World Book Day at the Herbert sees parents ‘making memories’ with their little ones

This World Book Day families at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum celebrated the occasion with a variety of activities aimed at the under 5s audience, themed on the ever-popular children’s story ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’, by Michael Rosen.

Families sat under Dippy’s winding tail and were given a bag full of sensory objects to help them experience the story in a immersive way that engages younger children through tactile learning. The children were read to and encouraged to join in the chant, using the props to immerse themselves in the adventure.

One attendee said: “I came with my two grandchildren and they loved it. I thought it was great, lots of fun and very interactive.

“I used to work in a library so I’m used to doing this kind of thing and I thought the way they used the bags with the sensory items added a little bit extra.”

Mum, Emma, said: “The book reading was so engaging for my child, she really enjoyed it and it’s a wonderful way for me to make memories with her.”

Hareena, who is Family Learning Coordinator at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, said: “We always choose a book that we can make into an immersive experience for the children because sensory storytelling is so important for their development.”

She added: “Sitting under Dippy’s tail made the event so much more special and it’s been great to draw in new people.”

A grandfather attending said: “My grandson didn’t stop smiling. This kind of thing is great for their education as it makes learning fun and engaging. It’s something entertaining to do to keep them busy during the day too.”

The celebrations coincided with the Herbert’s regular monthly, Mini Makers session, where our youngest visitors, along with their grownups, embrace all things messy! They stomped through the mud in tuff trays, made marks in the snow and painted their own bear masks to take away as a keepsake of the day.

The day was expanded on further, with Mini Museum Engineers on tour, from Coventry Transport Museum, taking over the history gallery with open-ended play opportunities for children that explored the themes of the story through early engineering and problem-solving activities.

Lisa Ford, who is Head of Learning and Engagement, said: “World Book Day has become an annual event for the Herbert, with us even keeping up the momentum throughout lockdown with pre-recorded virtual storytelling. Schools embrace World Book Day and we don’t want our under 5s audience to miss out on the fun.

“For us, we champion early years activity within museum settings as it embeds in children’s minds from their earliest years that museums are inviting, playful places and builds connections to our collections in a way that will form a positive relationship between them and cultural settings.

“Through early years engagement we are investing in children from birth, captivating them when young, so they actively ask to visit museums throughout their childhood and engage with them again into their adults lives with future generations.”

Find out more about similar future events here.

by Sophie Esposito