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Parenting Reviews — 16 January 2012

Yesterday was a day for some one-on-one parent and child bonding. Whilst Daddy and Ferne went to a birthday party on The Golden Hinde, I took Noah: serial fiddler, experimenter and general tinkerer to The Science Museum to check out Launchpad.

Groovy: Noah in the Pattern Pod


Now, our Noah has been to The Science Museum quite a few times so he knows his way around very comfortably. In fact, so familiar is he with the layout that he whizzed through Exploring Space so quickly that people were left spinning like tenpins as he pointed out the Eagle, satellites and space debris.

However, we have never made it to the third floor and the wonderfulness of Launchpad before. On entry the following happened: the jaw dropped, the fingers started wriggling and the feet scampering – the boy was off!

With over 50 interactive exhibits exploring physics and how things work there’s an immediate need to roll up your sleeves and get properly stuck in. First, we span a wheel to create a build-up of gas which eventually ignited and set off a rocket, then we watched water freezing through huge polarising filters which transformed the freeze into a beautiful rainbow, then we sailed a table top yacht and launched an Air Cannon. Phew!

Scrabbling in The Grain Pit


Thankfully the zone has ‘Explainers’ wondering around to help parents who are struggling to understand the principles of viscosity, thermal imaging and electrical circuitry themselves let alone explain them to a six-year-old.

Developed in conjunction with parents, teachers and students Launchpad is aimed primarily at 8-14 year-olds and there is a whole heap of information and learning activities on the Museum’s site. The zone naturally links with the Curriculum for Key Stages 1-4. However, do not eliminate a visit to Launchpad if your child is younger.

We finished off our visit by watching the Bubble Show and afterwards floated back home with our noggins full of questions and, on my part, the need to get a few science books out of the library!

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