Month: March 2016

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum

I’m never sure which is my favourite museum in London. When we visit each one I change my mind and declare it a favourite, but The Natural History Museum always holds a special place in my heart. Walking in and seeing Dippy in the main hall takes me straight back to being a tot and the feeling of the enormity of it all. After countless visits, I still don’t feel that I’ve seen it all, or even touched the surface.

Here’s what B discovered on our last trip.

You can get to the museum by driving to Canary Wharf and then take the underground to Sother (sic) Kensington

There were 600 different kinds of dinosaurs.

We know that Tyrannosaurus Rex was a meat eater. You can tell because of his teeth.

The biggest animal that ever lived is the blue whale.

We can identify 4 different types of volcano:

  1. strato volcanoes
  2. shield volcanoes
  3. cinder cones
  4. volcanic lava domes

Earthquakes feel scary.

You can tell a smooth rock has travelled further than a rough one, because as it travels it gets smooth.

Space Jars Craft Activity

Space Jars Craft Activity

If you’ve a space mad kid or craft addict these are a great project. Quick to make and not too messy, they got my vote, and didn’t end up looking like the usual “Pinterest fail” we normally end up creating.

You will need:

  • Jars (we found ours in hobbycraft in the baking area)
  • Cotton wool balls
  • Food colouring (we used pink, navy and turquoise)
  • Silver glitter

It’s also useful to have some kind of poking stick and some pots to mix the colours in.

Here’s how the magic works….

  1. Take a small amount of each of your food colouring and mix with water (separately by the way, you don’t want a bowl of brown water!)
  2. Place a couple of your cotton wool balls into your jar and add one of the coloured waters. A funnel can be useful here if you’ve a tendency to pour it all over the table like myself.
  3. Poke the cotton wool down, adding more if need be until all the water is absorbed.
  4. Sprinkle in some glitter.
  5. Add your next coloured water, we layered dark and then light as they do tend to mix. It all adds to the nebula effect though!
  6. Squidge in more cotton wool to soak up all the coloured water.
  7. Add the glitter layer.
  8. Repeat until your jar is full. We managed to fit three different layers in ours.

Ta da!

Fossil Hunting & Rock Collection – Walton on the Naze

Fossil Hunting & Rock Collection – Walton on the Naze

All geared up with our Children’s fossil hunting kit from UKGE, we set off Walton-on-the-Naze to explore. We are so fortunate to live in a part of Essex which is close to the coast for days out like this, and has been a staple of days out since I was little, let alone the boy.

In the past our days to the Naze to see the tower have usually been once the tide has come in and we weren’t quite ready to head home. This was our first expedition down to the beach. We were blessed with a sunny day, albeit pretty fresh, and off we went, haversack on, ready for fossils!

As it turns out, even in an area which is renowned for fossils, they are a little elusive to find. Particularly when you’re 6 and want to run around! So we concentrated on finding items of interest instead. We discovered lots of different rocks and seaweeds, which we can tie in with the Big Seaweed Search.

I love how having a loose plan for a days learning can evolve in so many ways. The things we learnt compared with what I had expected to was much longer…

  • Who knew just how many different types of seaweed you can discover, and how very different they are?
  • That there really are a lot of different birds to spot at the coast. Have to admit, previously I would have classed the whole lot as seagulls.
  • Watching the amazing patterns nature makes in the sand as the tide goes in and out.
  • How smooth muddy rocks compared to shells teach you about friction.
  • The erosion of rocks and coast lines and how man made structures can change this.
  • That most shells are “righthanded” with the exception of the “left handed whelk”.

We’ve been uploading and classifying our finds now that we are home with the help of the Natural History Museum community forums. Which has been a good way to utilise technology with the boy who can be a little tech reluctant.

As we watched the boats come in and out of the docks further along the coast in Harwich we found inspiration for a topic on transport. Its amazing how one thing leads to another, and how we all make connections, usually ones with wheels in our case!

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