5 reasons for kids to visit museums

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!

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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.

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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.IMG_2087

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Better ability to compare and differentiate
  5. 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!

 

 

Mid-year escape – choosing the right place

July school holidays are long and cold, choosing the right place to for a break-away can be more than finding  a sunnier spot, we can embrace winter and go somewhere to really escape our routine, rethink our goals and bond as a family. IMG_8713

When we sat down to make a decision we couldn’t agree on something at first, feeling a bit frustrated I picked up the magazines I just bought and there it was! A paradise nestled in the Knysna forest.

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Our great escape suddenly became so apparent, we had to take Mish to see the Big Tree! And we absolutely had to stay at The High Acre Forest Cottage with the incredibly creative owners, DP (a friend from my school days) and Hannes. Men of many talents, decorating the cottage certainly is one of their gifts. Everything so perfectly thought out and so fitting for this beautiful forest setting.

Their use of colour is clever, for example the blue on the walls are amazingly warm in winter but cooling in summer! The fabrics used can only be choices of someone who knows his textures and textiles! Not to mention the little nick knacks and art, so right up my ally: eclectic, interesting and creative.

This truly is a home away from home, everything you could possibly dream of having on your break-away. Best of all: it is pet friendly – Gigi was spoiled as much as we were with space and an extra large drinking bowl.

Just a few kilometers from the magical Big Tree and so many beautiful stops and coffee shops, staying here is also very convenient when you want to explore the greater Knysna area. Returning to High Acre Forest Cottage after our daily explorations was just such a treat!

But this is not the only special attribute of High Acre Forest Cottage, DP & Hannes are both avid gardeners and they grow anything and everything from food to flowers. As a fellow gardener, I couldn’t resist! More in my next blog post and some of my gardening tips and treats.