An exciting hands-on gallery for children up to and including Year 1, inviting early investigation of science and technology. Our friendly Explainers are on-hand to support your children's experiences.
The gallery is divided into four zones:
- the welcoming zone - we welcome your group and give a short briefing about using the gallery. There's also a puppet theatre for children to use.
- the water zone - watch water rush down from a huge bucket into a series of pools, explore ripples, bubbles, scooping and pouring, try different ways of moving water, and investigate floating and sinking.
- the building zone - transport building blocks and build on a big scale; investigate materials and forces, try to find the right tools to tighten screws and bolts, experiment with balancing things and move materials using wheelbarrows, a bucket hoist and a snake chute.
- the eyes and ears zone - an introduction to reflections, shadows and colour along with making sounds in different ways, predict rhythms and exploring how sounds can travel.
Throughout the gallery information panels and short rhymes provide a starting point and key words to help adults and children approach the activities together.
After a visit to The Garden you could use some of the following activities to extend the experience:
- Talk about different type of water - streams rivers ponds, lakes canals etc. Which are natural, which are man-made? Which have salty water and which have fresh water?
- Compare still and moving water. Do they sound different? Do they feel different? How is moving water put to use?
- Look for gutter, pipes, drains and water hydrants and think about what they do. On rainy days where does the water go?
- Think about and conduct simple activities to investigate why some things float and some things sink.
Buildings and moving things
- Look at buildings in your area. Are they all the same shape? Are the materials they're made from the same?
- Investigate pushing and pulling. What and when do you need to push? What and when do you need to pull?
- Think about inventions that make moving things easier.
Light, colour and sound
- Make coloured water by adding food dye. What happens when you mix different dye colours?
- Make stained glass windows using tissue paper and cardboard frames. Can you find other coloured materials that let light through?
- Look at different types of mirror and think about all the different places and ways that mirrors are used. Are there other shiny surfaces that give reflections (e.g. spoons?)
- Think about ears. Can you tell when a person is listening. Can you tell when a dog hears something?
- Think about the direction sounds are coming from by making a sound and asking children with their eyes closed to say what direction it came from.