Making It Discovery Centre in Mansfield, located in the old Mansfield Brewery building, is a fantastic family day out.
As well as being an educational discovery mecca, the centre also runs activity workshops. The day we visited there was a workshop on “creating a hanging basket” which was just up the boys’ gardening street!
But before all the gardening got underway we had the very important job of choosing a snail for the Snail Race! The snails lived in a tin (with holes so they could breathe obviously and lots of greenery) and had come from Sue’s (the owner of Making it) garden along with the plants for the hanging baskets. As you can imagine the kids thought this was brilliant. We all chose a snail and left them on the table to continue with their “race” whilst we got on with the job in hand.
Here is our “how to” guide for making hanging baskets.
Whilst we were creating our hanging baskets the boys were a little distracted by the snail race as the snails kept falling off the table! It was great fun!
Once all this fun was done with we were invited to look around the Discovery Centre.
This is housed over two floors (the 1st and 2nd floors of the building, with the ground floor comprising of the cafe, shop and reception). We were advised to start on the 2nd floor and work our way down.
We were also given a raffle ticket each. Every hour they draw the raffle and you announce a number to win a prize. All the numbers are written on a board in the reception area in case you miss the announcement. There was also a Spring Treasure Hunt on, for which we took a sheet. You had to look around for Springtime pictures and write on the sheet where they were located. So lots to get us started with!
So, we headed up to the 2nd floor. Here we found lots and lots of interactive machines and computer programs that are simulate what is in the manufacturing process – the designing, production, assembly or testing of something. Ethan, at 6 years of age, was particularly taken with all of these machines as it is so hands on and practical which he loves.. I think he would have moved in if he could have!
Noah, being only just four years of age, has a slightly shorter attention span. He did enjoy however the play areas there were set up on both floors with lots of things for him to fiddle with!
He also liked the “feel and guess” activities on the 1st floor..
The 1st floor was more focused on the marketing and selling of a product. There was a great computer package where you selected a product, its intended buyer, price, advertising etc and then it told you how successful or unsuccessful it was. Ethan loved this. It was clear he hasn’t got much of a business brain at the moment but budding entrepreneurs would find this an interesting task!
Also on the 1st floor was the opportunity to make a product yourself from a selection of kits. Each kit has an age range for its suitability (up to around 12 years of age). We chose to make the torch, the space rocket and the boat. They were probably the easier of the kits to make but were still challenging enough to get a sense of satisfaction when they were finished.
We had a brilliant day out and I was really impressed by the Discovery Centre. I think my boys are on the young side of appreciating it and we will definitely be back again to visit the Centre as they get older and partake in some more of the workshops. It is great family fun and we were there much longer than we intended on being, and could have even stayed longer if we hadn’t had to rush off for swimming lessons!
A ticket for a family of four costs £27.50 with the workshops extra (usually around £10). Coming up in the Summer holidays includes creating a “sweet tree”, pottery painting, cake decorating and customising your clothes as well as a range of crafty activities. There are also craft activities every Wednesday for adults so really something for everyone!
Making it also work with schools providing an outreach service for key stage 1 and 2 Design and Technology! So there are lots of exciting things going on there.
Make a date in your diary to visit this Summer!
Disclosure: we received complimentary entry to the workshop and centre but all views and opinions in this blog post are our own.