Last Updated on August 2, 2022 by Celeste.
Archaeology for kids doesn’t have to be boring. We visited a special place in Crete where we tried to become archaeologists for a day. Read on about our exciting experience in Archaeolab!
Archaeological Museum of Kissamos
We went to Kissamos, a small town just a half-hour easy drive from Chania in Crete. Our first is the archaeological museum featuring findings from the western part of Crete, mostly Polyrenia, Falasarna, and other smaller ancient towns of the area.
The museum was founded in 2005, and it is housed in a two-floor Venetian monument that once was hosting the Headquarters of the Governor of the area. On the ground floor, you will basically admire the findings from Ancient Falasarna and Polyrenia which flourished during the Hellenistic period as well findings from the prior Minoan era.
Archaeology for kids in Crete
On the first floor, you will admire the mosaics that are in maintained very good condition from the Hellenistic period of the area, along with other findings, such as coins, amphoras, jewelry, and tomb findings.
After the museum, we visit Αrchaeolab, the only hands-on activity for archaeology for kids in Crete. A child’s paradise where for the next two hours the kids will enjoy making their own excavations.
We will meet Koula Bourboudaki, an archaeologist with a busy schedule who will welcome us and explain the project she is running.
Archaeology at Archaeolab with Kids
Archaeolab offers kids the opportunity to experience an excavation process, the process of documentation and management of the archaeological finds, and to understand how archaeologists reconstruct the past, based on the findings.
Children are invited to bring an ancient Minoan premise to light, following the instructions are given in order to follow the protocols of the archaeologists and do professional work.Kids are invited to reveal: architectural elements (walls/floor residues), storage jars and their contents, constructions, and utensils for the preparation and the production of the food (kitchen), wine press, loom residues, and treasure crypts.
In the process of excavation, kids practice various aspects of contemporary archaeological practice (backfill removal techniques, water, and dry sieve, findings sorting/classification, etc.) and as the sets of findings are revealed, the excavation process resembles the gradual solving of a mystery.
After the excavation, a second lab is taking place, where children are introduced to the art of pottery or other ecological practices. We were amazed to see the construction of a Neolithic house which was made by small children.
Besides excavation, there are also workshops about Minoan cuisine, the art of mosaic, and paleography. Similar labs will open soon in Athens, Patras, and Thessaloniki.
Don’t miss the opportunity for something so unique. This place for archaeology for kids in Crete is great. You will never have felt better seeing your children so dusty and proud! – Anastasia
How to get there from Chania
Archaeolab can be reached by car via the E65 main road from Chania towards Kissamos, taking about 35 minutes. You can also take a taxi for an average fair of 30 – 40 Euro. A local bus leaves from the Chania central bus station and the journey is 1,5 hours. Archaeolab address: Tompazi 16, Kissamos, Crete 73400, Greece.
Other Creative Things to do in Crete
Enjoy a day of arts and crafts at the magnificent Arolithos Traditional Cretan Village. Under the tutelage of the master, Niki Lyroni, you will learn how to perform the ancient art of Mosaic in a 2-hour family workshop. Niki, showcasing some of her masterpieces, will talk about the art of mosaic and the theory of mosaics. You will learn about the materials used, the tools involved, and how they all come together. Once you have a proper foundation in the theory of how to mosaic, you will move on to the practice! You will be given the materials and the tools to make your own mosaic, and under the professional guidance of Niki, you will be able to make your own! Once you have finished your own mosaic, it will be yours – a beautiful souvenir to take home and show your friends.
Click here for more information and booking the Mosaics Workshop
Weaving Art Class
Another creative family activity in the same venue is learning about the ancient art of weaving. You will also get the opportunity to take a mini-tour to the Museum of Rural History and Folk Craft for free. This tour is a must and will provide you with a lot of fascinating information about Cretan culture and history. Your course will begin by preparing the strings and making the fabrics. You will learn all the necessary steps required to take part in this process. You will have the opportunity to see the wool production in a slide presentation, learn about the symbols and designs on the fabrics that get produced, and use a real weaving loom to practice your skill. You will be able to take a piece of decorated fabric home with you as a souvenir.
Where to stay in Crete
Crete is a great island for families with many choices in family-friendly accommodation styles from luxury resorts to private vacation villas. We have listed the most kid-friendly areas and things to do in Crete per region in our post Where to stay in Crete with Kids.
For a list of recommended tried and test family hotels and recommended kid-friendly resorts as well as Agrotourism for families, scroll over to The Best Family Hotels in Crete!
Things to do in Crete with Kids
If you are looking for more things to do in Crete with Kids, have a look at the following blog posts:
Natassa is born and raised in Chania in Crete, where she lives with her family. She is a mother to a boy and a girl. Natassa speaks several languages and has traveled the world extensively. However, she always returns to her homeland. She writes about her life and her family outings on her island for Family Experiences Blog. As the local expert for Crete, she shares invaluable tips for ideas, often for off-the-beaten-path experiences. Her following are parents in Crete or families interested in visiting Crete with their kids.