I sometimes get an impression that is is one of the most underestimated museums by the London Families. Every time we get to South Kensington there is that enormously long queue to the ‘Dinosaur Museum’ 😉 but hardly anyone going to V&A?! The place is literally ’empty’ on Sundays as everyone seem to go for the other two South Kensington museums (which are also great but hey let’s don’t forget V&A!).
Anyhow it suited us when we visited on one of the Sundays in mid-April. We would normally head to the 3rd floor towards the Information desk where you can hire the Family back pack, taking our time to wonder across the rooms and look into some of the exhibits.
Even when we take the same route, we always end up looking at different objects, watching different videos (watched how to make a metal sculpture last time, so captivating!) and so by the time we get to the 3rd floor we break up for lunch or snack at the Family Room (where often arts and crafts take place on the weekends).
Getting a Back Pack is brilliant as it provides focus for all the family to head to one particular section and get to know it in detail. It takes up anything from 45 min to an hour to explore so a perfect time length for the children. There are some multi-sensory materials and objects to handle inside each Back Pack and the themes are very different ie China, Architecture, Middle East, Furniture, Time Traveller, Princesses etc.
On this occasion however we went to a free (yes! and all these educational and quality workshops are free!!) walk-in session and the children created some masks inspired by the sculptures in the room next door (and Alexander McQueen exhibition but we didn’t go to this).
It really inspired their creativity! I have helped Arthur (4) a bit but both Giselle (8) and Conrad (6) were perfectly capable of choosing their own design and letting their imagination run wild! 😉
After an hour we headed to (again free! but I had to pre-booked the tickets at the information desk) a Family Movement workshop. It lasted 45 min and it was a great fun! We all had to remove our shoes and socks and were following the lead of two dancers who were pretending to be in a wild wood and doing different animal dances with different objects ie feather, ribbons. Hubs was dancing with Giselle and I was dancing with our Two Boys ;-). It was totally relaxed, fun and what I discovered – after far too long break in my exercise routine! – a very bonding Family experience.
I think it is because as a parent I was not standing next to the children talking in my ‘usual knowledgeable tone’ but jumped right into it doing things together, engaging not only their minds but also senses!
All in all a great day out!
We either go to V&A for the afternoon only or, if planning the whole day out, we split it between a couple of hours there and couple of hours at the Science or Natural History Museum.