Thursday, February 26, 2015

Museums and Kids, 5 ways to make your visit more fun


Museums, magical mansions full of mythical mmm, well you get my point lol.  Museums are awesome. Wether they are grand storehouses of history, bones, inventions, gems, or canvasas caressed by geniuses they are for sure a great way to spend an afternoon with your kids. Most parents want to stop me right there and say yeah right, my kids hate museums. Also, many of us remember not liking our school fieldtrips to museums and think our kids will feel the same way.   Well there is good news and then there's good news :)


 First let me say that the "don't touch, don't talk, nod your head and look smart as you admire this collection" museum days are over. More and more museums have designated family programs and many even have family activity packs to ensure you and your crew will have a good time. Museums encourage families to visit and have all the amenities to make your trip enjoyable. They want you there, you know you want to go, so just do it :)

Secondly your kids will love going to museums and will even ask to go to more if you do a little bit of prep work and make it fun. Here is where I can help. For the last twelve years I have trekked my kids to countless museums around the world and we have always had a good time. Here are the five things I swear by.

1. Preview
Everyone loves to watch movie trailers, it gets you excited for the movie. The same is true with a museum visit. Check out the website and see what is on display.  Let the map lovers look at the floor plan. Have everyone pick something they want to see or do.  Watch a video about the subjects covered in the museum. Night At The Museum is also big hit to watch before any museum visit.

2. Timing
As we all know timing is everything and it is better to leave early than to spend too much time and have meltdowns. Here are my time guides
1hour under 4 (I visited many small museums with my preschooler and 1.5 hrs was his max) 
2 hours 4-6
3 hours 7 and up ( this is of course with a nice slow lunch break in the middle)

*note -I have gone to larger museums like Boston's Museum of Fine Art and spent 1.5 hours with a three year old. Knowing I would only be there for a short while, I took advantage of the free hours. Check the websites for free entrance days and times and that way price will not factor into how long you feel like you should stay. 

3. Eating
Feed them before you go, have a snack in the middle of the trip, and have a treat after the visit. 
You will be surprised how much moods improve and behavior is more pleasant when everyone is well fed and has a little break for down time in the middle of the trip. 

4. Activities 
Do not try to see the whole thing in one trip. Let the kids search for the items they saw in the website. Designate jobs like map holder and photographer and rest stop picker.  Let the kids guide the trip and do not worry if they miss something big. If however there is something you want to see have them play the details game as you look at it. They look at it for 30 seconds then close their eyes and try to recall as many details as they can. Take turns doing this and this should give you time to enjoy yourself as well.

5.Make it a Thing 
Every time we go to a museum our souvenir is a pressed penny with the museums symbol or logo on it. We have a penny passport filled with our penny's from around the world. Children are natural curators, they love collecting things and this is a cheap way to get them attached to the experience and excited about going to more museums to add to their collection. 

Enjoy :)


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