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8 Kid Friendly Museums To Explore Now

Lookie No Touchie

The world offers us the ultimate education through its unbelievably packed museums. As adults we worship the artistry of the Sistine chapel, marvel at Mona Lisa’s smile, stand in awe as we take in the breadth of fort McHenry’s star spangled banner. How do you, on the other hand, guide younger ones through rooms of treasure and priceless artifacts without setting off the security alarms? The answer is two fold: first, try to choose kid friendly museums. There are some pretty fabulous choices out there.

The National Museum of Scotland
Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

Opting for the Grand Dames

Secondly, if you do choose one of the classics like the Vatican or the Louvre, prep them with the facts and translate that into some ownership. Kids will connect with art and history if they can connect some dots. Try familiarizing kids with that wonderful art by ensuring they have opportunities to see it. Books are the best way to start. Then, create some stories of your own about art so there is a reference point when your young mind sees it in person.

Once you decide on a museum, check out their website to see if they offer any kid friendly activities. For example, when visiting the HMS Britannia in Edinburgh, kids can keep a close eye out for stuffed corgis hiding all over the ship. Very clever! Additionally, The Louvre has an entire section of their website dedicated to helping kids understand art.

Probably the most important way to connect kids with art is to help them understand why something is impressive. The power to understand wow is an important tool to unlocking a true interest in art, history and the museums that house them.

Where We Went: Kid Friendly Museums

Kid Friendly Museums Map
Travel Think Tank

Travel Time Out!

As we get back into the process of planning for travel, we are all excited to get out there and get going. When we dream of our future travels, we sometimes forget how important it is to remember we are not invincible. In fact, we want to pack so much in that we forget to plan a little travel time out. It’s okay to plan a beach day or a lazy day. It will be well worth it! Here are my pre-coronavirus thoughts on that very subject.

I Don’t Need A Time Out!

I hear you! You are not two years old! Can I just say this? Adults have more temper tantrums than kids. Can we say “hangry” people? No one enjoys a nap more than an adult. And no one, I repeat, no one wants to be around you when you are tired, cranky, and grumpy. We all need a time out and we deserve them! So, say thank you and really enjoy it! You are on vacation after all! So what does a travel time out look like?

Back in the Summer of 2019…

I’m on day one of my European holiday and Belgium 🇧🇪 has not disappointed! The weather is glorious and the airport, while rather dated, was a breeze from runway to rental. I’m traveling with my mom as I often do and we have stopped in this sweet little location for the night before we take in the Normandy region of France 🇫🇷 in the next week. So, why stop at a place like this? Well, this is a great spot to take a time out and recharge after international travel or after up time at a bigger venue. Genval has a lovely bistro full of locals, a beautiful old hotel with plenty of rooms and a lake to just enjoy! Yes, there are paddle boats and stand up paddle boards but, no, there is no swimming. I did check with the front desk and there are bikes for rent. Lastly, nearby is Waterloo with a modern museum that does a great job explaining why Napoleon met defeat here at Waterloo. #quietfind #berlintoparis?

Family Travel Hub

Why are maps so important?

When we think of maps, I guess a lot of us remember those big rollaway maps in our elementary school classrooms. You know the kind, they made a whizzing sound coming down which always signaled either immense boredom or intense curiosity. It was a roll of the dice. There was something about the colors and shapes that seemed to make a young mind wonder- or maybe wander, which was certainly my case!

My love for maps extended well beyond the classroom. I loved any kind of map I could get my hands on. Globes, atlases, the tricky fold out ones, theme park maps, museum maps, the Great Adventure Safari map, the New York City mass transit map; it truly didn’t matter. And I always learned something from those maps. For example, I remember discovering that American highways actually have a grid system that helps you know where you are, the lower the highway number, I 10, for example, the further south or west you were.

Another young discovery of mine is that all of the light posts in Central Park have a location marker on them that you can follow or use a map to plan with. I spent countless hours in the car with a Rand McNally atlas learning exits and town names and tracing red, blue and black roadways with my fingers. I admit it, I’m a map junkie.

As a teacher, my absolute favorite activity that I ever got to do was rent one of the world’s largest maps of Europe from National Geographic. My first graders and I kicked off our shoes and went exploring. We measured countries we had literature circles around England, we plotted a road trip from Germany to Italy using robots. We matched landmarks with countries. It was so much fun! They stopped renting those maps but I found out that they can be purchased now. Maps create a serious sense of logic out of what can seem like total chaos. They give order to our place on earth and help young minds start to see geographic connections as never before. Maps cater to both the linguist and mathematician mind set. They speak to current events and history. They restore order to nature as man interferes. Maps are the total package.

As a mom, I always seemed to be stuffing a map into my kids’ hands. Whether it was Disney or the Tokyo train system they go a map. Lead the way! My mother loves to tell a story about how my daughter, who was about 8 at the time, was able to take her to the Big Buddha while we were living in Japan. It took about 3 train transfers and you had to know how to walk through a department store to catch one of those transfers. My daughter had no problem. She totally had it down thanks to maps.

So, take out some maps! Have a treasure hunt, plot a trip using public transportation (which is completely underused in our country) and fall in love with maps! There is no doubt that maps contribute to being globally literate.

Recently, I was walking with my mom in old town Brussels. We were just taking in the scene and window shopping. Walking along, I saw a store window that I fell in love with. And if you’ve been following our page, it might look familiar. So, are you a map junkie like me? I hope so…

Maps are an essential puzzle piece to understanding