People often think of museums as places only grown-ups frequent or even appreciate. However, there are so many wonderful reasons why children should spend time at museums. With Manila’s very own National Museum of Natural History opening this May 18, skip the malling and head to the museum!
Here are five reasons why it’s a good idea to take children to the museum:
1. Admission is free for our national museums. That’s right. You don't need to wait for International Museum Day (May 18) to visit the National Museums of The Philippines. They are permanently free of charge.
2. Two words: air-con. Beat the "mainit" by visiting one of the free National Museums today. You can spend a morning or even all day hopping from one museum to the next, all in the comfort of cold air.
3. Research shows art makes you smart. Research has proven art can help develop intelligence. It provides a strong foundation for intellectual growth and development, ignites inquiry-based thinking and provides opportunities for children to relate in new ways to different mediums.
An article that appeared on The New York Times states, “Students who visited the museum on a field trip demonstrated stronger critical thinking skills, displayed higher levels of social tolerance, exhibited greater historical empathy and developed a taste for art museums and cultural institutions.”
One of my favorite museums is Museo Pambata (above), which uses local culture to engage children and promote learning.
4. Exposing your children to a new environment is beneficial for everyone. For many kids, a museum visit is an opportunity to learn in an environment that doesn’t share some of the negative connotations that a classroom can have. Children can determine appropriate behaviors for new settings that include walking, exploring at their own pace (highly encouraged!) and becoming aware of voice volume. When children visit museums, they intuitively learn to be respectful of the environment around them.
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The Marikina Science Centrum is no frills but lots of fun. It is very engaging and all science based.
5. Museums are an excellent place for family time. Not only that, your relationship with your child can grow together in new ways. Bringing children to the museum reveals children and adults as being equally active in learning, putting them on equal standing as they create a shared understanding. It’s a democratic process.
As Victoria Hughes, an education coordinator at Vermont Historical Society points out, “When parents and grandparents bring children to the museum, they spend family time together, sharing conversations about favorite objects, family stories, and historical events.”
Another favorite is Pinto Art Museum where kids can take full advantage of the sprawling nature.
Some of the greatest memories I have of my children were spent at museums together. It doesn’t always mean they were well-behaved or that we stayed longer (that’s another post for another day), but as you read, there are so many benefits for children and families visiting museums.
Amber Folkman, the blogger behind "A Momma Abroad," is a California native who spent her university years in Hawaii where she met her husband. After a few years in Seattle, her husband's work brought him to Manila where Amber and her eldest son relocated in 2009. They now have three crazy boys ages 6, 4 and 2, whom they refer to as "#3PinoyBoys" because life in the Philippines is all they know.