The winter school holidays are currently underway for most South African children, and for parents that likely means they’ve been sitting in front of the TV over the past few weeks.

With the holidays coming to an end on 9th July for public schools and 16th July for private ones, it may be worthwhile getting your kids out of the house and experiencing something a bit more engaging.

To that end there are so many fun and educational options available locally for kids during the winter holidays, with some having tailor-made programmes.

We’re taking a look at five places that are focused on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum in particular, in order to get your kids’ minds re-focused on the rest of the academic year, as well as potentially exposing them to something new.

TechnoLab

TechnoLab is based inside the University of Johannesburg (UJ) at the Kingsway campus in Auckland Park. It caters for school groups and home schooling groups, and feature a number of networks that are customised according to the specific needs of a group.

This would be great option for a larger numbers wanting to take a trip, where you could take your children to learn different modules of the curriculum. There’s also a workshop where children can build and program their own robot.

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is located in Newtown, Johannesburg and has a tailor-made programme (PDF) for these school holidays.

It has more than 350 interactive science exhibits for learners from Grade 1 to 12. For these holidays they have activities which include the science behind Mendeleev’s Periodic Table, the Elements and the 4th Industrial Revolution under the theme of Elements of Wonder.

Some of the programmes are free, while some you will need to pay a certain fee for your child to access them.  

Nutty Scientist

Nutty Scientist has tailored camps for children from age 3 to 16 years. The camp’s duration vary with the topics discussed. It has more than 120 workshops which introduce children to Science, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

Their programmes (PDF) are delivered as interactive performances in a workshop or show format. The topics include The Scientist in Me, Earth and Science Beyond as well as Newton’s Laws.

You will need to register your child on their website for them to attend these camps. 

KZN Natural Science Museum

For those who live in the East Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, we recommend the KZN Natural Science Museum for your kids these holidays. The museum has Entomology Department, Ornithology Department and Mammalogy Department for kids to explore and learn.

They also have a night at the museum event which is done once a year for children from the ages of 7 to 12 years. 

Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome

If you reside in Cape Town, it’s a great time to take your children to the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome. Although there is an entrance fee to the shows, the Planetarium is a smart choice as they also feature programmes tailored for the school holidays, such as Polaris, Mayan Archeoastronomy and the Dark Universe.

The Planetarium also has an animation and 360-degree cinema, where children can experience virtual voyages in space too.

Idea Online

Should you be unable to take their children to any of the places that are mentioned above, we recommend an option where your children can gain learning while they are at home in front of their desktops with Idea Online.

Not only does Idea Online have programmes for pupils from Grade 4 to 12, they also feature programmes for parents and teachers. Their content focuses on the country’s STEM curriculum, which is especially helpful for parents wanting to give their kids some added materials to look at. 

[Image – Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash]