Description

You can touch it, smell it and play with it, says a docent here—just don't eat it! That cheery admonition lies at the heart of this museum's mission. A hands-on learning facility for the 14-and-under crowd located in a specially configured soft space in SoHo, its goal is to build self-esteem in children and strengthen the ties between child, parent and caregiver. It does this by allowing children to romp among the exhibits relatively free of interference. The Ball Pond—a room filled with red, blue and yellow physioballs—not only elicits sheer giggly fun, but helps refine motor skills; Magnetic Master evokes discussion about art through reproductions of famous artworks cut into huge puzzle pieces; Video Sketch Pad enhances hand/eye coordination and basic computer skills.

Workshops allow youngsters to work with paint, clay, tempera and papier mâché (dress appropriately) as a means of introducing them to the joys of artistic expression. Exhibitions of children's artwork are a frequent treat. There are music and dance events and a spectacular playhouse. There is ample stroller parking near the entrance.

Families

Workshops and Classes: After school and weekends are busy times at the Children's Museum of the Arts. Afternoon art classes are offered in paint, collage, sculpture, fabric and clay. Workshops in various subjects are offered every Saturday and Sunday. The museum also offers special programs exploring architecture, puppetry, playmaking, and projects focusing on art appreciation and cultural exploration. W.E.E. Artist Creative Play Center: This family-centered drop-in arts program is for very young children (ages 5 and under), with an accompanying adult. The two-hour program, offered weekday mornings, provides an informal gathering peppered with structured educational offerings to facilitate the child's interaction with the arts and the five senses.

School/Groups

The Children's Museum of the Arts' teaching staff can design a memorable museum experience that educators and their students will value and take back into the classroom. Students can create their own masterpieces inspired by well-known artists like Matisse and Mondrian; discover the basics of architecture and design and construct a model building; write, produce and perform in a theater piece; or create their own hand puppets, write puppet plays and perform in puppet theater. The museum prides itself on providing an encouraging, non—judgmental environment. Programs offered in Japanese. Programs offered for special education groups.