Kid (and big kid) fun at the science festival

A more succinct version of this is on the Clicket blog.  This is my last post from the Science Festival!  I’ve had a fantastic time.

All through the science festival, I’ve been seeing tweets about the fun kid stuff at the City Art Centre and feeling rather jealous.  OK, at least one of the other Clicket bloggers told me that I didn’t need a kid to go along, but I would have felt a bit weird just buying one adult ticket!  What would I do then, go round shiftily playing with the kids’ activities?

Anyway, I finally managed to attach myself to a trip on Saturday with Mr Woodsmoke’s godchildren.  They are nearly-2 and 3, so I did wonder whether there would be enough to occupy them since a lot of the organised activities were for older children.  However, we were there for over 4 hours and had a really good time!

We had half an hour to kill before the first scheduled event so we started off at the bubble area, which was nice and quiet and not quite as slippy and treacherous as it would be later on!  The main part of it was just simple plastic trays of bubble mixture with different-shaped ‘wands’. It was a little high up for the little one to read, but with some help loading up the wand, she still made some great bubbles.  The rest of us made truly enormous ones…


The kids also enjoyed being put in a bubble (I winced remembering the terrible dermatitis I gave myself in Science Week 1999 when I stupidly spent a whole day putting people in bubbles without wearing gloves).  I particularly liked the bit where you could make bubbles float over dry ice.

We then went on to the Storytime Tent where (I’m told) they learned about sounds.  Making a shaker and ‘kazoos’ was a big hit.  After this, we wandered around watching some of the fun robot activities.

After lunch, a surprise hit was a hidden-away activity on the ground floor where you could steer a CCTV camera to look for monsters on the walls.  It was brilliant and it was possible for even little kids to do, given a wee bit of help with the zoom function.  They were really excited each time they found a new monster!

We went upstairs to see the Chain Reactor go off and I have to say, it had way more chemistry than I expected in it – what a great idea!  For example, there was acetone eating through polystyrene to set off one section.  And the mechanical parts all had a chemical theme too – for example the periodic table flipping over. Excellent AND educational.

Chain reactor

Chain reactor

I think there were more bubbles at this point… then off to the Imagination Garden where some very innovative monsters were made!  There was also some hiding in the ultraviolet wardrobe!  And these goggles were a big hit…


Overall, I was impressed that the place, although fairly busy, wasn’t too terrible crowded and the ratios of kids to adults for the activities (at least the ones that we saw) seemed really good.  I’m looking forward to returning year on year – there’s a niece and nephew who will be ready for it in a few years too!

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