Favorite Children’s Museums and Online Resources

I’m looking forward to seeing what resources and ideas everyone shares for this week’s Discover and Explore Museums theme. At the end of this post I’d love to see you link up some books about museums, tips for visiting museums, activities to do before or after you visit a museum, and projects related to famous works of art or museum exhibits.

Personally I think museums offer children such wonderful opportunities for learning and play. We’ve been lucky to visit quite a few children’s museums in our area and on family trips, so I’m sharing three of our favorites (so far) and some great online resources to help you explore museums even if you can’t physically get to all of the ones you want  to visit.

Discover Museums with Kids

Three Museums We Love

The three museums I’m including in this post are ones that we first visited when Lovey was only 18 months old. She had so much fun that I thought I’d share them with you.

Even if you can’t get to these museums I encourage you to find a local museum in your area. Many of them offer free family nights or free family events throughout the year. Visiting in the summer can also be a great way to beat the heat!

While on our family road trips I try to map out museums along our path. Stopping for a few hours can be help work off some energy and beat the boredom that can settle in during long car rides.

The Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, TN was probably Lovey’s favorite at that age. It was a bit smaller without being too crowded, and there were so many engaging hands-on activities for her to enjoy. Older kids might also enjoy The Magic Treehouse traveling exhibit that is there until September 2013.

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Even if you’ve never been to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis you may have seen pictures of this amazing sculpture that forms the focal point of the museum atrium.  The historic Dentzel Carousel in this museum was definitely a highlight for us, and Mr. Bear’s Playhouse for children ages 5 and under kept us climbing and playing for quite a while.

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The Magic House in St. Louis had a lot of great features for toddlers and many awesome exhibits for older children. Even though she wasn’t ready to try it herself Lovey sat in awe watching children as they climbed The Jack and the Beanstalk indoor climber. She also really liked the music area, the waterworks section, the children’s village, and the alphabet boxes. Although the kids’ construction zone wasn’t quite finished when we were there, I know she’ll enjoy that when we visit again.

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Museum Resources Online

As you are planning for your museum trip or learning about museums in general, you might like to visit some of the fabulous resources offered by many museums around the country. You can use them to plan a visit, do follow-up activities after a visit, or learn more about museums that you might not be able to visit right away.

The Chicago Children’s Museum Resources and Activities include printable activities that you can try at home or in the classroom.

The Children’s Museum of Indianopolis has full units of study on topics like trains, dinosaurs, and fitness for grades K-12. There are also online games for PreK-8.

The Children’s Museum of Houston teacher section allows you to search by keyword, grade level, and museum exhibit to find the activities that best go along with what you are learning about.

Marbles Kids Museum has printable lesson plans to go along with its IMAX movies and exhibits.

The Burke Museum of Natural History features Burke Kids, a safe, fun, educational Web experience with games and activities specifically designed for children ages 6-12.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Met Kids section includes family guides and suggested itineraries that are very helpful, but my favorite part of this sit is the Featured Media For Kids section. There are interactive games, sing along songs, videos, and other activities for kids as young as four to experience the museum in a different way.

 

We’d love for you to share how you

Discover & Explore: Museums and Art

Don’t forget to stop by KC Edventures to see what Jacquie is sharing for this week’s theme.

Please read the following guidelines for sharing:

  • Share family-friendly posts related to the weekly topic — kids activities, book activities, crafts, recipes, nature outings, free printables–anything that might be helpful to those wanting to put together activities based on this week’s theme
  • By linking up, you are giving me permission to share your post including one photo in our weekly feature post and on social media channels.
  • Visit 2-3 other posts that have linked up, find some new ideas & meet new friends!
  • If you are linking up, please be sure to grab and post the Discover and Explore button. We love to share! And we want as many people to add their posts as possible, so we have a wonderful collection to share with you.

The linky will remain open for two weeks. Then both co-hosts will feature activities in a separate post and share featured posts on the Discover and Explore Pinterest Board. If you aren’t already, please remember to follow us so you’re sure not to miss those feature posts.

Discover & Explore Weekly Themed Linky
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Previous Discover and Explore Themes

Upcoming Discover and Explore Themes

  • May 29-Backyard Games
  • June 5-Zoos
  • June 12-Build It! (Construction, Building and Engineering Ideas for Kids)
  • June 19-Summer

This post has been shared at some of these fantastic link parties.


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Comments

  1. We really enjoy using museum websites for our homeschooling days. I have yet, however, to incorporate Children’s Museums into the mix. Thanks for sharing such great sites.

    • Shaunna says:

      I’m looking forward to using these resources with our homeschooling activities, too. I hope you enjoy using some of these sites.

  2. I recently shared on FB how this linky is quickly becoming one of my favorites! I love the museums you shared and your tips and resources. We LOVE The Boston Children’s Museum (I actually worked there right out of college). Here in SoCal, we mainly visit Nature Parks rather than museums, but they may have to change. We shared some of our favorite art activities! Thanks for hosting.

    • Shaunna says:

      Oh, Jennifer! That is so exciting to hear. I love the weekly themes, and I get so excited seeing how all the ideas come together to form a really great resource. We’ve never been to Boston, but I hope we’ll get to check it out one day. We like to visit museums in the summer as a little break from the heat, so maybe that will be a good time for you guys to check out what the SoCal museums have to offer. Thanks so much for linking up!

  3. Love all the resources you listed! And you shared a few of our favorite kids museums too – great post!

    • Shaunna says:

      Thanks, Jacquie! I was so excited to find some of these great resources. I can’t wait to use them to go along with our homeschool activities, too

  4. Thank you for hosting! I have a half finished post on our favorite museum trips so now I feel inspired to get it going again. Maybe tonight and I will check back! Thought I would share our spring themes anyway.

    • Shaunna says:

      Sarah, I’m so excited to see what you put together for your museum post. This linky will be open until June 4 if you want to come and share. While I love your gardening and sensory bin posts, we do ask that you only share posts related to the weekly theme. That way moving forward people can use this page and all the great resources when they are planning for this specific theme. Thanks so much for understanding. I hope you’ll be able to share many of your posts in our upcoming weekly themes.

  5. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone will be linking up. We haven’t done as much as I thought we would in the art appreciation department this year. 🙁 Will be planning more carefully for next year. 🙂

    • Shaunna says:

      I know what you mean, Valeria. I had big goals for including a lot of fine arts focused activities to go along with our themes this year, but somehow that got a little lost in the planning phase. I’m excited to see what everyone links up too…and I look forward to seeing what you end up doing next year.

  6. The Mrs. and I took our little one to the Daytona Museum Of Arts & Science. While they have a dedicated children’s wing, it’s not a huge museum. We thought it would have been worth the admission price though. They also have a monthly free day which is when we went. There is also a large children’s museum on Tampa that we plan on going to shortly as well.

    • Shaunna says:

      I remember that museum! We visited when Lovey was very little to play in the baby space. I bet it is worth visiting again. The full-size train was fun to play on, too! I believe it is also free for teachers. Thanks for sharing.

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