SATS – Really not a big deal!

I’m a bit late writing this post but I didn’t want the whole SATS topic to go by unnoticed as I’ve had THREE children doing them this year!

My 6yr old twins who are in Year 2 (KS1) and my daughter who is in Year 6 (KS2).

I’ve seen the masses amounts of media coverage about the SATS over the last few months, about how unfair the examinations are, especially on the Year 2 children, who are 6 or 7, depending when their birthday falls. I’ve read numerous posts about how children are stressed out and upset about them and of course I get angry that my children this year are having to undertake much more challenging and difficult exams than ever before….. but in all fairness, my kids haven’t been in the slightest bit worried OR stressed.

Even though I don’t agree with the extent of what’s expected, I would like to give a slightly more positive experience of the SATS this year.

My twins are the youngest in their class (August born premature… meaning they should’ve been born into the school year below) and I’ve made no secret of the fact that I feel they should’ve been allowed to start school a year later, but unfortunately my local council didn’t allow this. Even more unfortunate for us is the fact that had we’d gone through the process now, we would’ve been allowed, due to the Summer Born campaign.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that my twins are VERY young in the school year so when I heard they would be tested like this (proper exams), I was obviously concerned. It just didn’t seem fair. I downloaded the new pilot SATS paper to check out what my twins would be expected to know and do at 6 years of age and I was shocked!

There was no way my boys would be able to answer these types of questions. To sit and WRITE down answers clearly…. they can barely WRITE! Not in any kind of well structured sentences anyway! And to do it all in a set amount of time too?

I spoke with their teacher who reassured me that even though they were working on all the test requirements, they were doing it in such a way that the children just thought it was all part of their everyday learning. There was no pressure at all and the children were pretty much unaware they were taking exams. They would just be presented with the SATS papers at various intervals throughout May, as part of a lesson. She agreed that some of what the children were expected to know at this age was simply ridiculous, but actually, they had covered a lot of it and the children were picking it up fast… and happily.

She said the results of the tests wouldn’t be taken into account in her end of year assessment of the children. She would assess them on their overall achievements and progression throughout the year.

This made me feel at ease. I thought the school were handling this well and I decided that it didn’t matter how my boys did in the SATS. They’re SIX years old and I know they’re improving all the time. Which is all that matters to me.

I totally get why there was a huge group of parents who boycotted the SATS this Summer though. Kids this age just need to enjoy school, play and be kids.

But, if this is the way that schooling is going, if this is the way my children are going to be assessed from now on, then I do feel like it can’t be ignored. I need to help them. I don’t want them to lag behind their peers. So we did look at the papers occasionally at home, without mentioning the ‘test’ word and just to cement what they were doing at school (in a fun way). Actually I was quite surprised at how much my boys knew already, especially when it came to grammar. Even I get confused with nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives! They don’t. They know what each of these words mean.

It just goes to show that a school CAN prepare our young children well for these tests, without it being an issue and without it being stressful.

Maybe we are the lucky ones, I don’t know. I don’t expect my boys to have performed well in their tests. In fact, they may have just sat there and not written anything down at all for all I know! But they didn’t mention any exams or tests once, and were their usual happy selves throughout, so it obviously didn’t phase them one bit!

It’s all good.

Equally with my daughter, she too wasn’t worried.

Again, for the record, I do think it’s unfair, the extent of what they’re having to know and understand at 10/11 years old and unlike the Infants, the Junior school have been FULL ON with the Year 6’s for the SATS. Their teachers, both Maths and English, have been thoroughly going over papers and practicing them since the middle of last term…. which proves just how important the results are for the school and how the difficulty levels of these exams have stepped up about ten notches this year.

The kids were fed up with all this English and Maths study, although they’ve made up for it since with lots of fun activities… but none of them were miserable I have to say. No child was stressing, or upset or worried as far as I know. Plus the extra work paid off. My daughter knew what she was doing (mostly) and felt quietly confident. I’d already made it clear to her that there was absolutely no pressure from us. As long as she tries her best, that’s all that matters.

I’d read stories of Year 6 children in some schools being in floods of tears after the first SATS paper! My daughter came out of school that day like she does every other day. Happy. She said she missed out two questions, shrugged her shoulders and said it was quite difficult, but she thinks she did OK. And that’s fine by me.

Honestly, the SATS aren’t that important… only for the school’s purpose (makes them look good, or not) and for the Government. They will make little or no difference to my daughter’s life as she moves on to secondary school. Working hard for these SATS can only stand her in good stead though for future schooling and again, I wouldn’t want her to fall too far behind as this can affect a child’s confidence just as much as pushing them too hard, in my opinion.

It’s got to be a fine balance.

I think we got the balance just right this time.

My three beautiful children have done their SATS and come out of them unscathed.

I’m so proud :)

Mama Owl

Week 20 Photo 2016 – My Girl

 

This week has been all about her really.

My Girl.

She’s going on her school trip tomorrow to the Isle of Wight (boohoo) so I’ve been trying to make sure everything is ready and in place.

She’s needed some new clothes because she’s grown so much recently! She’s been eating like a horse and has really shot up! She’s still one of the smaller ones in her year group but she’s catching up fast now! This residential trip is a PGL 5 day activity trip which means she needs all sorts of clothing for every weather eventuality. It’s such a pain because the weather looks so changeable right now. We’ve had to buy clothes for hotter days as well as cold days. We just don’t know so we have to be prepared!

I’m going to miss her so very much. She’s such a Mummy’s girl and loves snuggling with me and generally just being around me. Bless her, that will probably all change when she reaches the teenage years so I’m unashamedly making the most of it now!

She did the residential school trip last year but that was only for 2 nights and although she enjoyed the activities, she was glad to be home and didn’t enjoy the experience overall. She was homesick. It put her off going this year but in recent months she’s been getting excited. She’s a year older and knows the ropes so hopefully it will be a happier experience!

I think she’s going to really enjoy herself this time.

Fingers crossed!

In other news this week, I’ve been finalising details for my Girl’s birthday party. It’s in two weeks time.. more on than later though.

My Girl and I also went to our local little theatre (where the above photo was taken) this week to see some of her friends perform in their theatre group production of Bugsy Malone. It was a fun night and they all performed brilliantly!

Hope you all had a good week :)

Countdown to Marvel Universe Live!

marvel universe

Last Sunday, on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far, we headed down to the busiest shopping street in the world (are we mad?), London’s Oxford Street, for a very special meeting!

In a secret room upstairs at The Disney Store, some of the performers from the Marvel Universe Live show had come over from America for a meet and greet with some very lucky youngsters.

Marvel Universe L ive

My twins love their Superheroes so when we heard about this new Marvel Live Show that’s hitting our shores later in the year, we just had to check it out!

It looks and sounds absolutely amazing!

The show is taking the live entertainment experience to a whole new level, with an epic show unlike anything seen before. Bringing together the largest assembly of Marvel characters in a live production, audiences will be able to watch some of their favourite Marvel Super Heroes step onto the stage – bringing the action to life right before their eyes. It’s being hailed as the most technically advanced live show ever, with cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, motorcycles and more.

Here are some stills from the show that’s currently taking America by storm….

marvel universe live villians

Looks pretty impressive doesn’t it?

Everyone will be able to cheer for their favourite Marvel Super Heroes, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and more, as they battle Loki and Marvel’s most sinister villains in a live, action-packed arena performance for the whole family.

My boys are going to LOVE this… it’s going to be a show for any age group though because most people have probably been a superhero fan at some point in their lives! The Marvel characters are just going from strength to strength at the moment, with one blockbuster film after another… it seems we can’t get enough!

But back to Oxford Street…

marvel universe live

The kids were given some fun activities to do, like drawing and playing Disney Infinity (mine were in their element on this as they have it at home and love it!), then it was time to meet some of the stars of the Marvel Universe Live show…

We initially thought they were going to come out in full costume and although I was slightly disappointed myself, my twins were secretly pleased! They’re very timid so not sure they could’ve coped with big superheroes in such close proximity!

The three performers that visited London especially to talk to us (from left to right) are:

Taylor Hemmeter

HemmeterTaylor

Taylor Hemmeter plays Black Widow in the live show and she has an incredible gymnastics background. She’s super fit and has performed stunts for many shows including Universal Studios. She says that touring the world with Marvel Universe Live is a once in a lifetime opportunity and she’s having the best time ever!

She was lovely and friendly and enjoyed chatting to us. My daughter thought she was great!

taylor hemmeter

Clark Myers

ClarkMyers

Clark Myers plays Captain America in the show and he is a real life motorbike riding champion! He uses his skills in the show and performs stunts on a motorbike! How exciting!

