Parenting: A “Date” Day

We are so very, very lucky to live in the fourth largest city in the United States. It allows myself and my children many opportunities to have world class experiences. Unfortunately when you have small children you often forget that such awesome opportunities are down the road ready to be taken advantage of! I wanted to take my daughter on a date day for a while seeing as our last date day was to see the Nutcracker ballet way back in December! I just didn’t quite know what we should do. Well, Montessori says follow the child so I took a step back to observe her current interests.

At age 5, she is very interested in art. She says she wants to be an artist and a scientist when she grows up. She always chooses to do the art station at least once a day if not more. So what better idea than to take her to the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston!

Before the Date:

I prepared for the day by getting her really excited about our date! We put it on our family calendar and her calendar. We also talked about what we should bring to the museum, if anything. She decided that we should bring a notepad and a pencil so that we can write down the art we like or try to copy a painting. We also discussed museum expectations. I told her it was similar to the library in that we needed to talk in low voices and use walking feet. I also told her that the art is to be observed with our eyes, but not our hands.

As we waited for the Museum doors to open, she was inspired to draw.

As we waited for the Museum doors to open, she was inspired to draw.

Day of the Date:

We got dressed up for our date which made it feel extra special. We both chose yellow dresses. At the museum I let her dictate how we explored the museum, which art we would stop and look at, etc. If she was drawn to a piece I would ask her detail questions to get her to look deeper. She was very drawn to portraits of noble women, not surprising for this princess loving girl! We also have a book called “Colors” by Caroline Desnoilttes, which takes real paintings from the MFA-H and uses them to describe colors. We created a little scavenger hunt by looking for the paintings from the book. We found 14 and it created excitement to come back and try to find the rest. We only spent about an hour in the museum itself which was a good amount of time to engage her without wearing her out. On our way out we hit up the museum store for a memento. I let her pick out a book of her choice.

The Colors book available for purchase at the MFA-H store.

The Colors book available for purchase at the MFA-H store.

She then got to chose what type of lunch we would share. She selected pizza, so we went and ate at a local pizza place. During lunch we had good conversation and I just asked her random questions to draw out more of who she is at 5. I asked her about her friends at school, what she wants to be when she grows up, what interests her right now, what she likes about our family, what she would change about our family, etc. It was lovely to be able to focus solely on her and not have to divide my attention between her and her brother (who demands tons of attention at 3!).

At our fancy pizza lunch with the book she chose. It is a wonderful story based on Edward Degas' ballerina paintings!

At our fancy pizza lunch with the book she chose. It is a wonderful story based on Edgar Degas’ ballerina paintings!

It was a very fulfilling day for me and I am excited to do another date with her every few months. I also look forward to taking my son on some dates as well. Date your kids, it’s really fun.

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