I never thought that I would be taking my daughter to University so soon, but this weekend, I took Heidi to the University of Leeds “Be Curious” event, celebrating British Science Week.
Heidi is extremely fond of all things to do with the human body, with particular obsessions being X-rays and pretending to be a doctor (with proper stethoscope!) and so this event seemed like an interesting one for us, especially with parts being marketed for families (although not 2 year olds particularly!)
Part of the attraction of the event was to show Heidi what a campus looked like and tell her the story of my graduation through the University of Leeds (2005 – Accounting and Finance, in case you were wondering!) and actually reminisce myself!
First impressions was that the campus had changed/modernised quite a bit and the new, funky multi-story car park was the first port of call (with free parking for the event – such a bonus!) and we headed into the Parkinson Building to be greeted with about 10 stands in the main hall, as well as a couple of breakout rooms upstairs. It was busier than what I thought, but not manic and there were lots of fresh faced volunteers willing to help out.
We picked and chose our stands carefully, trying to make sure that there was going to be something relevant for Heidi. We picked up a snakes and ladders game (to be opened on a rainy day), played a matching game with odd socks and then a mock up of a spine was explained to Heidi by a very understanding member of staff.
We then went upstairs to the family room, where there was the colouring competition (I won’t hold out much hope!) and the medical equipment, which really excited Heidi. There was a real-life one-to-one demonstration of an ultrasound probe being used on a heart – this really fascinated Heidi given her obsession with all heart related things and seeing the movements of the heart was amazing to her. She also saw MRI images of the skull and the heart and this was equally amazing for her (and me) and the fact that she could make out certain aspects of the image was heart warming (forgive the pun!)
All of the staff were really friendly (and obviously knowledgeable!) and didn’t seem to feel uncomfortable explaining things to a 2 year old, even though I imagine that it was quite strange for them!
We then made our way downstairs to see the rest of the stands, including tasting food made with Medieval recipes (wasn’t the best!) and look at kinetic energy powering lights.
The main attraction was the 15 seater planetarium which was showing a video about cells. Unfortunately, Heidi freaked out about being in an enclosed space (and was probably tired) and so we escaped about 2 minutes to allow everyone else to enjoy the film in peace and quiet!
There were bits that we didn’t do because Heidi was too young (looking at cells through microscopes, looking at insects using microscopes and having a 3D camera take a picture of your face) but as these looked really quite cool, I hope that they will be there in a couple of years when Heidi is a bit older!
Obviously, with the event being in a University, there isn’t the changing facilities on hand and maybe some temporary arrangements could be made, certainly if younger children are attending with older siblings etc.
All in all, it was a lovely couple of hours stretching Heidi’s imagination and knowledge, whilst also going down memory lane! Hope the event is on again next year!