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A Kids’ Art Tour of Barcelona, Spain

by Barbara Rogers

Nov 13, 2023

© Saiko3p | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Europe

Barcelona is unique in the ways it engages children — and the entire family — in its art and architecture. It’s impossible not to feel involved as you stand in front of one of Anton Gaudi’s surrealistic buildings or explore the interior spaces. His revolutionary architecture makes kids feel as though they’ve traveled to a different universe; even teen boredom is impossible, and children of any age will be drawn in by their magic.


Gaudi is not the only Barcelona artist whose work is a good introduction to art. Paintings and sculptures of Joan Miro are bright and playful, so appealing that Spain’s tourism authority used his work in its posters and advertising.


Best known of Gaudi’s work — and hard to miss — are the soaring sharp spires of Basílica de la Sagrada Família. The first impression of its tall, slender spires and riot of delicately carved stone embellishments is of a fairy-tale castle or a sultan’s palace out of Aladdin. The church is as riotous inside its soaring sanctuary, lit by sunlight through its stained-glass windows. Here, art seems to embrace visitors.


On a different note, take the kids to the two astonishing homes Gaudi designed. La Pedrera (Casa Mila) looks more like a giant sculpture with its free-form lines and vine-like ironwork. Looking at the outside isn’t enough: Go to the undulating roof to see the chimneys. Kids who’ve seen Star Wars can’t help noticing their resemblance to Darth Vader or the storm troopers. Take older kids on the night tour, with music and a light show.


Casa Batlló is quite different, but equally unconventional, with curving windows and face-like balconies. Adding to its dream-like quality are the colored tiles and stained-glass windows. Very young kids will be more involved with the art all around them in Park Güell, where abstract designs of colorful tiles decorate stairways, fountains and bridges. 


In Parc de Montjuïc, close to the Olympic stadium, Fundació Joan Miró shows the colorful and playful paintings and nearly 200 sculptures of the Surrealist-Abstract artist. Endlessly creative, Miro charms with bright primary colors, bold shapes and original abstracts. The bright museum, lit by skylights, is a perfect setting for his upbeat art. 


Pick up a sketch pad or coloring book in the museum shop so kids can create their own surrealistic works of art as they tour the museum. A blank notebook with a Miro cover can become a journal to hold souvenirs of the trip. T-shirts with Miro designs also make for a good souvenir of their art adventures in Barcelona. 


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