Sometimes my girls are into museums and sometimes they aren’t. It depends on the museum, what else they could be doing, what the temperature is like, what they had for breakfast….. anything. One day they love neo-impressionist artists, the next day they only like manga. When you have more than one kid, it’s even harder to make it all interesting. So here are some sure fire ideas to make any old museum exciting!
ONE- Scavenger Hunt
We’ve taken this approach many times! A little healthy competition always makes a museum a little more fun. We’ve opted to do hunts when the kids aren’t too interested in a museum and we are. Other times, it's because we are short on time and have a list of relics and artifacts we want to see! If it’s a museum that you really don’t know much about and you are just dropping by chose a generic list. Here is a site with lists of basic scavenger hunts. You don’t have to complete the whole list, chose a goal that is doable and stays within your time frame (i.e. first to mark of 10 items wins, etc). Make sure the winner, wins something… maybe it’s bragging rights or first right of refusal when choosing dinner, both of these are free prizes! The scavenger hunt is also a fun QUICK way to see the highlights of a big museum. On a trip to London, we thought we would have an afternoon (or at least a couple of hours) to check out the British Museum. While still at home, we all did a little research and came up with 4-5 exhibits each that we each wanted to see, we combined our list and were ready to go. We got into the museum with just over an hour before closing ...so time crunch!!! We split into two teams and took off with a list of exhibits and a map. To get credit you had to have a picture of the correct object, each team had to stick together, and the whole team had to be back at museum gift shop at the designated time (or you lost points).
TWO- Short Guided Tour
Sometimes touring a museum with a docent or guide is the most engaging way to see the highlights and hear the interesting backstories. We usually rent the headsets and listen at our own pace, (you know the system where you type in site 22 and listen to the commentator read the placard). The teens usually get bored with this pretty quickly. A docent will interact and take questions and can sometimes adjust the tour to the interest level of the group. If you’re in London, take the free Beefeater tour at the Tower of London. These guys are awesome and so entertaining! You also get a sneak-peak into the little chapel that other tourists are prohibited from entering. Well worth it if you're a history buff.
THREE- Activity Sheets
Most museums will have activity sheets for kids to complete. We usually complete these together as a family. Most of the time, you can find these online before you leave home, if the online version looks too young or too much like homework (not disguised learning) we’ll skip it. The National Parks have a great Junior Ranger Program and this typically will cover a portion of their local museum. Even though the Jr Ranger program is ages 6-12, we still complete and turn these in for badges. Not a single Ranger has given the twins a hard time for being older than 12! We even met adults completing these in the Grand Tetons!!! They still have fun and are learning a ton.
FOUR- Funny selfies
As long as the kids (or the adult kids) are not being disrespectful, why not loosen up a bit. Let them have a little fun and take silly posed selfies!!
FIVE- Museum Apps
Many museums are creating their own apps for you to download. While many are maps and guides of the museum itself, others are interactive hunts. We will soon be visiting Mt. Vernon and trying out their interactive adventure, stay tuned for feedback.
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