Ingenious Inventions

Summer fun at the National Civil War Centre

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CWC1When your two year old is treated as a guest of honour from the moment she steps through the door you know you’ve come to a place you’re going to want to return to.

And when the event even includes its welcome drinks in the theme of the evening then you know you’ll have good reason to return too.

Attending the launch of the National Civil War Centre’s summer fun programme Ingenious Inventions in Newark, Willow was entranced from the start as she was able to choose the colour of her drink, watching as the clear liquid became pink as it poured.

Whilst the historical centre’s exhibits obviously focus on the conflict of the period, it was also a time of great innovation and its summer programme is focusing on the “weird and wonderful stories” that 17th century science provided.

A painting activity in the courtyard inspired by Christiaan Huygens’s pendulum clock was next on Willow’s itinerary (and returned to several times throughout the evening), followed by a crafting session based on the discoveries Antonie van Leeuwenhoek made through his microscope in 1676.

She then joined a class from a local school for a talk by Prince Rupert himself – the inventor of a torpedo, a diving bell and exploding teardrops as well as a seasoned fighter and a dab hand on the tennis court.  The pupils’ infectious enthusiasm and focused exuberance was a credit to their school as well as to the presentation which also held Willow’s attention.

Telescopes, pump activated rockets, an inflatable flea and the arrival of her brother and daddy meaning she could go through it all again meant I very nearly didn’t get to see any of the main part of the centre which currently includes the temporary exhibition Shifting Sands: Lawrence of Arabia and the Great Arab Revolt and there’s still a whole floor I haven’t set foot on yet.

So, along with any young historian or science enthusiast visiting for the first time, we know we’ll still have a lot to enjoy next time we’re in the Nottinghamshire town’s museum.  And we know we’ll have particularly lovely guides to aid our discoveries too.

The schedule of summer fun will run from July 29th to September 3rd.  Either Mad Madge or Prince Rupert of the Rhine will be performing daily from Monday to Saturday.  Every Monday will be a Messy Monday with pendulum painting.

Aug 1-6 and Sept 2-6: Terrific Telescopes – Make your own heavenly creations and imagine the 17th Century stars with build your own telescope sessions.
Aug 8-13: Ticking Technology – Put history in your pocket and make a mini watch to carry in your Restoration waistcoat.
Aug 15-21: Microscopic Monsters –  Learn what 17th Century scientists saw when they first looked through a microscope and make some friendly bacteria to take home.
Aug 22-28: A Right Royal Rocket – Investigate the work of a 17th Century scientist and launch your own rocket.
Aug 29-Sept 1: Crafty Calculations – Did you know that the first calculator was invented in the seventeenth century?  Learn about Pascal’s adding machine and make some crafty calculations of your own.

The centre is offering 20% off admission for families this summer.  Valid from July 29th to September 3rd, it applies to any size group with at least one paying child.  Children under 5 enter for free.  Visit www.nationalcivilwarcentre.com for further information.

#30DaysWild Day 19 – It’s just too hot!

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_19When the sun makes the slides in the park too hot to use it’s just not fun anymore.

So, as out outdoor efforts were curtailed today, here are some facts about the Sun (which I keep reminding myself that all life on earth is dependent on) that I’ve just learnt courtesy of Google:

The Sun is the star at the centre of our solar system and is responsible for the Earth’s climate and weather.  The sun is an almost perfect sphere with a difference of just 10km in diameter between the poles and the equator SpaceFacts.com

The Sun alone contains 99.8% of the total mass in the Solar System.  In terms of size, the Sun has a diameter of roughly 1.4 million kilometers (870,000 miles).  To put this in perspective, this is almost 110 times the diameter of the Earth.  What this means is that about one million Earth’s could fit inside the Sun – theplanets.org

Astronomers think that the Sun (and the planets) formed from the nebular about 4.59 billion years ago.  Its temperature is 5,500 degrees Celsius on the surface and a whopping 15.6 million degrees Celsius at the core.  Light from the Sun reaches the Earth in just 8 minutes! – CBBC Newsround

Hopefully tomorrow I shall be Googling “facts about cool breezes”.

