Young scientists turn library into laboratory

SCIENCE Lucy Toms with her brother Ryan at Fareham Library. Picture: Sarah Standing (122861-4295)
SCIENCE Lucy Toms with her brother Ryan at Fareham Library. Picture: Sarah Standing (122861-4295)
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DOZENS of schoolchildren turned a library into a laboratory, conducting investigations and experiments.

The children took the opportunity to fingerprint each other, make a mini-hovercraft and they even had the chance to make butter out of salt and cream, which they got to take home.

All 65 children had 10 experiments to try yesterday, with each one listed on a picture of a test tube, which they coloured-in as they went around Fareham Library.

Carolyn Toms, 32, of Wild Ridings Road, Fareham, took her children Ryan, seven, and Lucy, four, along to try their hands at being scientists.

She said: ‘There were lots of little activities for them to do.

‘I’m not sure how much they learnt but they had fun.

‘They enjoyed it – my daughter likes science.

‘I didn’t know it was happening but a friend told me about it.’

The event was part of the summer reading challenge, encouraging children to read six books over the summer holiday.

Normally, library staff spend half an hour reading stories with the children. But this time they jumped straight into it.

Parents, family and carers helped the children complete each of the experiments.

Carolyn’s son, Ryan said: ‘We did lots of different investigations.

‘We had to smell different pots and guess what was in them.

‘We smelled pepper, mint, lemon and herbs.

‘My favourite part was the balloon.

‘We made a hovercraft with a bottle top, Blu-tac and the balloon.

‘We made butter with cream and salt but didn’t get to eat it.’

The children also had the opportunity try out using magnets, making a snake charmer’s snake rise up.

The laboratory session itself had a magnetic effect, pulling in youngsters.

Vici Ford, library assistant at Fareham library, was pleased to see new children at the library.

She said:‘There were some old faces I recognised but a lot of new ones too.

‘When they got here we greeted them.

‘Then they chose the order they wanted to do the experiments in.

‘Most of them decided that they had to do everything.’


· Learn an abundance of fun facts and dress up with staff from HMS Warrior at Funtastic Facts and Costumes, in Carnegie Library, Fratton Road, Fratton. The event is aimed at children aged four to 12 and entry is free. It is from 11am to 12pm.

· Try out gymnastics, trampolining, tennis and football at the Olympics Day, in Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre, Portsmouth. The session is on from 10am to 3pm and children need to bring a packed lunch and lots to drink. It’s aimed at kids aged five to eight and children are supervised at all times by centre staff. It costs £22 per child.

Advanced booking is needed, call (023) 9266 0589.

· Take the little ones to Tots Telescope Tales, in the Royal Navy Museum, at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where they will enjoy a range of stories, crafts, music and a treasure hunt in the museum. It’s aimed at children under the age of five and is on from 11am to 1pm. There’s no need to book and the event is free with a valid museum ticket.

· Get creative at the Art Club, in Gosport Discovery Centre. The classes are aimed at any ability, from beginners to budding professionals who like to exchange tips and advice. The club is on from 10am to 1pm and entry is free. No need to book in advance. For more information call (023) 9252 3463.

· Why not have a parade in your own home? Put on some party hats and let the kids loose in the kitchen to choose a couple of safe items they can turn into musical instruments. Then take it in turns to march around making as much noise as possible.