Activities and Workshops

Introduce your child to the wonder and joy of art at family programs and workshops that combine looking at art with hands-on experiences. Family programs are scheduled on select days, year round. 


Drop in!

Artist's Studio (All ages with an adult)
Daily 
Drop in 10:30–5:00
On Thursdays in July 10:30-6:30
Free; no registration required

Drop in at the Artist’s Studio in the Ryan Learning Center and work as a family on an art project that you can take home. Activities are thematically linked to artwork in the museum’s collection and special exhibitions. 

Artist’s Studio programs are designed for children of all ages, along with their caregivers. They take place daily in the Family Room during Family Room hours. Admission to the Ryan Learning Center is always free, so come as often as you like!

Summer Open Studio 
Thursdays–Sundays in July
Fridays–Sundays in August
11:00–2:00
Find your inspiration in the work of Chicago-based artist Cauleen Smith. Learn about her interdisciplinary work with films, drawings, and books, and make something today!  

Art Making in the Galleries
Fridays and Saturdays
June 30-August 4
1:30-3:30
Join us for drop-in art-making activities inspired by the Art Institute's collection. Stop by the Family Room for location information. 

Picture This (Ages 18 months-3 years, with caregivers)
First Thursday of each month
11:00-11:30
Free with museum admission; no registration required
Meet in Griffin Court
Celebrate some of your favorite picture books. Look and listen as you enjoy a story that relates to a work of art in the galleries. 

Find all upcoming drop-in family programs. 


Sign Up!

Registration for workshops opens on the first day of the month preceeding the workshop date. Refer to the family programs calendar or brochure for available programs. Space is limited. All workshops take place on Saturdays. 

Artful Play (Ages 3–5 with an adult)
Advance registration required
60 minutes

Artful play workshops offer a guided and joyful experience in the museum for preschool-aged children and their caregivers. Previously offered under the name Mini Masters, these programs are led by experienced museum educators and are developed based on quality early-learning standards for object- and museum-based learning. Workshop themes change regularly and include storytelling, guided gallery visits, dramatic play, and creative exploration of art materials.  

Find upcoming Artful Play (formerly Mini Masters) workshops.

Family Workshop (Ages 6–12 with an adult)
Advance registration required

Family workshops provide school-age children and their families with focused, age-appropriate experiences in the galleries and the studio. Workshop themes change regularly, and studio projects span a range of activities, from making suits of armor to painting in the Impressionist style to carving clay reliefs to printing with ink on fabric. Special exhibitions, including illustration, architecture, and photography, are often highlighted in these workshops.

Find upcoming family workshops

Tween Workshop (Ages 9–12)
Advance registration required

Tween workshops combine gallery experiences with art making in the studio and are designed for tweens on their own, without an adult companion. Workshops often include technology-based activities and have featured photo collage, animation, and installation art.

Find upcoming tween workshops


Registering for Programs and Workshops

Sign-up programs meet in the Ryan Learning Center and travel to the galleries. If you're a member of the Art Institute, please bring your member card for admission to the galleries. Museum admission tickets are required for accompanying adults and children ages 14 and over.

Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Admission to the Ryan Learning Center is always free.
Admission to the museum is free for children under 14.