If you read my Facebook post a couple of weeks ago, you will have seen that we visited the Tate Modern with our little tribe. Having read the post, you probably would have thought that the trip was a car crash, a total disaster and that we would not be repeating it. You’d be wrong. You see, I’m realising that taking 4 children anywhere is not without its mini disasters. In fact my whole day is just mini disaster followed by mini disaster. Even a trip to the shop or a walk down the road will lead to one of them having a melt down – either the toddler and the five year old will be arguing about who walks the fastest (?!) or the eldest will be having a strop because I wasn’t listening properly, as I was attempting to keep the littlest’s dummy in his mouth so he’d sleep. This is how we roll these days.
And so I realised we have two choices. We stay in all day and keep the melt downs and the arguments behind closed doors. Or we just let them loose in London and everyone witnesses our chaos! I’ve realised I have to get out of my head the idyllic family adventures I thought we might have. I’ve realised that wandering through wild flower meadows and paddling in streams might happen. But it will almost certainly be accompanied by the 5 year old picking the heads off the flowers and the 3 year old falling head first into the river. It’s just how it’s going to have to be!
Anyway, back to the Tate Modern. It is filling the spot of number 7 in our Top Ten Things to do with Kids in South London, although depending on the exhibitions and the time of year, it may have scored higher. The Tate Modern has an impressive array of things to do during the school holidays and the great thing about London’s big museums and galleries being free to go to, is that you can pop in without feeling obliged to look at everything on display. This is perfect for kids.
Aside of the train ride (which is often a highlight for the children on trips like this) the children loved the big wide space of the gallery. They rolled around the Turbine Hall and sat, slightly aghast listening to the rather strange soundscape installation whilst I tried to explain to them this Art was Modern Art and that they didn’t have to love or even understand everything!
What was lovely about watching the children in the gallery, was Elodie and Finlay’s fascination with the more unusual pieces of art, they loved looking at the pieces and copying the style into their own ‘Art Journals’ that they brought with them. Finlay became quite irate when we tried to move him on from drawing a concrete structure!
It was very cute to watch them stop and sketch all the different bits of art and they had their firm favourites as well as pieces they really didn’t like. They enjoyed seeing the Picasso piece because it was familiar for them. We visited the Tate Modern at a time when there weren’t that many family friendly exhibitions on but the children still enjoyed exploring the different styles and textures. Orla wasn’t really fussed about the art, instead she was quite excited that her shoes made a loud echoing noise. Elodie and Finlay were a little embarrassed that she spent the time stomping round each of the exhibitions. I think next time, I might take the older ones on their own to avoid the embarrassment and give them a decent amount of time to look at the art without always having to rush out of the exhibition to keep up with their stomping sister!!
Before heading home, we took the lifts in the Switch House to the viewing platform. This is well worth the wait for the lifts! Once you do get a space in the lift (downside of being a big family!) then the lifts are super quick and the view from the top is really stunning. Mr M enjoyed pointing out his work and all the sights like St Pauls. I think it was his favourite part of the trip! It’s good that there’s another dimension to the Tate Modern Trip with the addition of the Switch House and on a sunnier day with more clement weather it would make a perfect spot for sketching the sky line (we would have blown away had we attempted this!!) All in all, the trip was worth Pencil Gate and Apple Meltdowns, in order for me to see that the children liked being inspired by the Art and would definitely be something to try again!