Fireworks, Robots and Diagon Alley

Our Children’s University programme, which aims to provide children in disadvantaged areas with experiences which link real life and learning, has been as busy as ever putting on some free family events at a range of locations across York.

Back by popular demand, CU in the City returned last month just six months after its launch. Aimed at providing engaging activities for children aged 7-11 and their families, it did not disappoint.

There was a huge variety of events on offer, ranging from a workshop in which children learnt about space and the universe, to a session which involved demonstrations of dancing robots… Need we say more as to why this programme of events was so successful with local children and parents alike?

The second-ever CU in the City programme attracted over 200 people and encompassed four free family events, which took place between 24 and 26 September.

In ‘Making magic in the movies’, participants discovered how film producers can create an entire world on screen, and saw the transformation of  our very own York Shambles into the mystical, wonderful Diagon Alley of Harry Potter fame. The highlight of this event was having the opportunity to use a green screen to transport children into a scene from Harry Potter. Put quite simply by one pupil at Carr Junior School, the event was “Brill!”

There was also a chance to learn about the science behind fireworks. In ‘Colourful Chemistry’, children discovered what makes the colours and bangs in fireworks… but we’ll leave it to them to explain that one to you!

Families also had the opportunity to learn about space in an event quite chillingly entitled, ‘In space no-one can hear you scream!’ They considered what happens to the human body in space and why we can’t breathe there. The children also saw demonstrations with liquid nitrogen and exploding marshmallows, and even had the opportunity to try on astronaut suits.

The sessions certainly engaged children and made learning fun, with one grandparent commenting: “It’s great to hear that the event is to be held again next year, will make a note in my diary, it was a very hands on experience for children and my grandson had loads of fun”.

The session hosts themselves, many of them lecturers and academics at the University of York, were inspiring and informative. Perhaps most importantly the topics that the events covered meant that the sessions managed to appeal across the age spectrum to both children and adults alike. CU in the City will be back in February so watch this space.