Weekly Feature

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The Indianapolis Project/AP
The atrium of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

Visit Children's Museums, Online and Offline

January 06, 2009
by findingDulcinea Staff
Explore kid-friendly museum and gallery exhibits on the Web, including the Children's Museum of Indianapolis and the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

Location is Everything

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You and the kids are desperate to get out of the housea and take a walk, but it's too cold to stay outside. Why not visit a museum?

Youthful Exploration

If the weather's too nasty to venture out of doors, you and your children can still visit a museum virtually. Many museum Web sites offer great resources for kids. For example, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has plenty of educational online games, suitable for kids of all ages.

Preschoolers can learn their ABCs with the Dinosphere ABC book, elementary school kids can learn all about their bones in an interactive series of games, and middle schoolers can design their own space station, among many other activities.

You'll also be able to see photos of and read about many of the current exhibits at the museum. Or take a look at a few pieces of the permanent collection.

Don't let the chicken-dance intro to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum Web site distract you from actually entering the site. Divided into categories for kids, parents, teachers or museum enthusiasts, this site will appeal to everyone's eyes and ears. The kids' section has some fun do-it-yourself projects, such as making a boat that can hold penny passengers or embossing different designs on paper. Kids can explore the exhibits online and find links to additional Web resources where they can learn more about a topic of interest.

Try the Interactive & Games section of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum Web site. Here, you'll be able to view the collection of the museum, look into the history of Brooklyn through a timeline and videos, explore different kinds of patterns with Pattern Wizardry!, and a few other activities.The site also provides links to some interactive resources from other Web sites (for example, Try Science, a site where kids can explore virtual field trips and learn to do science experiments at home).

The Seattle Children’s Museum Web site offers a few online activities and art projects, but the real gem of this site is the page of links to other kid-friendly sites where your children can learn as they play online.

Kid-Friendly Features

Lots of the museum sites that are geared more toward an adult audience also have designated fun and educational areas for kids.

NASA has a fantastic kids' site. Explore the solar system, read stories written by other kids, and play games. You'll find instructions for lots of at-home science projects, such as making a solar oven out of a pizza box or making a robot out of gingerbread. Paint pictures to print out, see photos and read biographies of the astronauts currently in space, and play games according to your age or skill (games range from level-one activities like matching shapes to level-five tricky logic puzzles that offer few clues).

Check out the Fun and Games section of Newseum: test your knowledge of the latest headlines in "Newsmania" (which is a bit more difficult than you might expect) or take a virtual 3-D tour of the Newseum.

If you are looking for a not-so-subtle way to learn about reducing greenhouse gas emissions or to teach your young ones about renewable energy, try the games section of London's Science Museum. In addition to "Energy Ninjas" and "Hungry Mice" (which deal with the aforementioned topics) you can also learn about the "Science of Spying" by trying to crack codes with "Cracker" or checking your memory skills with "ID Fit."

Family Fun

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