Days Out Things To Do

How to make museums fun for kids

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Many children dislike museums. So let the following activities bring museums to life for your kids.

When visiting a new city, chances are you’re planning to visit some of its best museums. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t geared towards children, who may in turn view them as dull, quiet, grown-up. They just don’t radiate the same sense of adventurous entertainment they are used to from their toys and favourite TV shows.

But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid museums like the plague until your children are old enough to appreciate them. If you spice things up a little with the right preparation and fun games for them to do, you can make museums an exciting pastime even for your kids.

Don’t go there hungry

Hungry kids are grumpy kids and letting them go to a museum – which requires a lot of concentration – with a grumbling stomach is one way to ensure they’ll get frustrated quickly. Instead, make sure you’ve eaten before you go. Perhaps take a break for food while there, if you’re planning to stay for longer. If they’re fed, you’re on a much better way to help them enjoy the experience.

Give them a map

Kids love maps, possibly with very few exceptions. Giving them a child-friendly layout of the museum – most large ones produce them – will make the trip much more fun for your kids. They’ll be able to scout out the area and trace where they’re walking. While maps won’t ensure that they start enjoying the exhibits, it will help them enjoy the trip by navigating the corridors and locating their favourite exhibits.

Have a treasure hunt

If simple maps won’t do, this activity can be particularly exciting for your children. Make a list of items – or information connected to the items – and let your kids find them and write down any important information. This way you’re not only turning your visit into a game for your kids, but you’re actively teaching them about the exhibits they set out to find.

Visit exhibits you know they’ll love

This one should be obvious. If your children are into dinosaurs, visit the dinosaur exhibition in the Natural History Museum. If they’re into Ancient Egypt, visit the Egyptian section in the British Museum. While you can never guarantee that your kids will love everything they see, already having a passion for the subject matter at hand will increase the likelihood that they’ll enjoy roaming around the museum.

Use the museum’s own resources

Many museums are aware that exciting kids for museums can be difficult – and so they have developed their own resources (for extra money, of course). The Louvre offers audio guides geared towards children, the Natural History Museum has an app with various activities for kids, and most offer child-friendly sheets and guidebooks. Remember to check the website of any museum you want to visit to see what they offer for children. Just have a look around and imagine what you would have liked when you were a child.

If you take some of this advice to heart, your children may develop a love for museums at an early age – and by doing this awaken in them the excitement of learning new facts and discovering ancient civilisations – with obvious benefits for their future lives.