Art Appreciation for Toddlers


Chronicle Books publishes several delightful art history board books that introduce popular artists and can serve to inspire children’s art projects and story time. I’d also like to think that now’s a great time to start developing my daughter’s appreciation for art and art history as she brings a sense of wonder to every activity.

The authors (Susan Goldman Rubin, Julie Merberg, and Suzanne Bober) do a good job of choosing artwork that we can all relate to: pictures of people taking naps, going on trains, dancing, gardening, learning to walk, etc.

Our family loves these art themed board books: as a baby Miss Leyba looked at the pictures; now that she’s two, we read the books together and she makes up stories of her own about the pictures.

Here are some of our favorites pages from the series:


Matisse Dance with Joy featuring his paper collages


Andy Warhol’s Colors although Miss Leyba calls him (in all seriousness) “Andy Wormhole”


In the Garden with Van Gogh – love those yellows and blues together




A Picnic with Monet – mama’s favorite

Chronicle books publishes many others including:

Magritte’s Imagination
Counting with Wayne Thiebaud
Dreaming with Rousseau
Painting with Picasso
On an Island with Gauguin
Quiet Time with Cassatt
Sharing with Renoir
Sunday with Seurat

They also have a Mini Masters Boxed Set that includes four of the books (Dancing with Degas, A Picnic with Monet, A Magical Day with Matisse, and In the Garden with Van Gogh) for around $11 — if we didn’t already own one book in the set, I would SO jump on that deal!

What better (and easier!) way to teach kids about art then to expose it to them when they’re young?! Their brains are like sponges; they absorb and retain EVERYTHING! (Makes me so jealous! My mind is a sieve these days.)

Next up: going to an actual museum to see works by these artists! Wouldn’t that be a great NEW activity to do on a Friday?! I need to put it on the calendar. There’s a Post-Impressionist Masterpieces exhibit coming (only) to San Francisco. It would be the perfect introduction. I’m excited already.

4 Comment

  1. Mom says:

    How wonderful! Toddlers learning about the world around them and what better way than by studying the gorgeous interpretations from great artists! Lucky Miss Leyba for her mom’s great teaching ideas!

  2. Mom says:

    Here’s another series, called Touch the Art, from a pair of NYC artist moms:
    http://www.amazon.com/Touch-Art-Brush-Mona-Lisas/dp/1402735669/ref=sr_1_1?s=gateway&ie=UTF8&qid=1285543013&sr=8-1
    Can’t tell if this is a good one or not? Seems like an interesting idea to be able to touch something in the painting for young children, though reviewer doesn’t seem really keen about it…?

    1. Carrie says:

      Mom: We’ve read “Touch the Art: Make Van Gogh’s Bed” and enjoyed it. I didn’t mention it because I was just focusing on series published by Chronicle books.

  3. Mom says:

    Oh that’s great! Glad to hear they’re good too! How great that Miss Leyba will one day see these paintings that’ll be “old friends” — like her books — familiar and comfortable! :b

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