Toddler friendly museum

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The other day, I tried something new with my 2 and a half year old. We went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. I didn’t take her there strapped into a buggy and hoping she would sleep. I didn’t drag her around, kicking and screaming. I didn’t even have to carry her – she had great fun!

We headed to Exhibition Row on the tube at about 9.30; just late enough to have missed the bulk of the rush hour traffic. We did have to stand for the first two stops and then ask to get to a seat which became spare in front of a mid-20s lady who looked half asleep and mortified that she hadn’t asked us first, but the two stops of standing up and holding on were fun for the munchkin who kept saying, “the train is wibbly-wobbly!”. I decided against the buggy – more hassle than it’s worth up and down stairs in the tube. I knew this might mean a shoulder ride every now and again, but figured it isn’t far from South Kensington Station to the V&A…

We have been on a number of occasions to see the Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, or the Basement play area at the Science museum, but we hadn’t yet braved a real museum, at least not with the intention that the munchkin took part. We arrived about 5 minutes before the doors opened and Munchkin loved looking at the letters spinning round above the tunnel entrance. I had judged it right and running like a maniac down the tunnel was fun, so far we had managed the train ride and the arrival with no carrying necessary. Now to brave the quiet, peaceful and ‘don’t touch’ surroundings of a real museum!

I had looked online before we went and decided to head for the Discover the Medieval World section and have a go at brass rubbing. I did have to reiterate a couple of times that museums are for walking in and that you mustn’t touch exhibits, but this was repaid with questions such as, “what is that around the lady’s head?” (Madonna and Child painting) “Where’s that statue’s head gone?” (Roman statues section) and “Is that another funny lion?” (Medieval carvings). So she was definitely interested despite the hands-off nature of the journey to the discovery room.

We found the room and stayed there for about an hour. (As with other Museums in London, it’s free, so even making a short trip worthwhile.) We did brass rubbing, drew a picture of a mythical beast, did jigsaws of coats of arms, and dressed up. It was great fun, and by far the best ‘proper’ museum experience we’ve had.

On the way out, a member of staff stopped us and asked if we’d heard of the backpacks that they do. I said I’d seen them online, but thought that they’d be a bit old for a 2 year old. I was told that they’d just launched a toddler one with soft-block jigsaws and an animal sound trail. Looks like we’ll be heading back to the V and A another day!

R

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10 thoughts on “Toddler friendly museum

    travelswithbear said:
    October 6, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Sounds great. We had a good experience at the Museum of London (although stuck to cake rather than exhibits…). Blogged about it here http://bit.ly/oaK9j5

    @travelswithbear

    Laura said:
    October 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    What a great post about a great museum for toddlers. I love how the gents and the ladies both have changing facilities, the courtyard and most of all (when you daughter turns 3 and a bit) the art activites. First rate. I just love the feeling of a happy day at the museum.

    Metropolitan Mum said:
    October 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I wanted to go to one of the weekend workshops with the little one – she loves museums. Have you tried Somerset House yet?

      morethanamummy responded:
      October 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      No, I haven’t perhaps that is one that should be next…

    Emma - The Good Parent guide said:
    October 6, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Hi There
    Our children love museums and we regularly go to the Kelvin Grove Museum in Glasgow as we live near Glasgow. Since I am from London and still have family there we do go the the Natural History Museum and my 4 year old boy loves the Dinosaurs. The Museums are such good value since they are free and make great family days out on a budget.

    Incidently our 2 year old daughter has the same ladybird backpack as your daughter, it is fab for places like that 🙂

    Great Post Emma.

      morethanamummy responded:
      October 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm

      Thank you very much. I love that London Museums are free, it means you can visit for toddler friendly amounts of time so that they do still love museums!

    […] More than a Mum  Blog – Toddler friendly museum […]

    Emily (@AMummyToo) said:
    October 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Great idea – Joel loves museums and galleries. We’ll definitely add the V&A to our list next time we venture to London. I wish there were more things like this in Lincoln 😦

    Toddler Friendly Museum: part 2 « morethanamumblog said:
    November 7, 2011 at 1:03 am

    […] day instead of the museum car park which cost £9).  The museum is free entry, so like the last ‘Toddler Friendly Museum’ post, you can spend as long or as short a time as you want there without feeling […]

    Website Launch Day « More Than A Mum Blog said:
    January 27, 2012 at 8:54 am

    […] you scared of spiders Mummy? Should I send my child to pre-school? Toddler Friendly Museum parts 1 and 2 and Teaching Children about identity, prejudice and […]

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