top of page



Morning at the Museum:

National Museum of American History

March 19, 9-11am

Spend a fun-filled morning at the National Museum of American History with Morning at the Museum, the Smithsonian's accessibility project geared towards helping children with cognitive or sensory processing disabilities enjoy their museum visit. Their expertly-designed

pre-visit materials will serve as the starting point for the below guide full of opportunities for speech and language exposure and enhancement.

To RSVP, email or call 202-633-2921.


EXPLORE: Expressive Language
ENRICH: Categorial vocabulary

ENGAGE: The ability to use nouns and verbs to describe forms of transporation


The first activity offered at Morning at the Museum is a museum-inspired yoga session called "Transporation Jive." As you participate, have your child practice describing what the pose he/she is doing resembles.



  • Before you arrive at Morning at the Museum, look over the Transportation Guide Jive Book and review the target vocabulary with your child:

    • Forms of transportation: feet (marching), horse, car, airplane, train

    • Transportation verbs: exploring, marching, galloping, getting in, rolling, driving, stretching, flying, relaxing

  • As the museum staff lead you through the poses, have your child describe each pose using one of the two pattern sentences: "I am a ___" (form of transporation) or "I am ___-ing" (verb).


BONUS: Have your child work on subject pronouns while describing the poses that other participants are doing. For example, "SHE is a train," or "THEY are getting in their cars."



EXPLORE: Oral Comprehension
ENRICH: Understanding verbal descriptions

ENGAGE: The ability to identify objects based on their description


Next on the schedule is to explore the "Star Spangled Banner" exhibit. Use the "Can You Find Me" checklist to help your child work on listening for details.



  • Describe each of the four items on the checklist by two characteristics - form and function - and have your child find each object based on your verbal description.

    • Form - the shape, size, color, and texture of an object

    • Function - how the object is used

  • For example, when describing the tactile star, you could say, "Find a small star shape that is smooth, bronze, and helps you feel the shape of a star if you are blind."

  • If your child has difficulty understanding long descriptions, show him/her the picture of the item from the checklist while you give the description, then hide the picture and see if he/she can find the item


EXPLORE: Phonemic Skills
ENRICH: Correct Production of Multisyllabic Words

ENGAGE: The ability to produce all syllables of 3-4 syllable words


In the next exhibit, America on the Move, help your child gain increased awareness of and ability to produce words with more than 2 syllables.



  • As you complete the "Can You Find Me" Checklist for America on the Move, have your child practice these four key words: A-mer-i-ca, Wa-shing-ton, Cho-co-late, Te-dy-Bear.

  • Remind your child to say each word slowly and to say every part of the word. You can have your child touch his/her finger to the circle on a  pacing board for each syllable to minimize syllable deletion.

  • Have your child say each word by itself, then in a short phrase (e.g. my ____), then in a complete sentence.

  • See if you and your child can find at least four more multisyllable words from throughout the exhibit to practice.

EXPLORE: Pragmatic Language Skills
ENRICH: Communicative Intents

ENGAGE: The ability ask questions and make comments


Bud the traveling dog is hiding in six different transportation scenes in the America on the Move exhibition. While you search for him, help your child practice communication for different intents using the following strategies.



  • Before you explore the exhibition, talk to your child about the difference between a question and a comment:

    • A question asks something. The intent of a question is to find out information.

    • A comment tells something. The intent of a comment is to provide information.

  • Next, use this checklist to visit each of the exhibits where Bud is hiding. At each exhibit, have your child either ask a question or make a comment.

    • If your child can't find Bud, have him/her ask a question to you or a fellow museum visitor to find out where he is. For example, "Where is Bud?" or "Do you know where Bud is hiding?"

    • If your child finds Bud, have him/her make a comment to you or a fellow museum visitor. For example, "I found Bud!" or "Bud is on the box."


bottom of page