Science is an incredibly exciting field of study allowing children right up to adults who make it their occupation to build and organise knowledge through developing hypothesis which we then test to develop our own idea of how things work in our universe. Obviously there are many branches of science. For those of us who have already progress through mainstream education we are exposed to biology, physics and chemistry as formal study branches. Some of us move it to more applied science after that, some of us never think about it again once we leave school (in a formal sense anyway).
Children are natural scientists. They are innately curious and always exploring the world and developing their perceptions based on the outcome of their own experiments and manipulation of the environment. I’m hoping my children can hold on to this curiosity as they grow as I find many adults lose this as they are drawn to conform to rigidity of societal expectations.
So, of course, when we are in Perth and heard of the Scitech Discovery Centre – www.scitech.org.au we quickly put it on our agenda. While it isn’t as big a Questacon, Scitech boasts 100 hands-on, engaging exhibits and Australasia’s largest planetarium. We were also hoping to find some activities to join in the CSIRO Lab.
Scitech opened its doors back in 1988 and s proudly supported by the Government of Western Australia through the Office of Science. It is open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day from 10am until 5pm on weekends, school holidays and public holidays and 9.30am until 4pm every other day. A family ticket will cost you around $48.00* for two adults and two children. Have a larger family? Additional children are charged at $6.00 each. We had little familiarity with Perth when we arrived but found the location with relative ease and were impressed the volume of car spaces which were also free. If you are catching the train from the Perth City Station, catch the train to City West on the Fremantle Line. Easy Peasy!
Everywhere you look there are items to manipulate and play with at Scitech. Initially this was quite overwhelming for us – where to start! But we let the kids set their own pace and found they soon gravitated to particular items of interest for intense periods of time throughout the day before moving on to a new activity. I must admit that both T and I became pretty involved with many of the exhibits too – they are so fun!
We loved the Ikea cardboard box section. Here we created vehicles and cubby houses from large donated boxes. I think there is truth in the idea that with a little imagination and a cardboard box kids can create anything! They are also natural designers – although a little quirky. Miss N made a beeline for the design station where she created a boat to float in the pool when we returned to our accommodation. To do so, she had to select all the materials and then work out how to use a glue gun, nails, rubber bands and sticky tape. She did this with minimal assistance and was very proud of her work.
Master R thinks himself a Master Constructor well before the release of Lego Movie and spent well over an hour at the lego racing ramp, constructing vehicles which he then raced against other kids. Despite the fact that he worked out how to release his car a little earlier than everyone else (I think we call that ‘cheating’) he did learn how to streamline his vehicle better so it became faster and with more agility down the ramp. I think he had around 15 different prototypes over the period. He then moved to the domino section to create intricate patterns which he then released.
If you are in Perth and your kids love hands on fun (what kid doesn’t!) add Scitech to your itinerary. It is not overly exhausting and is the perfect compliment to your heavier attractions.
*at time of publication.