We spent a brilliant day at the Buenos Aires Science museum, made all the more brilliant by being completely free!
The science museum is extremely well equipped, with lots of interactive activities and fun science experiments. There’s a lab where kids can look at all sorts of creatures under the microscope – underside of cockroaches, butterfly wings, enormous ants, miniscule caterpillars – and classes run for kids of various ages on all sorts of fun science stuff. The staff are engaged, interested and welcoming – even to non-spanish-speaking kids and their anxious mums.
We went with Daniela, a Venezuelan who managed to get out before the worst of things, and her 8-year-old son, plus another Venezuelan mum and son. After the initial awkwardness the three kids were soon running around, playing games and interacting in a mixture of Portuñol and English….
First they did a robotics class, which effectively consisted of putting engines on lego trucks. Cue much tussling and negotiation as the three of them all had strong ideas about the aesthetics and construction of the truck. Through trial and error they managed to make something that wasn’t too top heavy but still met each of their rather demanding criteria.
They also did a coding class, which parents weren’t invited to. Lauren insisted she didn’t need me there to translate/support, so we were banished while they got on with things. They were given tablets loaded with scratch and off they went. Lauren figured out how to switch it to English and they all managed to programme a game in the hour and a half class. They were rightly pretty proud of themselves.
The science museum also has a brilliant playground aimed at older kids – every block here has a playground for the littlies, but this one was challenging and educational enough to keep the 8-9 year olds happy. They learnt about centrifugal force by spinning on an axis, while the adults looked on from the shade of a convenient café.
Over beers in the café there was much grumbling about the former president, obviously not much liked by our new-found Venezuelan friends (Daniela’s sister and other friends has joined us by this point) but everyone had to admit that building the science museum was ‘one thing she did right’. I have no understanding of the seemingly pretty volatile politics in this country, but I can definitely agree that the science museum is brilliant!