When in England, when the weather turns foul, head to a nearby museum..you won't be disappointed.
We've had a few less than outdoorsy weather days this week and in the interests of entertaining my boys , girl child was out, in a way that does not involve screens or (what feels like) hundreds of other kids screaming around a soft play space, we headed to Oxford to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
This O.U.M.N.H is very family friendly and caters for children by providing sheets and clipboards for children to complete as they go round the displays. Even my 4 year old loves ticking the boxes once he has spotted the right display. They also do craft activities on various themes throughout the year. We've done sheets and dinosaur themed craft activities there that were really great for all ages to cope with. The learning zone on the website is also a great way to prepare your children for what they might see or to use at home as a follow up activity.
My children particularly love the museum as it has huge dinosaur skeletons, other animal skeletons and displays filled with bugs and other creatures. We spend the usual first part of our tour looking at the dinosaur skeletons and exclaiming at their sizes and discussing how easily we could all fit into their mouths. Then we do all the glass display cases around the edge of the museum enjoying the shells and smaller artifacts in them.
By the we are ready for a trip upstairs to enjoy all the bugs, butterflies and birds on display. My middle boy loves sketching the bugs and is fascinated by the colour, shapes and sizes they come in. Happily pointing out that he'd love to find one in our garden…whilst I cringe at the thought. The view down to the lower level is lovely and gives a different perspective of the skeletons that are hanging from the ceiling. And if like me, you enjoy the architecture of a building, then this one is really pretty with a wonderful selection of stone and colours as well as a beautifully designed ceiling area. This floor also has a welcome little tea and cake shop so you can take a break for a cuppa and a quick snack if you like.
We've been eight times and always spot something we did not notice the last time, and because the displays are changed and updated often, there is always something new to see. As always, we left having enjoyed a lovely morning looking at all the creatures on display and having learned something new (AND stayed out of the horrid weather!) as an added bonus.