1. Prepare for the visit
While the National Gallery is very family friendly, talk to your kids before visiting non-the less. Talk about the rules: no yelling, being respectful, no touching the paintings...
But most of all, introduce them to a little green creature called Gal the Dwarf, who resides somewhere in the gallery and takes care of the paintings.
There is a story of Gal created years ago to inspire kids to visit the gallery. You can read all about it in two picture books translated into English as well, Gal in the Gallery and Ghosty in the Gallery.
2. Start with Gal
My kids were so excited when they learned about the dwarf. No wonder that as soon as we arrived, we had to go straight to his unique room. Ask at the ticket office where you can find it and go spend at least an hour there. Also check if they have the interesting educational material in the room translated into different languages.
Even if they don’t, there are still many things the kids can try, where language is not a barrier.
And that’s actually how the gallery wants you to start the visit with kids. The room is created to inspire kids to learn more about the art and works on display throughout the gallery. It also allows them to be artists themselves.
Kids can read Gal's picture books, solve puzzles of the paintings hanging in the gallery or explore the twenty-five boxes, each one covering one letter of the alphabet.