Tag Archives: STEM

Review: Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Explorer

My son, lover of maps and everything geography has been asking for his own globe for a few months now. We’ve been looking at a few different kinds of globes in the run up to his birthday. We wanted something more than just a simple globe; we wanted something which would furnish him with facts, test his knowledge and teach him about the world. Did the Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Explorer AR tick all of those boxes?

Review: Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Explorer AR

The Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Explorer AR is a globe which opens up so you can also explore the solar system and the Earth’s core. It comes with a wireless talking smart pen which you touch the globe with and it helps you explore the world and the solar system. You can also install an App on your phone or tablet which allows you to explore in more detail using augmented reality.

Review: Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Explorer AR

The globe sits on a stand which has an interactive activity panel which contains more than 42 educational games and activities. To operate the activity panel you need to use the smart pen which you can charge and update using the USB cable included. The pen takes about two hours to fully charge and the charge seems to last quite a long time. The smart pen is shaped a bit like a space shuttle and makes all the right noises.

To use it, you select your age group and activity, then follow the instructions. There are simple games like finding certain places on the globe and touch them with the pen. There are three age range settings; 5 to 8, 9 to 14 and 15+, and a pull-out local map so you can explore the UK and Ireland in more detail. The Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Explorer AR is suitable for ages 5+.

Review: Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Explorer AR

There’s such a lot of educational value in this Smart Globe Explorer with over 220 countries to explore. The globe itself is vibrant and interesting, when used with the activity panel and smart pen there’s just so much information and interesting things to do. My son who is just shy of 8 years old picked up how to use it really quickly. I was delighted to discover at 6.30am this morning that there is a volume control on it.

Using the globe, you can learn all about countries, continents and capital cities. You can also find out about populations, currency and information about the world leaders. There’s also a current affairs section, which is one of the things which needs to be updated on a regular basis.

Review: Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Explorer AR

The globe opens up to reveal the Earth’s core and the solar system, which can be explored using both the smart pen and with the augmented reality app. The interactive augmented reality really brings things to life and features, landscapes, animals, landmarks, dinosaurs and even the solar system.

Weirdly, it somehow triggers our Alexa. If you have Alexa, it’s worth using your globe in a different room or it creates a slightly bonkers robotic cacophony.

Inside the stand is the pull-out map of the UK. Take this out and open it up and it creates a stand for the globe to rest on when it’s opened up. Using the smart pen you can tap on various points of interest on the inside of the globe and more information spills out.

It’s a great piece of kit. The Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Explorer is all we wanted in a globe and more. The smart pen and the activity panel really makes this for me. Together they’re a brilliant teaching tool and you can really learn a lot from them. It’s the kind of gift which will grow with a child. The different age settings mean that there is more age appropriate learning available with each birthday.

The Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Explorer is available from a wide range of retailers and online and currently costs £129.99 (though at the time of writing it’s £99.99 on Amazon). It’s a lot of money for a globe; but if you’re serious about STEM and learning at home, or if you have a child like mine who lives for maps and geography, then it’s worth investing it. Especially as it’s the kind of thing which will absolutely grow with the child.

We were sent the Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Explorer for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Toy Review: Clementoni Mind Designer Robot

My almost 8 year old absolutely adores science and we are very keen to encourage this at home. We are firm believers in learning through play, if you have fun learning then whatever you’re learning usually sticks. This week we’ve been putting the Clementoni Mind Designer Robot through its paces. This clever little robot can help with all kinds of things, from spacial awareness, maths, reasoning and geometry. It’s a clever piece of kit and no mistake.

Toy Review: Clementoni Mind Designer Robot

The Clementoni Mind Designer Robot costs £49.99 and in the box you will find:

  • MIND – Educational Digital Robot
  • A double-sided “board”
  • Transparent disc (to position the pens)
  • Three felt tip pens
  • 10 sheets of A3 paper
  • List of voice commands
  • Instruction manual

MIND is pretty simple to set up. You will need 4 AA batteries and one of those little screwdrivers to open the battery compartment. You will also need a tablet, we have an iPad which worked well. There’s a free app to download which you can use to operate MIND.

