Why Your Kids Hate Museums: The Missing Ingredient from Your Family Day Out

By Annie Caley-Renn

We get it.

Kids don’t always love museums. You’ve tried your best, we know. The day begins well, with the whole family excited for a trip to the museum. Maybe your kids last an hour. A little more, if you’re incredibly lucky. Or maybe just a few minutes. But somewhere along the lines, the meltdown begins. The fun-filled day out you envisioned starts to seem like a distant dream.

The kids are tired. They’re hungry. Museums are boring anyway. Who wants to traipse around looking at old stuff when you could be watching TV?

And the truth is, you’re tired too. A part of you wonders if the kids are right. Are museums just boring, dusty old places? Because no matter how genuinely fascinating the exhibits, “museum legs” are a thing.

Is it your fault your kids just aren’t into this museum thing? Have you doomed them to a colourless, cultureless life? Will these traumatic childhood experiences leave them refusing to visit museums at all as adults?

Well, no. The truth is, we all feel like this at one point or another. But, while it’s tempting to think that maybe museums and kids just don’t mix, this simply isn’t true.

At THATMuse, we’ve helped hundreds of people visit some of the biggest and best museums in Paris and London. Lots of those people are families with kids aged from 5-13. And guess what – most of them leave saying that the British Museum is one of the best things to do in London with kids. Or that their trip to Paris with kids wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the Louvre.

Louvre scavenger hunt
Strategizing

How is this possible?

If even your local museum exhausts your kids (and you), how could you possibly fathom bringing them to some of the largest museums in the world? Because although the Louvre, the British Museum, the Musée d’Orsay & the V&A are among the most beautiful, impressive museums in the world, their sheer size mean that they are a challenge. For anyone. The Louvre alone contains eight miles of museum, for God’s sake.

The answer is pretty simple. And it’s something you can totally do on your own.

There’s one missing ingredient from your museum trips:

Competition.

That’s it.

After all, all parents have tried it:

“I bet you can’t tidy up your bedroom faster than your sister!”

“Let’s see who can be the first to finish their greens!”

“The first one ready at the door in their shoes and coat gets a treat!” (because after all, what is a competition without a prize?).

Museums are no different. By making them a game – one that can be won – you make museums… well, fun.

3 Ways to Inject Some Competition into Your Day at the Museum:

  1. The Miniature Museum Treasure Hunt:

This particularly simple game works best with art museums. Pick something – anything – and have your kids compete to see who can spot the most of them. It really could be almost anything. Dogs. Angels. Redheads. Paintings of people who look like Grandma. Or better yet – have the kids pick something themselves.

Hint: things tend to stick in kids minds more if they’re gory, weird, or gross. Ask your kids to choose what they want to be on the hunt for, and don’t stress if they choose “skulls” or “ugly guys” or “boobies”. It’s their game, and if it makes it more fun for them, why not (though maybe have a chat beforehand about which words its appropriate to shout to their siblings from across the gallery).

2. The Postcard Game:

All museums have a gift shop, and all museum gift shops have postcards. Visit the gift shop before entering the main museum, and have the kids pick 3-5 postcards of pieces they like the look of (they’re usually quite cheap). Then, have the kids hold the postcards and hunt out the pieces themselves. Want to add some extra incentive? While in the gift shop, have the kids pick out their “prize” (within whatever price limit you decide on), on the promise that you’ll return to buy it afterwards if they complete their treasure hunt.

Hint: this works best in smaller museums – hunting the entirety of the Louvre or British Museum for one piece (unless it’s the Mona Lisa or the Rosetta Stone), is probably a bit too challenging, and puts your kids at risk of getting bored before they find their treasure.

Hunting for treasure

3. The Imitation Game:

Challenge your kids to recreate as many paintings, sculptures or artefacts as they can, using nothing but their own bodies. They’ll have fun picking pieces to imitate, contorting themselves and being silly, and if you photograph it all, you’ll end up with some great shots for the album. What’s not to love? You might have to get a bit creative as to how to turn it into a competition, but perhaps you could have another family member judge who “wins” for each piece the kids choose to imitate.

Hint: To make it even more fun, join in! As we said before, kids remember silly things, so seeing you – their all-knowing, sensible parents turn yourselves into Michelangelo sculptures and Egyptian mummies will most likely stick in their minds forever. Embarrassed? Good! That just makes it all the more memorable.

Need some extra help?

You can do all of this and more all by yourselves, in any museum. The kids will benefit from soaking up all that lovely museum-juice, and may even learn a thing or two.  

If you’re visiting Paris or London with kids and would like a bit of extra help, THATMuse is ready to turn your miserable museum meltdown into a memorable day out.

Our hunts have been tried, tested and triumphed over by hundreds of kids. Some of those kids are now adults, and we’d be willing to bet they still remember their dads posing on all fours like a dog to win bonus points, or rushing against the clock with mom past magnificent Roman sculptures to try and rack up just a few more points.

The best part? It’s never been easier to book a Treasure Hunt with THATMuse! You can now book your Louvre Treasure Hunt with “friendly competition” directly online, by using our automated booking service. Ready to pit family against another like-minded group?

Click here to book your THATMuse Louvre treasure hunt today!

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