The National Gallery

This weekend, I went to the National Gallery.

I’d really encourage you to take your children to an art gallery and let them lead the way. Let them be curious and find the paintings that they are most interested in.

The most wonderful thing is the the stories they can make up from looking at a painting, and that they can let their imagination run wild.

Counting/tally charts

To make it a really personal experience but also a great learning experience, choose something they are interested in such as their favourite animals. With a hardback note book and pencil (you could even buy it from the shop as a souvenir) model how to make a tally chart, with the names of the animals and the lines to make the gate. This gives a purpose to art gallery visit, but also, a purpose to the maths. Young children need encouragement to get in to the habit of making the tally into a gate after the four lines. And you practice your five times tables too!

For younger learners, you could make a pictogram where they draw that animal every time they see it and then support them to count with one-to-one correspondence and model the formation of the number for them to try and copy.


I would let the children take photographs of their favourite paintings. We can’t get away from technology being a massive part of our lives, and they need to know how to use things. Obviously, lots of things can be done on the smart phone these days, but if you can, get a Polaroid camera or Instax camera so the pictures can be printed straight away. Put them in that notebook you’ve just bought and ask them to make notes about the painting. I think what’s brilliant about looking at art is using how the child ‘feels’ about the painting. Using what they think. But also, helps generate description. Encourage them to use their senses as if they were in the painting, just like in Mary Poppins, when they jump inside the painting.


Well, obviously, an art gallery has the potential to inspire some amazing artwork. They can copy their favourite artist/painting when they get home.

Alternatively, get an expert in to support you. Artnight is a company that has venues across England but you can host parties where you choose the venue yourself. They bring the paints and materials. Could be a great birthday party opportunity.

They have a range of pictures that can be ‘taught’

I am dying to do the London Skyline Artnight for adults.

I absolutely love watercolour painting as it’s easy to set up and easy to clean up after. Don’t worry if they mix the colours together. I just grab a wet wipe and clean each colour in a circular motion.

I also like the paint pens that the toddlers can squeeze and brush if I’m tight on time to clear up.

If you have more time, let them make a mess, but encourage them to help you clean up after. I looked after one toddler who LOVED washing up. So that helped.

Check out the National Gallery website for more information:

More to books…

I have shared James Mayhew’s books in my book and blog before. Katie visits art galleries around the world and books focus on different artists or styles. There really is more to books than reading with his wonderful adventures in Art!

Published by moretobooks

Award- winning author of the book: “There’s more to books than reading- how to help your child bring stories to life” With a Masters in Education, I have taught as a School teacher across Northern England and have worked as a Nanny/Governess in London and across the world. I support parents and nannies to bring learning into the home in an exciting and purposeful way. Also a speaker at events such as NannyPalooza and the International Nanny Day 2017 and featured in the Nanny Magazine (USA) and Childcare Magazine (UK)

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