MIND has a control keypad in his back, a mode selector and microphone. You can programme him to move and draw shapes and he can memorise a sequence of up to 40 commands.

When we were first getting to grips with MIND we were mostly using the app mode and the voice commands to get it to draw geometric shapes. This is a good way to get used to how it works (and as a parent I can’t tell you how good it is to tell someone to do something and it actually gets done).

Toy Review: Clementoni Mind Designer Robot

We moved on to the educational mode. For this you need the double-sided board, which isn’t actually a board, but a huge A1 glossy piece of paper. The yellow board features the Number Challenge. You choose your level; easy, medium or difficult. We chose the easy level. In this game, MIND needs to be programmed with the directions it needs to move in to get to the correct square on the board. There will be simple sums to complete along the way.

On the blue board you need to find you way around a maze, collecting objects MIND says you need along the way. This is a great exercise in logic, reasoning, strategy and spacial awareness.

Toy Review: Clementoni Mind Designer Robot

It’s a remarkably simple piece of kit. Once you have read the instructions and got the hang of it, it’s great fun and really, really educational. I know for my son playing with MIND will really cement some maths and give it a practical application. For me it’s the thinking ahead and in steps which I think will make a big difference to him. He tends to rush at things and this may help him to take a step back and approach things in a slower, more methodical way.

When I told my husband that the Clementoni Mind Designer Robot cost £49.99 he was impressed; he thought it would cost nearly double that. We really, really liked it and I hope that my son will play with it a lot.

Toy Review: Clementoni Mind Designer Robot

Things to remember about the Clementoni Mind Designer Robot:
  • You DO need a tablet to use alongside this
  • You DO need 4 AA batteries
  • If you are giving this as a gift, it’s probably worth carefully taking it out of the box and playing with it, downloading the app and figuring out how it works before you wrap it up. If you know what you’re doing beforehand, you can save an hour of setting up and instruction manual reading on Christmas morning. Trust me on this one.

It’s a big present to buy for someone, but it does have a lot of different functions. It’s enjoyable to play with, even on the basic drawing geometrical shapes mode and I really like that there’s lots of learning to be had with this. The best thing is that it doesn’t feel like learning and gives a child a practical application for their maths etc.

The Clementoni Mind Designer Robot costs £49.99, is suitable for ages 7+ and is available from a wide range of retailers including Smyths Toys.

We were sent the Clementoni Mind Designer Robot for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Learning: Ocean Slime Baff Activity Box

A few weeks ago we had a really fun afternoon playing with a dinosaur sensory Gelli Baff activity box which we put together. We had so much fun with it, the boy made several requests to do something similar; so I went back to my local toy shop and bought some Slime Baff, which is similar to the Gelli Baff but made of slime. We invited some friends around and had some Ocean Slime Baff Activity Box fun!

Learning: Ocean Slime Baff Activity Box

The Slime Baff is available in a range of colours (red, green and blue) but I opted for blue which seemed about the right shade to create a lovely blue ocean with. It’s safe for children and should be fine for sensitive skin. It also has a pleasant fragrance.

A packet of Slime Baff costs £5.99 and there’s enough for one bath in the pack. I used the whole pack in our box of slime. I wanted a fairly thick, gloopy slime for the sensory box, but you could experiment with using less for a looser slime.

Learning: Ocean Slime Baff Activity Box

HOW TO CREATE A Ocean slime SENSORY ACTIVITY BOX

You will need:
One plastic storage box. I used an IKEA Trofast Storage box
Slime Baff
Warm water
Selection of plastic fish and ocean life and maybe some shells

How to make your ocean slime sensory activity box:
In your clean plastic box pour in six pints of warm water, you can add more if you need to later. Pour in the Slime Baff powder and stir it in. It should turn to slime fairly quickly. If the texture is too thick for you, add some more warm water and stir until you’re happy with it.