He was super sweet and came over to my boys after being told O (one of my twins) was a massive Captain america fan! Because my twins are so shy they found it difficult to talk but Clark didn’t mind…. he admitted that he himself is a very shy person and doesn’t actually know how he finds the confidence to perform each time, but his love for what he does enables him to shine on stage!

How lovely of him to make a special effort to connect with my boys…

Mayers Clark Marvel

Next up we have…

Juan Cernada

juan carnada - marvel

Juan Cernad plays everyone’s favourite, Spiderman in the shows! Another gymnastics trained athlete, he says watching Game of Thrones inspired him to want to perform!

Juan is a very bubbly and hyper person and enjoyed flitting around talking to everyone, having fun! He even treated the kids to a stunt skills session…

We had a great afternoon with these guys…  learning all about the amazing Marvel Universe Live show! We absolutely can’t wait to go and see it when it begins its quest across the UK on Wednesday 7th September 2016! Starting at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, before visiting The 02 in London; Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham; the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow; Sheffield Arena and Manchester Arena.

After this special event, we headed downstairs to The Disney Store itself to look around! Have you been to the Oxford Street store? If not, you must, it’s fantastic. They have various sets that kids can immerse themselves in, like this Star Wars feature…

Disney Store Oxford Street

Then downstairs it’s all about about Princesses…

disney store oxford street

Additionally for every Marvel product purchased at the Disney Store (in store or online at www.disneystore.co.uk) between 24th April and 4th June, guests can be in with the chance to win the ultimate Marvel Family Experience, including VIP tickets to the UK Marvel Universe LIVE tour, travel and accommodation, and a Marvel Universe Live goody bag. Visit the Disney Store competition page at www.disney.co.uk/marvelcompetition  to learn more (terms and conditions apply).

Tickets are selling fast and new dates have been added! For these additional shows go to the Marvel Universe LIVE! website where they have all the information about tour dates and how to purchase tickets!

If you have some budding superheroes among your family, they won’t want to miss out on this so check it out soon!

Talking to Young Children About Going on Holiday Abroad for the First Time

taking kids on holiday for first time

If you’re making plans for your summer holidays and have decided to take your young child abroad for the first time, you’re in for some exciting and memorable times wherever you choose to go. Kids can learn so much from travelling to other countries and seeing how they are different from home – and what is the same – and it will be a positive experience that will hopefully give them a love of travel that will last a lifetime and lead to all kinds of great adventures.

Travelling with kids can be really easy and rewarding too, and you can find some great child friendly holidays at awaywiththekids.co.uk.

Of course, the first time abroad will probably mean a lot of ‘firsts’ for your child, and it is a good idea to talk to them about some of the things they can expect and answer any questions they have in the run up to the holiday. Depending on how old they are, they may already have some ideas about what the country you are going to is like based on people they know who have been, but these may not always be entirely accurate! Here are some points you may want to talk to them about:

Language

Children who are already confident in speaking and listening may need to be prepared for visiting a country where people will be speaking a different language. Whether they are already aware that people in other countries do speak differently or not, the concept may not really make sense to them until they actually hear people around them all going about their normal lives speaking in another tongue! Explaining that this may mean other children they might try and chat to won’t be able to understand them can also be helpful, so they don’t feel frustrated or rejected if they are the kind of child who likes to talk to everyone! If you want, you can even teach them a few words in a language like French or Spanish and have fun preparing to say them to people on holiday!

Flying

If you are flying to your holiday destination and it is the first time your child has been on a plane, they are sure to have some questions about the whole process, from what happens at the airport to what being on a plane is like. Some kids will be extremely excited about getting to go on a plane, others may be nervous, but make sure you always talk about it as a positive thing that allows you to go anywhere in the world you want (even if you hate flying yourself), and that the people who work at the airport and on the plane are there to make sure you are safe and happy so everyone (including grown ups) has to do what they say.

Other Differences

Get your child excited about some of the things they might get to try, see or do on holiday, so they can build up a picture in their mind of what it will be like. Explain what the weather will probably be like, some of the foods they can eat, and about things like the beach.

Kids tend to be less stressed when they have an idea of what to expect, and so thinking about things they can relate to positively already like sunshine and ice cream can help them look forward to the holiday even if they have no point of reference yet for some aspects of it.

