I remember those long journeys as a child, on our way from one side of the country to the other, driving not flying. We were allowed to nap for a little while, but my dad loved for all of us to be awake so he can show us our country and tell us the stories he was told about our history. Most of the stories are forgotten but some remain fresh in my mind, and now I can tell my daughter on our road-trips.
That said, I know I don’t have all the stories, and I do want Mishka to understand her world, not only from what she can see now, but from what was, to complete the picture. How will I do this? Buy her a few books, send her to Google with a list of topics? How boring!
Why worry if we have the amazing privilege of museums and heritage sites to tell the stories for us. More than that, it allows our children to experience history by touching and feeling artifacts, by being present on a historical site.
We recently visited the West Coast Fossil Park, and what a treat! Here you can see fossils of bears, sabre-tooth cats, short-necked giraffes and the many other exotic animals which inhabited the west coast area some 5 million years ago.
Informative guided walking tours to the dig site are the main attraction. This site is well worth visiting as it is one of the few places where you can see fossils in the ground exactly as they were buried some 5 million years ago and exactly as they have been carefully uncovered by the research teams.
It made me think, how many of us make an effort to take our kids to see dinosaur bones, textile collections or extinct animal species? Why is this important?
- Children can benefit the most from museums because they are at a unique advantage to see things with a sense of creativity and inspiration. These spaces can foster a sense of wonder and boost self-esteem when paired with interactive learning exhibits that teach kids about leadership, sharing, and doing things for themselves.
- Museums also offer children of any age the chance to learn interactively about a particular subject, which enhances their drive to take an interest in it.
- Seeing those things in person allows us to connect with the figure in a way that’s difficult to do within the pages of a book.
- Better ability to compare and differentiate
- Enhanced love of history
Next time you go away, do your research, look for heritage sites and museums and take that time to show your child. There will be plenty of beach days or hiking days, make one of your days a day to learn (don’t call it that though, it will scare them!) Just pop in the car and drive there, they will love it!