Editor's Note: This guest post from Sally M., an elementary teacher in Chicago. Do you have a specific museum (big or small!) that you think meets these goals? Tell us about them in the comments! Want to write longer? Submit a blog post to Aurora at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding a way to interest a child in learning can be an education in itself.
Museums can make education fun for everyone. Museums aren't about stuffy exhibits that cater to the intellectual elite. They're about bringing science, history and education to the average person on the street, and that includes children. Today, there are a number of museums designed to appeal to children making them more like tourist attractions, featuring interactive exhibits and eye-catching artwork that can not only hold a child's attention but expand it and encourage them to learn more about what they're seeing.
There are established and well-documented reasons that museums have a lot to offer in the way of children's education:
• Museums can introduce a child to new concepts and exciting ideas in a visually stimulating way. In a museum, there are no textbooks or tests. Children will see working models and bright artwork and history coming to life.
• The best way to learn something is to do it. Children learn best when they are involved and modern museums, particularly children's museums, include many interactive exhibits that teach children about history, technology, and art while letting them have fun and get their hands dirty. A Queensland study proved this several years ago with the introduction of hands-on trolleys in school classrooms.
• Seeing the world's art, history and culture outside of a book not only proves to children that these things are a living, vibrant part of our world but also shows them that they can be a part of the wonder. It's a lot easier to get a child interested in learning about a subject if they know that it affects them and they can affect it.
• Museums offer a wide variety of subjects to get excited about. If a child is uninterested in the exhibits in one area, the next may hold something exciting for them. There's something for everyone at today's museums.
Whether visiting a local museum on a class field trip or with the family, children can benefit so much from time spent among the exhibits. Their education will be expanded and improved as they explore their world through new venues provided by museums.
Sally is an avid blogger on her health blog. She teaches at a Chicago area elementary school and can be found on Twitter.