What better place to visit for cool ancient objects and their stories than a museum!? But, wow, can they be overwhelming! Don’t panic…we want you and your kids to enjoy your museum visit so we have complied some great tips for visiting museums with kids!
1. Plan Ahead
Before your visit, get a game plan in place! Know any costs and research museum times while trying to avoid school holidays or busy visitor hours. If you do go while it’s super busy, explore the more obscure, lesser-known rooms.
Find out what kid-friendly exhibitions or activities are available (you may need to book ahead)! Some museums do special sleepovers, tours, or events: check out the Natural History Museum for some fun examples. What do you want to see? What sounds interesting? Try to focus your visit to an artist, time period, or theme so that you’re not overwhelmed. Better yet, have a few facts or stories ready to tell your kids about specific items.
To increase interest, know what your kids are learning at school and find related objects at the museum. Your kids may be able to teach you something or share what they learn when they return to school!
2. Discuss Good Museum Behavior
The last thing you want is for your kids to go wild and disturb other guests! Explain to them that museums have special objects that cannot be replaced so they need to be super careful and not to touch unless told. I’d also suggest telling kids to maintain indoor voices, walking feet, and to stay near you! If you’re not sure what museum policies are, go to their website and get familiar with them (for instance, the British Museum’s policy is here).
3. Visit the Gift Shop First!?
I know, I know. It sounds backwards. But you’ll find that by visiting the gift shop first, your child won’t be asking you for that cool stuffed animal while you are trying to explore the collections. You might even buy them a cheap trinket or postcard and have them look for the real thing in the museum! Or you could buy a museum-related book to use during your visit.
4. Get the Kids Excited
Ask your kids what they want to see at the museum. Before going, read them books or show them videos relating to their interests. I know that the Greek stories about Theseus slaying the minotaur or the adventures of Perseus increased my interests in Greek culture. I’d surely want to see statues of Athena! By getting them pumped and curious, hopefully you’ll hear: Let’s go! I want to see that!
5. Shake Off That Excess Energy
Burn any excess energy before going into museums with kids. Many young ones need to get their sillies out first so that they can focus and listen! On the bright side, most museums have outdoor areas or nearby parks where kids can run around.
6. Lead the Way, Explorers!
Give your kids a little responsibility. Let them hold the map and choose your destinations. They’ll love acting like tour guides or adventurous explorers! This way, you’re always going somewhere your child actually wants to go. Forcing locations or objects onto kids will just make them drag their feet. Some items just don’t have a great appeal to children (pots weren’t that interesting to me as a kid).
As your explorers venture around, ask them questions: Who do you think that is? How do you think this was made? What does that look like? Kids will love telling you their opinions! Let them lecture you instead!
Alongside museum maps, give kids a camera to take pictures. They’ll like having a responsibility. You may even get some great selfies! Silly poses are always welcome!
7. Do A Treasure Hunt (With THATMuse)!
Since museums are full of treasures, what better way to engage kids than to let loose their inner Indiana Jones through treasure hunting! Of course, that’s where we come in! THATMuse is designed to give you the best treasure-hunting museum experience. We’ll send kids exploring through museums, finding (and reading about) museum treasures while overcoming challenges (both silly & tough) to earn as many points as possible! A good dose of competition always works to get kids excited! Can you win?
8. Draw That & Interact With This
We all love to doodle so bring that pen and paper and tell your kids to draw the items they like! As they draw, you can tell them all about what they’re seeing. This helps kids slow down and appreciate the experience. In the end, you’ll at least have a few masterpieces to put on the fridge! Museums also will have interactive displays every now and then so take advantage of them as you wander around! I know I always liked pressing random buttons….as long as they don’t say ‘self-destruct’ 😉.
9. Don’t Push It
I find the old adage “Rome wasn’t built in a day” applies fairly well when visiting museums with kids! There are so many rooms….and floors….and crowds. It is asking ALOT of you and your kids to do everything in less than a day. I mean, my goodness, the Louvre is 8 MILES of museum. Talk about exhausting.
So, if you do go, pick a small section to cover. Also, look for signs that your child is tiring (or getting cranky) for that may be the warning you need to call it quits for the day. Sluggish attitudes will only dampen the experience and you want to end on a happy note.
Hint: I’d suggest taking small breaks throughout the museum. There are usually cafés to eat at or benches scattered throughout museums for your group to stop and reinvigorate.
10. Visit Again……
As mentioned, museums are huge and full of treasure to find. They are far from a one-time experience! Therefore, multiple visits are encouraged (especially if you all had a great time!). Each time you’ll cover a new section while always seeing something new. So, keep coming back for more fun and learning!
I hope these tips help enrich your family’s museum trip! Got any tips you want us to add? Let us know in the comments!