Free e-book

Illustrator Axel Scheffler and book publisher Nosy Crow have produced a digital book for primary school age children, free for anyone to read on screen or print out, about the coronavirus and the measures taken to control it.

Download here.

Simple Science Activities at Home

The Invention Rooms run by Imperial College London may be closed for a while but the team have put together this handy list of activities for kids to do at home. The Community Engagement team there will be sharing a new list every week – you can sign up to their newsletter here.

Doing science might sound scary, but remember science is not about learning facts or knowing lots before you start. Science is about asking questions, trying something and exploring what happens. Science can be creative and lots of fun. If you don’t get the right result, or it doesn’t “work” then you’ve probably learnt something along the way. We love this advice from our friends at the Royal Institution about science at home. Have fun, but overall be safe, and don’t do anything if you are not sure you can do it safely. We also advise that an adult should be present for all the activity suggestions below.

  • Thirteen quick ideas (5 + years)
    Science and making doesn’t always need lots of special equipment. Here are thirteen quick ideas that you can do which use things around the house that you may already have, like cardboard boxes and toilet roll tubes.
  • Make a T-Rex (9 + years)
    This activity from the Natural History Museum uses paper to make a dinosaur model. Why not colour it in? You can even make it a glittery dinosaur if you like! You will need two pieces of square paper. If you don’t have square paper this video shows you how to make a paper square really easily. Origami often uses square paper, so once you know how to make a square you can do lots of other projects too.
  • Make a mind-bending mask (5 + years)
    In this activity from our friends at the Royal Institute you get to make a mind-bending hollow mask. This activity will need a balloon, newspaper and some glue. As well as making a mask you’ll learn more about how our brain understands shapes and faces.
  • Get building (7+ years)
    The first activity is an engineering project from our friends at the Science Museum for kids aged 7+. You will need spaghetti and marshmallows, but you could easily use paper straws and masking tape as an alternative. Instructions are here.

    Although the instructions are to make a tower, you can also use the materials to make a bridge!
  • Get flying with paper planes (7+ years)
    Although paper planes are easy to make, the physics behind how they fly is very interesting! In this video you can see five different designs to try yourself at home that are suitable for ages 7+.
  • Let’s get experimental
    Home-schooling blog site Raising da Vinci has a great post featuring 10 experiments you can do at home. Lots of these use simple bits of kit you might have at home. We really like the balloon rocket on a string experiment as it’s easy to make and is suitable for all ages.
  • Create your own pinball machine (older kids)
    If you’ve got spare time, why not make a pinball machine? This is a great activity from the Science Museum and is perfect for older kids (and adults!). It needs an empty shoe box, two lolly sticks and a marble or small ball. This might be an activity that takes a few days to make, but it’s something that can start off quite simple and be added to as the weeks go by. You can find out more about this activity here.
  • The wonderful world of bugs on your doorstep
    If you’re missing the outside world why not check out this excellent video about bugs from our friends at the Natural History Museum. Although bigger animals often get all the attention (and who doesn’t love a whale or a dinosaur) the little creatures are important too. Did you know there are more species of beetle on this planet than any other animal?

    Why not have a look at bugs and wildlife around you by looking out of a window, you can explore flying animals like birds and insects.
  • 20 experiments in five minutes
    If you are unsure where to start, you can get some inspiration from Physics Girl. She does 20 experiments in just over 5 minutes, and lots of these you can do at home with adult help. We’ll be exploring some of these experiments in more detail over the upcoming weeks, but we would love to hear if you are able to try any.
  • See things a little differently
    If you want to take things a little slower, why not make an Ames room and explore perception? In this activity you’ll see how our brain makes sense of the world around us, and how we can trick our brain into seeing things differently. You will need a printer and glue or tape for this and you can find the template here
  • Throw some shapes
    If you don’t have a printer you can make some 3D shapes. You’ll need some straws, a ruler, scissors and some tape. The Science Museum have made this great resource about shapes of buildings. Although the instructions say to make a dome, why not explore some other shapes too? We would love to see what you make, so do email or tweet us @inventionrooms with your pictures!
  • Dinosaur live
    If you want a little natural history, why not check out this excellent video about Dinosaurs from our friends at the Natural History Museum. It’s great for adults and children. If you’ve got paper, why not draw some dinosaurs? It would be great if you could send us your best dinosaur drawings – we’ll be asking our teams to do the same and can share them in the next email!
  • Kitchen science
    Lastly, here is a collection of science activities with everyday ingredients available from the supermarket designed by our friends at The Science Museum. It includes some great science challenges you can complete at home with the family over the coming weeks.
  • Something about nothing (10 + years)
    After all that making and experimenting put your feet up and watch this video from the Royal Institute exploring everything about the number zero, which has a really interesting history, and didn’t always exist! It’s only a few minutes long and well worth a watch.