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Where to Find Hands-On Travel Experiences for Kids

by Barbara Rogers

Nov 18, 2022

Old World Wisconsin © Hannah Babiak | Dreamstime.com


Hands-on experiences, where children get to take part in activities instead of just watching them, make travel infinitely more meaningful for children (and for adults, too). Many museums and attractions feature interactive computer exhibits, but if you want to step up your family travels for kids, look for places with more active involvement.


Living History Villages

Authentically restored homes and workshops in living history villages such as Old World Wisconsin and Indiana’s Connor Prairie Living History Museum engage children with activities such as grinding corn, churning butter and spinning wool. Learning these old-time skills in period surroundings allow children to step back into history and understand how people lived and worked.



Children’s museums are filled with hands-on activities, of course, but many traditional museums also include special areas and programs to engage children. History museums may have period clothing children can try on, and art museums often have hands-on programs.


The Metropolitan Museum in New York offers free Start with Art at The Met programs, encouraging children to create their own artwork. Many other art museums have children’s labs. Every child entering Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, receives a bag of art supplies to use in the museum’s inviting studio, where they are surrounded by creative ideas and materials.


Local Cultural Experiences

Hands-on experiences for kids are not limited to museums and attractions; a little research can uncover family activities exploring cultures wherever you travel. For example, in Venice, Italy, children can learn about the traditional art of mask making and create their own original mask to take home. In Florence and other Italian cities, your family can learn to make pizza in a local home.


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