Sian Lile Pastore
11 February 2023

Talking to Children about Art

Sian Lile Pastore

11 February 2023 | Minute read

Have you ever wanted to discuss art with children, but never known where to start?

Here are couple of tips and tricks to get you started.

Visual Thinking Strategies

The first technique you could use is Visual Thinking Strategies, developed by Philip Yenawine of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

It’s a simple technique which invites anyone to take a good look at an artwork before encouraging them to ask questions, but rather than answer the question we usually throw it back to them. For instance – what is that person doing in the painting?

And we might respond with:            
Oh, good question – what do you think they might be doing? This stimulates conversation and encourages children to make up their own minds on a piece of art rather than rely solely on the official information in the gallery or online.

Fact / Opinion

Another way to look at and talk about an artwork is to present statements to the group and ask if they are fact or opinion. This works well if pupils are more comfortable talking in pairs or as a group.

Pupils take a moment to look at the artwork and discuss the statement they’ve been given and then read out their statement - they decide together if the statement is a fact or an opinion and why. We ask the rest of the group if they agree, and from there we can explore a little more about the artwork from their comments.

We often find that by talking to children about art in this way they often naturally find out a lot of information about the artwork and we don’t need to provide them with any information. Sometimes we might just tell them the name of the artist and the artwork and if it’s relevant some information about the artist, but really it’s about children finding out for themselves.


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