Play and Learn

#MuseumWithoutWalls

Play and Learn

Date: Last updated on July 31, 2020

Keep your children engaged with hand-on activities that feed the mind and spark creativity.

 

On this page, you will find a host of kid-friendly worksheets and links to interactive Museum experiences — specially prepared by our talented Education team. Inspired by the Museum’s Collection and temporary exhibitions, these resources will help children and caregivers alike broaden their appreciation of the arts of Muslim civilizations, and beyond.

 

Puzzle of the Week: A Prince Meets a Sage

A manuscript painting from 17th-century India showing a prince along with two men in his entourage encountering a wise man on their journey.

 

There’s more to life than reaching a destination. We can learn so much from the people we cross paths with along the way.

 

As you are solving this puzzle — a 17th-century painting from India showing a horse-riding prince encountering a wise man or sage — take a moment to think about the friends you’ve made in your life. What important lessons have you learned from them, and what have they learned from you?

 

A Prince Meets a Sage

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Family Sunday activity for July 26

 

Dance your eyes across the patterns and shapes on a 15th-century Iranian door in the Museum's Collection. Inspired by what you see, create your own geometric masterpiece using pencil crayons, paper, and your imagination. Watch the video below to get started!

 

Puzzle of the Week: Painting of the Asavari Musical Mode

In this painting from 18th-century India, a woman with blue skin holds a snake while more snakes slither up the trees around her.

 

When you hear wordless music, what do you see? The 18th-century painting above is an artist's visual interpretation of the Asavari mode, a traditional melodic framework in Indian classical music.

Complete the picture and learn about the fascinating genre it belongs to!

 

Painting of the Asavari Musical Mode

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Family Sunday activity for July 12

In a watercolour from 17th-century Iran, two shepherds relax in a farmer's field while goats and sheep graze nearby.

 

Reunite two shepherds with their flock as you piece together our Puzzle of the Week. And learn more about the vibrant 17th-century Iranian painting it comes from — an elaborate work by Iranian artist Ali Quli Jabbadar.

 

Two Shepherds with Sheep and Goats

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Family Sunday activity for July 5

 

Our Family Sunday activity this week is as smooth as silk. Watch this video to learn about silkworms, silk moths, and how silk is made. Then, discover how to make a silkworm of your very own!

 

Rhythms of Canada: Storytelling with Armaan

 

In their Canada Day children’s storytelling video, our friend Armaan and special guest Aadil take you on an alphabetical tour of iconic Canadian people, places, animals, and pastimes! Thanks, you two, for reading for us from the colourful picture book ABC of Canada, written by Kim Bellefontaine and illustrated by Per-Henrik Gürth.

 

Family Sunday activities for June 28

 

Our latest puzzle reveals a grateful poet in conversation with his patron. What do you think they’re talking about? Go here to put the pieces together — and discover fun facts about this glorious work of art from 17th-century India.

 

Plus: Deceit is dangerous! That’s a key take-home message of the Museum-commissioned children’s book Two Crafty Jackals.

 

Join our friend Armaan as he shares more exciting escapades of the book’s title characters, Kalilah and Dimnah.

 

Family Sunday activities for June 21

 

This Family Sunday, match the colourful flowers — and learn about the vibrant masterworks they sprouted from — with this nature-themed game of Memory Card.

 

And, in his latest storytelling segment for the #MuseumWithoutWalls, our friend Armaan shares another tale from the Museum-commissioned children’s book Two Crafty Jackals that channels the awesome power and beauty of nature.

 

Author Elizabeth Laird wrote the text and illustrator Sadiqi Beg created the book’s rich visuals. Though it is currently out of print, you can buy an e-book of Two Crafty Jackals at Amazon.ca.

We thank Armaan, a long-time member of the Museum family, for taking time out of his schedule to regale us with his storytelling. Great job, Armaan!

 

Family Sunday activities for June 14

 

This Sunday, piece together a joyous royal wedding with this puzzle of a vibrant painting from a 17th-century Iranian manuscript of the Shahnameh (Book of Kings).

 

And, in his latest storytelling video, our friend Armaan delivers another action-packed tale from the Museum-commissioned children’s book Two Crafty Jackals.

 

 

Storytelling with Armaan: More tales from Two Crafty Jackals

 

Armaan returns with two more adventures from the Museum-commissioned children’s book Two Crafty Jackals. At the end, he invites you to have a conversation with your family about what has given you hope during these times.

