Museums make it easy for families to try them out. Many offer free or reduced-price entry at select times, when, not surprisingly, they often offer beefed up family programming: The Baltimore Museum of Art is free between 11am and 8pm the first Thursday of every month; Miami Art Museum is free every Sunday and second Saturdays. In Chicago, you can even use your library card to "check out" a free museum pass good for entry to lots of museums in that city. And don't forget to look into any free classes provided with the free entry. At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, kids can spend three hours at the monthly Family Studio on Sundays, engaged in hands-on activity linked to the museum's collections. It's a great way to test Junior's interest in art before signing him up for some costly course. (Photo: A young guest studies a human skeleton puzzle in The Living Room on Liberty Science Center's Health Floor. © Chris Callis/Liberty Science Center)
Readings at bookstores and libraries are great for kids at this age. Check the newspapers or the Websites of your favorite authors for their reading schedules. Best bets for a reading that'll interest kids in the early grades are children's bookstores at any time of year and general bookstores around holiday or vacation times. Don't miss library-sponsored events '- in southeastern Florida, for instance, many host the Miami-based
Fantasy Theatre Factory, whose mission is to make arts and culture highly accessible to kids.