It’s summer holiday time! It has been a wonderful year and so much fun to work with these gorgeous children and their families. Thank you all for coming along to our playgroup classes, workshops and events.
So here is the last post before I take a break over the summer holidays. And as the Netherlands is not always guaranteed good weather over summer, I thought I’d pick a safe option and give you some fun ideas for museum visits with little ones.
Museum visits with small people
I am a big fan of taking kids to the museum at any age. Adjust your expectations and you are sure to have a great time and give your children a wonderful introduction to culture.
Living in Amsterdam, we have the most amazing selection of museums on our doorstep. The hardest part will be choosing which to visit.
1. Preparation before you go
Start to read books at home about artists and famous paintings. Here are some of our favourites:
1. Katie and the Sunflowers by James Mayhew (or any in the series)
2. A Child’s Book of Art: Great Pictures First Words by Lucy Micklethwait – look for a secondhand copy
3. Het Kleine Museum – Dutch word book for kids using beautiful details from paintings
2. Start at the museum shop
We like to head straight to the museum shop and the children are allowed to choose 2 postcards to buy. Then we hunt for these paintings during our visit.
3. Ask at the information desk
There is often a treasure hunt for children prepared by the museum. These may be for older children, but can also give you some ideas what to point out to younger visitors. For older children, there are sometimes audio tours for kids. (Oliver and Emma were lucky to be recorded on the English audio tour at the Stedelijk museum if you visit! Be sure to check it out.)
4. Follow your child
Let your child set the pace and follow their interests. Your expectations should be different when visiting a museum with a young child. They will move quickly and you definitely will not have time to read all the descriptions.
5. Play “I spy”
In Dutch it is called “Ik zie ik zie”. For example, “I spy with my little eye, a tiger!” With games like this you can encourage your child to spot some fun things in the artworks like:
▪ boys or girls
▪ interactive exhibits
Children love trying to find dogs or cats in old paintings. Or how young children dressed. Or bright colours used in modern art. You could even make a checklist for children who can read to find during their visit.
6. Keep your visit short
Stay for around an hour, or until your child has had enough. It is a good investment to get a Museumkaart so that you can pop into a museum for a short visit, but come back often.
My favourite museums with kids
1. Van Gogh museum – fun “speurtocht” (treasure hunt)
2. Stedelijk museum – modern art museum with lots of space to explore and the new building provides lots of visual interest for little ones, for example, round peek-a-boo windows and the tunnel escalator to the basement.
3. Escher museum (in the Hague) – for lots of optical illusion fun
4. Tropenmuseum – a recent petition has stopped it’s imminent closure. Lots of hands-on exhibits
For lots of other great museums, check out this article on the Amsterdam Mamas website.
EDIT: I just discovered this website with lots of information, 26,000 downloadable images (for educational purposes) and examples from artists. Could be fun to explore with your child. For example, here is a link to the page for Vincent Van Gogh.
I hope you have a wonderful summer break too and look forward to seeing you all soon. Safe travels all.