Welcome, parents and children!
The MFA is a great place to bring children. Kids 6 and under are always free, and kids 7 to 17 are free during nonschool hours (weekdays after 3 pm, weekends, and Boston public school holidays). You can find more helpful visiting information at Visiting with Kids and Family; follow some of the tips below to make your visit full of art and fun while you’re here.
The MFA is a great place to explore. You will see paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, videos, and more!
Pick up a Museum map at the Sharf Visitor Center or any admissions desk. A Guide to Family Fun at the MFA (PDF) is filled with ideas for looking together with children in the MFA and lists of other activities to enjoy in the Museum.
Before you begin
- Don’t feel like you need to see the entire Museum in one day. It’s a big place and worth many visits!
- Children under 14 must always be accompanied by an adult.
- Strollers are allowed in all galleries; however, there may be restrictions when special exhibition galleries are crowded.
- Help us keep the artwork safe by not touching or climbing on objects.
- Always walk, don’t run.
- If a child is too young to understand and follow the rules, consider having an adult or older child hold their hand.
- Our security guards protect you and the art; please respect their requests.
- When photographing in the Museum, please be mindful of not stepping back into the artwork. Maintain a distance of 12 inches away from the artwork at all times.
- Please don’t eat in the galleries; take a snack break in one of our dining areas.
As you look at paintings, imagine the sights, sounds, and smells you would experience if you stepped inside. Try striking a pose like the sculptures you see.
Create an adventure
Create a family adventure plan. Search for faces, crowns, or animals; choose a culture to explore (ancient Egypt, colonial America); or look for a specific kind of art (paintings, photographs). Not sure where to start? Pick up an Art Connections Card at Sharf Visitor Center or download an Art Connections Card and search for objects by theme.
Using paper and pencils, sketch what you see in the galleries. If you don’t have sketching supplies stop by Sharf Visitor Center and ask for a tote bag with drawing materials and activities.
Search for specific shapes, lines, colors, or animasl in different galleries. For example, look for zigzag lines or find all the things that are yellow in each gallery.
Play a gallery game. You can play “I spy” in one of your favorite galleries.
Or pick two similar works of art and compare them. Discuss how they are the same and how they are different.
Or try playing the Memory Game together. Look at a work of art for a few minutes. Then, turn around and describe what you saw. Take turns. Does each person remember the same details or different parts?
After Your Visit
On your way home discuss your visit. What was each person’s favorite object or gallery?
Create a work of art together when you get home. Sketch a favorite object, create a sculpture using found objects or clay, or paint a picture of your home, neighborhood, or something special to you.
Come back for more!