Teaching Your Children to Enjoy Museums

Lately, my son and I have been enjoying “Saturdays at the Museum,” a program put on by the Museum of Anthropology on the campus at the local university. Last week, we learned about the history of chocolate. While we’re there, we also look at the other displays, which include information on Egyptian death rituals, the origins of Petra in Jordan, and Native American weaving techniques.

Encouraging your child to enjoy cultural experiences can promote positive development, and result in an interest in learning that can benefit him or her for life. Museums can provide learning experiences for children, and you can help your child enjoy visits to museums, and expand their cultural horizons.

Make Museums Fun

One way that the museum here is fun is because it offers the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities related to different themes each week. The week before we learned about the history of chocolate, the subject was Ancient Greece. One of the activities was using paper stars to create constellations connected to Greek myths. These types of activities draw children in, encouraging learning.

Children’s museums are also good choices for those who wish to interest their children in culture, science and art. Children’s museums specialize in presenting material in a way that is understandable to children. Many of them have interactive displays. Start with children’s museums, and museums that offer special kid-friendly activities, if you want your child to grow up enjoying museums.

It’s also important to start when your child is young. My son went to his first museum, a museum aimed at children, when he was four years old. Because we have made it a habit to engage in cultural activities, he has been raised to enjoy them. He looks forward to the next adventure in culture and art. Starting young, and focusing on age-appropriate and fun activities at museums that offer them, provide a great foundation for the further enjoyment of museums and other cultural experiences.

Set an Example

Part of helping your child enjoy the arts and enjoy cultural experiences is setting the example. Your child needs to see that you enjoy going to museums. Let your child know that you are going to a museum, or you can show your child how much you like museums by taking the time to go together. Just as you can set the example by listening to music, reading books, or getting exercise, you can teach your child to enjoy museums by visiting them.

Any habit you wish your child to develop, whether it’s eating right, exercising, or learning about science, begins with you setting the example. The activities you do together encourage your child to enjoy them; your child likely wants to be like you, and emulating your behavior is part of that.

Even if you don’t enjoy museums right now, you can learn an appreciation for them, and the cultural treasures they hold. Attending special programs, lectures and displays that coincide with your interests can be a good start, since you will have the advantage of participating in something you already enjoy. Show your child how to connect his or her interests to culture, art and science, and you both will likely find new adventures in learning.

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