KC Edventures Guide for Ages 3-5

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

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Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Image used with permission from Nelson-Atkins

Come explore huge sculptures in the outside sculpture garden, see a mummy or a suit of armor for a horse!  You will find old tea sets, fun paintings and colorful art - there's lots of fun kid's activities and things to explore at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

Before Your Visit:

  • Talk to your kids about what they want to see - here's some ideas:
    • Go on a shape hunt using artwork.  Ask your child to choose their favorite shape, and then look for that shape in pieces of artwork (paintings, sculptures, etc.)
    • When visiting a museum, ask your child to pick a common object (such as flowers, cars, books) and see how many pieces of art you view includes this object.
  • Stop at the main desk and ask if they have a current scavenger hunt available for any of the exhibit halls.
  • Wear comfortable shoes & bring a sweater/sweatshirt (sometimes the museum is cool).
  • Request tickets if you're planning to visit a special exhibit.
  • Check the calendar for any tours or events you may want to attend.
  • Use manners but have fun - yes, your preschooler might want to run in the garden or may ask a question that makes you blush, but that's no reason to stay home!

Explore the Nelson-Atkins:

The museum has a lot to offer and kids will enjoy exploring various types of art.  Here are some highlights that young children will enjoy:

  • Sculpture park - take a walk outside and see some of the fun sculptures.  This is a great idea after viewing some of the indoor exhibits.
    • Ask your kids which sculpture they like best. 
    • Tell your kids the name of a sculpture and ask them why they think the artist chose that name. 
    • The museum has a great online guide to the sculpture park. 
    • There's also a special Kids Audio tour that your children can listen to - you can dowload the audio tour or stop by the information desk and check out a mp3 player.
  • Egyptian art - visit the mummy!  Learn a little about ancient Egypt and see some hieroglyphics.
  • Medieval suits of armor - Kids will find the armor for both horse and man very interesting - the horses armor weighs 98 pounds.  There are also some great stained glass windows and other items in the European gallery area.
  • Prints, Paintings & Photography - there are so many prints, paintings and photographs throughout the museum.  Let your kids decide what interests them - maybe landscapes, or paintings that include young children.  After all, art is about what is attractive to each person.
  • Modern Art pieces - The contemporary art galleries have some very interesting pieces of art - sculptures, paintings, etc. - kids will be drawn to explore.
  • Family Activity weekends - the museum offers some great family activities that highlight art from different galleries.  Check out the events calendar to see what's coming next.
  • Rozzelle Court - where else can a kid have lunch on china plates with milk in a wine glass!  Stop for a snack or lunch during your visit - they have nice options for adults and kids alike.  It's also a beautiful space - kids will like the second story overlook and high ceiling.

Learn More:

Read some fun books about art from our "What to See at a Museum" booklist.

Discover More:

Check out other great artwork in Kansas City:

  • Make your own art at Kaleidoscope.
  • See some amazing sculptures and paintings at the Kemper Museum (look for their Family Scavenger Hunt days).
  • Tour the Nerman Museum at the JCCC campus.

All images have been obtained with permission from the Nelson-Atkins online press room. 


View Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in a larger map

Additional Info

  • Nature & Animals: Gardening
  • Historic: Egyptian, European, Medieval, Pioneer Times, Wars & Memorials
  • Music, Theatre & Arts: Architecture, Puppets, Theater
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