Many museums have hands-on activities for kids. But you might want to visit the museum ahead of time to plan a fun experience of your own!
Compile a Scavenger Hunt
You can create a scavenger hunt for all age levels, at any kind of museum – art, history, or science. Look around the galleries and come up with a list of 10 to 20 interesting objects, photographs, paintings or sculptures for them to find. Include a variety of easy- and hard-to-find items, appropriate for your child’s age. If it’s too easy, it will be over too quick. But if it’s too hard, they will get discouraged and give up.
Pack a small prize for a completed scavenger hunt, like a book or small toy. Food prizes are great too, but be sure to give them to your child after you leave the museum, not while you’re in the galleries!
Make a List of Favorites
Challenge your child to look at the artifacts and artwork with a critical eye. Ask them to create a list of their most favorite pieces with a reason or two to explain their selections. You might ask them for a list of five things overall, or perhaps one thing from each gallery, floor or exhibit in the museum. Or set a guideline, such as “find 10 red artifacts/paintings” or “list 10 things from the 1800s.”
Children may want to draw their favorites. Use only crayons or colored pencils in the gallery, and keep a close watch that no one “accidentally” draws on the gallery walls or artifact cases!
Create an Exhibit
When you get home, have your child design their own exhibit. While at the museum, ask them to create a list of things to include in their own exhibit to draw and plan later. Or have them design an exhibit of their own toys or collections. (See “A Museum of You” for more information on this idea!)
Invent a News Report
Have your child gather information about the museum in general or a specific exhibit to “report” on later in the day. Ask them to create a script as if they were a news anchor or a reporter in the field. This activity is fun for a special event at a museum too!
Make a Documentary or Commercial
Older children will enjoy creating a video about the museum. (Check with the staff first to be sure you are allowed to record in the museum!) Have your child create a documentary or commercial about the museum. Many museums have You Tube channels and Facebook pages where you can share your child’s enthusiasm!
Do a Research Project
Ask your child to pick one artifact or piece of artwork to research in-depth. Take a trip to the library to learn more about that type of artifact, how it was used, and who used it. Or learn more about a favorite artist. Museums are places to inspire learning, so take full advantage of your visit!