In the Netherlands we have a so called “museum card” which allows you to visit museums for free. In the last few years I visited quite a few of them together with my children. In Amsterdam we saw the ‘Nachtwacht’ in the Rijksmuseum, did science experiments at Nemo, and learned about how the sea has shaped our Dutch culture at The National Maritime Museum. We have also visited the ‘Openluchtmuseum’ (Netherlands Open Air Museum) in Arnhem several times, because this one is the closest to us. At this museum you can learn a lot about how people lived in the past, and the objects they used for cooking their meals, brewing beer, doing the laundry, and so on. Each and every time we visit this museum, my children and I discover new facts. It’s a great learning environment, but what do my children actually recall of these many museum visits?
When children lack information, they make up stories by adding up their own guesses. Their imagination can run wild: all elephants are pink, right? This kind of reasoning is undesirable when trying to explain a rare disorder of a sister or brother. Guesswork may result in incorrect illness explanations and might cause related miscommunication or behavioral problems. When we learn more about how siblings describe illnesses, we might be able to appropriately assist family counselors and parents.