Toddlers and museums - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 12-31-2009, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,


I would like to take my 19 month old to a museum but don't know if he is old enough. What do you think? At what age is it appropriate to take a toddler to a museum? I'd like to get a year pass to the main museum in my city but don't know whether it is worth it.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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#2 of 21 Old 12-31-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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I don't think there is any inappropriate age to take a child to a museum necessarily. I think it really depends more on the child and the museum. You will find it varies from child to child and museum to museum.

Some kids are more interested in touching everything and running around, and that might not always be appropriate at every museum whereas there are museums where that's encouraged. A lot of museums have children's rooms, programs and classes. This is an indicator that it's generally toddler friendly, and that the museum might be a great fit for a toddler.

I took my son to museums a lot at that age, and he loved it. But there are a lot of good options in my city for young child. It's a popular activity, especially in cold weather. And the caretakers and parents enjoy it as well.

You could visit the museum with your child to see if a membership would be worthwhile for your family.

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#3 of 21 Old 12-31-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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If you are worried you could bring a stroller and/or carrier like an ergo. That would allow your LO to still be able to see exhibits like dinosaur bones, but ease any fears you might have about excessive touching/running off. Mine visited museums at any age - infant, toddler, etc., they do/did prefer the children's museum (bonus that everything is hands-on), but enjoy the science & natural history museums as well.

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#4 of 21 Old 12-31-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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Good advice above. I would add that an advantage of a year-long pass is that if on a certain day you have to leave after 5 minutes because museum-appropriate behavior just isn't in the cards, it won't be a waste of money. You can afford to be laid-back about it and just try again next week.

Hardest thing about my toddlers in museums--more than hands to yourself--was they wanted to test the big echo-y spaces with their voices.
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#5 of 21 Old 12-31-2009, 07:07 PM
 
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I work at a Museum and we gladly welcome ALL ages. Learning how to act appropriate comes with experience and I think everyone should be able to enjoy a Museum. Though depending on the type of Museum, you may need to explain why things are not touched. Maybe have the 1st trip be a kids museum or natural history museum? Have fun- this should be a great experience for everyone!
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#6 of 21 Old 12-31-2009, 09:12 PM
 
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I have been taking DS (now 2.5 yrs) to museums since he was about 13 months old. There are always TONS of families there, often with very young toddlers.
Most of the museums in my area are very kid friendly, and have crafts and activities set up just for children.
Try taking your LO a few times before you get the membership, so you can assess the reaction.
Have fun!
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#7 of 21 Old 12-31-2009, 09:21 PM
 
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I'll second that the great thing about a pass is that it takes the pressure off. I can't recall the number of times we've gone to the zoo for 10 minutes, seen the Gibbons for a few minutes and then I've realized that it's too hot/close to nap time/ just not the right day and we've headed out. There's no pressure to "get my money's worth". Same thing with the science center and local museum. We've gone to them a few times and then it just hasn't been the right time and we've left without having spent any money.

19 months is a nice age to start with the museum. We've been taking DD since earlier than that. The main thing is to have low expectations. Especially with a pass, you will see everything eventually. I think the first time we went she kind of ran through the whole thing and I didn't think she even noticed anything. But as we kept going she started having places she'd head to and things she'd look at.
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#8 of 21 Old 12-31-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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We love museums

I think DD went to her first around 19 months, and we go quite a bit. Around here there's a slew of children museums that are fantastic, especially in winter. Anywhere that's hands on is great, and we found that many "adult" museums had children sections...

I second getting season passes for your favorites!

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#9 of 21 Old 12-31-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 4Jet View Post
I work at a Museum and we gladly welcome ALL ages. Learning how to act appropriate comes with experience and I think everyone should be able to enjoy a Museum. Though depending on the type of Museum, you may need to explain why things are not touched. Maybe have the 1st trip be a kids museum or natural history museum? Have fun- this should be a great experience for everyone!
also a lot of museums have a family space- find that space first so you can retreat to it if needed. additionally you can call to see if the museum has a slower time you could stop in- wednesday's for us.....

We also offer a Toddler time- perhaps your museum does too- call to see about their family programming (we also have strollers for loan on site)

enjoy your visit! (ps I work in a traditional art museum)

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#10 of 21 Old 12-31-2009, 11:00 PM
 
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DD has been visiting museums, art galleries and the like since she was a tiny babe. To be honest, if never occurred to me to not bring her along to such places. I think she was about 5 weeks old when she first visited the Denver Botanic Gardens. She was about 3 months old when she first visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

I figure that the sooner a LO gets accustomed to visiting such places the sooner they learn how to enjoy the outing/behave. Of course, we visit after such things as naps, feedings/snacks and diaper changes/potty visits are either taken care of or planned for...and, it has always been a pleasure. A carrier or stroller makes it quite easy.

