exhibit, kids museum
Passed by a free exhibit at the Museumsquartier.

Art imitates life, they say. This imitation of life is best experienced by visiting art museums. More than learning about art through textbooks and classroom sessions, nothing beats witnessing art pieces first hand. For kids though, the idea may not seem as appealing as going to the mall. If you plan on taking the tykes museum hopping, here are some things to keep in mind:

Know what to expect. Prior to the actual museum visit, educate yourself as much as you can about the exhibits you’ll be taking the children to. Check if they have an online brochure. See which areas will be of particular interest to your kids. If you have a clear idea of the places you’ll go to, you’ll be able to maximize your time for a visit.

Don’t do it all. (Except of course if it’s the Louvre.) Try not to cram everything in one visit. Just choose certain portions of the museum to check out, as kids are notorious for their short attention spans. There shouldn’t be any sort of pressure on you to visit every part of the museum. You can always come back another time.

window louvre museum
Inside looking out at the Louvre Museum

Relate art to real life. This is the heart of your museum trip. Try to make connections between pieces of art and the kids’ everyday experiences. As they look at artwork, have them talk about familiar things which it reminds them of. If they’re looking at a painting of children, for instance, have them compare the kids to themselves.

Make the museum trip memorable by having the kids pick out a souvenir from the museum gift shop. And this is a must for my kids. It could either be postcards, a pen, a bookmarker, a snow globe or a wind-up music box.

Museums are a better alternative than crowded and noisy malls. Kids will learn valuable stuff about art and bond with you at the same time. Try to make the experience a memorable one for them. Who knows, eventually, they may turn into “museum rats”?

elefant, museum
Elephant in front of the Natural history museum, Vienna