Collaborative Post

A Day in The Blackpool Tower

Growing up in the North West, we visited Blackpool many times as a family for day trips! I have fond memories of it back then and I love to visit now too. We live in Hertfordshire nowadays but I like to take the children to Blackpool at least once a year on one of the numerous occasions when I visit my Dad who lives near Manchester! It’s always a fab day out, whatever the weather, but even better when the sun is shining!

Because of the limited amount of time we have to spend there though (there’s only so many hours in a day), we usually pick one attraction to visit and spend all day there. The weather can’t be guaranteed either so if it’s a colder day, we tend to head for the Sandcastle water park which has been a favourite with my kids. One year we went to the beach and another to the Pleasure Beach for some theme park fun… but so far, we’ve never visited the Blackpool Tower!

To be honest, and I’ve no idea why, but I always assumed the Blackpool Tower was just that…. a tower! I knew the famous Ballroom was situated somewhere within but I didn’t think my young children would be interested in that so it never crossed my mind in recent years to visit.

A while ago I received an email about new exhibits at Sea Life in Blackpool and figured it would be fantastic to check that out in Blackpool when I next visited my Dad. I knew the weather wasn’t likely to be great at that time of year (April) so some indoor fun was appealing.

I emailed back and subsequently found out that Sea Life was part of the Blackpool Tower attractions, along with many others too, including the famous Ballroom which, as a dancer and huge Strictly fan, I knew I just HAD to visit! So on our recent trip to my Dad’s we picked a day and off we went!

blackpool tower

On arrival in Blackpool with my Dad and three youngest kids, we drove to the North Shore where the Tower is. The seafront/beach at Blackpool is around 7 miles long so it’s important to head for the main attractions you want to visit first! We normally stay at the South Shore where the Pleasure Beach is so we had to find a different car park this time a bit closer to the Tower! The kids were very excited when we arrived (me too), if a teeny bit apprehensive about the height of the Tower.

The bottom of the Tower is huge. Architecturally, it looks beautiful.

blackpool tower

The Tower building just screams of yesteryear! I immediately fell in love with it. The stunning glass and brickwork transports you back in time as you imagine people of all ages coming here to enjoy the dancing many, many years ago!

blackpool tower

Inside, they have managed to keep that traditional feel. It really is lovely.

Blackpool Tower is part of the Merlin Group, who also own Alton Towers, LegoLand etc. Inside the Tower itself there is the Ballroom, of course. This was the most important section for me and I couldn’t wait to step inside! There’s Jungle Jim’s play area where little ones can run around and burn off some energy, there’s the Tower Eye (the top and viewing platforms), the Dungeons and the world famous Circus. Madame Tussauds and Sea Life are situated just outside of the Tower.

Blackpool Tower

We were offered complimentary tickets to visit any of the attractions so we chose The Tower Eye, The Circus, Jungle Jims, The Ballroom and Sea Life, but the lady in the ticket office said we’d be pushed for time to do all of them. We arrived just before lunch so if you’re planning a visit, arrive earlier!

If you have annual Merlin passes, you can of course use those for all the Blackpool Tower attractions. If not, you can buy an ‘all in’ ticket for all the attractions which costs around £32 for a child and £45 for an adult if you buy online. More on the day. Alternatively you can pick and choose which attractions to visit and purchase separately from as little as £7.

We decided to leave Sea Life untill last because that was outside the Tower and we were informed that the tickets last until the end of the year anyway, so we could go back at any time in the future and use them.

You need to book a time slot for The Circus  and Jungle Jim’s. The circus usually has two shows per day but some days only one so check first, and Jungle Jim’s has hourly time slots. Book these first so you can plan your other activities around them.

Once we’d done that we decided to grab a drink and a little bite to eat before heading up to the Tower Eye! This lovely little cafe on the second floor provided a gorgeous view of the sea!

blackpool tower

As part of the Blackpool Tower Eye experience, visitors are taken via a 4D cinema. We skipped this because my twins don’t like the 4D thing but it’s a short film about the history of Blackpool, that’s brought to life right in front of you with incredible special effects!

Then it was time to get in the lift to the top! A little scary as it ascended but exciting. A tour guide was on hand to give us a bit of trivia on the way.

When the lift doors opened we were met with this breathtaking view……

blackpool tower

Floor to ceiling glass windows and solid glass floor viewing panels. My photo’s don’t do the height of the windows justice but it was absolutely incredible! Initially it was actually very daunting until I managed to compose myself!

