If you’ve been keeping up with Baskets Life, you know we have traveled all over the world, and one of the biggest challenges is getting our children to be excited and interested in seeing the amazing things the world has to offer.
Art museums are usually the hardest to get the kids to love, am I right? I mean, seriously speaking, sometimes all that art is hard for us adults to take in, too! When I told my nine year old we were going to Paris on a mother-son trip for two weeks, he was really excited. We did our normal routinue where I made a list of great places to see; he did the research, made a plan, and was our tour guide! He, of course, picked great sites – the Eifel tower, Montmartre, Arc De Triumph, but you can bet that the Louvre was not on his list! As a mom taking her child to Paris, I thought it was a disservice to not take him through the Louvre! But how could I get him to enjoy it, learn something, and not
make me feel like I was dragging him through a miserable day of torture that would eventually end in a fight, tears, and misery? First, allow me to explain – my son never sits still and would rather be playing basketball than doing anything else, so this trip was truly a challenge for me. I’m sure many of you can relate!
Well, I thought, and I thought, and I thought about it. Then, one day, this great idea just popped into my head! “How about we have a scavenger hunt inside the Louvre?!” I thought. We learned about some of the coolest pieces of art in the museum (read below on how we did that), and then I asked my son to help me find these pieces in the Louvre, which you know is a huge place! Then, I asked him if he would help me remember the stories about some of the pieces of art we were going to look at! Being the man of the trip, helping me was pretty cool, but a scavenger hunt was even cooler – and guess what? Every time he found a piece we were searching for, he happily explained it to me! If he didn’t remember it by heart, he took my iPhone, read about it, and summarized the information for me! He was my official tour guide for the day! We found almost everything on our list, wandered around for over five hours, had a blast, and guess what? We actually learned something!
The first thing I did before my trip was download a free app for my iPhone called “The Louvre Top 100.” The app can be used offline, too, and has pictures and descriptions of the top 100 things to see in the Louvre. It also has a map of the museum, and it classifies everything by painting, sculpture, and type of art!
Then, we sat down for a great lunch – a croquet madame: the great, open-faced, ham, cheese, and egg sandwich, and had a look at the app together. First, we went through the pictures, and when we saw a picture that we thought was cool, pretty, or interesting, we stopped to read about it. My son likes all of the stories of the gods and goddesses. I am sure this passion came from our trip to Egypt where we learned the cool stories of all the gods! Anyway, when he saw the picture “Psyche Revived” by Cupid’s Kiss, we stopped and read about it. By no means am I an art expert, so this little app sure helped me out!
Here is what we discovered in a nutshell – Psyche was born the most beautiful girl in all the land. Venus, the Goddess of Love, became jealous of Psyche and sent her son, Cupid, to shoot an arrow that would make her fall in love with a horrible ugly monster! Once Cupid sees Psyche in person, he decides to shoot himself with the arrow so she will fall in love with him instead! Like every good love story, they fight, Cupid runs away, and Psyche looks for him. Venus, hoping to punish her for hurting her son, gives her a mission to redeem herself (of course thinking she will fail). She sent her to the underworld and was instructed to put some of her beauty in a jar and share it! This would redeem her, and the only rule is that once her beauty is in the jar, she can’t look inside. Well, of course everyone is going to look inside, right?! When she did – POOF! She was put into internal sleep, never to wake up. Cupid, who is heartbroken and looking for her, eventually finds her sleeping! Cupid leans in to kiss her, and the spell is broken! They are so happy that he asks Zeus to make her immortal, and they run off to get married and live happily ever after! What a cool story, right? So, what is the statue? It is of the kiss that broke the spell!
So, this statue became part of our scavenger hunt, and my son was super excited when we walked into the gallery of sculptures and saw it! He actually ran to the statue, reminding me of the love story and who these two people were! My son not only recanted the whole story, but he walked around the statue and actually looked at it, noticing Cupid’s bag of arrows. Then, he saw the jar, where she put her beauty, and pointed it out to me! “Look, mom! There is the jar of her beauty!” he happily said.
We did this with many of the sculptures and paintings in the Louvre, and we had so much fun, not only looking for them, but learning the stories behind them! Now, does he remember who the artist is? Probably not. But he will always remember seeing the Louvre, and he will always remember that trip. He will always remember that statue, and better yet, he will always remember that story. In my opinion, this is what art and travel are really about – THE STORY! I hope you all are creating your own stories. Until next time, and thanks for following our wonderful Baskets Life!
For more Sunday Traveler, click here –> http://www.chasingthedonkey.com/what-to-see-in-zadar/