Every first Thursday of the month during term time, Peterborough Museum runs ‘Young Explorers’ – a session especially geared towards toddlers and pre-school children. Every month has a different theme based on the collections at the museum.
What happens at Young Explorers?
The session lasts 1.5 hours and starts by exploring some of the objects from the museum collection – yes, you can actually touch some of the museum artefacts! The first time we went the theme was bugs and butterflies so we passed around giant bugs preserved in acrylic blocks. The kids were fascinated and were given magnifying glasses for a closer look. Last time we went it was the Romans, so the kids were able to handle (really) old pieces of roof tile and pottery. I think it’s great that the museum is so hands-on. It’s so different from what I remember as a child where you couldn’t touch anything.
I’ve been really impressed by the way the museum staff talk about the objects. They don’t completely baffle with technical terms, but they don’t talk about the items in a baby-ish way either.
Then it’s time for a story, loosely based around the theme. So we had Hungry Little Caterpillar when we did bugs and butterflies, The Gruffalo when it was wildlife in the garden and Three Little Pigs for the Romans. Then there’s some singing and a chance to explore the collection before heading to the teaching room for mine and Little Miss’s favourite part – The Craft.
I’d like to say that Little Miss and I work together in harmony beavering away at The Craft. But that would be a lie. I studiously glue googly eyes to sock puppets or cardboard tubes, cut up little pieces of tissue paper and cut around fiddly little templates; and Little Miss just glues. She likes gluing. She will cover entire pieces of paper with glue. Sometimes she’ll stick something to the glue, sometimes she won’t. Sometimes she will strategically stick one foil sequin in the middle of the page, sometimes she’ll tip the whole jar of foil sequins on the page. Sometimes I’m even allowed to help – she quite liked the little screwed up pieces of tissue I stuck to her creations last time. But more often than not, we work side-by-side on our own respective masterpieces.
And then, it’s time to leave. I have to collect up four or five pieces of paper (covered in glue) and The Craft, and off we go home.
I think Little Miss really enjoys herself. She chatters all the way home –mainly about her gluing. I definitely enjoy myself. I’m quite proud of my toilet roll butterfly and sock puppet.
All the important bits
Where and when
The Young Explorers sessions are held on the first Thursday of each month during term time from 10am – 11.30am and 1pm – 2.30pm Peterborough Museum is on Priestgate, PE1 1LF.
There is on-street parking around that area, but I think it is mostly pay and display. The Queensgate car parks are about a 5-10 minute walk. I found a little car park around the corner from the museum on Wentworth Street. It is £2.20 for two hours. There is also the car park off Bishops Road (the one behind the town hall).
Cost and booking
The Young Explorers session is £2 per child. Babies are free. The museum recommends that the sessions are suited for ages 2 – 5 years. Booking is required as the sessions are limited to 15 children. Book by phoning 01733 864663.
Eating and drinking
There is a café at the museum, Squire’s Café. I haven’t eaten there myself, but a friend of mine has and says that the food is very good and well-priced. They do a special menu for children as well.
There is a disabled toilet downstairs off the teaching room which also has a baby changing table. There are other public toilets both upstairs and downstairs with baby changing facilities.
- Value for money: 5/5
- Fun factor (kids): 5/5
- Fun factor (parents): 4/5