London’s British Museum is overwhelming to everyone who visits, even adults, and family travelers looking to spend time in this vast museum may find it hard to narrow down such a large space. Younger children may find many of the galleries of little interest, not to mention their attention spans may be shorter than parents or older children looking to admire artifacts and learn about different cultures and histories.
If you want to bring the family to the British Museum but are unsure how to keep your younger children entertained and educated, here are five tips and activities to allow even the youngest travelers to enjoy the British Museum:
In partnership with Samsung, visitors can wander through select galleries and complete five challenges. Find a variety of objects within the gallery, perform for a video using a phone or tablet, discuss an object, look closely at collection highlights, and pose for a photoshoot alongside the objects. Simply scan the QR code on select artifacts or visit here to see a list of objects to find in each gallery.
Download or print any of the museum’s trails here and embark on a journey through history. Involving the whole family, each trail dives into intriguing objects. Trails include Journey Across Japan, Africa Around the World, Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, Fantastic Creatures and more.
Available at the Family Desk in the Great Court, this unique experience allows visitors under 16 to explore the museum in a fun way. Eight themed backpacks are available: Jobs in Roman Britain, best for ages 7–11, sees kids match modern objects with ancient objects, write on a wax tablet and make a mosaic; Sensory Support Backpack provides resources and ideas to support young visitors aged 3–11 with additional sensory needs in a busy museum environment; Little Feet, a backpack for kids under 5 for use in any area of the museum; and Egyptian Mummies, best for ages 7–11, where kids can identify amulets blindfolded, write their names in hieroglyphs and examine mummification materials. The Family Desk is open on weekends and school holidays, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:15 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
With nearly 8 million objects and more than 800,000 square feet, visiting every gallery in the British Museum in one visit is practically impossible. To make the most out of a visit, find out what three time periods or cultures interest the kids and family most. The Egyptian Mummies gallery often interests kids, as well as Room 19 of Greece: Athens, where parts of the Erechtheion and Athena Nike temple lie. The Sutton Hoo and Europe gallery showcases warrior helmets and a ship burial.
The British Museum permits food and drinks into the museum’s designated spots like the Great Court. While food or drink is not allowed in the galleries, packing lunches beforehand and taking a break between galleries in the Great Court allows the younger ones to refresh themselves. The museum also features a restaurant and café, but families with picky eaters might want to avoid the hassle altogether and pack lunches.
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