Early years, children and families programme

The Early Years, Children and Families Programme plays a major part in encouraging learning through art at the National Gallery of Ireland. It is informed by research in the field, working with highly engaging early years and family learning specialists, and has developed through ongoing project evaluation and in dialogue with the core audience. This strand is for all the family, from babies and toddlers to younger teens and their parents/carers. It is a highly engaging programme, supporting both cognitive, fine motor and emotional/affective development in children while encouraging joyful intergenerational engagement with art.

What do we do?

We embrace play, enquiry, problem solving, independent thinking and collaboration through multi-disciplinary sensory activities responding to the national collection. We programme general activities onsite for everyone from seasoned museum visitors to tourist families on holidays, and offsite through outreach projects for families who have not visited the Gallery before and are less likely to connect with cultural institutions for geographical, social, or financial reasons.

At the Gallery, Sunday is our ‘Family Day’ when drop-in workshops, tours and activities all have a family focus. However, any day of the week our Maples and Calder Creative Space and free art packs support independent creative activity, while our scheduled workshops and events are designed with age-appropriate learning in mind. We are currently developing our existing online strand for Early Years, Children and Families which aims to take learning through art out of the gallery and into the home.  

Types of Activities

  • Family-friendly tours
  • New parents’ tours
  • Baby workshops
  • Sunday drop-in family workshops
  • Seasonal events e.g. mid-term break camps
  • Workshop series for older children
  • Special events e.g. Halloween activities, bespoke theatrical and performance events
  • Creative packs
  • Resources
  • Outreach – one-off workshops, series of activities, or long-term projects

Find out more:

General children and families queries: contact Joanne Drum T: 01 663 3505 | E: [email protected] 

For more info on Sunday family drop-in workshops and activities contact Caomhán Mac Con Iomaire

T: 01 663 3507   E: [email protected]

People drawing in the Atrium Creative Space of the National Gallery of Ireland on National Drawing Day 2018.

Maples and Calder Creative Space

Feeling inspired during your visit to the Gallery? Why not drop into our dedicated Maples and Calder Creative Space and create your own masterpiece! This space is for everyone and is open to all ages. Paper and colouring materials provided for free.

Where: Atrium

Events for children and families

We offer a range of tours, workshops and activities for children and their families.

See upcoming children's events on the What's On calendar

Two children drawing in the Shaw Room of the National Gallery of Ireland on National Drawing Day 2018.

Zurich Young Portrait Prize

Enter our inclusive art competition for children and young people aged 0 to 18.

Find out more

Early years events

We regularly offer buggy-friendly tours for new parents, as well as creative workshops for babies.

See upcoming early years events on the What's On calendar

Photo taken at a Baby Workshop at the National Gallery of Ireland.