Author Elizabeth Laird wrote the text and illustrator Sadiqi Beg created the book’s rich visuals. Though it is currently out of print, you can buy an e-book of Two Crafty Jackals at Amazon.ca.

We thank Armaan, a long-time member of the Museum family, for taking time out of his schedule to regale us with his storytelling. Great job, Armaan!

 

Family Sunday activities for June 7

 

For this week's Family Sunday activity, discover the art of geometry and learn how to make eye-catching patterns of your own! Get started by watching this short instruction video featuring beautiful works from our Collection.

 

And, solve this word search and soak up exciting phrases and ideas inspired by our Collection. Your Silk Route journey starts here

 

Puzzle of the Week: Enthronement Scene with Shah Rahmin and Mah-Pervin

In this watercolour from 16th-century Turkey, two lovers sit on magnificent thrones as their courtiers gesture in astonishment at the marvellous scene. The eight lines of text describe how soldiers came and set up tents for the event, before hundreds of men came to feast and celebrate.

 

Reunited and it feels so good! Put the pieces together of this puzzle, which depicts the moment of euphoric reunion between hero and heroine — Shah Rahmin and Mah-Pervin — on the island of Khurremabad. The magnificent artwork appears in a 16th-century Ottoman manuscript of Tuhfet ul-Leta'if (Curious and Witty Gifts).

 

Enthronement Scene with Shah Rahmin and Mah-Pervin

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Storytelling with Armaan: Grandma's List

 

In this weekend’s instalment of Storytelling with Armaan, our gallant narrator reads from the funny and heartwarming children’s book Grandma’s List, by Ghanaian author Portia Dery and South African illustrator Toby Newsome. 

 

Family Sunday activities for May 31

 

Teamwork makes the dream work in our latest Family Sunday art activity. Collaborate with your child on a spectacular manuscript illustration you can hang on your fridge. Watch the Museum’s Bita Pourvash and her daughter, Vista, show off how it’s done.

Whether by yourself or with someone else, try to find all the image-themed expressions in this pattern-themed word search!

 

Puzzle of the Week: Match the Faces memory game

A detail of a 17th-century watercolour painting from India showing a women greeting three men at the door of a palace while two men and a horse pass by.

You can’t paint all Muslim cultures, nor their styles of dress, with the same brush. That’s the theme of our newest Memory Card game for the #MuseumWithoutWalls. Pair the headwear-clad characters from centuries-old artworks in our Museum Collection — and learn a little bit more about these figures along the way. You may be surprised about what their hat, headdress, or turban says about who they were, where they came from, and the ages in which they lived.

 

Go here to play the Match the Faces Memory Card game.

 

Storytelling with Armaan: The Gardener and the Nightingale

 

For the latest instalment of Storytelling with Armaan, our gallant narrator returns to the Museum-commissioned children’s book Two Crafty Jackals, sharing the tale of the Gardener and the Nightingale. Take in the story, and stick around to see Armaan’s own drawings of the book’s main characters, Kalilah and Dimna.

Author Elizabeth Laird wrote the text and illustrator Sadiqi Beg created the book’s rich visuals. Though it is currently out of print, you can buy an e-book of Two Crafty Jackals at Amazon.ca.

We thank Armaan, a long-time member of the Museum family, for taking time out of his schedule to regale us with his storytelling. Great job, Armaan!

 

Family Sunday activities for May 24

 

Inspired by the playful, street art-infused style of French-Tunisian creator eL Seed, our Family Sunday craft will have you mixing up words and jumbling your letters. Watch the video below to get started!

Then, keep the wordplay going with a fun, calligraphy-themed word search.

 

Puzzle of the Week: A Workshop in a Mughal Emperor's Court

A detail of a 16th-century watercolour painting from what is now Pakistan showing a six men working in the palace of a Mughal emperor.

 

Attempt our Puzzle of the Week alone or with someone else. Either way, collaboration is on full display in the finished picture — of a manuscript-making team toiling in the courtyard of a Mughal emperor's palace.

A Court Atelier

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Storytelling with Armaan: The Origins of Rustam the Hero

 

In his latest video for the #MuseumWithoutWalls, our friend Armaan intrigues with origin stories of the hero Rustam, from a Museum-commissioned children's illustrated storybook of the Shahnameh.

We thank Armaan, a long-time member of the Museum family, for taking time out of his schedule to regale us with his storytelling. Great job, Armaan!

 

Family Sunday Meet the Curator conversation on May 17

A detail of a 16th-century watercolour painting from what is now Pakistan showing a man on a horse, his right-hand extended towards the sky, as six men on horses and a man with bows in his quiver look on.

