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.
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.
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.
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.
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.