I get asked about what tips I have for bringing kids to museums. I’ve taken classes of students on field trips to museums throughout southern California, chaperoned teens overseas, and brought my own kiddo on excursions from his wee early days. And what I’ve determined from experience is that the kids should take charge as much as possible. Now I’m not saying they should run wild and free and be without limits and boundaries. What I am saying is lower your expectations to what will be seen and let the kids decide.
One of the best and earliest memories from when my child and I went to the Getty Center was arriving after having sat in traffic for over an hour, waiting in long lines to board the tram, getting to the arrival platform and asking my child to lead the way. “Do you want to go this way [right/left]? Or that way [ahead or turn around]?” And I followed his lead. I asked questions about what he saw instead of pointing out things I thought were interesting. And you know what, he felt empowered and excited. He was two. Ten minutes later we left. Yep. We left. Two hours+ to get to and from our 10 minute long field trip. And when we got home he had the bug to go back. So we planned another museum excursion. And another. He’s almost 7 and last summer, instead of our weekly Monday beach days, he asked if we could switch beach days with museums. And we did. And this summer we’ll do it again. And you can, too.
As he’s grown, we now create scavenger hunts ahead of time and investigate what we might be seeing because he’s interested in that. There is no right way or one way to take kids to museums but the biggest takeaway for me is to let the kids lead. They know the way.