 

This Sunday, venture into a world of larger-than-life heroes and their extraordinary feats during a Meet the Curator conversation on Facebook Live. The Museum’s Dr. Michael Chagnon will regale your family with stories of bravery from the Shahnameh (Book of Kings) and reveal his Object of the Week — a bold illustration from the Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp.

 

The best way to experience the adventure is by heading over to our Facebook page, but the stream will be available on this page, too. The journey starts at 11:30 am ET or just after!

 

Puzzle of the Week: Sea Serpent Swallows the Royal Fleet

A detail of a 16th-century watercolour painting from what is now Pakistan showing a man on a horse, his right-hand extended towards the sky, as six men on horses and a man with bows in his quiver look on.

This illustration, from 17th-century southern India, belongs to a romantic tale whose characters, throughout the narrative, travel to faraway lands where they are embroiled in daring escapades. No matter what kind of strange or perilous situation they might encounter, the navy depicted here has fearlessly set forth in a spirit of adventure.

 

Stir up your courage and try your hand at solving the puzzle. Can you complete the picture?

Sea Serpent Swallows the Naval Fleet Puzzle

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Storytelling with Armaan: More adventures with Kalila and Dimna

 

Our trusty narrator, Armaan, returns with new adventures from the Museum-commissioned children’s book Two Crafty Jackals. Gather the family around for two more parables starring Kalila and Dimna. 

 

Author Elizabeth Laird wrote the text and illustrator Sadiqi Beg created the book’s rich visuals. Though it is currently out of print, you can buy an e-book of Two Crafty Jackals at Amazon.ca.

We thank Armaan, a long-time member of the Museum family, for taking time out of his schedule to regale us with his storytelling. Great job, Armaan!

 

Family Sunday activities for May 10

 

What is in your universe? Inspired by a space-themed design in the Sanctuary exhibition, this Family Sunday art activity challenges you to think about your place in the world and creatively imagine the universe that surrounds it. Watch the video below for the instructions!

 

For an adventure firmly planted on Earth, try this word search inspired by the Silk Route.

 

Puzzle of the Week: The Art of Chivalry

A detail of a 16th-century watercolour painting from what is now Pakistan showing a man on a horse, his right-hand extended towards the sky, as six men on horses and a man with bows in his quiver look on.

Are you brave to attempt our Puzzle of the Week? This watercolour of The Art of Chivalry comes from a 16th-century manuscript of the Akhlaq-I Nasir (Ethics of Nasis), written by the 13th-century Persian thinker Nasir al-Din Tusi for Nasir al-Din ‘Abd al-Rahim, the Ismaili ruler of Quhistan in northeastern Iran. The manuscript was created in Lahore, in what is now Pakistan.

 

More information about this striking piece of art is available here.

 

THE ART OF CHIVALRY PUZZLE

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Storytelling with Armaan: The Scorpion and the Tortoise

 

In the latest instalment of Storytelling with Armaan, our narrative ventures further into the Museum-commissioned children’s book Two Crafty Jackals. Settle in for the tale of the Scorpion and the Tortoise.

Author Elizabeth Laird wrote the text and illustrator Sadiqi Beg created the book’s rich visuals. Though it is currently out of print, you can buy an e-book of Two Crafty Jackals at Amazon.ca.

We thank Armaan, a long-time member of the Museum family, for taking time out of his schedule to regale us with his storytelling. Great job, Armaan!

 

Family Sunday activities for May 3

 

This Sunday, design your own private oasis with a fun art activity inspired by the Wagner Garden Carpet, on loan to the Aga Khan Museum from the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland. How many friendly critters, leafy trees, and calming canals you pencil into your paradise is completely up to you! Watch the video below for instructions on how to get started.

Or, engage your mind in a different way with this nature-themed game of Memory Card. Match the animal pictures and learn about the paintings where they appear.

 

Match the Geometric Patterns memory game

A detail of a 17th-century watercolour painting from Iran showing a structure with a green cupola with blue, yellow, and red accents.

Did you know geometric patterns have long been a popular motif in Islamic art?

 

Match up the rich patterns that appear in the Museum’s Collection, and learn about the paintings they came from, by playing this game of Memory.

 

Storytelling with Armaan: The Hare and the Lion

 

For this Sunday’s edition of Storytelling with Armaan, our trusty narrator treats us to the tale of the Hare and the Lion, from the Museum-commissioned children’s book Two Crafty Jackals. Click the video below to listen to the story.