Learning: Ocean Slime Baff Activity Box

Grab your plastic fish figures and shells and put them in the box, let your imagination run wild.

Once you’ve finished playing with your ocean slime sensory activity box, pour it into the sink and add more hot water until it slides down the plughole.

TIPS:

Although Slime Baff doesn’t stain (or shouldn’t), you might want to wear an apron to protect your clothes.

I put the washing up bowl nearby so any figures he’d played with could go in there and be rinsed off afterwards. Some of the goo did cling to them quite a bit.

We played with this in the kitchen which was fine because if there was mess it could be mopped up. If you’re playing with this in a carpeted room I’d but a wipe clean cloth down under the box to minimise the mess.

Children might like to use tools in the sensory box. The slime really lends itself to scooping and pouring, so if you have some small plastic cups, they might be quite fun to include too.

The slime really clings to your skin, so keep an old towel close by to wipe hands on. You can wash the slime off your hands with soap and water. It is very slippy stuff, so be careful if any gets on the floor too.

Learning: Ocean Slime Baff Activity Box

WHAT DID WE LEARN?

Like with the dinosaur sensory activity, this was a good way of expanding his vocabulary and exploring new ways to describe things. We founds words such as; slimy, wobbly, gooey, warm, cold, soft, stretchy and floppy which all described the Slime Baff well.

We closed our eyes and felt around for sea creatures in the goo. When we found them we had to try to feel to guess what we had. We had a selection of shells in the slime too. We tried to figure out what they were by feeling the shape, size and ridges of the shells. This was a great game and one we all really enjoyed.

For a more interesting tactile sensory experience you can make the Slime Baff up with quite warm water and children can explore the different temperatures as the slime cools while they play with it.

He mostly enjoyed just playing with the ocean slime sensory activity box, and who can blame him. It was great fun, perfect messy play for slime loving kids!

Learning: Ocean Slime Baff Activity Box

Learning: Dinosaur Sensory Gelli Baff Activity Box

A few weeks ago I spotted a packet of Gelli Baff in my local toy shop and decided to treat my son to a Gelli Baff bath. It was brilliant fun and we all ended up having a go. It’s really tactile so I thought it would be something we could use for some sensory play. Today it’s been too grey and wet to go to the park, so I assembled some stuff and we had an hour or so of dinosaur sensory activities.

Learning: Dinosaur Sensory Gelli Baff Activity Box

The Gelli Baff is available in a range of colours but I opted for “slime green” which seemed about the right shade to create a dinosaur swamp with. Gelli Baff comes with a sachet of dissolver, so when you’ve finished it just washes down the plughole like water. It’s safe for children and fine for sensitive skin. It also has a pleasant fragrance.

A packet of Gelli Baff costs £5.99 and there’s enough for one bath in the pack. But if you want to use it for sensory play you can probably get a minimum of five trays of goop out of a packet.

How to create a Dinosaur Sensory Activity box

You will need:
One plastic storage box. I used an IKEA Trofast Storage box
Gelli Baff
Warm water
Selection of dinosaurs and dino accessories

Learning: Dinosaur Sensory Gelli Baff Activity Box

How to make your dinosaur sensory activity box:
In your clean plastic box pour in six pints of warm water, you can add more if you need to later. Weigh out 30g of the Gelli Baff powder and stir it in. It should turn to jelly fairly quickly. If the texture is too firm for you, add some more warm water until you’re happy with it.

Grab your dinos and put them in the box, let your imagination run wild.

Learning: Dinosaur Sensory Gelli Baff Activity Box

Once you’ve finished playing with your dinosaur sensory activity box you can sprinkle over the dissolving powder and then just pour it down the sink.

Tips:

Although Gelli Baff doesn’t stain (or shouldn’t), you might want to wear an apron to protect your clothes.

