Grand Palais Tech Show for Kids

Every now and again, an exhibition comes along that is really great for the whole family, and a serious effort is made by a museum to make it fun for kids. Artists and Robots at the Grand Palais really is one of those special shows. Jennifer Hamerman took two nine-year-olds along and reports back for MLP….

Who doesn’t love robots?

We all have a fascination with robots. They really capture the imagination, especially for children. So when we heard about the Artists and Robots exhibition at the Grand Palais, we had to take a look for ourselves. We heard that iPads for were on offer to borrow with lots of fun features to bring the exhibition to life for children. We were sold. When a museum goes to that length, it’s usually a good indication that the exhibition will be engaging for kids.

Promising start

Well, it turned out the iPad rumours were true. I picked up an audioguide for myself (there’s optimism for you – imagining I would be spending the whole morning relaxed and listening to my own audioguide!) and we collected two iPads for the kids. They warned us they would be in French. My daughter is fluent and her friend is not, but it turned out the iPads were great either way.

Engaging exhibits

Captivated watching little-robotised pencils sketching

One of the first exhibits we paused at was a collection of robots doing still life drawing. The kids loved this one, stopping for quite a while to watch the robotised sketching. Another big favourite was the robot on wheels that had a crayon attached and was motoring around creating art. They were also quite captivated by the street art robot who was on a motorised skateboard, spray can attached.

Blowing out the dandelions

Blow into the machine and the dandelions on screen scatter

One digital exhibit was a beautiful big screen with dandelions. Children could blow into a machine and the dandelion seeds would blow away, creating an impressive effect on screen. The explanation nearby also served to remind me of the French word for dandelions which is ‘pissenlit’, which does indeed mean urinate in bed.

Big, bold pictures

The girls loved this vibrant, colourful room

The kids were wowed by some of the rooms where the emphasis was on spectacular, large scale installations. The flower room and the moving numbers both appealed. The flowers moved with them as they moved and they loved that.

Interactive fun

Yes, you get to control the robot yourself!

Who doesn’t want to press a series of buttons and have a robot do exactly as they want? The kids had a great time coming up with sequences on a screen for the robot in front of them to follow. If anything, we might have liked a couple more examples like this where kids really did get to be hands-on.

Elegant simplicity

Looking for the strings as the mobile moves

When I asked the girls afterwards what had been their favourite part, they were quick to answer that it had be the giant red mobile in the roof.  They loved watching to see which piece would move next and they had a lot of fun looking for the almost invisible strings.

The verdict

The subject matter meant that this exhibition was already off to a great start. The girls were already predisposed to be interested in robots and were fascinated by the idea that robots could create art. The Grand Palais did a great job in presenting the exhibits in a way that would only increase that enthusiasm. There was a definite wow factor that kept the girls going through the exhibition. The personal iPads meant that they lingered longer at each exhibit to find out more. The gift shop was loaded with robot-related stuff too, which went down well and I was lucky to escape with the purchase of only two little wooden robots.

My daughter and her friend are nine but I could easily see that both younger and older children could appreciate this exhibition on different levels.  The Grand Palais offer a little video teaser to watch before you go!

Hope you enjoyed the post. MLP always loves a great show for the kids. Follow us on Facebook for daily tips on Paris living.

Artists and Robots, Grand Palais, until 9 July 2018