30DAYSWILD_ID2 lightorange

Science in the Park 2017

WollatonScienceAnyone who thinks there’s a lack of interest in the STEM subjects clearly didn’t attend Science in the Park 2017 at Wollaton Hall on Saturday.

The difficulty we had in finding a parking space on arrival was mirrored in the number of people vying to get their hands on the interactive exhibits inside the hall.

But before we headed up to the hall we stopped by the Nottingham Industrial Museum housed in the ground’s stable block.  As well as all its usual exhibits, the museum also had a few special experiments available to take part in in support of British Science Week and Luke and Willow were able to have a go at generating their own electricity and seeing what their voices look like.

Luke’s favourite exhibit was definitely the model railway and I think we only managed to pry him away thanks to the operator noticing and taking a short break.  Willow is a fiend for phones and mummy and daddy quite liked playing with the rotary ones on display too where the reminder of the dialling clicks made us nostalgic for a time you could answer the phone without the threat of a PPI sales pitch being on the other end.

The last Sundays of the month are know as Steaming Sundays here where their collection can be viewed in full operation so this is one for our list of places to return to.

We then rushed up to the hall through the rain that arrived earlier than forecast proving meteorology at least is far from an exact science.

We learnt about DNA, the way light travels and phosphorescence, walked through the hall’s natural history exhibits and made dinosaur masks.  Mummy overheard something about a gin and tonic experiment and had been quite prepared to fight her way through to the front of that table if Faith hadn’t decided at that point that milk was a more appropriate afternoon tipple.

Presented as part of British Science Week 2017, Science in the Park lived up to its “something for all ages” promise, kept us entertained for several hours and had a lot more to offer that we didn’t get to – including the chance for young scientists to present their own experiments – and it was free (there was a charge for car parking and a small entrance fee for the industrial museum) so we’ll be sure to look out for the event again next year, although it’s clear there’s the demand for it to be more than an annual occasion.

Do you have a budding palaeontologist in your house?  Wollaton Hall will be playing host to a world exclusive Dinosaurs of China exhibition this summer.  Click here for further information.

Lots of fun at the Fun Palace Weekend

funpalace2016“Part of a worldwide campaign and celebration of culture by, for and with the whole community,” Lincoln Fun Palace Weekend is taking place in and around the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) on Saturday, October 1st and Sunday, October 2nd.

The “free, community event with arts and science activities” is “ideal for families, children and young people” and there’s certainly a wide range of activities on offer.

Today, the Mini Malpi enjoyed LEGO building, face painting, graffiti art, the Anti-Gravity Box, crazy golf (this was charged for), drumming, Zest Theatre’s Boy Meets Girl and much more!

And tomorrow visitors to the arts centre based on the University of Lincoln campus can enjoy it all again too!

Visit http://lpac.co.uk/event/fun-palace-weekend/ and http://funpalaces.co.uk/ for more details.

The Gravity Fields Festival 2016

gravityfields

Taking place from September 21st to 25th, Gravity Fields is a festival celebrating Sir Isaac Newton and it has entertainment in spades – “for big kids and little”.

bubbles-and-balloons-2South Kesteven Council’s Stephanie Foster picks the highlights of the festival’s offerings for mini scientists, “This five-day festival has more than 120 events, including a brilliant Bubbles and Balloons show for four-year-olds upwards from those clever people at Science Made Simple.  They have two separate shows with giant bubbles and whizzing balloons on Saturday, first in the morning at Stamford Arts Centre and then a 3pm event in Grantham Guildhall

 living-with-wildlifeIf your kids have never seen a hedgehog or an owl up close, Gravity Fields can thrill them thanks to naturalist Sasha Norris in her Living With Wildlife show on Saturday morning.

“There is enchanting storytelling in the Family Science Day from Mara Menzies on the tale of Isaac Newton and the apple, part of a brilliant hands-on day of discovery for families with demos and table-top activities and cool tech.

“Light, technology and dance combine in another thrilling show for people big and small alike in Body of Light (For Little Ones!). There are several shows on Friday and Saturday.”

With all this and much more – including a show called Dr Death and the Medi-Evil Medicine Show which would be a must see for us if our minis were less mini (it’s for age 7+) – there’s sure to be something to appeal to any little (or big) Newtons, Einsteins or Curies in your house.

Find out more at https://www.gravityfields.co.uk/