Science mad 8 year old. Need ideas to help stimulate....despera te!

(56 Posts)
DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 11:17:48

Hoping you guys can help me out!

I have science mad 8 yo ds. He is particularly interested in chemistry, but any science, engineering, medical type stuff will do. I was vaguely scientific at school and my current career involves some food microbiology, so I can help him but only up to a point.

We have done every science kit available, he has dozens of science books, including ones on evolution and the latest Brian Cox offering. But he really wants to see a proper lab and do some more practical stuff.

What can I do?? I have seen techcamps but they are very expensive residentials for 9 years plus, so no good. He is now being alienated at school for being a geek and I really want him to be surrounded by like minded people or kids who will embrace this aspect of him! I really want to inspire him and support him, but I have drawn a blank. I am on maternity leave at the minute, so I have a whole six week holiday with him and I want to include some science activities. He has other interests, but science always wins out. I have booked us onto a university open day to see if there is a tour of the labs available and I have checked the holiday programme at our local science museum....

Any ideas or anyone else with experience of this??

FairPhyllis Thu 20-Jun-13 16:48:35

The Natural History Museum in Oxford is closed this year for renovation BUT they are doing some behind the scenes tours. There's one on dung beetles next week. Oxford is definitely a place you could keep an eye on - maybe even Manchester?

And if you could get to Oxford on Saturday, there's a Science Live event that children can go to on medical research: here. You'd probably have to book.

Also continuing the Oxford theme ... Oxford University used to make science kits for children - I know you said he's got loads, but have you seen those? I saw them in Blackwells in Oxford a few years ago and wanted to play with them myself but have never seen them anywhere else.

Maybe something like New Scientist? Give him a book on coding and let him loose? Building radios? Is he into natural history type stuff at all?

bolshieoldcow Thu 20-Jun-13 17:00:24

Here's a few more sites you could look at for ideas and info on events:
www.createafuture.co.uk are associated with Birmingham Uni, I think, and might be able to give you some advice.
There's the 2013 Big Bang science fair, at the Ricoh Area, Coventry on Tuesday, 25th June 2013
And www.britishscienceassociation.org has loads of info on activities to do at home as well as things to do in the community - again, if you were to contact them directly, they may well be able to point you in the right direction.

Good luck!

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 17:06:35

I really appreciate the replies. I don't know any other parents with this issue, so I haven't got anyone to bounce ideas off. Gotta love MN! I have more ideas in one afternoon than I would have come up with in a year!

I wondered about new scientist. Maybe I will get a subscription and see how he goes.

Thanks again!

Fluffybumblebee Thu 20-Jun-13 17:12:00

Not exactly Chemsistry, but would he like something like this:
http://littlebits.cc/
or this
http://www.modrobotics.com/
or maybe this
http://www.raspberrypi.org/

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 17:22:40

Raspberry pi is really interesting, but I have no aptitude in computing/programming, so I am not sure how far I would be able to help him with that. I suppose I shouldn't let that limit him though!

FionaJT Thu 20-Jun-13 17:22:42

This is a bit far from you, but I've been taking my 8yr old to these workshops in Bath this spring, which have been great
www.brlsi.org/events-proceedings/meeting-groups/youth-activities
I found out about them a bit by chance so it's worth doing some digging around the websites of any relevant organisations nearer you in case they are doing something similar.

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 19:25:21

Ok, I have had a great afternoon! The Royal Institution looks awesome. I am going to make ds a Faraday Junior member and investigate their programme if events, so that's great.

The DIY chemist, brilliant!

The Bath suggestion, thanks, I have emailed them to find out more and to see if they have any info or links to Midlands based stuff.

Incredible edibles looks great too, just the sort of thing we could do together over the hols.

Brilliant, thank you all!

Has he been to Magna in Rotherham? It looks great and I think it is interactive.

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 20-Jun-13 19:44:55

I used to work at the Exploratory, it was indeed great. They replaced it with At Bristol which is also good but not quite the same amount of hands-on-ness.

Another website for you:

http://www.planet-science.com/

also the Science museum have resources like this one:

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/educators/teaching_resources/activities/kitchen_science.aspx

More kitchen science from OU

http://www.open.edu/openlearn/science-maths-technology/science/chemistry/kitchen-chaos

I have a science-mad 8 year old too, he has been bewildering his teachers since he was in reception and he steals my textbooks to read. (I'm a science teacher). He also gets called names at school.

I know it's years to wait, but science gets a lot more fun at secondary, I find that primary teachers even if they are brilliant are somewhat limited by lack of facilities.

