Magic Carpet Minis

November 26, 2012

Kids in Museums, Scotland

“Magic carpet fly with me, let us see what we can see.

Zooming up above the sky, let us wonder why oh why?

Magic carpet fly with me, let us what we can see.”

This is what #MuseumBaby and I found ourselves singing – to the tune of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ – as we sat on the Magic Carpet at the foot of the elephant in the National Museum of Scotland’s Animal World gallery the other week.

Magic Carpet at the National Museum of Scotland

The Magic Carpet is a giant, custom-made patchwork quilt, which is the venue for the popular parent and toddler sing-a-long sessions at the museum each week. What started out as one weekly session has since grown to three, which are all usually booked out within minutes of the museum opening – on Wednesdays at 10:30 and 11:30 for 2-4 year olds, and the recently introduced Magic Carpet Mini on Thursdays at 10:30 for 0-2 year olds. A further weekly Minis session is also planned for the new year.

Star Sticker - National Museum of Scotland Magic Carpet

With a different theme each week, the Magic Carpet moves around the galleries of the museum. Between 20 and 25 parents and children – who all receive a brightly coloured star sticker – gather together with staff from the museum’s Learning and Programmes team, one leading the session and introducing the songs, the other assisting in holding up the words to the songs.

Magic Carpet at the National Museum of Scotland

During the session we attended, the theme was colours and animals. After the Magic Capet opening song, which kicks off each session, we suitably continued with the Rainbow Song followed by different colours of jelly in toddler favourite ‘Jelly on a Plate’. A song about parrots to the tune of Frere Jaques, to which the children got colourful feathers to hold, merged the colours and animals strands of the theme, and ‘What shall we do with the bouncing baby’ (to the familiar tune of ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’) had some topical colour themed verses. A rhyme about an elephant then gave everyone a break from singing and brought attention to the exhibit we were sitting next to.

Elephant - Animal World - National Museum of Scotland

When I said we found ourselves sitting on the Magic Carpet, it would probably have been more accurate to say I was sitting on it while #MuseumBaby was lurking full of suspicion next to it. He was in a funny old mood during our trip, and extremely reluctant to mingle with other people – even those he knew took some warming up to – but eventually his curiosity won over when a finger puppet appeared for ‘Ba Ba, Black Sheep’ and a stuffed tiger for a final rhyme (a plush one, I should add, not a taxidermy exhibit -since we were in a museum there could be some confusion^^). By the time the Rainbow Song came round again to close off the session, he was edging his way in to the centre of the carpet to see what was in the sensory basket that the children can play with at the end.

Sensory Basket - National Museum of Scotland

I’ve made no secret about how much I adore the National Museum of Scotland (in case you are a new reader, it’s my most favourite museum in the whole wide world!), and their fantastic offerings for families, children, and toddlers. Despite #MuseumBaby’s reluctance, I think the Magic Carpet is a brilliant idea. It’s fun, it’s interactive, it brings families in to the museum, it raises an interest in the museum’s displays, it’s for under 5s, it’s free…need I go on? If only I could have, I would have flown the Magic Carpet right back to Berlin, because I think we could well do with one here.

Thank you, as always, for making my day National Museum of Scotland – I love you x

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