parents >> tips for your visit

Following are a few ways that you can help to enrich your Children's Discovery Center experience, ones that will involve the whole family.

Before Your Visit

Allow your child to take part in planning for your Discovery Center visit. It is very empowering for a child to take part in planning family activities. Not only does this provide the child with decision-making responsibilities, but also it enables him to become an active participant in family affairs. Ways to include your child in planning your visit to the Children's Discovery Center include:

Talk together with your child about what a children's museum is, and discuss what similarities or differences there are between a children's museum and other types of museums. For first time visitors, this may include what they think they might see or do in the Center. For repeat visitors, discussing what the child remembers about his last visit, or what he might like to spend time doing this visit, will help to capitalize on prior experiences and learning, thereby enhancing the upcoming visit.

Research a little about the Children's Discovery Center. Involve your child in looking through our web site. Let him help you plan what time to visit and on what day. For older children, have them call and find out information relating to your visit.

Review personal safety and behavior reminders. Here at the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center our primary focus is making sure that each child has a safe and fun visit. In order to accomplish this, we ask that you go over with your child our "House Reminders" before each visit.

1. We strongly encourage parents to actively experience the Center's exhibits with their children. Your visit will be more enriching and memorable when it is shared as a family.

2. Our exhibits appreciate gentle handling. We encourage touching and exploration, however, with tender loving care, the exhibits will give lasting pleasure to all of or guests who visit.

3. For the safety of our guests, we ask that you park strollers before entering the exhibit galleries.

4. Please enjoy food and drink before or after your visit so that we can keep the facility clean. Food and drinks of any kind (including gum) are not allowed in the exhibit galleries.

5. Help us take care of this Center so everyone can enjoy it for generations to come.

During Your Visit

The more parents allow their child opportunities to succeed with "grown-up" responsibilities, the more the child feels empowered. A wonderful way to start your visit is by giving your child the money to pay for your ticket purchases. This is also a way for him to learn to "value" the experience and to appreciate your efforts in making it possible for the family to do special things together.

Be flexible and follow your child's lead. The Discovery Center wasn't designed for your child to see and do everything all in one visit. Young children, especially preschoolers and those in early grades, usually learn best in 10- to 15-minute sessions, and they can be overwhelmed by too many choices at one time. Go at your child's pace and stick with an activity that has caught his attention. If you rush your child, in an attempt to see and do everything, then he will not get as much out of the visit. Remember, each time your child comes back he will get more out of the experience by building upon what he has accomplished in prior visits!

Play! There is nothing more beneficial to your child than playing together with him. Play is serious business for children. It is how they learn about the world around them and how they learn to relate to others. By joining in on your child's play experience you are enhancing the educational value of your visit and creating memories together that will last a lifetime.

Discuss things with your child and comment on activities as you are playing together. Be ready to discuss any questions or any areas of interest that your child has. If you don't know the answers that's okay, it will just provide you and your child with another learning opportunity to extend outside of the Center. Perhaps a visit to the library will help to answer lingering questions that arise from your visit.

Relate things about the exhibits to your personal life. Whether this means activating your child's prior knowledge of a particular area, or providing your child with a bit of your own personal history, you can help him establish connections between real life experience and knowledge. For example, while you are in the Hawaiian Plantation House listening to the stories of the immigrants who came to Hawaii, talk with your children about where their ancestors came from and what their life might have been like. Children will begin to develop an appreciation for who they are and where they came from.

Visit the Museum Gift Shop. Our gift shop, "Just For You Kid!," has specially selected educational items that will enhance your museum visit. You will find books, posters, toys, games, and other mementos that can remind children of what they saw during their visit and expand their interests.