My son LOVED this activity and decided he wanted to make a pond for the dinosaurs to drink out of and swim in. We used a small plastic bowl, this definitely added an extra dimension to his play.

I put the washing up bowl nearby so any dinosaurs he’d played with could go in there and be rinsed off afterwards. Some of the goo did cling to them a bit. I’m a big fan of tidy as you go and this helped.

We played with this in the kitchen which was fine because if there was mess it could be mopped up. If you’re playing with this in a carpeted room I’d but a wipe clean cloth down under the box to minimise the mess.

Children might like to use tools in the sensory box; we used some normal teaspoons to dig the goo out for the pond.

Learning: Dinosaur Sensory Gelli Baff Activity Box

What did we learn?

My son loves dinosaurs, so for him this was a really good way of stretching his imagination by creating a habitat for his dinosaurs. For me it was a good way of expanding his vocabulary and exploring new ways to describe things.

We founds words such as; squishy, wobbly, gooey, warm, cold, soft and grainy which all described the Gelli Baff well.

We also closed our eyes and felt around for tiny dinos in the goo. When we found them we had to try to feel to guess what kind of dinosaur we had. This was a great game and one he really enjoyed.

For a more interesting tactile sensory experience; make the Geli Baff up with quite warm water and children can explore the different temperatures as the gelli cools while they play with it.

He mostly enjoyed just playing with the dinosaur sensory activity box, and who can blame him?

Learning: Dinosaur Sensory Gelli Baff Activity Box

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to try Growing Egg and Cress Heads.

Book Review: Hello Nature by Nina Chakrabarti

We’ve been learning a lot about nature recently, going on nature trails and exploring our local environment. Alongside that we’ve been doing some reading about nature and the natural world. To complement that, we’ve spent some time doing some o the nature activities in a really interesting book called Hello Nature by Nina Chakrabarti.

Hello Nature is a wonderfully illustrated 160 page nature scrapbook. It’s full of interesting facts and activities to help you explore and learn more about nature. The book encourages you to “draw, colour, make and grow” all over its pages.

Book Review: Hello Nature by Nina Chakrabarti

Colour in butterflies, leaves, frogs, pebbles and much more; discover more about what different kinds of snowflakes there are; learn about how leaves are formed; make your own leaf prints and twig sculptures; and make bird feeders and grass whistles. Hello Nature is packed with simple nature activities for children.

Hello Nature is aimed at children aged 7-11 years, but it’s so beautiful it would make a great present for anyone interested in drawing or painting nature.

You don’t have to live in the countryside to make the most of this book. You can use it to explore your back garden or local park. Take it with you to the beach and find out more about the shells you find and the creatures you may find in a rockpool.

Book Review: Hello Nature by Nina Chakrabarti

The book is split into four seasonal sections; with crafts, activities and things to draw, paint and colour in each section. It’s a wonderful nature scrapbook you can dip in and out of throughout the year, noting the changing of the seasons and the nature around you. It is the kind of book which you can pull out at half terms and school holidays and spend a few afternoons working on. It’s a lovely project to do throughout the year and something special to look back on at a later date.

The illustrations by Nina Chakrabarti are beautifully detailed and the words are insightful, encouraging the reader to explore what the see, feel and experience. How does bark feel? How does the forest smell? It encourages you to be more aware of the natural world and experience it will all of your senses. Something I very much approve of.

Book Review: Hello Nature by Nina Chakrabarti

Hello Nature has arrived at just the right time for us. We are going camping in the woods later this month; so we will take this and use it to help identify trees, leaves, insects and do some lovely nature based activities.

Hello Nature by Nina Chakrabarti costs £12.99. It’s published by Laurence King and is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

For details of more children’s books published by Laurence King, visit their website.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Hello Nature for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Book Review & Giveaway: Space Number Crunch!

