What is better than hands-on learning? Now that school is winding down, I am really looking forward to more time to be able to take my children to some nearby museums!
There are three main things I adore about museums:
1.Role play – When I was a child, I remember dressing up as a settler. As I watch my son, he can take any object and create an elaborate story line. Museums offer the role play in a very educational environment. Before I let them loose, I like to engage them in a little education – that way they can act out what they learned.
2. Tactile learning - Instead of merely learning facts or reading books, museums have learning objects they can pick up and play with and learn from! It is an entirely wonderful and new way to learn for them that I can’t do at home. The science museum near me has stuffed animals that are all based on animals from the habitat around our home. So educational and so fun!
3. Unforgettable – I still remember every single visit to the children’s history museum when I was a young girl. It is hard to forget the huge displays, the information I could see, feel and act out! I hope that learning from visiting the museum stays with my kids like it did with me.
Something else I am a huge fan of–unstructured learning. I know museums offer summer classes and day-camps – please take advantage of those! But I love to get down on the floor with my kids – interacting with them and showing them what they are playing with.
Natural learning from conversation happens best like this:
1. Encourage questions - As I sit down with them, I figure out what they are playing. I offer little tiny bits of information and make them ask me more. “This is carbon.” Then (in a perfect world) they say, “What is carbon, mommy?” It does not always happen, but as we play back and forth, they do interact and we do learn.
2. Create stories - It is through stories that they learn! At the history museum, I let them dress up and we pretend we are pioneers on the Oregon Trail. I make sure to try and keep the story line historically accurate and they learn bits and pieces.
3. Make them want to come back- We make it so fun that they want to come back. They play and grow an interest in the subject. The hands on play is planting a seed of love for a subject matter. I know for sure that it is easier to teach a child who wants to learn more about something! That is what museums do. They help a child to fall in love with a subject and want to learn more after they leave.
What about you? Do you take your kids to museums often? Or is it something you will do more now that school is almost out?