Also - have you considered buying him a microscope? Don't get a "kids" one as they are not generally worth peering down, but a proper one. Or a Digital Blue, we borrowed one from school and had lots of fun.

The centre for alternative technology is wales is good -Eco science.

http://www.cat.org.uk/

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 20:13:30

Never heard of Magna, will look into it!

Oh, Endo it's horrible to think our kids face that at school. Ds loves school (learning) but hates play time. I have spoken to his teacher about it and he is helping, but it still upsets him (and me).

Bewildering is a good word to describe how his teachers have felt about my ds too. If I am honest, it's a bit scary, because he is just so quick and like a sponge. It's a limbo age too for science, as secondary school science will be much better for him, but it does seems like a long way off. I also worry about structure for his learning. A the moments it's a random affair, with him expressing an interest in something, me buying him books, googling it, YouTube searches, etc until we exhaust it and move on. Also I can't answer all of his questions anymore. I could dazzle him at 5 with my (limited) knowledge of the periodic table. Alas no longer.

Will check out those links, thanks!

scaevola Thu 20-Jun-13 20:19:28

OP: please, pretty please would you consider asking MNHQ if they would move this thread to The Science and Nature Club forum?

I'd be disappointed if a thread with so many recommendations went pfft (as I want to nick all the best ideas).

MummyMastodon Thu 20-Jun-13 20:21:28

You are probably about an hour from Jodrell Bank, they do kids sciency stuff in July and August

www.jodrellbank.net/events/?year=2013&month=8

FariesDoExist Thu 20-Jun-13 20:29:26

Tecniquest in Cardiff Bay (and one on Wrexham)

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 20-Jun-13 20:45:17

There's a Science and Nature Club?

Oooh.

(heads off to have a look).

Julia my boy is obsessed with Minecraft. Might be worth a look? You can do all sorts of sciencey things with it.

We've had a discussion about how being a geek is not a bad thing. He's happy enough. Tricky at a small primary school where everyone else is more into football.

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 20:47:09

Techniquest...that was it! Thank you! Will be going this summer for sure!

Jodrell Bank looks great...had never heard of that. We have relatives oop north, so will put that in our list for when we are visiting them.

And scaevola will do! You learn something new every day, didn't know that part of MN existed!

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 20:50:25

Endo, his eight birthday party was minecraft themed. I had to make creeper party bags and a minecraft cake. We have even watched YouTube tutorials on minecraft, bought minecraft lego and fridge magnets. It sounds like your ds and my ds would be good friends!

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 20-Jun-13 20:58:31

Where did you get the Minecraft Lego? It seems very hard to find and rather expensive!

We got boy a foam Minecraft pickaxe for his birthday.

Oh and just remembered this, some more experiments here:

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lwxj1/features/handson

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 21:10:36

Actually from Lego. I saw it on amazon (too expensive) and one of the reviews posted a link to Lego at half the price! Bonus! It's a mini set too, so comes in a small box, which can be a shock!

Tubemole1 Thu 20-Jun-13 21:25:26

If you want a day out or night over in London take your boy to the Science Museum. My daughter loves the demos and the space exhibits. The Flight gallery is pretty awesome too, as they have a doodlebug! They also sell a huge library of books and stuff to do at home, experiments and things to build etc.

ALSO in London is the Wellcome Institute not far from Euston Station (virgin trains). Some parts may not be appropriate for an 8 year old, you can ask the staff where its safe to go. It explores the human body, medicine, the mind, and holds historical items showing the advancement of medical technology. Some of the Wellcome stuff is also held at the Science museum.

For a freaky stop off, check out the Operating Theatre at Guy's hospital, or the Florence Nightingale museum at St Thomas' hospital. The operating theatre needs prior booking, I think.

If you are staying over, Euston hosts plenty of budget rooms Premier Inn, Travelodge, holiday inn etc.

Tubemole1 Thu 20-Jun-13 21:38:47

Wellcome Collection, not institute. http://www.welcomecollection.org.

scaevola Thu 20-Jun-13 21:39:10

Here's a link to some on-line Christmas Lectures. I think the 2007 ones are brilliant.

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 21:54:08

We like the Science Museum and love London too. The operating theatre sounds cool.

Thanks for the Christmas Lectures links, I think I may have some recorded from this Christmas, languishing. I will check!

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 20-Jun-13 22:43:02

Hello

We've moved this to Science and Nature Club now at the OP's request.

FairPhyllis Fri 21-Jun-13 00:03:52

When he's 13 he can visit CERN - tell him to look forward to that!

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