Museum Visit TIPS – Take the KIDS
Museum Visit TIPS – Take the KIDS
Taking the kids to a museum might seem like a daunting task. How many adults would glaze over if popped into a room full of art? MOST adults would so why wouldn’t children become walking zombies in an art museum without prior knowledge of why this stuff is worth looking at??
With the right tips and information you CAN make a museum visit interesting, intriguing, fascinating and love every minute of it!
Tips for LOVING a trip to the museum with kids:
Museum Visit TIPS – Museum’s website
Visit the museum’s website. Find the British flag and click there for English. Check the menu for the top sights. See what they have for families. Is there an activity for kids? Go ahead and download it now and look at it. Sometimes they are beautifully put together by people who know children and…..sometimes they are written by people who seem to have never even met children. Better to know BEFORE you go in case you need plan B.
My travel guides to museums are written for children and include history, information and activities to help kids and their parents enjoy the visit together.
Know before you go!
While researching our upcoming trip to the MET, I was happily surprised that there are many kid tidbits to download. Read and listen BEFORE you go. I was excited to see a downloadable audiotour. Thankfully, I could listen to a sample. In my opinion, not well suited for children.
Museum Visit TIPS – Consider a tour
Do they offer tours? If a guided tour is your thing be sure to check times and languages. Sometimes an English tour is only available at certain times. Do you need to make a reservation?
**Questions to ask before booking a tour:
How many people will be in the group?
If there are 800 people in the group you will not be able to see the guide, or the art, and you won’t be able to hear. I do not recommend a large tour group.
Will you be able to ask questions?
You would think that asking questions would be OK – maybe even encouraged, but no….some tours have a schedule to keep and if you don’t understand too bad, so sad. Needless to say…I don’t recommend these either.
Will you be able to linger if you find something you like or move on if you are bored?
Unless you book a private tour then no…you will have to move at the speed of the guide and the majority of the people. This alone makes it very hard to enjoy group tours.
Are there different types of tours?
Sometimes there are tours for different types of groups and even languages. A child friendly tour in English will be much better received than a tour designed for art and history majors in college.
Museum Visit TIPS – Plan your itinerary.
Look at the museum website to see which pieces they are most excited about. Usually the most famous stuff is listed right there on the website. Look them over to see which ones catch your fancy.
Is there a section that might interest your travelers? Maybe Egyptian art? Sculpture? Larger than life paintings? Start where your passion lies!
Make a list.
Once you have a list of the art work you want to see, read about those pieces of art online. Don’t forget the artist, too. They can be very colorful topics! Kids’ websites are the best at giving you just the good stuff and make for great cliff notes for the rest of us. Avoid the 8000 page college dissertation only an art major could understand and stay awake through.
Plan only a few hours for your visit.
You just can’t see the whole museum – it would take days, months, years! Even if it were possible, your entire family would mutiny.
Give kids purpose.
The Educational Tourist’s Travel Guides for KIDS give the kids something to look for, something to count, something to imagine. This focus gives everyone something to think about without being overwhelming. Otherwise, 800 paintings of Madonna and child is just 799 too many!
Older kids can look for art styles. Even the littlest travelers can tally dogs, hats, and birds.
***Tally marks are an important math skill! Give yourself a pat on the back for helping your kids appreciate real world math skills. Be sure to explain it that way, too. Lots of kids don’t see what they do in math class as something they use in real life.
Give them a piece of paper, clip board, and a pencil and be prepared to savor the art! Make it extra fun with silly pens and pencils. Here are few favorites!
Museum Visit TIPS – Wear good walking shoes!
Be careful with shoes. Good walking shoes aren’t always good ‘standing’ shoes. Choosing the wrong shoe will have your feet and back aching and will put everyone in a bad mood. Give shoes the respect and consideration they deserve!
Be aware that the best shoes for walking all day are different than the best shoes for standing. You might think you aren’t going to do much standing around, but I think you might be surprised. You are standing at the train station, in line for a site, at the museum while you are admiring the art…I have learned the hard way to choose shoes carefully.
My all time favorite shoes are low hiking shoes. They give great lateral support for ankles when you are walking over cobblestones or other uneven surfaces. They have lots of yummy squish for standing in one spot and they are made for miles and miles of walking. There are lots of great brands which you should choose for the shape of your foot.
My personal favorites are the Merrell brand. This is my actual shoe and I love the pink!! It is so wonderful that this pink one is actually my 3rd pair of this exact shoe. I also had it in pink and green. It is comfortable, light weight, sturdy and cute!
Choose a stroller that is lightweight and easy to fold yet still has sturdy wheels. Cobblestones and lightweight umbrella strollers don’t go together. This 3DLite stroller is a best seller on Amazon. It reclines in 4 separate positions. This means you can have baby up and watching what is going around, leaned a little during snack time if you use it for a high chair and flat for nap time. There is even a spot underneath for your stuff.
Museum Visit TIPS – Visit the gift shop.
Promise a reward for good behavior. Let kiddos choose a calendar, pencil, or postcard for their room. Pick up a little something for yourself, too, and pat yourself on the back for a successful visit! I like to choose something small to hang on my Christmas travel tree! Usually bookmarks and key chains are available.
I’d love to hear all about your museum visits!
Happy and Educational Travels,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist