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Colonial Williamsburg’s Art Museums for Kids

An art museum might not be the first thing your kids think about if you were to ask them about their interests, but believe it or not, there is a whole unexplored online world of Colonial Williamsburg’s Art Museums for Kids! If you children love to learn, explore, and use their hands to build and create, this is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. And it’s just a click away.

The first thing you’ll see is clickable works of art. Each page explains what the work is made out of, the year and place it was created, and fun facts about each piece. You’ll find videos showing you how to make something inspired by the artwork, like this hot air balloon inspired by the “Century of Invention” handkerchief. At the very bottom of each page, there is a prompt for further thought: What inventions do you think human beings will be using 100 years from now?  Draw a picture of what you imagine. 

Here’s another great craft: a trompe- l‘oeil, or thaumatrope. Meaning “trick of the eye,” this toy is like food for bored minds. Made with simple materials, this easy-to-make object allows children to use their imaginations and rewards them with a clever game that they can show off to others. Each side of a paper disc contains half of an image, and when you spin the disc with the attached strings, it appears that the two parts become one whole picture!

Click here to see the step-by-step instructions for a paper thaumatrope and be amazed at what your kids come up with!

Downloadable Activity Pages

Color, search, and discover. Here, you can find works of art in the collections of the museums magically turned into coloring pages, like Edward Hicks’s Peaceable Kingdom (you can color, too!). Kids can also make crafts, like this flower broach, or even a quilt. Take your pick of colonial-themed word searches, crossword puzzles, and other worksheets as well. If they groan at the word “worksheet,” just have them take turns being teacher and students.

Exhibition Scavenger Hunt

Kids find the match to these nine clues as they explore the virtual tour of three exhibitions at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. (Here is the printable version of the scavenger hunt and the answer key.)

5 Games to Make and Play with Family
Any time you’re stuck at home, try one of these games to make and play together: cup and ball, nine pins, whirligig, quoits, and mancala. Each craft is a history lesson about how kids used to play in the 18th century, back when children had to make their own toys! The best part? Many of these games can be made with objects you already have lying around the house that can be reused and recycled.

We hope you get a chance to enjoy Colonial Williamsburg’s Art Museums for Kids, rain or shine! Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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