Our 5 year old has been asking a lot of questions lately, including “how do people stay on the Earth if it’s round”. Him and Mr C had a good chat and looked at some YouTube videos, but he still asked more. We are fortunate in that we live within a reasonable driving distance of Isaacs Newton’s family home, Woolsthorpe Manor. It is a National Trust property, and we paid for a year’s membership a while back so it didn’t cost us anything apart from the diesel money to make this trip, something of a relief in January!
I did a bit of research before we went and we planned our visit for this afternoon, knowing the weather wasn’t expected to be great but that a lot of the things we wanted to see were indoors. Mr C has changed his working pattern slightly which means he has a regular weekend off, fantastic for more family days out. We set off and I discovered I had no phone reception, and no atlas in the car so we weren’t 100% sure of the directions. We went for the ‘winging it’ approach, and luckily I had remembered the approximate directions!
When we arrived we discovered that it was only possible to go in the house itself though a guided tour during the winter. They were all fully booked, but there was plenty for us to see on the site itself. (Also, the thought of taking both children on a tour with other people who might actually want to listen to the guide rather than to my son asking where they did their poo etc. was terrifying. Think ‘sitting in a bath full of spiders’ level of horror. Completely out of the question.)
The first stop was the famous apple tree, where he pondered the laws of gravity
We then headed up past the manor itself and into the outbuildings, which housed a discovery centre. I was so impressed with the range of investigations based on gravity and light, and the staff were really helpful. We spent ages in there, revisiting our favourites over and over. My son learned a bit about gravity and a lot more about light in there, and my daughter could have looked at herself in the wobbly mirrors all day! We all had a great time with the experiments, and it gave us lots of opportunity to discuss our son’s questions.
After that it was not long before closing time, but we jist had time to watch the video in the film room about Isaac Newton’s life. It was quite informative and not too long for small, fidgety people, which meant Mr C and I got I watch it properly too.
We will definitely be returning in the summer when the Manor is open on a more free flow basis. I can see lots of investigations at home coming up as a result of our time there too! Our budding scientist said he enjoyed it as well. (Maybe next time I will remember to take a photo of the Manor house itself too!)