I am excited to present this guest post written by Joyce Wilson. Joyce is a retired teacher with decades of experience. Today, she is a proud grandmom and mentor to teachers in her local public school system. She and a fellow retired teacher created TeacherSpark.org to share creative ideas and practical resources for the classroom.
Thank you Joyce for this informative article about supplementing your trip to the museum. It’s a perfect time for this article because over the winter, parents are always looking for indoor activities to do with their children.
Many museums are very child-friendly with play areas, gift shops filled with toys, and field trip tours. However, that does not mean that you, as a parent, need to be a passive observer as your child runs from exhibit to exhibit. Supplementing your child’s visit will guarantee that they absorb as much information as possible with maximum enjoyment. Here are a few creative ways to supplement your child’s next museum visit for an enriching experience:
- Get the App
Many of the larger scale museums have developed apps for self-guided tours through the museum. These apps may give you extra information about certain exhibits or draw your attention to something you may have missed.
If you allow your child to lead your “tour” with the help of the app, they will glean more from the experience than if they were the passive listener. If you let your child educate you about the museum, they are guaranteed to both enjoy the visit more and remember more of what they learned.
- Plan Your Visit to Attend Supplemental Programs
Many museums will hold extra events for their visitors. In a dinosaur exhibit, they may lead a small group through the fossil room, showing kids the process of cleaning and casting the fragile pieces. In an art museum, they may have a painting workshop. Try to plan your visit at the right time to take advantage of these programs, adding excitement to the learning process and increasing your child’s enthusiasm for museums.
- Invent Museum Games
Creating little games to play in museums can be a great way to make sure your kids are paying attention to the information around them. Try things such as scavenger hunts in which each child must find specific pieces of information, forcing them to read the signs and thoroughly examine each exhibit. For example, you might ask your kids to find three exhibits painted by a specific painter. Depending on your kids’ knowledge, you might also do little tests such as guessing what era an artifact is from. The possibilities are endless.
- Take Advantage of Hands-On Learning
Most museums will incorporate hands-on exhibits for more tactile learners. Hands-on learning tends to be more exciting and effective for children regardless of the setting or subject matter. For example, a museum with exhibits on ancient life might have a sandbox that allows children to “excavate” their own dinosaur bones. Stopping the tour for a few minutes to allow them to participate will make their visit more memorable.
A visit to a museum is a great start to a day of both fun and education. While your kids are guaranteed to come home with new knowledge, you have the ability to ensure that they acquire more information than simply wandering through the exhibits. From scavenger hunts to downloading an app, the options for enhancing your child’s museum visit are numerous. Pay attention to which tactics seem to work best with your child’s unique learning style and hone your educational skills with each museum your family visits. By the time your child is grown, they will never find themselves stuck in a conversational lull.
First image via Pexel
Second image via Pixabay by latalante