We Went on Safari!: Art Safari at the Museum of Contemporary Art

We love visiting art galleries with our little lady, but it’s true that the experience can ocassionally feel a bit like taming wild animals (“don’t touch!” “get off the floor!” “doooon’t touch!”), so when I heard about the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Art Safari program for 3 – 5 year olds, I thought it sounded like the perfect adventure for my pre-schooler.

Art Safari runs a few times each month, and allows children and their grown-ups to “discover contemporary art through the lens of a different theme every month.” This month’s theme was “Crazy Colours”. Past themes have been things like “Terrific Textures,” “Lively Lights,” “Snazzy Shapes,” and “Spectacular Sounds.”

If those descriptions all sounds particularly enthusiastic, let me tell you – it was! The session was led by an wonderfully energetic guide whose vivacity was matched only by the shine of her glittery cape (the kids got to wear capes, too, which was a big hit with my explorer).

I loved that she spoke right to the kids, at all times, rather than through the adults. That may seem like a small detail, but I felt like it set the tone that this hour would be all about the children’s experience. My Mini Artsplorer responded so well to this. She can be slow to warm to new situations, but she was all in, answering questions and fully participating from word go.

The hour began with introductions where the kids shared their favorite colors. There were only 4 kids in our group, though we were told that there had been 8 at the morning session. They then read a book about colors, with active participation.

The kids then took their grown-up’s hand to trek into the gallery, where we spent time with three pieces of art. Each stop involved a conversation about elements of color, like shade or mood, followed by a short activity to reinforce the concept.

We returned to the creative space for a craft activity, based on the color concepts we’d explored. My girl went a little off track with her creation, but all good – she was delighted with her project.

We’ve done a number of family activities at the MCA over the past couple of years,and we”ve always had such a good time, but I was particularly impressed by the quality and content of the Art Safari session. I think, if you’re a parent who struggles a bit with how to talk to your young child about art, this program would be a brilliant entre to building talking points. And, if you’re an expert museum-wrangling family, this child-centric session is an hour of creativity and charm for the pre-school arts adventurer. We loved going on safari.

We attended Art Safari as a guest of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Opinions are mine 9and the 4 year old’s!).


If you go:

Art Safari at the MCA is suitable for ages 3 – 5, plus a carer
Tickets are $22 per child /$17 for members and concessions (carers are free) and should be pre-booked
Check the MCA website for session times