When you’re traveling (or maybe even in your hometown), you may want to visit museums. There are museums ranging from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville to the Vatican Museums in Rome and everything in between.
If you’re not traveling with kids, you can go through the museum and take it all in at your own pace. What if you are however traveling with kids, but you don’t want to miss out on important museums in your destination?
There are ways to make a museum trip work well when you have kids, and the following are some tips.
Get to Know the Museum and Its Rules Before You Go
When you go to a museum with kids, generally the more prepared you are ahead of time, the better. You want to make sure you follow the rules,and there aren’t any unwelcome surprises.
For example, some museums may not allow large bags or strollers, and you may be turned away as a result.
Familiarize yourself with the fine print well in advance of your trip to the museum.
Along with knowing about the rules of the museum, take the time to learn more about the museum itself. You don’t have to become an expert, but having a general understanding of the layouts and exhibits can be helpful when you go through with your kids.
This will let you know more about the things you definitely want to see and maybe the ones you can live without seeing.
Look for Deals
Depending on the museum and the location, you may be able to find some good deals if you’re going with kids. In some cities, there will be days where museums are completely free, or kids are free, so you can plan your trip around that. A lot of museums will also offer options for free tickets if your kids are under a certain age.
Get Your Kids Excited
If you take your kids to a museum and they have no idea what they’re looking at or why they’re there, they’re going to get bored quickly.
A lot of museums have guidebooks geared toward kids that you can buy online and read with your kids before your trip. This will help put things in context for them.
Some of the world’s biggest museums even have different scavenger hunt games your kids can play.
You may be able to find an app that you can use on your mobile device or iPad that you can use as you go throughout the museum too.
Audio guides tend to be offered at a lot of museums, and kids love them. Even if kids aren’t able to fully grasp everything being said on the audio guide, they like the idea of being in control of their own device.
Don’t Try to Do Too Much
Trying to do much with kids is never a good idea, but it’s something most of us parents do,particularly when we’re on vacation. You want to feel like you’re seeing and doing it all, but that’s just not necessarily feasible.
Give yourself adequate time that includes breaks and time for snacks. If there are spaces to sit in the museum, do that from time to time as well.
Look for Interactive Areas
Many museums will have interactive spaces, whether they be indoors or outside, so take advantages of those.
If you’re going to an art gallery, bring along a notepad and some pencils for each of your kids and let them draw what they see or perceive around them.
Before you go to a museum and once you’ve given your kids a rundown of what to expect or gotten them a book that shows them more about the museum, get them involved in your planning process. Ask them questions, answer questions they may have,and ask them what they’re more interested in seeing once you’re at the museum.
This will empower them and make them part of the process, so they’re more likely to remain engaged during their visit.
You might also want to consider a professional tour guide. It will cost more, but a lot of tour guides have ways to specifically keep kids engaged in the content of the museum,and they can help ensure your kids feel included. Plus, guides are good at timing and making sure you’re maximizing your time without becoming overwhelmed.