Apart from days out in amusement parks, children, today can also spend hours having fun and learning in museum-run workshops which, inspired by the children’s museum concept, offer exhibitions and experiences tailored to their needs. Based on the principle that children want to touch what they see, the displays always enable various levels of interaction in both the real and virtual worlds. With a variety of different themes and proposals, each one offers children a specific focus.
In Turin, in the only museum in Europe dedicated to environmental issues, this interactive, experimental, fun approach has found its proper place. The world is presented to its young visitors in themed areas, ensuring different levels of exploration according to their age. How does the world around us work? What is energy? What is the water cycle? Where does waste go, and how can it be reused? The packed calendar of initiatives offered by the Museo A come Ambiente attempts to answer these questions posed by young people.
Volandia, the park and museum of flight in Somma Lombardo, near Milan, is dedicated to keen youngsters, and upon arrival, you already feel you are checking in at a large airport. Everything here describes man’s eternal quest to conquer air currents, trying to make the incredible dream of flying come true. Divided into seven areas, the more than 2-km exhibition trail has flight simulators, a planetarium, models, a library, a bar, a restaurant, and a well-stocked shop where you can buy a few gadgets to take home along with your memories.
Pure science, fun, and innovation are what you’ll find at the Immaginario Scientifico, a museum near the sea in Trieste that focuses on learning through play. Interactivity comes first here, and the invitation to visitors to get hands-on is such that the only sign you might expect to see in its halls would be “Please do touch”. Visitors can access many workshops to experiment and learn, often aided by large screens and multimedia installations. “Mirrors”, “Sounds”, “Lights and Shadows”, “Motions”, “Forms” and “Perceptions” are some of the spaces you can visit: which one intrigues you the most? Perhaps you were looking for “Cosmos” a planetarium with a rigid dome (5 meters in diameter) revealing a sky lit by almost 2,000 stars. An expert helps children learn about the mysteries of the sky, including the constellations, the solar system, and the moon.
There are no limits at Explora, the Rome museum dedicated to children, where young visitors do not follow predefined paths but are invited to build their own. The outcome of a project involving the National Research Centre (CNR) Psychology Institute, the museum only shows stickers indicating the age groups to which the various attractions are dedicated; then it’s up to the visitors themselves to find out all about them. A full calendar of events, constantly updated online, regularly reports the experiences or educational pathways available to young.