Author Elizabeth Laird wrote the text and illustrator Sadiqi Beg created the book’s rich visuals. Though it is currently out of print, you can buy an e-book of Two Crafty Jackals at Amazon.ca.

 

Family Sunday activities for April 26

 

This Sunday, embrace the boundless possibility of patterns with a new art activity prepared by our Education team. Watch the video below to learn the instructions, and then get started!

Or, find beauty in simplicity with this week’s colouring sheet, an elegantly dressed women depicted in a watercolour from 1820s northern India.

 

Match the Vessels memory game

A blue and white floral-patterned dish following a Chinese model so closely that it might have passed for a Chinese original if the body had been translucent like porcelain. Blue and white designs cover the white plate with a foliage design in the centre.

You can count on the Museum’s Education team to “dish” out fun learning activities that engage the mind and treat players to beautiful art from our Collection.

 

Case in point: try your hand — or rather your memory — at this matching game showcasing beautiful centuries-old food-serving vessels and dishware. Can you pair them all?

 

Family Sunday activities for April 19

 

This Family Sunday, connect the dots with a Museum-inspired art activity celebrating what brings us together. Watch the video below to discover the origins and meaning behind the Museum’s logo — which we lovingly call the Knot. Then, create your own continuous-line drawing, a pencil-and-paper illustration of how we’re all connected.

Is colouring more your speed? This week’s colouring activity sheet presents a romantic scene from the Kulliyat (Collected Works) of the Persian poet Sa’di. Download the Prince Stands Before a Garden Pavilion Where His Beloved Awaits colouring sheet here (PDF).

 

Story Time: More adventures of Kalila and Demna

 

In the third instalment of Storytelling with Armaan, learn what happens next to Kalila and Demna, the main characters in the Museum-commissioned children's book Two Crafty Jackals.

Author Elizabeth Laird wrote the text and illustrator Sadiqi Beg created the book’s rich visuals. Though it is currently out of print, you can buy an e-book of Two Crafty Jackals at Amazon.ca.

We thank Armaan, a long-time member of the Museum family, for taking time out of his schedule to regale us with his storytelling. Great job, Armaan!

 

Puzzle of the Week

A bright watercolour painting from 16th-century Iran showing a man sitting in the centre between two men standing, surrounded by trees.

Try your hand at our latest Puzzle of the Week. The completed picture is an astounding 16th-century watercolour from the Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp. It depicts the court of King Kayumars, the first royal the 11th-century Persian poet Firdausi describes in his epic the Shahnameh (Book of Kings).

 

According to Firdausi, the very idea of kingship originated with King Kayumars, who ruled for 30 years, overseeing a peaceable kingdom where men wore leopard-skin robes and wild animals grew tame.

 

THE COURT OF KING KAYUMARS

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Family Sunday activities for April 12

 

Bring scenes of spring to life with two fun activities inspired by nature-themed art in the Museum’s Collection.

 

Watch the video below to learn about materials humans used centuries ago to concoct vibrant paints and dyes. Then, create your own colourful work of art tying into the bold outfit and lush surroundings of a young man who appears in a painting in the Museum’s Collection.

This Sunday’s colouring sheet depicts a lively scene of a mountain goat galloping through a forest or meadow. Beautify the picture with the colours you think appear in the original — a painting in a 15th-century manuscript from Iran — or go wild with out-of-this-world tints and shades. Download the colouring sheet for Sunday, April 12 here (PDF). 

 

Story Time: Armaan dives deeper into Two Crafty Jackals

 

For the latest edition of Story Time with Armaan, our gallant narrator dives deeper into Two Crafty Jackals. Find out what happens next in this kid-friendly tale of animal intrigue.

Commissioned by the Museum, the 2014 children's book Two Crafty Jackals was penned by author Elizabeth Baird and illustrated by artist Sadiqi Beg. Though it is currently out of print, you can buy an e-book of Two Crafty Jackals at Amazon.ca.

 

We thank Armaan, a long-time member of the Museum family, for sharing his storytelling skills with us once again. We warmly appreciate it!

 

Puzzle of the Week: Haftvad and the Worm

A bright watercolour painting from 16th-century Iran showing a town teeming with activity, including farmers tending to fields, men riding or leading horses and donkeys, and powerful figures in a brightly coloured fortified building conversing with each other.

Put the pieces together to reveal a bustling scenescape from the Shanahmeh (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp. Dating from mid-16th-century Iran, the image for this puzzle depicts the legendary tale of Haftvad and the Worm.