BTW: We are visiting the Denver Children's Museum next week...for the first time...

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#11 of 21 Old 01-01-2010, 12:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for responding to my post. Thanks for the wonderful advice. I'll call up the local museum and see if they have a children's room and are toddler friendly.
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#12 of 21 Old 01-01-2010, 10:07 PM
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What kind of museum? In my area there are a few children's museums and they have space for crawlers and up. For regular museums aimed at adults we take DD, but we keep it short, she can only handle being confined for so long, she does love the children's rooms in a lot of museums though.

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#13 of 21 Old 01-01-2010, 11:43 PM
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I've been taking my kids to museums since they were babies. They love art museums, but can't handle the overstimulating science museums. I never use a stroller at museums, but I usually bring a sling or front carrier (many museums do not allow backpacks of any type). The key is to interact with your child constantly...don't let your attention wander while the child tries to touch the displays. We usually walk around the museum for 1 to 1.5 hours before leaving.

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#14 of 21 Old 01-04-2010, 01:54 AM
 
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We've been taking our daughter to museums (art, science, history, children's) since she was a newborn. It's a great place for parent and child and it was one of the few places where I could breastfeed comfortably during the first few months.

I agree with the previous posters and suggest using your carrier and leaving your stroller at home. Also, scope out children's rooms/programs. Most museums have these and they are great for exploration and learning.

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#15 of 21 Old 01-04-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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We took my DD to a museum at around 11 months. However it was free-so there was no waste of money association. We understood that she was too young to get much out of the exhibits, but she loves to go new places. It was a rainy day and we needed to get out of the house for a while. She was walking at that age and we did let her walk around some-which she loved, as it was a big open space. She wasn't really interested in many of the exhibits, but liked the animal ones. they also have a small area with activities for children and she enjoyed playing in there, as well. Overall it was a great experience for us all.
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#16 of 21 Old 01-04-2010, 01:28 PM
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We understood that she was too young to get much out of the exhibits, but she loves to go new places.
I disagree about babies & toddlers not getting much from the exhibits. Both of my boys have been profoundly affected by art since infancy. They love the visual stimulation and the ideas conveyed through colors. They love everything from Ancient Egyptian mummies to Andy Warhol, and everything in between!

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?" - Andy Warhol
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#17 of 21 Old 01-04-2010, 01:59 PM
 
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I disagree about babies & toddlers not getting much from the exhibits. Both of my boys have been profoundly affected by art since infancy. They love the visual stimulation and the ideas conveyed through colors. They love everything from Ancient Egyptian mummies to Andy Warhol, and everything in between!
I think this may vary from child to child though...if not just their mood of the day. My DBS is more interested in the people who are looking at the pics than the pics themselves. In the one large-ish art museum we've been to he was fascinated by a small drain in the floor...kept going back to it. Found-object art?

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#18 of 21 Old 02-25-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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I think this may vary from child to child though...if not just their mood of the day. My DBS is more interested in the people who are looking at the pics than the pics themselves.
One of the activities we do with in our preschool program is ask the kids to look at how people are viewing the art (sometimes we ask if they see anyone breaking the "rules" - such as leaning over the stanchons or pointing real close)- but is helps to teach children.

Also sometime I find people are willing to tell my daughter (on our own trips)- about why they were drawn to a painting. (not always but sometimes) I think it is good for her to see.

Additionally I think it is also another good way to teach children about respecting other people's space when they are "working"...


OP I am wodnering if you have had a chance yet to go and try a museum out?

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#19 of 21 Old 02-25-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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I think museums as a right for all humans. so we have been going with both kids from the beginning. We have yearly memberships for our family and caregivers to 4 museums in the area and go to one at least every other week.

My children have learned a great deal from them, my daughter knows all about the lifecycle of a butterfly, and recognizes most art types at 3 years old... she is not by any means a genius she was just exposed to it.

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#20 of 21 Old 02-25-2010, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,


Thank you all for your replies to my post. I'm sorry I haven't replied until now. I did get a chance to take my ds to the local natural history museum and he loved it. My museum was offering entrance by donation for one week after New Year's so it was a great opportunity for us to test it out.

So, thanks again for all your insights and suggestions.
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#21 of 21 Old 02-25-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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I think DS1 was ~15-18 months when we took him to COSI for the first time (hands on childrens' science museum in columbus). He's since been back there a couple times, and to an art museum and most recently the natural history museum. He's liked them all, though I'm pretty sure his least favorite by far was the art museum
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