Fred Rogers once said ‘Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning’
This week I took my daughter Jess, age 4 and niece Molly, age 5 to meet some friends at the Highland Museum of Childhood for an afternoon full of fun and discovery.
In a nutshell
The museum is set in an old Victorian railway station in Strathpeffer. When it opened in 1992, it became the fourth museum of childhood in Britain. There is a wonderful collection of artefacts relating to growing up in the Highlands. Featuring an award-winning film, collection of toys, dolls, and costumes, there is huge range of things to explore. In short, you discover what life was like for local children living in the Highlands through interactive displays and hands on activities.
Outside, there is a lovely woodland walk featuring a bridge, wooden beams, log stepping stones and gorgeous spring flowers. All which filled our little ones with much excitement.
Firstly, the friendly staff. It’s sometimes a worry taking little kids out. Why do they have to touch everything?! Morven welcomed us at the door as soon as we arrived. She showed us around and explained to the children that anything marked with a green hand symbol was okay to touch and play with. Everything at low level, for toddlers was okay to touch. We instantly felt relaxed and this made the experience much more enjoyable. Thank you.
The playing. There is a lot of information within the museum and a plenty of artefacts to see but the best part for our little ones had to be being able to play with the toys. A dolls house, a blackboard, a train, playing teachers with slate and chalk at an old wooden desk, brick towers and a very special find of some Noddy toys and cars. (Molly loves Noddy at the moment)
Lovely touches like ‘find the gems’ game. Six diamond gems hidden around the museum for the kids to find. Once spotted, take the first letter of the item the gem is sitting on. Collect all the letters and arrange to spell out a well-known animal. This game was particularly good for our lot who are just beginning to learn letters. The kids received a pin badge for completing this game and were beyond delighted with this.
What about lunch?
The museum café overlooking the woodland walk, has a great menu with plenty of choices for the little ones. There were 2 adults and 3 kids eating in our group. We all had hot meals and a drink, and cost under £30- amazing! They also had outside seating so it would be beautiful to sit out on a sunny day. The staff here were also so friendly and lovely with the kids.
If you decide to bring your own lunch, there are a few picnic benches dotted about to make use of.
A visit to the gift shop
No day out with our kids is complete without a trip to the gift shop and as predicted they also loved to explore everything on offer here. Top buys included colourful spinning tops, tiddly winks and kaleidoscopes. They had plenty of value for money options on sale of pens, rubbers, pencils all starting from 50p.
A great family day out and we will absolutely visit again. The chat on the way home in the car was ‘I was so excited to see Noddy’, ‘I liked finding the diamonds’ The girls want to go back and bring Granny the next time. The museum regularly hosts children’s activities. The latest one is an Easter Crafts Eggstravaganza on Sat 26 March. We have booked in already!
Thank you to all the team at the Highland Museum of Childhood- we had the best day