A little while ago we reviewed Dinosaur Number Crunch! by Kevin Pettman and we were very taken with how the facts were presented in a bite-size style, you could really dip in and out of it and it’s a firm favourite. We knew there were more books planned in the Number Crunch series, so we were pleased to get our hands on Space Number Crunch! which is published on 12th July 2018.

Space Number Crunch! contains 96 pages of facts, figures and out of this world stats to please any space fan. From the biggest planet, fastest asteroid to astronaut facts, every page of the book is packed full of space data.

Book Review & Giveaway: Space Number Crunch!

It’s aimed at children aged 8+, but it’s just right for my space loving seven and a half year old. Space Number Crunch! is full of colourful illustrations and graphics. These’s even a quiz at the end to check your learning.

Space Number Crunch! covers a whole range of space related topics, from the planets and stars, the astronaut training, comets, galaxies and space agencies. It’s a really handy reference book; we’ve been reading in a few pages at a time before bed, and in the car on long journeys too.

It’s very much the kind of book you can dip in and out of and absolutely perfect for fact fans like my son. It’s very well put together. I like the themed pages and it means you can find the facts you want quickly. It’s probably the most informative and interesting book about space we’ve read.

Book Review & Giveaway: Space Number Crunch!

If you’re interested in everything to do with space, this Space Number Crunch! book is essential reading. This flexicover book is available to buy from 12th July 2018. This would make a truly out of this world gift for space enthusiasts!

Space Number Crunch! is published by Carlton Kids and costs £9.99. It’s available in all good bookshops and online now.

 

If you enjoyed this, you might also like my pick of five books about science.

WIN A COPY OF Space Number Crunch!

To be in with a chance to win a copy of Space Number Crunch! simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent a copy of Space Number Crunch!
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 25th July 2018.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto Carlton Books to post the above mentioned prize out to the winner.
11. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
12. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Space Number Crunch! for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

STEM Toys: Brainstorm Outdoor Adventure Range

Living next door to a nature reserve we often find we have unexpected visitors in our garden. We try to do our bit to encourage and support wildlife and we’re always on the lookout for interesting birds or insects to learn more about. Brainstorm Toys have recently launched an Outdoor Adventure range designed especially for junior explorers. We put a few of them to the test.

Toy Review: Brainstorm Outdoor Adventure Range

The Outdoor Adventure Magnifier is a handheld 2x-3x-4x magnifier which is ideal for on-the-go explorations, field trips and outdoor adventures. We put it to the test in our garden, taking a closer look at some plants and flowers and having a good look at some tiny aphids we found feasting on my rose bush. The magnifying glass is a pretty essential bit of kit and has so many uses. It costs around £12.99 and although that may seem a little pricey, it’s much better quality than cheaper kids magnifying glasses.

STEM Toys: Brainstorm Outdoor Adventure Range

The Outdoor Adventure Binoculars were a real hit. They are pocket-sized and light weight and have 4x magnification; 30mm glass lenses and they have a break-away lanyard for safety. We especially liked the built-in compass on the top, which helped us to talk in greater depth about navigation skills and North – South – East – West (or Never Eat Shredded Wheat as we’ve been teaching him).

He sat for some time in the garden listening out for birds and looking to see them in the trees. We will definitely be taking these on holiday with us, he will really enjoy nature hunts in the woods! These Outdoor Adventure Binoculars are an ideal first pair of binoculars for children and cost around £9.99. A solid investment for nature loving kids!

STEM Toys: Brainstorm Outdoor Adventure Range

Lastly we tried the Outdoor Adventure Night Vision Torch. The night vision torch has a bright red LED light which works with your natural adapted night vision to help you see more easily in the dark. It’s perfect for night hikes and map reading and would be great for taking on camping trips.

Unfortunately once we’d set it up and put batteries in it, it got dropped and we can’t get it to work again. So it remains untested, which is a shame because my son was super-excited to take it camping with us in a few weeks.

