There’s an App for That!

Are your kids more tech-savvy than you? My sister and I were talking on the phone the other day and both lamenting that perhaps we are not quite as savvy as we think we are when it comes to the hottest gadgets. We reminisced to the days when our mom would ask me to set the VCR to record her favorite shows. “We’ll never be like that!” we naively thought. Reality check: just a few months ago, my twelve year old niece had to teach me all the things my iPod Touch can do {silly me, I was just using it to listen to music!}

Kids are more plugged-in than ever, so how can we take their aptitude for and interest in technology and use it in an art museum? Many visitors are familiar with museum audio guides, but more and more, you can access information about a museum or a specific work of art on your own phone. (Check out the DMA’s smartphone tours here.) The Louvre recently announced that beginning this month, they would be replacing their audio guide units with Nintendo 3DS consoles! My nephews would love that.

Now I’m not saying that I want kids to spend a visit at the DMA with their eyes glued to an iPhone or playing away on their DS. But if an app piques their interest and can be used as a springboard for getting excited about art, embrace it!

Here are a few ideas:

At the Museum

  • Use your digital camera or the camera on your phone to play a teched-up version of “I Spy” in the galleries. (Always check to make sure photography is allowed and remember t turn your flash off.) One member of the family chooses a work of art and takes a zoomed-in photo of a detail in that particular work. Pass the photo off to the rest of the family and see who can find the correct match.
  • Again in teams, pose like a painting or sculpture and snap a pic. Then have the other team look at your photo and see if they can guess which work of art you are imitating.
  • Use The Country Dog Gentlemen Gallery Game app from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to get the entire family looking closely at the art around you. Players search for works of art that match a secret color displayed on the screen, guess which work of art corresponds with a mood phrase, pose like a painting, and more. Because the game challenges are not tied to any specific work of art, it can be used in any art museum.
  • Play around with the Color ID app to identify exactly which shade of orange or burst of blue you see in the art on display.

At Home or On the Go

  • Try the Faces iMake app for iPhone or iPad to experiment with creating faces out of unusual objects. Players choose a basic outline for a head, then add details with food, toys, tools, candy, office supplies and more. Mess-free collage that will induce lots of laughter and spark all kinds of creativity!
  • PrestoBingo Shapes for younger children is an aesthetically pleasing take on shape recognition. Whimsical illustrations challenge players to find the hidden shapes and in an understated way, demonstrate how artists use basic shapes to create all kinds of images.
  • I love Doodle Kids first of all because it was created by a kid! Lim Deng Win created the game when he was nine years old for his younger sisters. Random shapes and colors combine to make magical pictures and it’s an easy way for kids to doodle when you forgot to stash crayons in your bag.

Posted by: Leah

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1 Comment

Filed under In the galleries

One response to “There’s an App for That!

  1. Great post! Note that the Country Dog Gentlemen App can be downloaded by going here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sfmoma-families/id491405271?mt=8

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