November 20, 2017

Winter Break Series: 5 Ways to Make a Trip to the Museum More Fun

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Museum of Modern Art

For some, winter break has already started. For others, there are a few more days to enjoy the silence before the kids are home through the new year. It’s time to get serious about what to do during the winter break, so how about a series on what to do with your kids while they are at home (to reduce whining and expand their horizons wherever possible).

First up, let’s talk about going to museums. I live just outside Washington, DC, and I know there are a ton of museums we’ve yet to explore (or fully explore), so this is a great opportunity for us to head downtown and check them out. Taking the kids to a museum definitely has the potential for failure, so here are five quick tips to maximize fun (or at least minimize groaning).

Hunt Down an App: Many museums now have iPhone and Android apps to help guide you through museums and offer extra insights into exhibits. There are even apps to help you find museums close by, which is ideal when you need to get the kids out of the house. Take a look at these 9 Must-Have Apps for Your Next Museum Adventure.

Check Out an Audio Tour: Museums have had audio tours for ages, but now many are offering kid-friendly audio tours. MoMa (New York), the Getty Center (Los Angeles) and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum (New York) are among those offering kid-centric audio tours. Go online to museum websites, since many times you can download audio tours from iTunes.

Look for Hands-On Exhibits: There’s nothing worse than strolling through a museum with a kid that keeps telling you how bored he is. So do your research and look for museums that offer hands-on activities to keep your child busy, like the American Museum of Natural History (New York), where your kids can dig for dinosaur fossils in the Dig Pit.

Seek Out Educator Materials: If you’re planning a museum trip, go online to the museum’s website to look for educator materials. Many times lesson plans will be broken out by grade level, so print these out and bring them with you. They’re a great way to make your visit more interactive. Here’s a fun one for the National Air and Space Museum with before and after visit activities.

Time Your Visit: I try not to go to museums without a plan, so I go to museum websites to check out when special presentations, IMAX movies and group tours begin so I know when to arrive and how long to stay. I also plan visits around naptimes since touring a museum with an over-tired child is no fun.

Do you have any great tips for taking the kids to museums? I’d love to hear what you like to do to make trips to the museum more fun.

Photo Credit: Gimp on the Go

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