Despite dropping the night vision torch, we’ve had lots of fun with the Brainstorm Outdoor Adventure range. We will definitely be packing the magnifier and binoculars to take camping in the woods with us later this year. If you’ve got nature loving little ones, these Outdoor Adventure products are well worth a try.

For more information about the Brainstorm Outdoor Adventure range, visit their website.

Disclosure: We were sent some items from the Brainstorm Outdoor Adventure Range for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own. This post contains affiliate links.

Children’s Books: Five Roarsome Books about Dinosaurs!

I write about our love of dinosaurs quite a lot on this blog. We have toys, games, dino figurines, DVDs and stacks and stacks of books about dinosaurs. We have a good selection of non-fiction books about dinosaurs, but we also have a couple of fiction books about them too, like Dinosaurs love Underpants. For this round-up we’ve chosen five of our favourite non-fiction books about dinosaurs; because if there’s one thing we love, it’s a big book of dinosaur facts!

Children's Books: Five Roarsome Books about Dinosaurs!

Five Roarsome Books about Dinosaurs!

Lift-the-flap Questions and Answers about Dinosaurs by Katie Daynes has been one of our favourite dino books for a year or so now. It’s beautifully illustrated and wonderfully engaging. This interactive flap book will answer all kinds of questions. It’s great for young readers, my son sits for hours reading and lifting the flaps. It’s a real favourite!

Dinosaur Number Crunch! by Kevin Pettman is a snappily written, fact-packed overview of the world of dinosaurs. It’s jam-packed full of colourful, well-illustrated facts. It contains all the essential info that dinosaur fans need to know; such as where they lived, what they ate, how big they were, how fast they could run, how many teeth they had and their key weapons. You can read our full review of this book here, but it’s one of our favourites!

National Geographic Kids: Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs by Catherine D. Hughes is for children aged 4- to 8-years-old who LOVE dinos! This fact packed book brings the prehistoric world to life with dinosaurs small, big, giant, and gigantic. The book is easy to read and contains lots of age appropriate information, better still, there’s an interactive element, so if you want to find out more, you can do!

The Complete Book of Dinosaurs by Dougal Dixon is the ultimate guide to 355 dinosaurs from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. It includes more than 900 illustrations, maps, timelines and photographs. It is the ultimate dinosaur guide for children who want to take their knowledge to the next level.

Usborne Pop-Up Dinosaurs by Fiona Watt is perfect for littler ones. This adorably illustrated book is ideal for mini dino fans. The book features all kinds of dinosaurs which pop up and move. Learn a little more about each dinosaur, from the long-necked Brachiosaurus, the triceratops with sharp horns, and the most famous dinosaur of them all, Tyrannosaurus Rex! It’s simply written and a delightful book to share with small children.

We are always looking for new books about dinosaurs to read at home. Have we missed any that we absolutely must get? Please let us know in the comments.

Children's Books: Five Roarsome Books about Dinosaurs!

This post contains affiliate links.

5 places to take Science mad kids in the North West

As the parent of a science mad child, we seem to spend a lot of our free time in science museums and visitors centres getting hands on with the sciences. As a result we’ve had some brilliant days out in our hometown of Manchester and across the North West. Today I’m sharing with you five of our favourite places to visit in the North West for science mad kids.

Manchester Museum of Science and Industry

I can’t even contemplate writing about science in the north without mentioning the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. It’s a huge and iconic site, you can pop in for a quick hour or very easily spend a whole day exploring, learning and getting hands on. They have a wide range of permanent and temporary exhibits as well as lots of hands on things to do.

Tim Peake science

As I write this they have Tim Peak’s Spacecraft on display as a temporary exhibit as well as the vast number of permanent displays including the Power Hall, Air and Space Hall, Textiles Gallery, Revolution Manchester and explore some artifacts from the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Take a ride on one on the working steam trains along the track at the museum.

It’s such a great day out, slap-bang in the heart of Manchester City Centre. Find out what’s on at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry on their website.

