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Explore for yourself

From creative ways to explore together to learning resources developed for schools, here are some of our top tips for making the most of your family visit

Four top tips for families

Boys looking at painting

Have fun!
We have over 2,500 paintings but you don’t have to look at every one. Focus on what really grabs your attention.

Families 'Top tips' Talks

Talk
The National Gallery is a place to explore, ask questions, debate and use your imagination.

Families 'Top tips' Draw

Draw
Paper and pencils are available at all Information Desks for families with children. You can also bring your own.

Families 'Top tips' Strike a Pose

Strike a pose
Can you copy the poses of people in paintings? Try role-playing or charades.

Other ways to explore

Here are some ways to enjoy your time together as a family.

Go on a scavenger hunt

Try making a themed family visit, looking closely for as many dogs, babies, shoes, dragons, hats or trees that you can find. You could even start by looking online and printing out things that look interesting, or buy postcards in the shop that you like, and then ‘hunt’ for the pictures in the Gallery.

Make your own gallery

Organise your favourite paintings by striking and unusual themes, such as:

  • paintings featuring storm clouds
  • houses with fires burning
  • men holding shields
  • women with babies
  • people who are smiling
  • people wearing hats
  • people bending over or twisting
  • paintings with imaginary creatures

Talk about how you’ve chosen to put these paintings together with your family, and discuss why they aren’t organised like that. How are the paintings organised?

Storymaking as you go

Make up a story as you journey through the Gallery:

  1. Pick a portrait you would like as the main character of your story
  2. Choose a landscape as a setting and start to tell your tale
  3. Pick another painting and build it into the story
  4. Move on to another painting and develop the story as you go, incorporating each new picture as a device to move the story on

You’ll have created obscure and wonderful stories that you can retell at bedtime. You can also buy some postcards or print pictures off at home to illustrate these stories.

Learning resources

Take inspiration from some of the learning resources we’ve developed on our Schools Programme: