Princess and The Rock

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

How to survive the museums with young children (AND have some fun!)

The museum wins hands down in popularity in my "can-bring-both-children" list of places. The reason is simple; it is enclosed and contained, hence it is safe enough 
for my children to roam about on their own. The museum is also a fun place for them to learn about various topics (e.g. history and art), in an interactive manner.

I have learnt a few tips on surviving the museum with young children from the various visits to the museums with the Princess and the Rock. They are by no means advice but some things I found useful that helped make our visits enjoyable.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Prepare yourself and your children for the tripA convenient way is to look up the museum website, there is usually sufficient information there to let you know what is in store, like information on the exhibitions and their artists or if there are any special events and activities. I will not go all technical on my children, instead I may tell them something simple like "we are going to learn about how people in Singapore live in the olden days" if we are going to the National Museum. Additionally you can ask them to look out for certain things so that they can feel engaged while touring the museum.

  2. Set off for the museum early. This is especially important if we are bringing younger children who need their afternoon naps. They are more likely to find the museum visit pleasurable when they are energized. We all know that a tired child is usually less cooperative and even cranky.

  3. Less is more. Pick a few exhibitions that you think are going to interest your children more and zoom in on them. It is better to concentrate on fewer exhibitions than try to cover them all as their attention span may not be long enough for that. We want them to leave the museum feeling like they wan to go back instead of never wanting to return. Most museums have an interactive corner for children, be sure to visit that. The activities are usually quite fun for the whole family.

  4. Interact with your children at the museum. Ask them questions and encourage them to ask questions or voice comments about the exhibits. Praise them for paying attention and showing interest and involvement during the trip.

  5. Intersperse the visit with snack breaks. A simple sandwich or some biscuits and water can do the trick. If you are in for a treat, there is usually a cafe in the museum where you can enjoy a quick bite and a coffee or tea while the children fiddle with the worksheets and crafts from the museum.

  6. Preserve the memories. Take photographs when it is allowed. The children's activities corner is usually a good place for you to take some pictures of them enjoying themselves at the museum. Visit the museum shop and take home some memorabilia if they catch your sight.

  7. Keep an open mind and attitude. Take in all that you can but do not be too disappointed if the trip does not turn out as planned. The aim is to expose the children to museums and art and hope that their interest in them will continue as they grow.
Here is a list of museums in Singapore that you may want to bring your children to:

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