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

(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??

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 13:36:49


Tricycletops Thu 20-Jun-13 13:40:24

As a child I went to a Saturday morning science club at our local university - we did things like being given tours of the backrooms of the museum and seeing labs and experiments. I can't remember age, unfortunately - I could have been 9/10ish or I might have been a young teen - but it might be worth checking if any universities near you do anything similar?

BellaVida Thu 20-Jun-13 13:48:55

You could see if there are any Mad Science camps in your area. I found out about it as they were at my children's school recently.

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 14:11:22

Thanks both. The Saturday morning science club at a university is exactly what I am after for him....
I will look at those science camps too, again, right up his street!

Bless him, he is just so into it and it breaks my heart to see him not loving school because he is considered too geeky.

bolshieoldcow Thu 20-Jun-13 14:24:44

Poor kid...hopefully he'll find some likeminded souls - or suddenly be considered cool when the others see the amazing stuff he can do!

There are some pretty nice ideas to do with him at home - have a look at for starters? Kits are a good starting point but there is actually loads you can do with stuff around the house.

stopfightingandtidyupthismess Thu 20-Jun-13 14:27:54

If you are near Winchester (or even not that near, its worth the trip), there is the most fantastic science centre called Intech - the experiments are all for kids to try out and play with, and there is over 100 of them. Its got a planetarium too!

TotemPole Thu 20-Jun-13 14:29:28

What part of the country are you in?

Jenny70 Thu 20-Jun-13 14:32:38

The Royal Institution (London) has a young science club - but not sure of any details, google them & there are contact details.

I can understand him not wanting to be teased & having friends with common interests, but from the science side it isn't really a team activity - many great scientists were loners with long periods of being derided for their beliefs.

But hopefully we've moved on from that attitude & he can find a common outlet with other geeks (like us!).

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 14:37:20

Ah, thanks bolshie.

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 14:43:12

X posts with lots of you, sorry!
We are in Birmingham, so you'd think there would be loads on offer!

Jenny, you are right. We are a relatively eccentric family, so in some ways, I think he needs to find a way to deal with people who don't get him/us, but it's just such a shame that he is saying he needs to tone it down to fit in. Hmpf.

Winchester may be a great day trip for us, so thanks for that. And I have seen the royal society science festival is on at the start of July. Well actually, ds told me about it, so I think we may be going to London for it. Just not so easy these days, with a 7 mo EBF baby in tow too!

Thanks all!

TotemPole Thu 20-Jun-13 14:45:22

I was going to suggest the Royal Institution, if London is easy for you to get to.

They have family fun days on Saturdays. Various lectures and programmes for under 18s.

Annual membership will get them free magazines, free entry to some things and discounts on others.

scaevola Thu 20-Jun-13 14:49:45

I was going to suggest Royal Institution too!

You can get the Christmas Lectures on DVD - try "The Science of Survival" as that might be a good match to his interests. Marcus de Sautnoy did ones on numbers/primes/code-breaking which were really good too.

UniqueAndAmazing Thu 20-Jun-13 14:53:14

incredible edibles is pretty cool for something different

it's cookery, but with a science twist - science in absolutely everything!

UniqueAndAmazing Thu 20-Jun-13 14:54:55

ooh, if you're in Birmingham, then you're not too far away from the National Space Centre in Leicester.
it's amazing
and there are plenty of activities for the children to do as well

PeterParkerSays Thu 20-Jun-13 14:55:21

Have you looked at the events run at the Think Tank? They're divided up by KS group.

I'm amazed to see they also do sessions just got home educated children. Not sure I've ever seen another museum offer that!

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 14:56:49

Oh, hold on. Ds has told me about the Royal Society, not the Royal Institute.

Will check it out! Also, we subscribe to How It Works for him, but was wondering if there is anything else like that that people recommend? Worried that the proper scientific journals will be too much for him yet. Also feel like I need to keep something up my sleeve for when he is a bit older.

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 14:57:53

Peter, TANK tank was his first word. It took ages to figure out what he meant. He obviously meant think tank! His favourite place in the world!

Littleturkish Thu 20-Jun-13 15:00:52

How about young radio amateurs? A little bit science-y and our local one is run in the university chemistry labs!! He would love that!

Xiaoxiong Thu 20-Jun-13 16:05:01

All these ideas are great. Has he checked out It's free and aimed at kids from 7+ and has lots of science and tech skills challenges (see for instance the chemist skill challenges here:

That way he would get to connect with like-minded kids from all over the world who are doing the same challenges (and there's a dashboard so you can monitor everything he's doing).

Xiaoxiong Thu 20-Jun-13 16:05:31

Ahh bolshie got there before me grin

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 16:08:06

Just picked him up from school, so will have a good look at the suggestions with a nice cuppa.

His latest science phase is apothecary stuff....eek!

ControlGeek Thu 20-Jun-13 16:17:30

Are you able to get to the Exploratory science museum in Bristol? I went when I was doing supply teaching with my class and it was utterly amazing. It would be a bit of a trek from Brum, but it sounds like you might have quite a few days to kill. I know it doesn't tick your box for regular contact with other kids into the same stuff though.

ControlGeek Thu 20-Jun-13 16:18:46

OMG ignore my last post - I've just found their official web page. It closed. In 1999 blush

DoItTooJulia Thu 20-Jun-13 16:46:44

Thanks ControlGeek. I guess I have two requirements...supporting, stimulating and encouraging his scientific education and then the other one, trying to find a place for him to just be him which in an ideal world would be a science club of some kind.

Unfortunately the science he gets at school is babyish (his words) so anything to scratch his itch needs to be done out of school.

We do travel to science museums, Manchester being the favourite for a while! I think there is something in Wales that your suggestion has reminded me of. I can't think what it is now, will have a google.

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