Valley Family Fun: Young Picassos

Valley Family Fun: Young Picassos
By Laura Churchill Duke

“It is never too early to introduce kids to art,” explains Laurie Dalton, director and curator of the Acadia Art Gallery.

Many parents are nervous about taking their children to an art gallery. Is it appropriate? Will they be bored? Will they be the one to knock over the sculpture?

Dalton gives the following tips:

Bring a bag of colour swatches and shapes. Give each child a colour or shape and ask them to find something in the gallery that is the same shape or colour.

Buy a postcard at the gift shop before entering the gallery and get kids to be on the lookout for that piece. Or, ask the child to make up a story about the artwork. The important part is to have them talking about and looking at art. You will be amazed at what you learn!

There are many opportunities for children to learn about art in the area. Here are a few:

  1. Grow with Art: this program for youth aged 5 to 14 will be resuming in September. On the second Saturday of the month at the Kingstec NSCC Campus in Kentville children can participate in an art-making workshop with a local artist. Children can also rent quality-framed reproductions by famous artists. All of this is for only $2 for a painting and $2 for the workshop!
  2. Uncommon Common Art runs every year from June to October throughout Kings County. These are artistic creations in the natural environment. According to their website, “the installations are gifts from the artists to the observers of nature to find, explore, talk about, and share.” Start by picking up a map at any tourist bureau. The map outlines the 17 locations where there is art installed. My son Thomas considers Uncommon Common a treasure hunt, and can’t wait to find each creation. We usually combine several of the installations together in one trip, and end it off with ice cream! What could be better? It’s free and fun! Visit for more information.

When doing art projects with your kids, the most important thing, according to Dalton, is not to make it complicated. “The focus should be on the process and not the end result. Just make it fun,” she says. When children are older and show an interest, then think about lessons (there is a list of art lessons on under Arts).

For now, just have fun and let your inner Picasso come out!

Laura Churchill Duke operates – your one stop for all information for Valley families. She does lots of art projects with her two sons – including having them paint on the underside of a table to learn about Michelangelo!