Friday, 31 May 2013

Save it for a rainy day

When it is raining (incessantly) and the children are off school (again), thank God for Technorama.  Since all the displays are interactive, it is virtually impossible to get bored in Switzerland's No. 1 science museum.

Although I am all in favour of the children being bored every now and then to get their creative juices flowing again, I could not face a day of staring miserably out of the rainstreaked windows of  our appartment. Telling them every half hour or so to turn off the tv/laptop/i-pad/i-pod. Luckily good friend L. was of the same opinion, so we decided to join forces and to head out to the science museum in Winterthur.
Not all the kids, aging from three till eleven, whooped with joy when we told them where we were going, but since a score of three out of six, was more than we had hoped for, L. and I decided to just go ahead with it.
And I am glad we did. Even before we paid for the tickets and entered the place, the children were having a great time. All thanks to a big water display of the variety where you have to turn a wheel or press a lever for the water to start filling up tanks and barrels. If it was not for all the water falling from the sky, we could have spend the day playing in the parking lot.
Inside, it got better and better though. We played with magnetic fields, electricity and light. Without husband W. the children did not dare ask me a single question about forces, negative poles, plasma or other such incomprehensible things. Meaning that I did not even have to pretend to be interested, or read any of the explanatory cards. Oh joy.
My son and I had a great time playing with different lights and prisms. We also made a bunch of paperclips dance, by changing the magnetic field surrounding them. My daughter loved the space where you could make shadowshapes with your body. By cleverly photographing the people in this area, the shadows were made to 'stick' to the wall for a while. Which gave my girl and her friends an ideal opportunity to admire their own body art.
My daughter wished to do a handstand and even wanted some help with that - something she tends to resist in all other areas of her live - so I had a lovely half hour in which she totally depended on me. It was absolutely wonderful.
After hours of fun (and french fries) we ended up in the garden, where the museum keeps one of their best displays: a wind machine. It came with different buttons, with which you could create different wind speeds, ranging from a gentle breeze to a force 8 gale. You even had to wear goggles to protect your eyes from the force of the wind. It does not get any better than that.
According to the children that is anyway. They spend a considerable amount of time, being blown about, leaning into the wind, or trying to hold on to the railing closest to the machine. In the end we had to make them stop, because their lips were turning blue and they could not stop shivering.
L. and I cleverly lured the kids away though by promissing them ice cream in the cafe. You can never be too cold to eat ice cream, or can you?