My little twins O and H weren’t phased at all and walked straight out onto the glass floor! Eek!

blackpool tower

blackpool tower

I have to admit to being pretty terrified myself as I looked down….

blackpool tower

But I plucked up the courage! Standing on the glass was scary. My stomach was going over! I managed to take this photo (below) and although it was a fantastic experience, I was quick to jump off this glass floor! My daughter couldn’t do it!

blackpool tower

The other sides of the Tower which you can walk around too for panoramic viewing, don’t have the glass. There are windows (obviously) but a solid floor which makes for a much safer feeling!

Blackpool Tower

I liked the low down windows especially for the younger guests, very well planned. My Daughter there with her iPad taking her own photo’s! ;)

Blackpool Tower

The views of Blackpool beach were fabulous, even on a dull day. There was a glimmer of sunshine on this particular day but it’s not showing through much on my photo’s! The beach was very quiet as you can see but it WAS pretty chilly. If it’s hot in Blackpool there wouldn’t be any space on that beach!

blackpool tower

Blackpool Tower

If you want to be a bit more daring, there are higher levels to go up to. These are ‘open’ which obviously make them a little scarier. I found myself feeling rather cautious here, even though there are these safety railings, it’s still slightly terrifying!

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower

Another level yet again…..

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower

There is another one too which we poked our head up at, but I insisted we got back down pretty quick!

The Tower Eye is an amazing experience, we all loved it and had so much fun! Definitely somewhere you HAVE to visit without a doubt!

Next, it was time to head down for our slot in Jungle Jim’s. This provided some kiddie fun and a coffee break for my Dad and I.

Blackpool Tower

Jungle Jim’s is a fun indoor soft play area. The time slots are a good idea because unlike most soft play centres, it wasn’t too busy in here. Usually these places are ridiculously manic with kids running around like crazed animals! This was genuinely rather civilised! Maybe it was just a quieter day but more likely because of the time slots which ensured it wasn’t over packed! My kids had a great time in here and the jungle theme looked amazing!

Blackpool Tower jungle jims

Next up, it was time to visit The Ballroom. I was almost beside myself, like I wanted someone to actually put their hands over my eyes then walk me into it, before removing their hands to reveal all it’s splendour! Instead I just walked in but boy did it NOT disappoint.

Blackpool Tower Ballroom

The Ballroom is HUGE.. so much bigger than I imagined but of course, it’s absolutely spectacular… a feast for the eyes. So much to take in and admire. I was in awe and so were my children!

Blackpool tower ballroom

We watched some visitors take to the dance floor. Anyone can dance but it was mainly older couples making the most of it! The music is provided by the famous Wurlitzer organ being played live in the middle of the stage.

Blackpool tower ballroom

There is a bar area which serves all kinds of refreshments. Afternoon tea here is very popular. We strolled around then sat down with a cream tea ourselves and soaked up the atmosphere.

Blackpool tower ballroom

It was almost surreal being here. I’ve seen it so many times on TV, especially every year on Strictly and I’ve always wanted to go! It certainly lived up to expectations. It was like stepping back in time.. everything slowed down for a while and you can almost lose yourself in the old fashioned music and history. It’s a wonderful, magical place.

I could’ve sat in The Ballroom for hours but the children were eager to move on. We’d timed it perfectly really because we had just the right amount of time there before needing to go to the famous Blackpool Tower Circus.

We love the circus as a rule and have been to quite a few in the past. Usually they’re the travelling ones, in big top tents! This one is very different and very special. It’s the oldest permanent circus arena in the world and it’s stunning. You can sense the history as soon as you walk in and look around. No photo’s were allowed to be taken of the show, but I managed to get a couple before it started when some of the performers were on hand to do some tricks and face painting with the children from the audience!

blackpool tower circus

This motorcycle was used in one stunt!

The Blackpool Tower Circus began way back in 1894 and has been open every single year since, even through two world wars! Can you believe that?! This year it’s celebrating it’s 25th year with The Endresz family being at the helm and they are incredibly popular.

blackpool-tower-circus-banner

Mooky and Mr Boo are real life brothers and a fantastic double act! Mooky is the slapstick Clown and Mr Boo is the compere and on the receiving end of many of the jokes! Their great relationship was apparent throughout the show and really gave it a sense of identity. My twins absolutely loved them.

The show itself was exhilarating, with just the right amount of dare devil stunts and ‘Wow’ moments. Everything was much more polished than in travelling circus shows and the costumes were very glamourous. One of my favourites acts has got to be the traditional flying trapeze. Fabulous!

