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We're all going on a summer holiday

The summer holidays are in full swing and this year plenty of people seem to be enjoying a staycation. Even with a heatwave to start off the holidays, here at NESM we have already had plenty of visitors heading through our doors and joining in with the activities we have been able to put on this year.

We began the holidays with a seaside-themed sensory play session. From one of my previous blogs you’ll know that these under fives sessions are particularly close to my heart so I was overjoyed when we had to add an afternoon session alongside the morning one, which had sold out. It made me realise I was not the only parent who wanted an activity for their under 5s and that there was a demand for these sessions out there.

What actually happened in the session? Well…songs were sung (and we had to include one all parents will know by heart, Baby Shark); water was splashed in (and out of the container); there was a shark in the dark (only in story form, don’t panic); starfish were created; and a lot of messy fun was had by all. It was wonderful to see children interact with each other and the activities so brilliantly, especially as for quite a lot of our young visitors this was their very first play session experience. It wasn’t all fun and games though. Here at NESM we want to make sure that we know where we can improve and as these were our very first sensory play sessions, we asked for feedback in how we can make things better. We had lots of positive feedback and a few good ideas to help us improve too! This helps us in our future planning of these sessions and what we are offering to the public. It sets us all up nicely for our next session, which is a firefighter-themed day on Friday 27 August.

The Daring Detectives in our CSI School did not leave the getting messy to the younger ones, oh no - a lot of red paint has been splattered over the last two weeks! But I am getting ahead of myself. For you see, there had been a murder! *Pause for dramatic effect* But it had taken place in Victorian times, so our crime solvers had to use 19th century methods to catch the culprit - and they soon found out that if you were a Victorian detective you had a very limited amount of actual evidence to use. They trained long and hard to qualify as detectives (well, about half an hour or so) by looking at blood splatter (now you see where the red paint comes in), measuring footprints, fingerprinting and studying insects. (Yes you read that right, insects; very important for a Victorian detective to identify how long someone had been dead for, using the insects' life cycle). We even had some good old fashioned colouring in, for those who were not as enamoured of the chance to become a Victorian detective. For those who were, however, now armed with their new found skills they headed through to the crime scene and tried to discover who the killer was. The success rate was very high, proving that the CSI School had done its job.

It hasn’t just been the children getting in on the events and activities action. We had a group of adults learning all about forensic anthropology with Dr Chris Aris, getting their hands dirty (with clay - we aren’t on an episode of Midsomer Murders) - a session which proved so popular we had to add an additional date on 23 October. The children haven’t missed out though; they have their very own session today, 'Making Faces: Skulls, science and sculpture', so they’ll get to play with the clay and learn with Dr Chris as well. Something a bit different for the school holidays and definitely to be included in any ‘what I did on my summer holidays’ recount when back to the grindstone of school in September.

This isn’t to say that the holidays have finished here at NESM, far from it; we still have our ever popular lifeboat tours returning next week, on Wednesdays and Fridays until 3 September where you get to explore our Tyne class lifeboat with a member of our staff and find out about the vessel, the people who work on it and the RNLI. So don’t worry if you have not been able to pop in yet, we still have lots going on - summer definitely isn’t over yet!

Rosie Norrell

Learning and discovery team

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