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Visiting Museums with Children

Follow your children’s lead. Don’t expect your children to explore the museum as you would. Let them go from display to display at their own pace. To get them to observe differently, ask open-ended questions like, “What do you think the animal in that painting is doing?” or, “What do you like about that statue?” Don’t make it too “educational” or tedious. They will not want to come back. Make each visit short, depending on the age and attention span of your child. For their sake, come often for shorter periods of time.

Consider becoming a member. While countries such as England allow children to visit national museums free of charge, many museums in the U.S. still charge a child’s rate. If you plan to visit several times a year, it may be more economical to pay a membership fee.

Where to visit. Check your city/town’s Web site or the front section of your local phone book under “Community Information.” The events section of your town paper usually highlights things to do with a special listing of museums and galleries. Don’t overlook the Chamber of Commerce in your area.

Children need to learn that the world is an invitation to learn and the opportunities for discovery are endless. Take your child to a museum and you will both have an experience to remember. Here are some Web sites that can help you decide where your next outing to a museum should be.

http://ed.gov./pubs/Museum/museums.html
http://www.carnegiemuseum.org/cmag/bk_issue/1998/sepoct/feat8c.htm
http://www.artcyclopedia.com/museums.html
Growing Readers Online has a great list of children’s books about visiting art museums.

When books are purchased at the Growing Readers Amazon store, a percentage of your purchase will go to the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children’s efforts on behalf of homeless children. 

Originally published on Bright Horizons

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