I quite often get told by friends of mine who have children that they don’t visit museums or art galleries as the children get fed up very quickly and they don’t think it’s worthwhile. I think there are a few golden rules for enjoying a visit to a museum.
- Do your research; check out the website, find out what facilities are available and what special exhibitions are on.
- Take along some paper and crayons/ pencils. We spent hours going around a museum taking ‘notes for daddy’ when my Boy was two years old. It was one of our best trips.
- Encourage children to look in detail at a few things rather than take in the whole museum
- Ask questions of the staff, they often know the funniest/ gruesome or simply fascinating facts
- If the museum allows photography encourage your children to take pictures of things they like. Not only will this give you lots to talk about afterwards, but you might find it enlightening as to what their interests actually are.
- Many museums will have i-spy sheets, colouring sheets or digital tours. Don’t forget to pick them up.
- Invent stories about the owners of the objects or the painters whilst in the museum and make your own little book about them when you get home. There are some fantastic books to inspire you by James Mayhew such as Katie and the Sunflowers or the Anholts artists range which includes a book for kids about Monets Garden.
- If you have been to see dinosaurs, why not come home and make your own dinosaur land or make some pastry and impress leaves into it to make your own fossils, create replica African masks or even simply watch a film about the historical time period you saw.
Museums and art galleries can be wonderful places for children, they can inspire, amaze and enthrall. Due to a funding crisis within the sector they need support, make sure you make use of your local museum this half term.