Hands-on Museum Fun

Some of the ‘On the move’ pack from the Museum of Childhood

Perhaps you *always* do this, but in case like me you hadn’t ever thought to ask for one of those kids’ interactive packs  at a museum…here’s why you should!

The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is our go-to bad weather option, but I’ve only just got around to trying their explorer packs.

You know how other people’s toys are way more appealing to toddlers than their own? And how they want to touch ALL the things, all the time?  Here’s where explorer packs come in.

The packs are free to borrow for an hour at a time from the information desk. Technically you can borrow one per family but they lent me two to suit the boys’ different ages.

We spent a lovely half hour making a quiet corner of the museum our own, with themed playmats, books and toys provided by the museum in canvas bags.

It provided some more reflective time and imaginative play after the usual burst of running around the museum. I could see it changed how they felt about the space too – more at home.

I can imagine with slightly older kids explorer packs will be an ideal way to get more interested in the stories of objects in a museum, but for my 1 & 3 year olds this was all about play.

The baby explorer pack from the Museum of Childhood

It got me thinking about what’s on offer like this at other museums, and there’s lots. We’ll definitely be trying these:

British Museum gallery backpacks – a big variety with different themes and age ranges, including one specifically for under-5s. They also offer daily object handling, art materials to borrow and activity trails – see their families page for more information.

Museum in Docklands and Museum of London both offer a hands-on explorer pack for under-5s. *UPDATE* we visited today, and Museum of London packs are not available at the moment while they’re being ‘refreshed’…

So next time you’re at a museum with the kids – ask if they have an explorer pack! Or let us know about your favourites…

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