art1Just because you have children, does not mean that you have to stick to children’s museums.  Don’t get me wrong…I love a good children’s museum just as much as the next parent.  Children’s museums allow my children to touch exhibits without worrying about getting in trouble and it gives me a short break from wrangling kids on a vacation.  We always add a children’s museum to the itinerary; however, we usually add art, history, or science museums that are not tailored to children to our itinerary as well.  Did I mention that my children are 4 and 7 years old?!  A little bit of preparation goes a long way when taking young children to a museum.

Visit the museum’s website before you go.  Most museums have a children’s section on their website with suggestions to enjoy the museum.  Look for printables, quizzes and other information.  Check the exhibit pages to determine which exhibits will entertain your children during your visit. 

Participate in a scavenger hunt while you are at the museum.  You can create the scavenger hunt before you go and tailor it to the museum you are going to or your children’s interest.  Bring a pencil and have your kids complete the scavenger hunt as you walk through the museum.  If you don’t have time to prepare a scavenger hunt yourself, you could make it up as you go along.  When you enter a room, ask your children to find the painting with the red flowers or the sculpture of a woman with the folded hands.  You can also find a generic scavenger hunt online.  I have used this one at Heart of the Matter before.

Think outside the museum!  Many museums offer sculpture gardens, grassy areas or benches to rest.  If your kids need a break, head outside for a snack or a few minutes of wandering in the fresh air.

Stop by the museum gift shop at the beginning of your visit.  Besides the scavenger hunt, one of the best tips I have come across is to buy 5 or 6 postcards representing the works of art or exhibits before you start your visit.  Have your kids use the postcards to find the works of art in the museum.  See how many you can find during your visit.

Read a book or watch a movie on the subject before you go.  Check your library or book store for books about the artist, museum, or exhibits before you go.  Also, if there is an age appropriate movie you can show beforehand it is a great way to get your kids excited. 

How do you get through a visit to a museum with your kids?