A massive surprise for the finale was when the whole circus ring filled up with water from underneath for the final performers, making a sort of pool! There was even a fountain in the middle! Absolutely brilliant and visually stunning!

What a perfect way to end our day at The Blackpool Tower. The circus is a must see. We didn’t have time for Sea Life but we’ll definitely be back soon for that.

I do love Blackpool and all it has to offer anyway but now, The Tower has gone straight to the top of my list of attractions to see and do there.

Unmissable!

The sun had come out in the early evening so we walked across the road to the beach. The whole promenade has been renovated recently and looks great! The tide was in so the kids played here on the new steps for a while.

fun in blackpool beach

We had a an absolutely awesome day at The Blackpool Tower… thank you!

blackpool tower

Week 16 Photo 2016 – Play House

wooden playhouse

This has been happening this week!

When I returned from my Dad’s house last weekend after visiting for a week or so, THIS was in our back garden!

My OH had knocked this up in a couple of days!

To say the kids were ecstatic would be an understatement! They’ve wanted a climbing frame/playhouse for ages and even though they’ve got a plastic playhouse, it’s a bit babyish for them now. We have a trampoline and other garden toys but climbing frames are so expensive for the lovely wooden ones, and usually quite small…. so as my kids are getting a bit older now, it hasn’t seemed worth it.

I am over the moon with this…. I think it’s amazing and I’m very proud of the OH for building it and surprising us (he’s rubbish at keeping surprises usually!). It even has a little balcony on the first floor! It’s not finished…. it’s really just the beginning. The top section will be enclosed and insulated :) Then we will add to it as we go along. Our garden is quite big so we have the room to be as creative as we want. The kids have put in a request for a bridge, climbing wall and a slide!

You can see my little H on the top there, giving you an idea of the scale… and his twin is underneath, just about visible in this shot!

My children absolutely love playing in the garden, they spend most of their time there for at least one half of the year so they will get so much pleasure from this! We’ve already had the neighbours’ kids round to climb on it and I’m sure there’ll be plenty more…. I can’t wait to see how it evolves over the coming months!

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OneDad3Girls

Eureka! Childrens Museum – A Review

Last week during the holidays, I decided to take the children along to Eureka! in Halifax, Yorkshire. It’s a museum just for kids and even though I’ve been once before with Teen when he was small, I haven’t been for many years. I always mean to go whenever I’m up North because from what I remember, it was a great place, but so far I have never returned.

My three youngest kids are at a perfect age to appreciate it too now. Eureka! The National Childrens Museum is the only fully interactive museum aimed solely for kids aged 0-11. It prides itself on having ‘nothing behind glass cabinets’ and ‘works hard to provide the answers to questions that kids ask’.

With over 400 hands-on exhibits which will inspire and help children understand themselves and the world around them… it certainly sounds like a fun, yet educational day out!

On arrival at Eureka! the children made a beeline for the little, unusual animal area where at various intervals throughout the day, you can hold one of them. Creatures like spiders, snakes, tortoise and others are on offer!

eureka

eureka tarantulaMy daughter held a Tarantula and a Rat!

The museum is split up into various areas to explore. Each one as interesting as the next. Lots of experiments to do within each area which intrigued young inquisitive minds.

What I  liked about it was that children could mooch around at their own pace, jumping from one thing to the next. There are so many things to do that if one station is busy, there’s always another one to try. Children were positively encouraged to touch and play around with everything! What’s not to love about that? Even the adults just HAVE to try everything out, you literally can’t help yourself!

The sound and space area was fascinating.

Can you see sound?

eurekaOr feel sound?

The kids had to push/pull the giant spring to show how a sound wave travels through air. They could also feel the sound by putting their hands on the giant speaker! Because the activities are aimed at children they were easy to carry out and more importantly, lots of FUN!

My daughter loved adding all the overlays to her face on this camera experiment…

An area of Eureka! that I thought was brilliant was the Home and Work section. An interactive house that showed children all the behind the scenes mechanics of how a house works…

A clear bath, shower and toilet showed how they worked!

Flushing was great fun!

The twins enjoyed sorting out these soft cubes to make a bed beneath what looked liked a bed from the story Princess and the Pea!

This model of a house (below) asks children to turn off electricity in the home that will save money and help the environment. There are tiny little light bulbs that shows them which items actually use the power to make them work!

