We have been enjoying field trips to museums for many years. We are so lucky, in this area, to be so close to so many fantastic museums – Museum of Science, Boston Children’s Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, Seacoast Science Center, Museum of Fine Arts – just to name a few.
We often visit a museum over & over again!
We visit often because we have learned that museum experiences can become amazing experiences when we engage with what we see, hear, smell – observe.
Hours can be spent collecting rocks & shells along the shore at the Seacoast Science Center. “Is this rock good for skimming?” “Why is the snail’s color greenish?” “How does the sea change the glass into sea glass?” It is so important to engage in this curiosity with the children – ponder the answers – the possibilities. Recently at a visit to the Seacoast Science Center I was struck with the simplicity and the beauty of what we were doing with the children. It is not rocket science to play with rocks & shells but it is part of the essence of being a child. It is part of the timeless wonder of childhood.
A different experience with play & curiosity came out of a recent field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I was able to observe children engaging with the art in many different ways. Some children were not sure where to look first – there is so much to see! When the children noticed something that caught their eye – or curiosity – they would stop in their tracks to just take it in. Sometimes children would stare at a piece of art & not even say a word. I found myself wishing they would speak out loud. Sometimes I was even hesitant to ask what they were thinking about because they seemed so intent with their observations. Other times they would just make exclamations – “That is awesome!” There were giggles over some statues, intrigue over the rooms with the mummies – “Is there really a dead mummy in there?” and excitement over creating their own coins and what the all of the symbols on coins represented.
That sense of wonder & excitement should not end once we leave the museum. It is so important to carry it back with us & continue to explore. We were able to extend the MFA with an inspiration from a giant hanging sculpture. We discovered the sculpture was created with styrofoam cups & hot glue. The children were then challenged to create their own styrofoam cup sculpture. The children worked together to create miniature versions of that sculpture. This was a fantastic creative experience & it showed the children they are capable of creating beauty and art. That is everything – when you think about it – children are capable of so much more than they are often given credit for. We believe they truly deserve that credit!