Introducing your little learner to the wonders of STEM learning can be a fun journey of discovery for the entire family. There are loads of festivals, events and activities including British Science Week that take place during the month of March, and all year round, that offer parents and kids lots to see, do and try.
To help you on your mission to discover the top activities to try during British Science Week and beyond, we’ve rounded up a selection of family-friendly festivals, museums and activities. Take a look at our list, and if you find a STEM event or activity you like that you think we should know about, leave us a comment at the end of this post.
Where to go:
Image – Science Museum Wonderlab
Introduce children as young as one to the wonders of science at the Science Museum. Open daily from 10:00-18:00 the venue caters for families with lots of engaging, kid-friendly interactive activities and displays.
Entry to the museum and many of the displays and activities is free, however you’ll need to buy tickets for some exhibitions like Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery. This multi-sensory exhibition is jam-packed with engaging immersive science experiences that demonstrate how science shapes our everyday lives.
Natural History Museum, London (Getty Images)
From learning about the human body to discovering dinosaurs, there’s so much to do and see at the Natural History Museum. In fact, there’s enough to keep you coming back again and again! Plus, entry to the museum and many of the displays and exhibitions is free.
Check out the Natural History Museum’s Investigate, a science centre designed for families with children aged seven and up to get hands-on with over 300 specimens from the Museum’s collection. Kids get the chance for real hands-on learning as everything in Investigate can be touched or held. Investigate is only open at certain times of the day – head here to plan your visit.
While you’re browsing, check out Dino Snores museum sleepovers where families get to spend a night in the museum and explore exhibits by torchlight!
Located in Halifax, Eureka isn’t a traditional museum. Aimed specifically at families with children aged 11 and under, Eureka offers over 400 interactive exhibits and events. Exhibitions and activities have been designed for children so parents, you can relax and know your young explorers are in a kid-friendly environment – you can even enjoy a meal in the family-friendly café or take your own packed lunches and have a picnic.
Activities and opening times are geared around school term times, and there’s a lot happening, so it’s best to plan your visit and purchase tickets before you go. Read more about what’s coming up including Eureka’s Toddler Days.
Image – Thinktank Science Water Garden
Geared up for family days out, Thinktank is an award-winning science museum in Birmingham that offers kids an engaging, hands-on learning experience. From an outdoor science garden, a new 4K planetarium to the world’s oldest working steam engine, the museum has over 200 hands-on displays that focus on STEM learning.
Image – Thinktank MiniBrum
Children aged eight an under will want to check out MiniBrum, a mini city where kids get to try out grown-up activities like fixing a car or building in the construction zone. Developed in collaboration with schools, families and community groups, this child-sized world offers kids a fully immersive STEM-focused environment where they can learn all about the grown-up world through pretend and role play.
Click here for more information on ticket prices, opening times and how to get there.
Image – Life Space Zone
Geared at hands-on STEM learning, Life offers family- and kid-friendly interactive displays and events for children of all ages. It’s the home to the North’s biggest and best planetarium and offers amazing immersive learning experiences.
For children under seven, the Young Explorers’ Zone is designed to encourage learning about their world through play. Children aged seven and up can head through to the Experiment Zone and participate in real experiments with Life’s Science Explainers.
Or blast off into the Space Zone! Here, kids aged five and up can launch their own rocket, climb inside a mock-up model of part of the International Space Station and even touch a real moon rock!
Many activities and exhibitions are included in the ticket price but it’s best to plan your visit before you go.
What to do:
While several festivals take place in March each year, there are many activities and events taking place all over the UK throughout the year. Check out the British Science Organisation’s website for updates to find out what’s happening near you. In the meantime, we found these, and we think you’ll want to take a closer look.
Image – British Science Week
British Science Week takes place during March each year and is a 10-day celebration of all things STEM. Organised by the British Science Association, one of the festival’s aims is to encourage communities get involved and learn more about science.
Whether you’re looking for activity sheets to keep your young scientist busy over the weekend, or your school is keen on organising an event, the organisation offers lots of useful tips and resources to get you started on your journey to becoming a citizen scientist. Download the current and previous kids’ activity sheets by clicking here.
Image – The Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory (Getty Images)
Amazed by Science is a series of family-friendly science events and activities that take place at various locations in Cheshire during May. Venues include Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and Museum, and Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre and Observatory.
Jodrell Bank is home to the Lovell Telescope, the third largest radio telescope in the world. Take your child to the Space Pavilion to find out more about how this telescope is helping scientists discover more about our galaxy and beyond.
From scrubbing up and seeing what it’s like to be an ER surgeon (don’t worry, they’re working on a pretend patient) to making their own gloopy substances while learning about chemistry, there’s lots of STEM fun happening for kids during Edinburg Science in April.
Families can enjoy a range of engaging, immersive science events and activities and hands-on events. Many activities are included in a City Art Centre Day Pass. Book your tickets here.
Learning Resources at Norwich Science Festival
A regular on the Learning Resources events calendar, Norwich Science Festival takes place in October at The Forum in the city. Sign up for the festival newsletter to stay updated with what’s happening this year. Catch us there and have the chance to see our STEM educational toys up close.
Image – Learning Resources® Botley at Norwich Science Festival
After a break, the Manchester Science Festival is back in 2020 during the last week of October. The festival now takes place every two years and this year’s focus is on the climate and our planet. Visit the site and sign up for the event newsletter to receive regular updates.
Keep young minds engaged with these science resources:
- Download your free Learning Resources Science Printable Worksheets with fun activities for budding young scientists. Follow the dot-to-dot and discover the out-of-this-world science tool astronomers use, do the word search and see how many scientific terms you can find, and get colourful on the science colouring-in page. Click here to download them now!
- Here’s a brilliant bicarb idea! John Adams from Dad Blog UK created this easy DIY volcanco that teaches children about science using ingredients available around the home. This experiment can be done inside but if you want a spectacular volcano, why not head outdoors and watch the ‘lava’ flow? Check out his YouTube channel for more simple experiments using household ingredients.
- Make dancing raisins using this printable guide from Twinkl. You’ll need still water, sparkling water and raisins. We also liked their raincloud in a jar experiment that’s easy to do at home using common household ingredients. Register for your free account to access these and more resources.
- Looking for some quick easy experiments suitable for young children? UK blog Science Sparks offers lots of easy ideas for kids of all ages. Check out these space-themed experiments.
- Who would guess kids could make glow in the dark mud using potatoes and tonic water? Scientists make this fluorescent magical mud on hit YouTube channel The King of Random. The channel features cool, sometimes crazy science and physics experiments and projects that keep older kids enthralled. Many of their projects aren’t suitable for children to try, and some are just downright nuts. But this award-winning channel introduces older children to the next step in exciting science learning and topics can be great conversation starters for budding inventors.
Main Image: Getty Images