Other rooms such as the kitchen and lounge provided more interactive fun, especially for younger children. There was dressing up, role play and water experiments to try if they wanted!

My twins absolutely loved the Garage! I couldn’t get them out of here. It was a place of work.. a petrol station, car wash, garage and tyre shop. The children could carry out all kinds of tasks.

eureka

eureka

Then there was a cut out in the (fake) road to show children what kinds of things happen under our feet. All the pipes that you don’t usually see that carry gas, water and whatever else into our homes.

The details are astounding. Exact replicas of the real thing, installed by the actual people that would work on this type of thing in the real world. What I loved though was the excavation game that children could follow if they wanted to… whereby they had to find artifacts in the walls of this dug out section from different era’s from the past. It was brilliant. At different levels in the earth there were pieces from the Victorian era right back to the Roman times!

Under the ground!

At Eureka!, children can do as little or as much as they like. There are no set tours or certain directions you have to walk round in. You can spend the day wandering wherever you like. It’s actually very relaxed in that way.  I also liked the fact that the information by each of the experiment/activity stations was short and to the point. The letters were large and worded specifically for children to understand easily and quickly. I thought this was very important because kids don’t want to spend their time reading when there’s so much else to do!

Next stop was the Post Office! As you can see there is an M&S next door where you can be a shopkeeper or buy (pretend) food! The Post Office provided lots of fun as the kids sorted parcels into pigeon holes, then into the bays ready for delivering to the various addresses in this section.. e.g the garage, the home, the shop etc… Genius!

We headed to the bank….

My daughter in the vault with all the gold!

Working the CCTV :)

A chair filled with £1 million in five pound notes!

Our favourite section I think was the ‘All About Me’ one. I cannot express how much there is to see and do. I think we were lucky on the day we visited because some schools had gone back after the holidays so it probably wasn’t anywhere near as busy as it could’ve been. This meant my children didn’t have to wait to do anything. The website states that the museum is busiest when the weather is bad and in the mornings. So an afternoon visit when the sun is shining is recommended :) There’s also a large sandpit and sensory garden outside which you can make the most of too when the weather is nice.

There were activities to check how tall you are, how wide is your arm span, how far you can jump among other things. There are special screens where you can see what you’ll look like when you’re old and even how you got your eye colour!

My twins were fascinated by this cabinet filled with models of all our body organs (which incidentally was the only closed glass cabinet in the whole place!) . They’ve never seen anything like this before and enjoyed finding out what everything did.

Teeth!

This (fake) body scanner was brilliant. It x-rayed your body then a photo came up on the screen. My daughter realised it wasn’t real because the person on the x-ray had their arms down, while hers were on her hips! Ha! But my twins really thought it was their body which was very cute!

The thermal image camera provided lots of fun!

Learning all about digestion!

The model above was my kids’ favourite and one they giggled at a lot! There’s a ‘poo’ at the end of the intestines that looks as though it’s just about to go into the toilet.. apparently hilarious! This whole section was amazing though because it taught the kids so much and of course it’s much more fun learning this way than at home with a book. No stone was left un-turned, there were even tables that children could sit at and sort food into different categories, learning as they go about which foods are healthiest.

O finding out which part of the brain does what!

H with a nose. Complete with hair and if you looked up inside it, a bogey! Of course, lots of giggles about this too!

Eureka! is incredibly spacious. Not at all stuffy like many museums.

The Global Garden is a wonderful area that teaches children about the different outside living conditions in the world, as well as closer to home conditions in our own back gardens!

Learning about Global Warming from a Polar Bear with a cute little animated film

So many touchy feely things!

eurakaCan you get water in the Desert?

We visited most parts of the Museum but there was still more to see. There’s a number of areas just for the under 5’s which are closed off. This is a great idea and means that the very young visitors can play without being bulldozed by older kids! It also gives parents a little respite as there’s always somewhere to sit :)

There are plenty of areas to eat if you bring packed lunch. They do get very busy but they have overflow areas too. The cafe has a good menu and was reasonably priced. We ate in here, although it WAS very busy and the queue was long but it did move quickly.

Eureka! is a truly awesome place. It has won numerous awards and I can see why. My children loved it.

We had an amazing time and can’t recommend the place highly enough.

Disclaimer: We were given some complimentary tickets to Eureka! in exchange for an honest review. All words, photo’s and opinions are my own and completely honest.
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