Learning Tip: Explore the Museum
By Susan Dichter
Museums get more kid-friendly every day. Almost every art museum in the country now offers specialized classes and programs for children. Many also offer free handouts for self-guided tours that you can take with your child, organized around a theme, a painter, or perhaps a time period. Ask your local museum what it offers and also make up programs of your own. For example, ask your child to find the originals of three postcards you find in the gift shop. Or look at some paintings of children made before 1850. Ask your child how the portraits are like and unlike the way children look now. Can she imagine what life was like for children back then?
Keep it short. Young children will enjoy a museum for perhaps a half-hour or slightly longer. Come back often. You and your child will build up a store of visual memories that you can share, using them as reference points in some of your talks together.
Susan Dichter wears many hats—mother, writer, former teacher, museum director, and librarian; her books include Teachers: Straight Talk from the Trenches.
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