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At home or out and about, we look at wacky and wonderful science exhibitions and books to inspire doctors, engineers, inventors or even astronauts of the future


Wallace and Gromit present a World of Cracking Ideas – Science Museum

Wacky contraptions, techno trousers, telly-scopes . . . Join Wallace and Gromit and discover how simple ideas can transform into life-changing devices. The Science Museum promises to inspire innovators of the future by showing children some of the greatest inventions ever seen. (28 March – 1 November 2009)

Also at the Science Museum: Science Night for children aged 8 to 11, this is an evening of exciting science activities and all-night sleepover in the Science Museum.

To space and beyond - what about a truly out of this world birthday party at the Science Museum IMAX 3D Cinema?

Go to or call 0870 870 4868

The Robot Zoo – Horniman Museum

This year sees the UK premiere of The Robot Zoo, an exhibition of brightly coloured mechanical creatures bringing animal anatomy to life. The giant models and interactive elements reveal the evolutionary adaptations that have allowed eight different species to prosper in different environments. Exhibits demonstrate how a chameleon changes colour, how a giant squid propels itself through the ocean and how visitors’ reflexes compare to those of a housefly. (28 March – 8 November 2009)

The Horniman Museum has three main collections: Natural History, World Cultures and Musical Instruments.

The Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, London open 10.30am to 5.30pm daily

Go to or call 020 8699 1872

How the Incredible Human Body Works by the Brainwaves

by Richard Walker and illustrated by Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swirling (ISBN: 978-1405321747 – Dorling Kindersley)

In this book, miniature guides, “the Brainwaves” take you on an exciting trip around the body where you will witness a fight against an invasion of horrible toxic bacteria, dodge squirting digestive juices, and take a white-knuckle ride on red rapids of gushing blood. It has wonderful fold-out pages which reveal exactly what’s happening inside you and allow you to explore all the important bits, and how they work. The art work is magnificently detailed and the book as a whole is fun and informative and a great way of getting children interested in the science of the body.

The Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do

by Rebecca Gilpin and Leonie Pratt (ISBN: 978-0746080382 – Usborne Publishing)

This book, the winner of the Royal Society’s junior book prize in 2008, is a great way of getting children interested in science at home. With activities including bubbling wizard’s brew, magic flowers, panpipe straws, a spinning paper helicopter and a light catcher it will appeal to all children whatever the age or sex. Not only does the activity book use simple and safe materials with step-bystep instructions and illustrations, but each activity is also accompanied by a simple explanation of the | science involved. The book also includes 800 stickers to decorate the projects with; an absolute winner for keeping the children involved.


Elizabeth Cole discovers that you don't have to be old to rock


Courses for singing, music and movement run all over the country by enthusiastic teachers who are dedicated to instilling in children the love of music from an early age through their happy and energetic classes.

West End Stage

This London organisation runs superb summer schools based around West End theatres for children from age 8 upwards. Specialist sessions in singing and musical theatre available, including master classes, with chance to perform on stage.

Baby Loves Disco

This craze of afternoon dance parties for kids aged 6 months to 7 years from the US is quickly spreading UK-wide. Feel good tracks by Heart radio djs, bubble machines, instruments, a chill-out room with tents, books and puzzles, healthy snacks and lots of dancing brings kids together with kids and parents and parents together with parents – a good old boogie guaranteed for all . . .

A Baby Loves Disco CD is out on 2 March, featuring non-stop club classics plus some trendy young and fresh tracks thrown in to keep both you and your children on your toes.

Born to Rock

Wear the right gear – inspired by music and pop culture, Rockabye-Baby is a kid’s clothing label launched as an antidote to pink and blue overload by a frustrated British mum for “funky parents who refuse to give in to mainstream cute.” Tshirts, dresses and babygrows are available for newborns up to six years. All this, and the clothing comes packaged in a 10 inch record sleeve!

Music House For Children

The Music House for Children’s philosophy is that “music should inspire for life”. The music school, based in Shepherds Bush, offers a packed itinerary of workshops, group instrumental tuition for older children and music and movement programmes for toddlers and young children. Classes include Baby Music for 0-3 years which incorporates songs, movement, percussion, brightly coloured puppets and scarves to get children started and Bush Kids for 3-5 years with musical games, singing, dancing and instrument playing to have fun and learn the language and symbols in music.

Check out their CD, A Little Birdsong, which includes ideas for how to engage the children and adapt the songs for different ages.

- Simon Nicol of Fairport Convention has a great site where singing games can be sourced. Take a look. Based in the North West – Sussex Vocal Academy runs singing activities for all ages in the South. – Finchley Children’s Music Group based in North London for the past 50 years, has a number of choirs and singing events for young children to participate in.

Performing – Stagecoach has over 700 franchised theatre schools throughout the country. For three hours a week, students can attend classes in dance, drama and singing. Children learn to express themselves, gain poise, self-confidence and self-awareness, all whilst having fun. – Perform classes and weekly workshops aim to build children’s confidence, improve concentration and give them a creative outlet. They have courses in singing; Mini P’s from age 3 months to 3 years, Perform, age 4-8 years, Perform Plus, ages 8-12 years