Saturday, 13 November 2010


I've spent quite a lot of time over the years in various science centres, but it was only when a friend reminded me that I recalled that we live in easy distance of Eureka - the children's museum. And now we have a bona fide reason for going. (Ian, Phil and I once spent a happy afternoon in the Launch Pad at the Science Museum getting wierd looks from kids as we were the only adults trying to play with all the exhibits).

So, with a gaggle of friends (and four two year olds), we went off to Halifax.

Yes, Eureka is wonderful! Nathaniel enjoyed it. The other toddlers enjoyed it. And I loved it!

Probably the best bit was the town square. There is a shop, a bank, a post office and a garage (and some other bits we didn't see), all at child size. The kids spent ages and ages filling their trolleys with food and taking it through the checkout.

They only left because we were bored, but were very happy with the garage. They drove cars and trucks and filled the cars up with petrol (from a proper, though child-size, petrol pump).

Then we went into "the house" and cooked in the kitchen, dressed up in the bedroom, flushed the toilet and turned on the shower in the bathroom, and romped up and down the stairs.

Nathaniel was absolutely taken by the exhibit on renewable energy. Ever since we allowed him to watch an episode of Camberwick Green on the television, he has been fascinated by windmills. He does a very convincing impression of the noise that Windy Miller's windmill makes and idenitfies windmills in all sorts of strange places. His interest in the modern windmills on the way to and from Polzeath almost lead to a full on tantrum until he realised that a)Daddy did not have the power to make them turn, and b)we were not going to be able to conjure "more modern windmills again" out of thin air.

So when he and Aunt Nimmy (now known as Auny Minnie!) found not just a modern windmill, but also a light bulb, Nathaniel was a very happy boy. Eventually, when I realised that I hadn't seen either of them for about 15 mins, I retraced my steps to find them carefully observing said windmill. Nathaniel pointed out that when the sails turned fast the light bulb came on, and when they slowed and stopped, it went off. That's not a bad learning point for a 2 year old!

I won't describe all of the wonderful different areas and exhibits that we enjoyed (though I am very tempted) - it would very quickly descend into an over academic exploration of different aspects of interactive exhibits. I will content myself with saying that we all had a great time!

Most of our photos are blurry (not very much light), or have other children in them, but here are some highlights:

Nathaniel controlling the backdrop in a studio. He pressed one set of button to chose an image (town (with bus), beach or countryside (with tractor)), and then used another set of buttons to chose appropriate sound effects. Mixing the image of the bus with the sound of a cow mooing resulted in much giggling!

My favourite exhibit. Place different sound blocks on the wall to make music composed of samples of each sound. They lit up as they were played.

Nathaniel's favourite exhibit: paint a butterfly using a touch screen. Then press "fly away" and the butterfly flutters off and onto a big screen on the wall where it joins a few of the recently painted butterflies.

Dressing up as a bumble bee. (Both me and Nimmy independently carefully observed the seams and shape of pattern pieces for future use!)

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