Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or a working parent, it’s likely that summertime gets tough. When kids are home all day, or at least out of the routine of school, they seem to get bored easily, and entertaining children can be expensive.
Summer can also lead to the learning slide observed by teachers and researchers. Research shows that it takes teachers approximately five weeks to get students back into the swing of learning after their summer break. Museum visits, which are often free, offer a great way to keep kids engaged in learning this summer, keeping their minds active and thereby avoiding the summer slide.
Leslie Mueller is the producer and host of the new 10-part series Museum Access airing on public television station WTVS in Detroit and on Amazon Prime. Each 30-minute episode takes viewers behind-the-scenes at some of the country’s top museums such as Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry offering exciting stories, in-depth conversations with experts and fascinating footage.
Museums motivate learning, offering a wealth of knowledge on topics that we may not consider as interesting until we dive in i.e. marine biology, astronomy, history, music.
Parents can enhance learning by tasking simple projects related to the museum visits.
For younger children, create fun games i.e. “How many colors did you see in that painting?” or “How many planets did we learn about today?”
Take advantage of the museum activity sheets: visit the front desk before your visit and use the sheets as a teaching moment and discussion tools after your visit.
Follow these tips and check out the list of area museums that offer free or low cost entry to keep your children’s minds engaged in learning all summer long.
Area Museums Offering Free (Or Nearly Free) Admission This Summer
University of Michigan Museum of Natural History
Biological Sciences Building,
1105 N. University Ave.
734-764-0478 | lsa.umich.edu/ummnh
Sun-Wed & Fri-Sat, 9am-5pm.
Michigan Firehouse Museum
110 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti
734-547-0663 | Michiganfirehousemuseum.org
$5/adult | $3/children ages 5-12.
Free admission for children 4 and under.
The Museum on Main Street
500 N. Main St.
734-662-9092 | washtenawhistory.org
Sat and Sun, 12-4pm
Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry
1011 N. University – G565
Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum
100 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti
734-482-5200 | ypsiautoheritage.org
$5/person. Under 12 free.
University of Michigan Museum of Art
525 S. State St.
734-764-0395 | umma.umich.edu
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
434 S. State St.
734-764-9304 | lsa.umich.edu/kelsey
Free admission. Donations appreciated.
Rentschler Farm Museum
1265 E. Michigan Ave., Saline
734-944-0442 | salinehistory.org/rentschler-farm-museum
Saline History & Depot Museum
402 N. Ann Arbor St., Saline
734-944-0442 | salinehistory.org/depot-museum
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
1000 Beal Ave.
734.205.0555 | fordlibrarymuseum.gov
Ypsilanti Historical Society
220 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti
734-482-4990 | ypsilantihistoricalsociety.org
Free. Donations appreciated.
Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments
Earl V. Moore Building of the School of Music,
Theatre & Dance, Vesta Mills Gallery, 1100 Baits Dr.
734-936-2891 | smtd.umich.edu/research/stearns-collection/
Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum
220 E. Ann St.
734-995-5439 | aahom.org
Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, 10am-5pm. Tues, 9am-5pm.
Thurs, 10am-8pm. Sun, Noon-5pm
$5 admission after 5pm on Thursdays only with extended hours to 8pm
$12.50/adults and children
Free admission for babies 0-23 months
1 Discovery Way, Toledo
419-244-2674 | Imaginationstationtoledo.org
Tues-Sat, 10am-5pm. Sun, Noon-5pm
$5 admission after 5pm every third Thursday of
the month, with extended hours to 8pm
$13/age 13-64, $11/age 3-12,
Free for children 2 and under