When the weather is too hot, too wet or too cold check out the local museums Museums today are typically more kid friendly than they were 20 or 30 years ago and a visit will most likely be fun, memorable and educational for both you and the kids
Exhibits for Children
Many museums offer exhibits specifically designed for children and over the years curators and others have learned how to make these especially dynamic. Many are interactive, which means the kids can actually touch, hear, and watch some items come to life.
Most kids are fascinated by robotics and sound and light effects, but watch out for those who might be frightened when a huge Tyrannosaurus rex roars to life!
Make It a Game
With some advanced preparation, you can plan a scavenger hunt for the museum. If possible take a virtual tour of the facility before you leave and jot down things for the kids to locate during the visit. For kids who don’t read, use printed images from the website.
Some museums have already done the work for you by designing their own scavenger hunts and crafting questions that can be answered once the youngsters have seen certain exhibits. These types of scavenger hunts and games usually require fairly advanced reading skills.
For an impromptu game, play Eye Spy. Simply scan the room, find an object and give clues for the children to make guesses.
Encourage Artistic Creativity
A portable “Magna Doodle” allows a child to draw what he sees. Older kids may be responsible enough to bring a sketchpad and pencil so that they can make quick drawings of items that appeal to them. In either case, supervise the young artists carefully.
Make a Scrapbook
If your child is old enough to use a digital camera, encourage him or her to take pictures of objects they find interesting. First make sure photography is permitted in the museum, and make note of any warnings about using the flash. (The bright light can, over time, damage some works of art and other artifacts.)
Creating a scrapbook using these photos reinforces what the kids learned and reminds them what they especially liked. If they make an online scrapbook, they can send it to Grandma or keep it to show their teacher.
Take a Break
Some museums have spacious gardens and other interesting outdoor areas. Take a break to get some fresh air. Have a snack or lunch, which makes the day extra special.
The more fun you and the kids have at a museum the better. They will want to explore others on some future date._______________________________________________________________
Jennifer Burstein is a freelance writer, audiologist and mother.