Sights and Sounds: The National Science Center

Science Center
A view from the road leading up to the NSC.

Thursday last week, Gavin and I paid a visit to the National Science Center.  It is located opposite the Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club near Hartamas (see map).  The opening hours are Saturday to Thursday 9am-5pm (closed Friday).  Entry is RM6 for adults and RM3 for children.  For children under 6 years old, admission is free.

After our disappointing visit to the Planetarium, I was pleasantly surprised by how much there was to see at the National Science Center.  Aside from the two levels inside the center, there are some parklands surrounding the center that appear to be open to the public.  Gavin was tiring before we had even made it to level 2 so we didn’t get to check out the park.

Even though he is probably a little too young to understand, I took Gavin through the main exhibits where we learned about the solar system, the night sky, genetics, the human body, motion, sound, levers, light, and matter.  I took his cue and moved along according to his interests.

Science Center
Gavin learns about sound frequencies.

The whole idea of taking Gavin to the Science Center was to expose him to science. Encouraging a child’s natural curiosity is an important part of fostering a life long interest in learning. Most of the time, he was generally only interested in pushing the buttons which would reward him with some sort of activity.

Science Center
Gavin learns about motion - inertia and momentum.

He was most interested in a rather large contraption which taught about inertia and momentum. By spinning a wheel, you could move a ball along a series of pulley systems, after which its momentum would carry it on. Unfortunately, the only two balls in the system fell onto the floor and we weren’t allowed to go in to pick them up so that was the end of that lesson. Not that Gavin didn’t try to. Luckily, I was just in time to stop him from scrambling underneath the wire cage commando-style.

Science Center
Gavin learns about the primary colours of light.
Science Center
Gavin learns about gears.
Science Center
Gavin learns about air streams.
Science Center
"I wonder what this does?"
Science Center
A walk through the spider's parlour.

Outside the exhibits, there was a spider enclosure that taught about all the different species of spiders. The spider tunnels lead out to a large area of puzzles…

Science Center
"Wow... I look funny."

…and a funny mirror which distorted appearances. For the large part, I think Gavin seemed more interested in examining his Thomas outfit than the fact that his image had been distorted.

Science Center
The Healthy Food Pyramid.

There is an area specifically for children age 2-6 set up classroom-style. From the looks of it, I think they run children’s programs and activities for schools. When we were there, there was a group of students from a kindergarten on excursion.

Science Center
The Under 6 children's classroom.

Inside the enchanted forest, there are magic button mushrooms for children to sit on while they work their way through the various activities and puzzles.

Science Center
Learning about music.
Science Center
Practicing finger dexterity.
Science Center
Learning about gears.
Science Center
Working out puzzles.
Science Center
Learning about bouyancy.

There is a submarine enclosure that teaches about bouyancy and how a submarine works. They have a periscope you can look through.

Science Center
More about bouyancy.
Science Center
Piloting a submarine.

There is also a game where you pilot a submarine through the water to tag different species of marine life.

Science Center
The 2-4 year old play land.

The Science Center also has a designated area for children aged 2-4 years, although the place looks like a tornado had hit it. It has a small jungle gym, a ball pit, lots of foam mats, and lots of giant puzzles for little hands.

Science Center
The ball slide.
Science Center
Going up Gordon's Hill.

There is a long ramp that leads up to the second level which Gavin kept calling “Gordon’s Hill” – a place on the Island of Sodor from Thomas and Friends.

The exhibits on the second level were about machines, computers, buildings – all things man-made – and the future.

Science Center
Maneuvring a robot's arm - which is a lot harder than it looks.

We spent nearly two hours in the Science Center just working our way through the exhibits on the ground floor.

What’s the purpose of taking a toddler to the Science Center when clearly the subject matter is far beyond him?  Well, for one, it’s fun.  The whole idea of an excursion is to engage all his senses.  Okay, so we didn’t really smell or taste anything, but he gets to see and do things we don’t normally do and that’s what learning is all about – having lots of different experiences.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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