My son has been pestering us to go to the Museum Of Childhood. His school organised a trip for him and his year mates to go there a few weeks ago but I guess he didn't much enjoy it because apparently 2 other schools were also there to visit the museum and it was very chaotic.
Knowing my son who can only take exception for 'noise' when it comes from him or his own brother (my loud voice and all other kids' screams and shouts are just 'too loud' and 'too noisy'), he probably did not enjoy the school trip overly much and thus, the reason for him to pester us about going there again.
And so we did.
As museums go, this one was a little different because it was filled with exhibitions of TOYS. Very old toys and new toys, the old ones as old as from the early 18th century - there may be some that are older, although I did not see any (obviously I didn't actually read each and every label there!) and the new ones are as recent as toys from the recent years, for example, game consoles and Star Wars figurines, arranged neatly in the many glass encasements.
What my sons found really fun however, were the toys and exhibitions that they were able to play with and experience for themselves, instead of merely looking through the glass. From common building blocks and a sand pit in the middle of the top level to more 'scientific and digital' activities like touch sensitive colourful lights and 'drawing' with magnets, there were plenty for them to try for themselves.
The museum was not all perfect, of course - Mr S actually thought that the curator should be sacked! (I was, however, more lenient on the matter). But as usual, there is room for improvement and we thought the large spaces that appeared to be fairly 'empty' on the first floor and the top floor says little to contradict this. Saying that, I'm thinking maybe they need all these empty spaces because of the many, many school children as young as 5 years old that come to visit. I suppose if there were many more 'glass boxes' and the hands-on activities, the kids may get bored or they may over-tire themselves..perhaps?
Mr S and I made our eldest show us the way there - it was easy enough for he has already remembered the correct tube station (Bethnal Green) and he could read the signboards for directions, but we just wanted him to lead us there - it was, after all, a trip made just at his request, so, we felt, a little bit of 'ownership' for him to boost his confidence was appropriate. Thus, we let him be our 'guide' for the day.
Over all it was a great trip for the kids because they get to go on the tube (especially!) which is something we hardly ever do due to the many, many steps on the stairs and due to the fact that we prefer to go to places that are easier to go to by car, anyway. The children just love to take the tube but hey, travelling with two energetic children on the tube is very tiring, you know!
But with all the fun we had, not just at the museum, but from the moment we stepped outside with the intention to walk to the bus stop, then take the bus and then the tube to get there, it was a very enjoyable trip that was well worth it, indeed.