It may be the half-term break, but that doesn’t mean learning for your kids has to stop!
Getting out of the classroom and into the big wide world can actually be just as educational and eye-opening for your child. In fact, research last year carried out by Oxford Home Schooling revealed that 46% of parents believe that days out and school trips can teach their children more than time spent on the curriculum.
As well as getting kids into new and challenging environments, days out and field trips help to enhance their knowledge in a fun, stimulating way. It also encourages them to get creative and learn new skills.
“Days out will help bridge the gap between education and hands-on experience,” says Dr Nick Smith, principal at Oxford Home Schooling.
“They provide immersive learning experiences, spark imagination and offer unique opportunities to create lifelong memories as a family.”
We’ve put together eight of our favourite educational attractions that make for fantastic half-term days out. From the historic to the futuristic, these places will ensure fantastic educational family trips, whatever the weather.
Eureka! in Halifax is a science museum with a difference. As well as teaching children about all things biology, sound and space, it incorporates a strong interactive element that makes learning fun and imaginative.
Go on a literal journey through the human body; explore the different senses in the Soundgarden or take a step into the world of work in the child-sized town square. With six different zones to explore, there’s more than enough to keep kids occupied and show them that learning can be one big adventure!
The best part is that you can pay once for the whole year and visit Eureka! as many times as you like. The museum also runs additional events and activities throughout the year, so be sure to check their ‘What’s On’ page for more information.
The Eden Project is the perfect place to teach children about horticulture and the natural living world. Officially the largest rainforest in captivity, its nestled in a huge crater and houses an endless collection of exotic plants, contemporary gardens and natural exhibitions beneath its massive biomes.
With various family events year-round, the Eden Project offers lots of opportunities for combining fun with education.
Jodrell Bank aims to inspire the scientists of tomorrow by letting them take a peek into the research being carried out in its Observatory and Discovery Centre.
With a range of interactive gadgets, models and exhibitions, kids can step deep into the fascinating world of space travel and study. Explore the wonders of the universe and learn more about the workings of the giant Lovell Telescope. Play games in the Space Pavilion and listen to the sound of the Big Bang.
Whatever they’re curious about, Jodrell Bank’s science explainers ensure no question goes unanswered.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Take a step into the dramatic world of Shakespeare at the Shakespeare’s Globe. As well as taking a look around this stunning building, the guided tour for families will teach you things you never knew about the famous Bard.
The theatre is also running a series of special storytelling events throughout half-term week, where authors help to bring Shakespeare’s stories to life and encourage children’s own storytelling.
University Museum of Zoology
The University Museum of Zoology is a perfect educational day out for animal lovers everywhere. One of Cambridge’s major attractions, it houses thousands of specimens spanning the entire animal kingdom, from elephants, giant ground sloths and giraffes to birds, reptiles, insects and molluscs.
Families can learn about amazing natural treasures discovered by the great naturalists, including Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.
As well as being open for the public to enjoy, the collections are also used for academic study by researchers and students worldwide.
National Space Centre
The National Space Centre is the UK’s largest planetarium, with six interactive galleries and a 42 mile high Rocket Tower. Covering everything from space travel to the solar system, kids will have their curiosity heightened and be able to get a real taste of astronaut life!
Walk through a real mock-up of the Columbus Module space station; discover what it feels like to defy gravity, and come to face to face with a breathtaking range of odd space objects – including space suits, satellites and moon rocks!
Whether your kids are well-grounded or tend to have their head in the clouds, the National Space Centre makes for a half-term day out that’s out of this world.
London’s British Museum houses over two million years of human history and culture, making it one of the biggest London educational attractions. Whatever you’re curious about, it’s here – from the prehistoric age of dinosaurs to modern digital tools, and even ancient Egyptian sculptures!
The British Museum combines art, history, geography and sociology to offer an extraordinary and unique insight into the world around us. As well as its core collections, it also has a number of ever-changing exhibitions and curations to keep you on your toes.
Families can take part in the special family trails (activity backpacks included!) or enjoy a tailored family audio guide.
Royal Navy Submarine Museum
Prepare for an exciting voyage when you head to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum! Families can discover the story of the Royal Navy whilst exploring the decks of real-life submarines, including the WWII-era HMS Alliance.
Peer through original periscopes and hear stories of the navy men who served on board. See objects that retell hidden stories and first-hand accounts and find out what it was like to face danger underwater. And see how a crew of 65 were fed in a galley the size of a broom cupboard!
The Royal Navy Submarine Museum is a great educational day out for little ones curious about sea travel. Once you’re done exploring inside, don’t forget to check out the memorial garden outside and the beautiful harbour area.