Kids’ audio guide: Tell Me a Picture

Have you ever wondered what art looks like through a child’s eyes, or wished you could still see it as children do?

Te Papa’s kids’ audio guide, Tell Me a Picture, was made by children for children. But kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy the fascinating, funny, and poignant perspectives it offers.

The stars are students in years 1 and 2 (ages 5 to 7) of Crofton Downs Primary School in Wellington. Encouraged by Helen Lloyd, former Senior Education Programmer at Te Papa, they shared their responses to art works featured in Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa, which showcases the national collection.

The children were prompted to look carefully at the art and describe what they could see. Then, using all their senses, they went on imaginative journeys into the works and told stories inspired by them.

Their enchanting interpretations remind us that art is for everyone, that it holds infinite meanings, and that we are bound only by our imaginations.

Have a listen. Have a look.

How to talk about art with kids

Tips from Helen Lloyd, a Senior Educator at Te Papa.

Further reading: The New Zealand Art Activity Book

Maori women and children on riverbank

Gottfried Lindauer, Maori women and children on riverbank, 1910, oil on canvas. Purchased 2000 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa (2000-0011-1)

Carmen, aged 6, talks about Maori women and children on riverbank by Gottfried Lindauer:

Explore Gottfried Lindauer on Collections Online

The family

Paratene Matchitt, The family, 1966, wood and paint. Te Papa (2009-0002-1/A-C to C-C)

Isaac, aged 7, and Manon, aged 6, talk about The family by Paratene Matchitt:

Explore Paratene Matchitt on Collections Online

The poet

Gordon Walters, The poet, 1947, oil and pencil on canvas. Gift of the Friends of the National Art Gallery, 1991. Te Papa (1991-0004-2)

Carmen, aged 6, Josh, aged 6, and Mika, aged 5, talk about The poet by Gordon Walters:

Explore Gordon Walters on Collections Online

Figures in landscape

Jeffrey Harris, Figures in landscape, 1977, oil on hardboard. Te Papa (1990-0024-5)

Isaac, aged 7, Connor, aged 5, Josh, aged 6, and Emily, aged 7, talk about Figures in landscape by Jeffrey Harris:

Explore Jeffrey Harris on Collections Online


Rita Angus, Rutu, 1951, oil on canvas. © Reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus. Te Papa (1992-0025-1)

Zoe, aged 6, and Sophia, aged 5, talk about Rutu by Rita Angus:

Explore Rita Angus on Collections Online

Landscape with settlers

Messenger Sisters, Landscape with settlers, about 1857, oil on board. Te Papa (1999-0003-1)

Connor, aged 5, talks about Landscape with settlers by Messenger Sisters:

Explore Messenger Sisters on Collections Online

A bush settler’s home in New Zealand

Samuel Stuart, A Bush Settler’s Home in New Zealand, 1884, oil on canvas. Te Papa (2006-0020-2)

Isaac, aged 6, and Isaac, aged 7, talk about A bush settler’s home in New Zealand by Samuel Stuart:

Explore Samuel Stuart on Collections Online

Untitled (Girl in bush setting)

Maker unknown, Untitled (Girl in a bush setting), 1882, oil on canvas. Te Papa (1995-0014-1)

Zoe, aged 6, talks about Girl in a bush setting by an unknown artist:

Orakei Korako on the Waikato

Charles Blomfield, Orakei Korako on the Waikato, 1885, oil on canvas. Te Papa (1994-0012-1)

Sofia, aged 5, talks about Orakei Korako on the Waikato by Charles Blomfield:

Explore Charles Blomfield on Collections Online

Get our Toi Art newsletter

Latest news, interesting reads, and exhibition updates from our art team.