Museums – maybe now that you've had kids, you think the only museums you can visit are the children's kind with fire poles and mini grocery stores. But while those kinds of museums are certainly fun, you don’t need to cross art or zoological museums off your list until the kids go away to college. Instead, you just need to plan ahead and change your approach.
Before you visit the museum, visit its website with your children. Look at pictures of the exhibits and talk about what you will see in the museum. Let your children pick out a few favorite items they want to see. If you can, print out some pictures of a few items
Time your Visit
Plan to visit the museum when your children are well-rested – definitely not during nap-time or at the end of a long day. Also don’t plan to stay for too long. You want to leave before your children are bored with museum so they will look forward to their next visit.
Discuss the Rules
Before you go into the museum, talk to your children about how to behave:
- No Touching any exhibit
- Use walking feet
- Use inside voice
Visit the Information Desk
Stop at the Information Desk when you arrive at the museum. Many museums have fun worksheets or other activities for children to complete as they walk around the museum. If nothing else, you can get a map for your child to carry.
Make it Fun
Turn your museum visit into a fun time with some interactive games. If you printed any pictures off the website, have a scavenger hunt to find all the items. You could also create your own scavenger hunt: for example, look for babies, people with red hair, dogs, bridges, or things that start with the same first letter as your child’s name.
Another fun activity is to bring along a notebook and let your child sketch copies of the artwork they see.
Talk to your children about what you are looking at. Read them the titles of pieces and the name of the artist and talk a little bit about the technique. Ask your children what they see in the piece or invite them to make up a story about what is going on in the artwork.
End at the Gift Shop
Kids love gift shops, so stopping at the gift shop is a great way to end your visit to the museum. Let your child pick out a small souvenir, such as a postcard showing their favorite piece of art. Maybe they’ll want to create their own mini-museum at home!