We love visiting art galleries and museums. They are such a great way to spark kids’ curiosity and open them up to new interests. They are also a great way to offer some playful, hands on learning. Here’s five tips for making a visit to the museum fun:
1. Visit an exhibition that is about a subject your child is already interested in. This might be space, animals, cars, dinosaurs etc and then while you’re there visit other galleries in the museum that might spark a new interest and offer new experiences.
2. Talk about the exhibit before you go, ask your child what they think they might see, go the library and borrow some books about the subject of the exhibition, play games, draw pictures.
3. Find a museum that has hands on experiences and kid friendly activities. Most museums and galleries have activities for kids and exhibits that are hands-on and playful.
4. Take it slow. Follow your child’s lead. If they are interested in a particular exhibit, let them spend as long as they like focusing on that one thing. They are learning while they are so engaged! Don’t rush them through and it’s fine if you don’t look at every single thing that is on display. The important thing is that your child is interested and having fun.
5. Follow up your visit to the museum by talking about what you saw, ask your child what they enjoyed most and then pursue that interest with some books on the subject or find other places to visit that offer activities on the same topic.
We recently visited The National Maritime Museum and their latest exhibit “Rescue“. There is so much hands-on fun at the National Maritime Museum and all three of us had a fantastic day. It’s pretty good when the parents can come away from a day having had has much fun as the kids! R (4yrs) spent the entire day running from exhibit to exhibit, his eyes wide and the biggest smile on his face. It was as though we’d taken him to the best playground he’d ever seen.
There’s nothing better (or mure fun!) than hands-on learning. R was so proud when he managed to make this rocking boat balance by distributing the weighted blocks correctly. This was part of the “Ships at Sea” exhibition which runs until April 28. The activity pictured below was definitely one of the favourites of the day! Three remote controlled submarines that kids (and in our case parents!!) have to navigate into the docks. We may or may not have had some family competitions more than once at this one!
R learned about wind force at this exhibit. He moved the large fan to help move the sail boat across the table. He went back to this one many times.
After having fun at the Ships at Sea exhibit we moved downstairs to the Rescue exhibit. The exhibit teaches kids about search and rescue services on land, sea and air. So. Much. Fun! This interactive display teaches kids about the different types of fire extinguishers that are use for different types of fires. R was in his element. He has always loved fire engines and fire fighting and when we were ready to leave the museum that day we had to go back for another turn at this one before we could go home! (There were quite a few grown ups giving this one a try too!)
Rescue time! The race was on to rescue someone from the water. The wonderful thing about all of these exhibits was how suitable they were for different ages. The exhibition is recommended for ages 5 to 12 and there really is something for everyone. I saw many kids under 5 (and R was one of them) who were having a fantastic time and my hubby and I had just as much fun as R.
This is a blurry pic, sorry but I just had to show you because this was by R’s favourite of the day. Kids can put themselves on the news with this interactive video. They can sit at a newsdesk and read the news before putting themselves at the scene of a rescue mission. Lots and lots of dramatic acting and silly antics at this one!
Taking control of a full-sized helicopter simulator…..
Playing dress ups to look like a real rescue worker….
There was balancing for the little ones…..
And climbing for the bigger ones….. haha yes, that’s me scaling a rock climbing wall! Just call me spiderwoman. OK, so it’s not that high but the aim is to scale the circumference of a “mountain” and it was exhausting! It’s tougher than it looks but a tonne of fun!
A very special part of our days was the museum’s “Cabinet of Curiosities” . This is free with your entry during school holidays and is on display at 2pm daily. Kids can explore wonderful and curious objects from the museum’s education collection.
As if all of that wasn’t already enough, we then explored the museum’s vessels including HM Bark Endeavour replica, a fabulous tall ship and replica of James Cook’s famous ship, HMAS Vampire a 1956 daring class destroyer and HMAS Onslow, a 1969 oberon class submarine. There are many more vessels in the museum’s collection, just click here to seem them all.
There is so much happening at the museum these school holidays and throughout the year. For full details of their school holiday events just visit their website. We visited with a “Big Ticket” which allows a family of two adults and up to three kids to visit all of the museum’s galleries and exhibits, all their vessels and the kids on deck activities for just $65 for the entire family. There are lots of kids activities held throughout the year including Kids on Deck and Mini Mariners where kids can explore the galleries, sing and dance with costumed guides. We had such a fabulous day and can’t wait to go back to explore some more!
What are your plans these school holidays?
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*We received a complimentary family big ticket from The National Maritime Museum. The words and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.
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