San Francisco's de Youngsters Studio for hands-on art - 510 Families
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San Francisco’s de Youngsters Studio for hands-on art

Located in an area of the de Young museum that is FREE, de Youngsters Studio is open to children of all ages, with interactive art activities specifically created for ages 3 and older to explore together with an accompanying adult.

de Youngster Studio touch art
Draw with textures | Photo: Maureen Burke

Designed by innovators fuseproject and Tellart, the de Youngsters Studio was built to get kids exploring art fundamentals—color, composition, shape, form, sculpture, and texture—through hands-on activities and visual technology.

The space is divided into multiple areas, each with a unique and interactive element to learn through play.

  • Play with shapes and colors at the light-box tables. A projector displays the creations so little ones can showcase their designs. There’s opportunity for parents to teach kids about shape names, color mixing or patterns.
  • Explore lines and movement with a motion-sensor screen. Kids can dance, jump or strike a pose in front of the screen then see a colorful outline of their bodies on the screen. This area is lots of fun for all ages and a great way to burn off some energy.
  • Create a design using textures on the touch art screens. It’s like coloring with a giant tablet.
  • Build a modern art sculpture using wooden shapes, then watch as the shape magically appear on the screen. Use the screen to change your sculpture’s medium (wood, metal, stone or color) and position in the museum. (Parent tip: the wooden blocks are heavy; help little ones with lifting or positioning so there are no smashed fingers.)

There’s a family bathroom located in the de Youngsters studio. This is a huge perk! The space is outfitted with two toilets (one sized for toddlers), two sinks, stools and changing table area.

de Youngster studio movement art
Spin, dance or wiggle to make art in de Youngster Studio | Photo: Maureen Burke

Other areas to visit at de Young Museum (many free)

  • Hamon Tower Observation Area: Don’t miss the stunning 360-degree views of San Francisco on the observation level. The space is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, and tickets are not required for entry.
  • Outdoor Sculpture Garden: Wander through the small sculpture garden on the northeast corner of the museum’s grounds. My kids like the pirate sculpture best. Plus, they love running through the mist trail.
  • de Young Museum Permanent Collection Galleries: Kids who enjoy museums will certainly like the de Young’s permanent collections. My five-year-old liked the modern art and contemporary craft pieces.
Hamon Observation Tower
Jaw-dropping views at Hamon Observation Tower | Photo: Maureen Burke

On Saturdays, admission is free for residents who live in the nine Bay Area counties. The museum also hosts free drop-in Family Art Making events on select Saturdays. Plus, the museum hosts free admission days for all on the first Tuesdays of the month. Keep in mind that children 17 years and younger are always free.

de Youngsters studio mom and daughter

de Youngsters studio child at play

Plan your visit to de Youngsters Studio

Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco.

Open 9:30 am–5:15 pm Tuesdays–Sundays. Open select holidays; closed most Mondays. The space will be open during normal museum hours.

General admission to the de Young and Legion of Honor museums is always free for those 17 and under. Admission to the de Youngsters Studio is free of charge.

[Other favorite activities in Golden Gate Park]

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de Youngsters studio children at play
de Youngsters studio families at play

[All photos provided by Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and used with permission, unless noted otherwise]

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