Review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2016


Whimsical, kid-friendly intro to the wide world of art

Subjects & skills
  • Arts
  • Social Studies

  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (4 Reviews)

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Pros: Great videos and a fun interactive map help kids get oriented to the real-life Met and its artwork.

Cons: Some kids may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content; it's hard to keep track of what you've already visited.

Bottom Line: A wonderful, endlessly detailed way to get kids engaged in the world of art.

If you're headed to the Met with your students, you're in luck! This is an excellent tool to introduce or extend your in-person museum experience. If you can't visit, though, there's still enormous value here. Use the map to take a virtual tour of the museum. Ask your students: What can you tell about how the exhibits are organized from what you find on the map? Use the Time Machine feature to explore art from different eras, and talk about how and why the Met might have larger collections from some areas and some time periods than from others. Check out the different activities associated with each work of art; some are more detailed than others, and some are geared toward very young kids, so pick the activities that best fit your students and your classroom. Finally, check out those videos: Consider making your own Q&A videos with experts -- in your school or in local organizations that kids hope to explore -- or create your own projects that mirror the student projects featured on the site. 

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MetKids is a kid-friendly gateway to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The site features three major sections: "Map" lets users explore an interactive cartoon map of the Met, clicking red dots to learn more about the artwork and yellow dots to learn about visitor spaces in the museum. Each red dot lets users view a work of art in detail, and they can click "Listen" (to learn more about the work in a a child narrator's voice), "Discover" (to read more background information), "Imagine" (to imagine what the artwork might mean more broadly in its original context and today), and "Create" (where kids can create their own art related to the work they've just explored). There's also an "even more information" link that kids can tap to enter the Met's website for grown-ups and explore the work in even greater detail.

Kids can use the "Time Machine" feature to explore Met holdings by time period (such as 500–1,000 AD), geography (such as Latin America and the Caribbean), and concept (such as "Inventions" or "Mythology"). "Videos" features brief clips sorted into four categories: "Create," "Q&A," "Made by Kids," and "Celebrate." "Create" and "Made by Kids" showcase kids' creations, while Q&A videos feature kids asking questions about the museum (from how they preserve suits of armor to how they put together exhibits) and interviewing its curatorial and education staff. Finally, users can also tap a drop-down menu to learn more about the MetKids project, link to the site's blog, find out about visiting the museum, and explore programs for kids and families.

This might just be the ultimate museum website for kids. The site's tagline is "Made for, with, and by kids," and its resources deliver. This is a fun, approachable introduction for kids (and adults!) to the extraordinary riches that the Met has to offer. The videos might be the best part: It's exciting to see kids ask thoughtful, age-appropriate questions and to meet similarly thoughtful responses from the museum's curatorial staff. This is a warm, welcoming introduction to one of the country's leading arts institutions, and it's exciting that it feels so joyfully welcoming to kids and their curiosity.

There are still some areas for improvement. There's sometimes a lot to read; each work of art has a long narrative and a lot of detail attached to it, and not every piece has an audio narration attached. It would also be great if users could better chart their paths through the museum or tag something for later viewing. There are options to share via email or social media, but a built-in tool for this purpose would be a welcome addition. That being said, this is an exceptional, delightful way for young people to encounter art in a tone that's never condescending and meets them exactly at their level. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

There's tons to see, do, and explore here; kids will be engrossed by the map, the time machine, and the videos -- and they'll likely want to visit in person or create their own works of art.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Learning activities are thoughtfully constructed here. The extension activities with each work of art are cool and appealing, and they're bound to get kids thinking critically and creatively.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Transcripts for most videos are great, plus the site's easy to navigate. Even more audio features would help the site appeal to an even wider range of users.

Common Sense Reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

Teacher Reviews

(See all 4 reviews) (4 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Julie M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Newcomers High School
Long Island City, United States
Incredible, interactive website for students, parents and teachers!
I think this website is a win in every way, for students, for teachers, for parents, for anyone interested in art and learning. It's fun, it's full of more information than I'll ever be able to access, it's useful in every subject imaginable. It's brilliant, beyond, just extraordinary!!!
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