London natural history museum

Inspiration for Budding Scientists

The long summer holiday is almost upon us. Six weeks of lazy mornings. I don’t have to drag the children out of bed and push them off to school. Routine is out of the window. It’s great for a few days and then someone utters those words “mum, I’m bored”.

It is well recognised and documented that educationally, many children regress in the summer holidays. If you were to test and grade a child in July, and again in September, with no educational learning for six weeks, the child would perform less well. This means that it is a good idea to keep a child ‘working’ in the summer holiday to prevent this regression.

So, as a parent, what can you do to help your child to prevent that regression in science? The last thing I would suggest is to sit them down with a revision guide and a sheet of A4 to take notes. Science should be a fun, practical subject and there is no reason why the summer holiday science learning can’t take place in a fun and practical manner.

Luckily, we live just outside Central London, so my first port of call is always South Kensington, home to The Big Three Museums. Both the Science Museum and Natural History Museum are free at the point of entry. Visitors are under pressure to give a donation – but you don’t have to. Yes, certain exhibitions are paid entry – but you don’t have to go.

This summer, the Science Museum is running a Summer of Space festival to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. Wonderlab, the interactive gallery, is open daily although booking is advised, and tickets incur a cost. And the newest exhibition, Top Secret: from ciphers to cyber security, explores codebreaking over the last century.

Last summer, we paid several visits to the Natural History Museum. There is much more there than the dinosaurs. We spent half a day in the Human Biology gallery alone. A little dated but plenty of interactive exhibits for curious minds. Like the Science Museum, there’s a full program of special events over the holiday.

So, grab a picnic, head for the train station, and explore.