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Museum visits with kids

Ok, so you want to take your child to a museum. This is something that usually falls into a certain category: a longtime wish of the parent, but no fun for the kid(s). Still, you would like to change your iPad-clinging munchkin into an art and culture lover. Cheers to that, I say.

I will lend a helping hand. I am giving you some advice on how to go to a museum with your child, and make it an actual fun moment for the entire company. Your kid included.

General advice

Of course, almost every museum has an audio tour for kids. But this might not be something you feel like. Or your child refuses to put on the headphones. Or in some cases, your kid is simply too young for a certain tour or subject.

Don’t worry: with a little creativity, you can always make a museum visit entertaining. For instance, give it a certain theme. Enter the museum and give your child an assignment. Like, Find Animals on Paintings. I have spent some pretty successful hours with my then four-year-old finding dogs, cats, birds, horses, or even dragons at the Rijksmuseum.

museum visits with kids
ask your child to draw one of the animals that are bound to be present in a museum. Instant hit.

If you do decide to book a tour or follow a certain program, please be advised that many museums require pre-booking or a reservation. So check the website before you go.

Rijksmuseum

Since the Rijksmuseum is so large, it has many different guided tours available, many of them suitable for children.

Family Guided Tour Highlights

Go on a discovery voyage with the whole family. Armed with cannons, torches, goggles and magnifying glasses, you’ll experience an action-packed family guided tour full of stories, experiments, and challenges.

Suitable for families with children from 6 – 12 years old.

Rembrandt’s Drawing Lessons

Drawing is a big thing at the Rijksmuseum. You can always walk up to the info counter and ask for paper and a pencil for your family. If you want to take it up a notch, do Rembrandt’s Drawing Lessons. Four fun exercises are waiting for you in the Picknick Room at the museum. Learn to draw just like Rembrandt did, by looking and doing. Available Saturdays and Sundays from 11-16, and the same times daily during Dutch holiday periods.

No specific age mentioned, you decide if your child is up for it. 

Family Guide 17th Century

With this fun, attractive family guide activity book, everyone in the family gets to speak, puzzle and learn about the world of Rembrandt and Vermeer.

For parents and kids aged 8 and up.

Stedelijk Museum

There is always lots to do for kids at the Stedelijk. They also have great programs related to the temporary exhibitions. To see what is up today, visit this site.

Family Trails

Looking at art as a family isn’t just educational, it’s loads of fun! Everyone can explore STEDELIJK BASE with the newly developed Family Trail. The Family Trail asks you to use your eyes, ears, and nose to find the artworks and challenges you with fun activities. And there are plenty of different Family Trails to discover.

Get your free copy at the LAB or the information desk.

Artist Workshops

Curious visitors can visit the new studios on Sunday afternoon and take a special workshop with an artist or designer! So get creative and let the experts show you how it’s done.
Check the calendar for the latest workshops and to make a reservation.

For children age 6 – 12. IN DUTCH.

Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic)

And now for something else than the usual suspects of Amsterdam museums. Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, or Our Lord in the Attic, is a rare and well-preserved jewel in the heart of the Red Light District. Inside, it holds a secret church, dating from the 17th century. Such a special place, full of mystery and history. And they have a lovely tour for kids, too.

Our Ladybird in the Attic

“Nan is a ladybird who helps children explore Our Lord in the Attic. A trail of ladybirds and an explanatory booklet leads through various rooms, the church, and the kitchens.

Museum Visits with Kids
Ladybird Nan in the Attic.

Cabinets with a picture of Nan are designed for children to open and playfully explain the museum themes. Like what is an altar and who was the Virgin Mary? How does an organ work? How did people live in Amsterdam in the 17th century and what is a confession? This and much more besides is available on the family tour.

The tour is for children. You can take the tour with a grown-up. Or with your older brother and sister. Grown-ups can read aloud from the book. Older children can read it themselves. As long as you do it together!”

For children from 5 to 10 years old.

Amsterdam Museum

Not an art museum per se, but still a lovely place to go and visit. And if your kids will be happy there, they might consider taking the plunge to an art museum. Trust me, it happened to my son, so know what I am talking about.

The Little Orphanage

At The Little Orphanage, children and their parents can discover what life was like in a 17th-century orphanage in Amsterdam. For 400 years, the building complex which now houses the Amsterdam Museum was in fact, the City Orphanage.

“Learn about what life was like in a 17th-century orphanage in the heart of a flourishing trade city and discover the world behind the orphanage doors. See dining rooms, dormitories, classrooms, kitchens, a crude toilet and even a cattle shed! The youngest visitors to The Little Orphanage discover animals hidden along the way and children over the age of seven befriend the little orphan boy Jurriaan.”

Fun for the whole family.

Amsterdam DNA Family Tour

Get to know all about historical Amsterdam, with your parents and/or grandparents.

“In less than an hour, you can read about, hear about and experience what has made Amsterdam the city it is today. The earliest inhabitants, the piles, the canals, the port, the Golden Ages, Ajax, coffee shops and the Red Light District: this tour covers them all in an engaging and digestible way. Amsterdam DNA is the ideal way to learn more about the city and its occupants.”

For kids aged 4 and up.

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum has some excellent tours as well as workshops on offer for your little ones.

Children’s Workshops

Does your child want to make art? Then sign up your little Vincent or Vicenza for one of the workshops. Offer varies. See the website.

For children from 6 to 12 years old.

Vincent’s Travelling Case

Vincent’s Travelling Case is filled with many fun assignments. They allow you to experience the work of Vincent van Gogh. Get the suitcase at the information desk.

For kids from 6 to 12 years old.

If the cases are taken, you can ask for the free Treasure Hunt, instead.

Treasure Hunt

“Did you know there was a wall clock in ‘The Potato Eaters’? Or that Vincent van Gogh wrote more than 600 letters to his brother Theo? No? Then it’s high time you joined in the Vincent van Gogh Treasure Hunt! Set off to explore Van Gogh’s paintings, answer the questions and complete the tasks in the Treasure Hunt sheet.” Afterward, a gift awaits you at the Information Desk.

For kids from 6 to 12 years old.

Family Tour

Pick up the family guide and experience Van Gogh with the whole family. This interactive audio tour is tailored to each person’s age and available in English and Dutch.

For families with kids from 6 t0 12 years old.

Het Rembrandthuis (The Rembrandt House Museum)

Discover the house where Rembrandt lived and worked for almost twenty years. It is available in Dutch, English, German and French.

Audiotours

The audio tour for the ages 6 to 12 tells an exciting story about the life and house of Rembrandt, in his almost 400-year-old house. It gives children information in an accessible and entertaining way. Available in Dutch and English.

The audio tour for ages 13 and older provides the visitor with information about Rembrandt, his life, and his house. In every room, there is a story about the function of the room and what happened there.

For children between the ages of 6 to 12 and for ages 13 and older (same as adults).

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