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, Widness

The Catalyst Science Discovery Centre is the only museum in the UK which explores the science and technology behind the chemical industry. Packed with lots of hands-on exhibits, activities and demonstrations it’s one of our favourite places to visit with our son. They have an ever-changing programme of hands on exhibits as well as a fabulous observatory, a “Scientrific” Gallery and the Alchemy Theatre & Catalytic Discovery Lab.

It’s a brilliant science-packed place to visit, we love it there! For more information about the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, visit their website.

Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire

Most people will recognise the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire as the place where Stargazing Live is filmed. Jodrell Bank is owned and run by the University of Manchester and it is the home of the Lovell Telescope, the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world. It is open to the public and has a lovely new visitors centre as well as fantastic hands-on exhibits and gardens to explore, as well as the chance to have a look at the Lovell Telescope up close and personal.

You can read about our visit to Jodrell Bank Observatory here. For more information about Jodrell Bank Observatory visit their website.

Jodrell Bank science

Spaceport Planetarium, Wallasey

Spaceport is small, but well worth a visit if you’re in the area. With its focus on space and space travel, this attraction is suited to visitors aged 7+. Visitors learn about space as they walk through different themed galleries, which all have a variety of interactive and audio-visual exhibits, the highlight of which is a visit to the brilliant Spacedome planetarium itself.

Read this review of Spaceport Planetarium from Mini Travellers.

For more information, visit the Spacedome Planetarium website.

Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum is such an iconic place to visit for Mancunian children. It has so many interesting things to explore and is packed full of science exhibits. There are lots of natural history exhibits, plus geology, archaeology, botany and Earth sciences to go and see. The big draws for us are Stan the reproduction cast of a fossilised Tyrannosaurus rex and upstairs the frog filled Vivarium, home to a large collection of endangered Costa Rican Frogs.

We visit Manchester Museum with almost alarming regularity. It’s a brilliant place to spend a few hours exploring and learning about all kinds of things.

For more information about Manchester Museum, visit their website.

There are so many fantastic places to visit in the North West. Where are your favourite places to take the kids to learn about science?

5 places to take Science mad kids in the North West

STEM Learning: Growing Egg and Cress Heads

Tasked with coming up with some interesting crafts and things to do with three children during the half term, I thought we’d start our week by making some egg and cress heads. I thought it would be interesting to watch them grow over the week. They’re easy to put together and all three had great fun making them and watching them grow over the week.

This activity is perfect for my 7 year old who is in Year 2. Cress grows incredibly quickly, and almost before your eyes. This fast growing crop was really exciting for the children to watch growing. Each day they found a new thing to be excited about. The best day was when they got to try eating the peppery cress, it’s a rare sight watching three children delightedly eating their greens!

STEM Learning: Growing Egg and Cress Heads

Growing egg and cress heads is a great opportunity for children to talk about their observations about how the seed grows into a plant and guessing what will happen next. It can also help to promote scientific thinking and helps with linking science to real life experiences.

Growing Egg and Cress Heads

You will need:
A hard boiled egg each
Cotton wool
Cress seeds
Felt tips to decorate your egg

STEM Learning: Growing Egg and Cress Heads

How to make your egg and cress heads:
Hard boil your eggs and get a grown up to carefully take the top off and scoop out the egg inside.

Gently decorate your egg however you want. We drew pictures of cats and dogs on ours, but you could do almost anything.

Fluff up some cotton wool and put it inside the egg. Then pour some water over the cotton wool. Sprinkle some cress seeds on the top of the cotton wool and put on a windowsill in an egg cup.

Check the progress of your seeds every day, sprinkle more water on the seeds every so often. Within a week all of your seeds should have sprouted and your egg head should have a thick crop of cress hair!

STEM Learning: Growing Egg and Cress Heads

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy this Jelly Bean STEM Architecture

STEM Learning: Growing Egg and Cress Heads