This week I visited the new 'Ground Up' exhibition especially for under 5s in Scienceworks with my 3 and 1 year olds and we LOVED it!
ground up exhibition at Scienceworks
Our favourite areas were the fans and tubes where you can make things fly. Flying is definitely in the category of wonder-inspiring experiences for kiddies and here you can make different shapes fly and adjust them by adding 'wings' so it's a great opportunity for kids to experiment.
(I sound like a scientist but for the record I'm an arts student through and through! But I'm learning about the STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths - subjects and the importance of them in children's lives because I married an engineer).
Fun making things fly!
Another favourite area featured this bit of genius where children place blocks in different orders, affecting the light strips in front of them, changing the colours according to the child's choice.
The Melbourne Crochet Club meets weekly to learn crochet, meet other Melbourne mums, and have a good chat. Whether you're a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, everyone is welcome to come along!
My youth work background really informs my parenting and I always love an empowering activity for children. Anything that strengthens their confidence, highlights their control over circumstance and gives them a sense of their own power is no bad thing in my book.
My 3 year old also loved playing with the foam bricks building a wall, the magnetic cogs to create different shapes, and the 'ice' blocks you can post through holes - always a winner!
There were plenty of babies enjoying the many colours, sights and sounds too, and my one year old loved the switches - so simple and so effective! Turn on = light on, turn off = light off, and who doesn't love flicking a switch millions of times!
Other good things for smaller ones include circles full of balls that spin when you move them, a sectioned off space for roaming babies and some interesting textures to touch.
Orchardsí Pick Your Own is back this summer with even more family fun! Children love to pick their own fresh cherries and this year, Monday to Friday entry for children up to 13 years old is FREE!
And the best thing about the exhibition? It's in a museum full of well presented, fun, engaging STEM activities so these inspiring moments are just the start of your child's adventures in problem solving for tomorrow's world.
But why should I bother with these STEM activities? Well after a bit of research I have compiled my top 5 list of convincing reasons why every parent should get their kids involved in STEM activities.
1. There is more computing power in your phone than in the computers that put mankind on the moon. We need people who can do this stuff and it's progressing fast!
2. Maths runs the world, there's really no getting away from it. Not being mathsy myself has not saved me from needing to be able to do some maths to manage finance, count young people, divide pizza, etc so if you can't beat 'em I think join 'em and to encourage other non mathsy people I did get an A at school in maths thanks to an excellent revision guide, so there really is hope for us all.
3. Creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration are all skills at the heart of STEM subjects and surely the world needs more people with these skills?!
4. Kids constantly experiment to learn how things work in the world and discern their place within it. Why not give them actual experiments to play with? Then it's like putting fuel on the fire right?
5. Baking is a STEM activity, and no one will convince me that more cake in my life is a bad thing!!
In all seriousness, science, technology, engineering and maths are everywhere. Every time we use our phones, drive our cars, pay with our credit cards, cook our dinner, watch tv, you name it, this is really about a world view that asks - how does it work? And that's why I love 'ground up', because it encourages children to ask that question and explore all the numerous possibilities that this wonder-full life offers us all!
Visit Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together at Scienceworks:
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Things For Kids is a fantastic resource to help parents and carers find activities for children ages 0 -10 years of age, including play centres, kid-friendly cafes, childcare centres, local points of interest, parks, playgrounds and classes.