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Take Your Child to the Museum
posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - August 4th, 2016
Take Your Child to the Museum!
Before school is back in session, a great and educational outing is to take your child to the museum! Whether it is local or there is a bit of a drive, you can create great memories together, so it is totally worth your effort. Museums are chock-full of great teaching material, too. It is especially good for visual learning.
Choose Your Museum According to Your Child’s Age
One of our favorite outings with our daughter is a trip to the museum. Choosing museums for kids can be a tricky endeavor. When our daughter was in preschool and kindergarten, we took her to children’s museums that focused on reinforcing concepts that she was learning in school. Since then we have graduated from special children’s museums and broadened the range and variety of museums we visit.
Our Experience at the Museum
Our daughter usually helps us choose the museum. The choice usually depends on if there is a new exhibit, or floor/wing that we have not seen. There are plenty of museums for kids all over the country! This year, we took family trips to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Both cities have great selections geared toward children. We covered such a spectrum of interests between both cities. We visited Independence Hall, The Franklin Institute, and The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. In Washington, D.C., we visited The Spy Museum (our daughter’s suggestion and definitely a hit!), the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum, as well as almost every memorial in the city.
Focus on What Your Child Cares About
During one visit to the American Museum of Natural History on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, our daughter was fascinated by the mineral collection, and spent almost an hour in one hall. I took her to The Cloisters, which is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She requested the adult guided recorded tour, and stopped and marveled at almost every piece in the museum. I was so truly impressed with her absolute focus!
How to Plan for Your Visit
There are a few things that make a museum trip successful. Planning the trip helps keep the tour of the museum focused and somewhat organized. We generally look through the museum website for any new exhibits, special guided tours, interactive programs or films before we go. Our daughter is now old enough to pick out what looks interesting, then we plan touring certain floors around the exhibits. Sometimes our toured plan isn’t as interesting as we thought it would be, so flexibility is key. For instance, when we arrived at the The American Museum of Natural History she could not wait to see the newly renovated Hall of Mammals. Once we arrived at that floor, she decided she wanted to see the Ocean Life and the huge blue whale hanging from the incredible ocean-like ceiling.
Make Visiting Museums a Priority
One big advantage of living in a city near large museums for kids is that there is such a variety of new discoveries with each visit so our daughter always wants to go back. With such a diverse range of museums to tour, the opportunity to continue to learn outside the classroom is limitless! This year, our daughter toured over twenty different museums between school and family outings. As a gifted learner, she absorbs and recounts in detail the amazing new discoveries after each visit. Listening to her sense of wonder and excitement while recounting the trip to the museum affirms that museums are the ultimate treasures as hands on classrooms with limitless possibilities for learning!
Keep a Log and Make the Memory Last
With every excursion, have your child keep a log of where they went and what they discovered–be it a journal with a pen or a camera, if photography is allowed, you can write down your discoveries and enjoy them again and again.