Mention needing to 'Learn about Science' and you might ordinarily think of places like the Science Museum in London, Deutsches Museum, Munich or even the famous CosmoCaixa in Barcelona... But as we reckon this is one of the most important aspect of our road schooling curriculum, we take each and every chance to grab some interactive science experiences with our girls. So today's seen us head to Halifax in Yorkshire to see Eureka! The National Children's Museum.
Having previously studied the Industrial Revolution with the girls, it was great to drive past and discuss the famous old cities and towns that are forever linked to this period... including Leeds, Bradford and finally Halifax.
But if you've got young children, this is the perfect place to head for first if you're visiting Halifax in Yorkshire. It's easily accessed by motorhome/car (worth noting it's a pay and display car park) or by train at the station which adjoins the main site.
The cleverly designed museum manages to cram in 400+ award-winning interactive exhibits. Encouraging a blend of creativity, team-work and independence helps children to develop and learn. However, if pushed we'd say that it proved better for Libby's age (8-9) than Lottie (12-13) but nonetheless there was enough for each to enjoy across our 4hr visit.
Science was and still is one of the girl's favourite subjects - on the road or in the classroom... and none have been better than the clever Loch Ness Centre in Scotland. As a result of the girl's growing interest in Science, we've made a bee-line for some of Europe's most famous Science museums such as Oslo or Munich.. Yet there are also other brilliantly interactive museums like Eureka! which although relatively small, are fantastic to allow children to enjoy at their own pace just like Lagos, Portugal
As any 'world schooler' or 'road schooling family' knows... you sometimes have to seize a moment and take the opportunity to make learning fun... and Eureka! certainly offers that. It's just so interactive.... from the radio controlled cars to buildable cubes.... it's just so easy to get 'hands on'!
As the girls attached themselves to the ever expanding laser wall (see below)... the sound of laughter reminded us of yet another fun 'road schooling' experience that saw both girls learn all about 'lift and propulsion' in Portugal using a radio controlled helicopter (see full article here).
For us, Science is about discovery and the thrill of learning.....Especially when you get the chance to do some science experiments of our own (like our Dazzling Dynamos or Marvellous Mixtures!!) But Eureka! goes one step further than we could ever hope to achieve in our own lessons. It inspires children to learn all about themselves and the world around them by playing, imagining, experimenting and having fun.
Exactly what we've tried to achieve for all subjects across Europe (so why not check out our Top 10 Roadschooling Experiences here)
You only have to glance at the clever child friendly design of each interactive exhibit to see how it can work so well for younger children. The language and fun tasks are simple yet also delve into interesting areas like genetics or robotics.
It's also the type of 'interactive museum' where kids can stop and explore certain parts in more detail (e.g. the cubelets or genetics section) or failing that, they can just simply run around looking for buttons to push and sounds to make!! They can even climb over or into parts of the body including the gigantic nose or its impossibly long tongue!!
Explore, Discover, Learn and Play are the keywords that Eureka! uses in it's marketing and they're pretty accurate. For our girls, they were immediately drawn to the 'All About Me' & 'Sound Space' areas.... but later dipped into others including the very creative 'Spark Gallery'
Futuristic in its design, the clever use of space allows little nooks and crannies to be filled with smaller exhibits like this 'Two Ears' sound booth... this allows you to have your own space and not feel pressured by large queues forming behind you...
Equally important are the distinct areas around the centre for younger children under 5 or the timed entries or clear routes through exhibits...... These types of clever design certainly allow more time to explore and learn at your own pace.
But for us, the variety on offer is the best part to Eureka! It's kept both girls enthused and engaged throughout the visit.... with certain areas allowing more hands on interaction whilst others have promoted interesting discussions or even thoughts for future 'road schooling lessons'.
But if we had to finish by picking one area that all younger kids will absolutely love! It's the 'Living & Working Together' area, a simulated town centre with its own M&S food store, a Halifax bank, a Post Office and a garage. Our girls really loved seeing how a bank really works and if they'd been five years younger... I doubt we'd have managed to prise them out of this whole area!!
As per the growing trend with high quality attractions, tickets are valid for 12 months, so if you don’t manage to get round it all, you can come back another time. Our visit took 4hrs, but you could easily spend more time. You can even bring your own picnic to enjoy in the indoor picnic area (more details on Eureka can be found here)
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