Learning is not all about the books. Sometimes you have to take a step outside and have a spontaneous lesson. If you have young children at home, you know that keeping them still for any length of time is a challenge. When you have boys, that challenge TRIPLES!
I decided we needed a day away from the books. We needed to get out and see something other than our schoolroom for a while. So, off to Washington D.C. we went! As it was just a day trip, I knew we could not get everything in, BUT I wanted to get something fun done. So we scoped out some fun places to eat, and kid friendly museums that were around the area. We started off with the National Gallery Museum. That place is WOW! We wandered from room to room, talking about some of the people in the portraits and some of the historical things that they had been involved in. I was pleased that my boys could recognize several of the Civil War Generals (from both sides) and name a few of the battles that they had been involved in. I noted to myself that I could use this to my advantage when it comes to learning more about the Civil War. As we moved through some of the rooms with the statues, my youngest was quite taken aback that many of them did not have clothing (although he inspected each one to make sure that they had all the parts, and thought it was funny that people would take care with the rear ends). As we got ready to enter another of the side rooms he commented “if I see one more naked statue, I am going to puke”. Imagine his face when we walked into a room with SIX MORE! I about died laughing as his face just fell. They have some amazing portraits of some of the Native American leaders, and we got to learn some fun facts about them. My oldest asked if I wore buckskins when I was a kid. As the other guests in the room started to chuckle, I told him that they were long out of style by the time I came along.
When we got to the second floor, we got some of the newer portraits and some fun videos on WWII and Babe Ruth. My youngest easily recognized the portrait of Patton, but could not remember who Dwight D. Eisenhower was. So after staring at it for a minute, he was simply relegated to “the old guy who was a general”. There are some really awesome exhibits and some great learning opportunities there! Completely FREE to get in, but it is nice to drop a little bit into the donation box.
After we finished up at the first museum (it is totally worth the three hours we spent there), we moved on to the Museum of Natural History. On our way there, we passed by Ford’s Theater, which is where President Lincoln was shot, and then across the street, we saw the house where he eventually passed away.
OH MY GOODNESS! The Museum of Natural History is an entire day in itself! We barely scratched the surface and had to drag the boys out as they were closing. We spent about three hours JUST on the first floor. There are quite a few interactive exhibits and an IMAX theater which has some fun movies out. The animal displays were well done, and that is where my boys wanted to spend their time. They liked to identify the deep sea creatures they recognized from our nature shows (we are addicted), and excited to find a few that they had not heard of before!
Overall, we had a great time! I am excited to go back and spend some more time roaming through the streets of D.C. and visit some more museums!