Just to recap, I have a seven year old boy whose passions run more to aliens and baseball than to medieval portraits or decorative art. No surprise there.
But Luca and I went to five museums in London, and aside from a slight miscalculation in the Textile Study Room at the V&A Museum (read my last post), he had the time of his life, as he will be the first to tell you.
How did I manage to pull off such a feat? Easy.
1. The moment you step foot inside a museum, head directly to the gift shop. If your child is normal, they will instantly start grabbing toys. Don't panic. Let them choose one or two. Tell them these will be their "prize."
2. Next, steer them to the postcard section. Let them pick out a bunch of postcards which feature artworks in the museum.
3. Hand your child his stack and announce that "the TREASURE HUNT begins now!" They must locate the work of art represented on the postcard and once they do, they can turn the card over to you. When the stack is gone, they have officially earned the prize they picked out earlier.
If they are old enough to read a museum map, all the better. Otherwise, the guards stationed in each gallery are more than happy to help with directions.
Important note: If there are some rooms/artworks that you specifically want to see, be sure to buy some postcards of your own and 'sneak' them into his pile.
I can't tell you how many stressed-out parents we passed trying to interest their sullen, foot-dragging children in the glories of [insert art history period here]. I wanted to grab them by the shoulders and say, "Look! Postcards! Treasure hunt! It works! We've been here for an hour and he's still smiling!"
Here are some of the postcards I now have from our various treasure hunts:
And here are two of the prizes Luca earned:
If anyone had told me that my son would be grabbing my elbow and shouting, "Mom! We need to find the Elizabethan Portrait Room!" I would have told them they seriously needed to 'up' their medication.
Let me know how it goes.