Tucked just a block off the popular Graben walking street, and behind Meinl, a luxury grocery store worth browsing for hours on end, is a brand new optical illusion museum. There is nothing particularly Viennese about the museum but it’s interactive, surprisingly educational, and a lot fun. This new museum is an ideal spot for ‘tweens and teens in need of a little independence, puzzling, and funny photos to share with friends. It also provides a nice contrast to the many more traditional art museums in Vienna. Read more
The BIG Maze at the National Building Museum.
After we had our tickets clipped and entered the BIG maze I expected to accompany my 12-year-old daughter through the special exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. But she was already gone at the first turn. If I didn’t want to run to catch up I’d be going it alone. I expected to run into her at each of the many dead ends, but she was never there. Even when I finally made it to the center of the maze, where I could see over the shorter walls, she was nowhere to be seen. Finally I emerged out the other end hoping to find her. When I turned around, she was already coming out of the maze for the second time. Such is the crazy energy that takes hold of kids when they face amazing things like an indoor maze made out of plywood with walls ranging in height from 3 to 18 feet. Read more
There really are windmills in The Netherlands.
The whole third section of our book is devoted to reinforcing the memories of a trip well taken and exploring the cultural diversity offered in your own hometown. But what I neglected to include in those chapters is the memory boost offered by electronic blasts from the past. Every couple of months I get an e-mail message from Nederlands Openluchtmuseum. Even before I open it, it brings me a little smile.
Making paper at the Openluchtmuseum.
Back in 2007, when the kids were seven and four, we took the whole family to The Netherlands for a scientific conference. On an off day we took a train and a bus to a museum that was supposed to be fun for kids while documenting the everyday cultural heritage of the region. We had a great afternoon walking through the period buildings of the “Open Air Museum” and interacting with people in period costumes doing traditional labor like milling grain or smithing. Read more
Vienna ist für kinder! Vienna, Austria boasts castles, boat rides, music history, gorgeous Hapsburg-yellow buildings, and fantastic parks. We lived in the 19th district of Vienna for six months with two young kids and we fell in love. Many activities and museums are designed specifically für kinder (for children) and others are just naturally fun für kinder. Here are a few of our favorite hidden family hotspots. Read more
Spend less energy on travel logistics and more on preparing your kids. They’ll enjoy the trip so much more if they have educated expectations about the places you’ll be visiting. The more they know, the happier they’ll be (and so, of course, the happier you will be too). You can’t really expect them to be all excited about seeing a mosque when they don’t know what it is. And, let’s face it, art without expectation can be no fun at all. If you’ve read about the Mona Lisa in a story, it might be fun to go see her. On the other hand, standing in line to see a painting of a smirky lady that your parents tell you is “really famous”? Well, that just makes for really bad day.
We think about cultural and historical education when we’re on the road with kids. We remember to take our kids to art museums, historical landmarks, and famous icons. But what about music? Music differs all over the world, it’s everywhere, and it’s often free. It’s something that can be hard to find time for at home so take advantage of being on the road to expand your child’s vision of what music means.
There are street musicians in almost every tourist hotspot around the world, local concerts, special cultural performances, and musical history. Try saving some focus for street musicians on your next trip. They’re in fairly predictable places so plan a visit and take some time Read more
Teachers use worksheets all the time. Why? Because kids love them! Then teachers overuse them and worksheets get a bad wrap. But, trust us, take our worksheet (call it a scavenger hunt) to a museum and set your kids loose. It’ll be you begging to sit down or go to the gift shop while your kids are still roaming around, looking at art.
Museum Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunt is currently sized to fit on one page but you can enlarge and print on two pages for smaller hands.