How-to visit museums with Children

If you think back to your own childhood, chances are a day spent with your folks at a museum was among your happy memories. Read on to discover what tips and tricks can make taking your child to the museum an enjoyable experience for all involved.

  • The very first step is to determine if your child is of an age where they’ll understand, and appreciate a trip to the museum.Behave like the trip is a treat and a privilege for them. The minute you act as if the trip is a chore, children pick up on the mood, and are guaranteed tostart misbehaving, ensuring no one ends up happy.
  • Keep in mind the time of year you’re taking your child out. If your trip is planned during summer, you don’t want them to carry on about missing the pool / beach / sunshine. Fall andwinter tends to be better times for these trips.
  • Once you’ve decided your child is old enough, pick which museum you’ll visit. Some suggestions include: the planetarium; a natural history museum, an art museum, or even a toy museum.
  • Set down some ground rules for your day out, such as establishing how long you’ll be staying in the one museum; what they should expect upon arrival; and bringing a small bribe such as their favourite packed lunch. For those who think bribes are wrong, view this as one way to make the day even more special for them, and more worthwhile for them if they behave. I.e.: they’re getting a trip and their favourite lunch.
  • Though you may want your kid to see every single item at the museum, this can be a bit overwhelming for them. Limit the amount of time you’ll be there to prevent them tiring out at the get-go. This can also prevent a hatred for museums from developing.
  • Now you’re at the chosen museum, take note of which exhibits the little one is drawn to. Ask questions such as why they like that exhibit, what about it is their favourite part, etc. Suggest similar pieces to see in the museum, or offer your opinion on why it’s such a great piece. It could be the texture, brushwork, idea behind it, etc.
  • Point out the common elements that are reflected in various works, and note what is still relevant today. If you’re at an art museum, a piece showing a family picnic can be related to a family picnic you’ve had. If you’re at a natural history museum, mention where certain plants can be found / what you have at home. For planetarium trips, teach them the different constellations and star-gaze together.
  • If their attention is starting to wander, games such as I-Spy can help make things interesting again.Alternatively, it might be a good time for that lunch or snack break.
  • Buy postcards when you leave, preferably one with a picture of the exhibit your child most enjoyed. This way they can take a part of the experience home, or take it to school for show and tell.

There is no right or wrong way to approach this, so ensure that regardless of what happens while you’re out, you keep the atmosphere light and fun so their first museum trip is a memorable, and soon to be repeated, experience.

Author Bio: Roseanna McBain has had a love of adventure and travel since she was little, due in part to numerous hours spent playing “Tomb Raider: The adventures of Lara Croft”. Currently, she writes for TravelGround, a Marloth Park accommodation and booking website.  You can find TravelGround on Facebook

Photo attribution: Art museums with sculptures entertain all ages. By hoyasmeg (Flickr) – http://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/4548156508/

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