books for creative kids
  • Contemporary Art in the Classroom: Mirrors
  • Jessica Brown
  • inspiration
Contemporary Art in the Classroom: Mirrors

Those familiar with the Reggio Emilia approach know that mirrors play a huge role in the carefully cultivated learning environment created by these educators. Children’s fascination with mirrors begins at an early age and actually serves as more than just entertainment. Mirrors give babies an opportunity to explore the human face and begin imitating expressions and movements, as well as giving them a sense of body awareness and object permanence.

As children grow, their relationship to mirrors becomes deeper and more complicated as well. In Reggio Emilia classrooms, mirrors lining the walls allow children to play and make art through multiple perspectives and explore ways that reflection can add another dimension to a sensory experience. Deepening children’s understanding of perception and perspective is so beautiful to watch, and can be achieved across multiple platforms. In addition to including mirrors in the list of possible artistic tools, use this list of contemporary artists using mirrors to play with perception and space to introduce children to the surreal effects mirrors can have on the self and space.

Using mirrors in large scale installation pieces is a way of engaging with the space and viewers. Reflecting a viewer in the piece both satisfies the childlike fascination with one’s own image, as well as allowing the viewer to become a direct participant in the piece. The following contemporary artists use mirrors in ways that manipulate and distort reflected viewers/participants, the environment and space they are in, and reality itself. Exposing children to these artists can go a long way towards opening up their minds to using materials and one’s environment creatively, and to the limitless possibilities of conceptual art.

Olafur Eliasson, Colour Square Sphere
Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirror Room


Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate
Anish Kapoor, Sky Mirror
Jeff Koons, Balloon Dog
Jeff Koons, Coloring Book
Robert Smithson, Yucatan Mirror Displacement
Yumiko Yamazaki, Sky Project


Olafur Eliasson, The Open Pyramid
Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirror Room


Josiah McElheny, Walking Mirror
Michelangelo Pistoletto, Buco Nero


Incorporate mirrors into your own child’s art and play to put some of these ideas into practice- bring mirrors outside, use them to reflect light, use two or more mirrors to reflect each other endlessly, get creative!

  • Jessica Brown
  • inspiration

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