Join us for Family Sundays at the National Gallery of Canada

Published on March 3 2016

When you have a family, weekends are made for spending time together. The National Gallery of Canada gets that (good news: children under 12 get in free). In January, the gallery launched its new Family Sundays activity program. One Sunday a month, children ages 0–12 and their adults are invited to experience the national collection through a different theme. The theme of the first session (January 17) was Art Moves Me!, with dance and puppet making activities. Mom and dad, mark these dates on the family whiteboard: Sunday, March 6 (Art, Actors, Action!) and Sunday, April 10 (Mystery at the Art Gallery). I participated in the January 17 session with my son Thomas, my childhood friend Danika and her daughterThéa, who’s nearly two. Here’s my report on our gallery adventure!

A family outing with friends

Since Thomas was born, it always feels a bit weird to plan a “real” family outing with Danika. The kids, the diaper bags, the snacks, the lunches, the stroller—holy moly! It wasn’t too long ago that we were juggling all the same gear … but with our dolls!

Sunday, 10 a.m.: Thomas woke up from his nap, we had a snack, I packedup our paraphernalia, and we hit the road for Danika’s. When we got there, she and Théawere all set to go. It took just a couple of minutes to transfer our stuff to her car and fasten Thomas into his car seat, then we were off to Ottawa.

Atelier danse


11 a.m.: We arrived at the museum just as the program wasgetting underway (it runs until 4 p.m.). Judging by the lineup at the ticket counter, we weren’t the only ones to have this bright idea! We left our coats at the checkroom and picked up a brochure about today’s activities, and we were ready to start our adventure.


And there was lots to choose from: puppet making, dance performances and workshops, storytelling, singing, sensory games and guided tours. Where to begin? Over to Théa! As we walked up the ramp leading to the Great Hall, we could hear music, and she insisted on stopping to watch a dance presentation by Luv2Groove.The kids were mesmerized by the energetic young dancers, colourful costumes and catchy music. After the show, it was the kids’ turn to get moving. It was great to see them trying to imitate the grown-up dancers!


Making dancing puppets

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Right next to the dance floor was a crafts area where kids (and their parents) could pose for pictures, then use scissors, glue and a little imagination to create a family of dancing puppets. I have to tell you, the results were pretty funny. A gallery employee took our pictures and printed them out, and the rest was up to us. This activity confirmed without a doubt that I’m no artist (the photos say it all), but the important thing is that we all had fun.

After all this excitement, we were feeling hungry, so we made our way to the gallery cafeteria for a bite to eat before checking out the other activities. What stands out about our day at the gallery: The kids had a great time, and so did we! Be sure to mark March 6 and April 10 on the family calendar. Family Sundays at the National Gallery are too much fun to miss!

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