Scienceworks has a new permanent children’s area dedicated to 0-5 year olds (so long, Nitty Gritty Super City) and it is awesome!
Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together is a screen-free space where little future innovators can develop foundational science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It’s part of Scienceworks’ $6 million gallery redevelopment in 2017-2018.
Ground Up uses sensory play, construction play and imaginative play to engagement science, engineering and coding skills – the skills of future jobs.
There’s also a particular focus on engaging girls in STEM activities, because research shows girls as young as four already have a gender bias in thinking about future careers.
So you’ll find that the space emphasises collaboration, uses gender-neutral colours and has a female ambassador, Dot.
Instead of screens children use simple machines and real materials to engage with scientific-technological concepts. There’s lots of opportunities to encourage testing, tinkering and problem-solving – like when your Mum refuses to help you build your wall when it’s taller than you….and so you build a stable pedestal instead!
While Ground Up is divided into three broad age and activity zones for 0-5 year olds, both Baby 2.0 (who’s almost 5) and Lady AB (who’s almost 7) enjoyed the gallery, including:
…Flight Tubes where children can create contraptions to fly in huge wind tubes…
…Car Wash: where children use gears to activate giant blue car wash brushes, learning that small movements can have a big effect in a large environment….
…Build: based on the much loved exhibit from Nitty-Gritty, children can work collaboratively to build walls with foam blocks using conveyor belts, pulley-systems and wheelbarrows. This is Baby 2.0’s favourite activity.
Not to mention the hundreds of light-switches you can flick on and off!
My only niggle about the gallery is that there’s no natural light in a particularly dark corner of the museum. Can’t be helped given the design of the building – but maybe head outside for snacks and lunch. There are spacious accessible toilets and change facilities within the area.
Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together is a permanent gallery at Scienceworks. Adult entry to the museum is $15; children and concession holders receive free entry. There is no extra charge for the new gallery.
- Pram parking is available at the cloakroom free of charge, along with storage for large bags;
- You can park your pram inside the area, most parents seem to put their pram along the walls or under the climbing structure, out of the way.
- There are spacious accessible toilets and change facilities within the area.
- Give yourself and your kids plenty of time to explore the new gallery. Baby 2.0 was there for 1 hours. It is aimed particularly at kids aged from birth to five but children (and adults!) of all ages will enjoy the space;
- There is a small cafe offering drinks and light snacks; there’s also seating inside and out for people to eat. The kids lunchboxes ($9.50) are a hit with my kids and include a sandwich, fruit drink, choice of piece of fruit and cookie. If you’re a Museums Victoria member you get 10% discount and you can swap the fruit drink for bottled water.
Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together , Scienceworks, 2 Booker St, Spotswood
Adult $15, children and concession free