 

The patriarch of a modest family, Haftvad had seven sons and one daughter. According to lore, one day while taking a break from spinning silk, Haftvad’s daughter bit into an apple containing a magical worm. The creature mysteriously granted her the ability to produce greater and greater quantities of fabric — a twist of fate that would bring Haftvad and his family enormous wealth and power and change the course of their lives forever.

 

FOLIO FROM THE SHAHNAMEH OF SHAH TAHMASP

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Two Travellers colouring activity

Two girls holding pencil crayons colour in a snowflake-like pattern on a small piece of paper.

Colour in a scene from the Manuscript of Anvar-i Suhayli, which comes from 16th-century Iran. Then, send your masterpiece to [email protected] and tell us what you think the two travellers are chatting about. We'll share some creative responses to our social channels.

 

Download the Two Travellers colouring activity (PDF) here.

 

Story Time: Two Craft Jackals video

 

In the inaugural edition of Story Time with Armaan, our trusty narrator reads from Two Crafty Jackals, a 2014 children’s book commissioned by the Museum. It’s a playful retelling of animal-themed fables that arose in India 2,000 years ago and then travelled across continents and centuries, delighting generations of families along the way.

Author Elizabeth Baird wrote the text and illustrator Sadiqi Beg created the book’s rich visuals. Though it is currently out of print, you can buy an e-book of Two Crafty Jackals at Amazon.ca.

We thank Armaan, a long-time member of the Museum family, for taking time out of his schedule to regale us with his storytelling. Great job, Armaan!

 

Don't Ask Me Where I'm From art activity

 

A table with a grid of boxes, some containing multi-coloured pyramids.

Calling all budding artists: Create a piece of conceptual art as unique as you are.

 

For the exhibition Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, artist Liberty Battson invented a game using multi-coloured pyramids placed on a grid. There are billions upon billions of patterns players can fashion — a reminder that our cultural traditions, the places where we grow up, and the people in our lives can influence us in diverse and unexpected ways.

 

Draw your own Battson-inspired design following the steps prepared by our Education team. Download the Don't Ask Me Where I'm From activity sheet here

 

Puzzle of the Week: Help Rustam Defeat the Dragon

 

A bright watercolour painting from 16th-century Iran showing the hero Rustam slaying a dragon with his sword

 

This week’s puzzle comes from the Shahnameh (Book of Kings) of Shah Ismail II. The scene shows the hero Rustam doing battle with a fire-breathing dragon. (Famously, Rustam had help from his trusty stallion, Rakhsh.)

 

Can you help Rustam and Rakhsh defeat the dragon? Solve the puzzle to bring the protagonist one step closer to victory.

 

FOLIO FROM THE SHAHNAMEH OF SHAH ISMAIL II

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Family Sunday Activity: Make a Flatweave Rug

 

Watch the video below to learn how to weave a miniature carpet — and then make one of your own!

 

This family-friendly activity is inspired by the Museum’s Sanctuary exhibition, a collection of traditionally woven rugs featuring designs by leading global artists.

 

Downloadable instructions (PDF) are available here. 

 

 

Be a History Detective activity sheet

 

Help solve a mystery! Study the vibrant colours and patterns on two painted tiles from 17th-century Iran, then complete the picture by drawing what you think the rest of the scene looks like. Download our Be a History Detective activity sheet (PDF) here.

 

Discover Your Sanctuary activity sheet

 

What does the word “sanctuary” mean to you? Is it a safe haven, a sacred place, a beautiful view, a special person, or something different entirely?

 

For the exhibition Sanctuary, 36 leading artists each created a design based upon their own interpretation of the theme. Then, craftspeople in Lahore, Pakistan, wove the designs into carpets using traditional techniques.

 

This activity introduces you to some of the rugs in this thought-provoking exhibition — and encourages you to make sanctuary-inspired art of your own! Great for all ages.

 

Learn and engage with our Discover Your Sanctuary activity sheet

 

Rustam and the Dragon activity sheet

 

Keep your children engaged with a fun #MuseumFromHome activity specially prepared by our Education team. Read a story written 1,000 years ago about the hero Rustam, then make a piece of art inspired by the Museum’s paintings of that story — great for pre-school to Grade 3 (and beyond)! 

 

Download the Rustam and the Dragon activity sheet (PDF) here

 

Enjoy digital puzzles for all ages! 

 

FOLIO FROM THE SHAHNAMEH 

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