I was a kid when my parents started taking me to different museums. And as a kid I can tell you I loved it. That’s why I now do the same to my kids. Because I believe that museums are a great family outing. They are a chance to spend time together, explore, learn, try new things and fuel kids’ imagination. But here’s the secret to our success, our tips on taking the kids to a museum.
1. Make it fun.
You are going to a museum because you want to have fun with your kids. This is not a chore, but a chance to be together and learn something new. Get your kids excited about the prospect of going to a museum. Make it something you all look forward to.
Check out our list of the best museums for kids in Europe to get some ideas.
2. Pick the right museum.
With so many choices, pick the one you like and know something about. This way you get to share your passion with your kids and they will definitely appreciate it more. I took my girls to an art gallery, because I love art and I wanted them to see it.
Later on give them a chance to decide what interests them the most. Especially if they have already visited a few museums, then they’ll know right away what they’d like to visit.
Our favorite museums in Ljubljana for kids are a great place to start.
3. Check for special exhibits.
When choosing a museum you should definitely check if they have any special exhibits and workshops for kids. I see now that museums are going out of their way to adopt to their new patrons – parents with kids. There is an increase of events museums and galleries offer to kids and their parents. These are even more fun as well as educational.
And once the kids are older they can do the workshops alone and you get to stroll through the museum or have a cup of coffee while waiting for them to finish. It pays to get them excited about museums :).
There is no need to see it all the first time around. Pace yourself. Follow your kids’ lead. If they are getting bored, agitated or restless, it’s time to leave. The goal of the visit is to have fun even if it’s just for half an hour.
5. Play games.
If you are going to an art gallery you can try and search for certain paintings. Who ever finds one first is the winner.
You might also choose a painting and tell your child a story about it (true or make believe).
If the kids are older they can try and draw the paintings they see.
If you are going to other museums and especially if you know a lot about the exhibits you can try explaining it to your kids.
Museums are becoming very hands on, so there is always a lot of stuff to touch, play with or try.
There are great museums that are kids friendly. And then there are museums for kids. Such is the fun FRida & freD Museum in Graz.
The visit is a great opportunity for kids to learn that museums and galleries are special places, where certain rules must be followed for all the visitors to have a nice time.
While they might be encouraged to touch some items, others are strictly forbidden, they should not run around as something might quickly be knocked off and there is no yelling allowed.
Our job as parents is to teach our kids proper behavior and let them show respect for other people and their work.
7. Talk about it later.
I like to talk to my daughters before they go to sleep. They are calm then, not distracted and genuinely want to talk to me. I know it’s just another sleep evasion tactic, but I’ll take what I can get.
After the visit is done and you are all back home, we try to discus it with our kids: what do they remember, what did they like, do they want to go again, etc.
A tip for all of you in Slovenia or visiting Slovenia – some museums here in Ljubljana offer free tickets on the first Sunday of the month. Check out the website for more information: http://www.ljubljana.info/museums/.