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Family Field Trip: Museums

As summer break approaches, parents often wonder: What will I do to keep my child meaningfully entertained?  How will I support their curiosity and keep them engaged in an age-appropriate way?  What will we do with all this free time?!?!


One suggestion is to take a family field trip to a museum.  There are several available in the Chelsea, Ann Arbor, and Jackson areas (see list below).  Visiting museums and other local sites can be a great way to learn something new, explore interests, and have fun.  Don’t let museums overwhelm you.  You do not have to be an expert in art, science, or history to take advantage of all that museums offer.  They are places for looking, learning, and instilling a sense of wonder.


Here are some suggestions for an enjoyable museum trip with your preschooler.


  1. Check out the museum online and choose a focus – an object or exhibit that speaks to your child’s interests: fire fighting, space exploration, art, nature
  2. Ask open-ended questions and encourage careful looking. A great starting point – “Look closely.  What do you see?”
  3. Bring a toy related to the focus you select – a train car to a transportation exhibit or a T. Rex when visiting reconstructed dinosaur skeletons.
  4. Make movement part of the fun – suggest that your child strike a pose or move like the item they are exploring. Ask her or him to imitate a sculpture or painting, rotate like the Earth, or fly like an airplane.  Be sure to catch it on camera for sharing later!
  5. Bring paper and colored pencils to the exhibit – most museums allow visitors to sit and draw, so your child can draw items they find. A clipboard may be handy as well.
  6. Use your imagination. The meaning of many objects is subjective, so you and your child can make up your own story about what you see.
  7. Suggest that your child make his or her own collection! He or she can search for rocks, bottle caps, seed pods, or other objects of interests, and create an at-home display.


Local museums: