / 6. Rodin Museum snowglobe / 7. Van Gogh finger puppets / 8. Art kit / 9. Monet’s Garden pop-up book / 10. Frida Kahlo dress-up / 11. Renoir puzzle / 12. Monet doll / 13. Artist Playing Cards / 14. Picasso doll

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that Renoir nightlight and Monet stuffed doll for myself (…okay, and everything else). And yes, I already have that Rodin t-shirt (thanks to Jamal for picking it up in Paris) and that Monet garden pop-up book from my childhood. It’s one of the most gorgeous things, though I might have to wait until future-kid isn’t guaranteed to destroy it with its grubby little fingers, haha.

16 thoughts on “Art Gifts for Kids

  1. Funny you should mention postcards at the PMA. I specifically bought the postcard of Marcel Duchamp’s Apolinere Enameled to use during labor and delivery as my concentration object. We took it with us to the birthing classes week after week. I stared at paintbrush touching the bedpost as I practiced my breathing exercises. SOMEONE, however, decided to join the party early by way of an emergency c-section. BTW, they don’t allow postcards in the OR.

  2. so funny i started bookmarking similar items for a future post awhile back. yours are excellent. it makes me want to go out and buy them all! and i love your museum idea. i am definitely going to try that next time we all go down there. which will be soon, very soon!! xo

  3. oh god, I love museums too. my parents seem to be the polar opposite of yours. they never took me anywhere. if I had kids, I’d take them to the museum too :)

  4. okay okay – these are all great – especially your dads words of wisdom. i love that! i will have to use that one as back up for why steven should buy me gift shop presents :) as for those dolls though – too adorable. at my museum we have a little plush einstein, so cute and cuddly with his wacky hair. but renoit and monet as plushies are just as cute. a little collection of them sounds like the perfect office companions.

  5. what a lovely idea for your future, far away, hypothetical child… & i love your mum’s comment too… how marvellous that such appreciation runs in the family!

  6. I keep harping on the fact that our museum has been closed for a lengthy reno, but I’m READY for it to open. Cal and I had standing dates there every summer. We’d do scavenger hunts in each of the rooms (“Find the red flag…”), but now we can just go and look.

    You’ll have great fun, although I will say that my dad is an artist and was a college football player. I grew up with football on in the house every weekend *and* going to museums. So tell JAMAL that they aren’t mutually exclusive! ;)

    Hope you’re on the mend!

  7. I always buy art toys and supplies for my nephews when I’m in Paris. I love the museum gift shops. I also bought the Monet pop-up book when I visited Giverny. Love it! Another great children’s art book is Linea in Monet’s Garden.

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