First, some context. Eureka in Halifax is the ‘National Children’s Museum’. The hugely interactive museum (there’s very, very little that’s hidden in a glass case, and much of the stuff that is in cases you still interact with in other ways) is all about play and learning. The exhibits cover pretty much any interest a child may have – sound, how your body works, gardens, nature, playing shop (or post office or bank clerk), garages, and a whole house, with kitchens, bedrooms, attics and bathroom set up for play.
We liked the bathroom.
I’m not going to ‘review’ Eureka, because I don’t think that’s what this blog is about.
I am going to remark on what I find most remarkable about Eureka.
It’s how much the every day appeals to kids. They spend hours pretending to pump petrol into cars, putting shopping in their trolleys, then scanning it at check-outs, getting ‘money’ from the bank.
It makes you look at your own life – the mundane things you do day-by-day – and realise how fascinating they can be. Take a bank. You go to a clerk/cash point ask them for money, and money appears. It’s like magic. And with that magic you can buy as many sweets/chocolates/toys as you wish.
And the supermarket. Someone, somehow has collated all this food. So much food. In one place. And you can stroll round, load your trolley high and pick anything you want. It’s an amazing opportunity – pretry much any food you can imagine. It’s all just there.
My son particularly loved flushing the toilet. He can do that at home – yes that’s right we have a fully functioning toilet, what show offs – but here, they had a see-through system and cistern (grim in a real toilet, fine for when the lid is drilled shut). He flushed endlessly, watch the cistern fill, and the system flush. Clearly, he was trying to work out how it worked. How does it fill up, how does it get forced out, and where does it go. As anyone who’s ever had a plumbing disaster knows, this can be useful information to store. For emergencies. But for a kid, this – this automatic task you do countless times a day – is a source of fascination.
Kids are great.