ExpeRimental visits young patients at Barts Health NHS Trust

The Ri's ExpeRimental team visited The Royal London Children's Hospital in Whitechapel to run fun science workshops for young patients, their families and staff.

  • Ready, aim, fire! Maddison launches a homemade rubber band cannon from her bed.

    Credit: Royal Institution
  • Sean gets ready to pop a giant bubble!

    Sean gets ready to pop a giant bubble!

    Credit: Royal Institution
  • Alom Shaha (l) and Abdur Rahmun (r) analyse trajectory.

    Alom Shaha (l) and Abdur Rahmun (r) analyse trajectory.

    Credit: Royal Institution


On Tuesday 12 August 2014 the Royal Institution's ExpeRimental team transformed The Royal London Children’s Hospital, part of Barts Health NHS Trust, into a fun laboratory with a day of exciting hands-on science workshops for young patients, their families and staff.

Over the course of the day Ri staff ran a variety of activities such as giant bubbles, rubber band cannon battles, singing wine glass orchestras, and balloon car races to help bring to life key scientific concepts. Activities took place in the hospital’s play area, the roof garden and at the bedsides of those young patients who are unable to leave their ward.

The workshops form part of our flagship new film project, ExpeRimental, which aims to kick-start a revolution in science learning by supporting and empowering parents to do exciting and easy science activities at home with young children.

10 free to watch ExpeRimental films and accompanying materials are being released one per week throughout the UK school holidays at www.rigb.org/experimental.

Tara Shea, Team Leader in the Play Department at The Royal London Hospital, run by Barts Health NHS Trust, explained why the Experimental workshops are so important: “We know that children who feel settled when in hospital recover more quickly and have a better experience. Play is a fantastic way to encourage our young patients to adapt to being away from home - helping them to meet other children, get to know our staff and explore and become familiar with the children’s hospital.

“It is vital that a child’s education doesn’t come to a standstill simply because they are poorly. Many of our children face long periods of absence from education and we work with children, their parents and their school to ensure that, when they are well enough, children have the opportunity to continue to learn as well as stay in touch with their school friends.

“I am delighted that by working with the Ri we are able to bring these creative and affordable activities to our children and their families and smooth the transition from hospital back to school.”

  • Nasreen and her beautiful balancing sculpture.

    Nasreen and her beautiful balancing sculpture.

    Credit: Royal Institution

  • Temilade tries her hand at singing wine glasses

    Credit: Royal Institution

  • Maddison takes aim!

    Credit: Royal Institution

  • William and his mum concentrating on their balancing sculpture.

    Credit: Royal Institution

  • Entranced by bubbles.

    Credit: Royal Institution

  • Chloe, her dad and their balancing sculpture.

    Credit: Royal Institution

Dr Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education at the Ri, said: “For 200 years the Royal Institution’s mission has been to encourage people to think more deeply about the wonders and applications of science.

“With ExpeRimental, our ultimate goal is to help parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, health workers, foster parents and childcare professionals to spark the natural curiosity of children at an early age and to set them on a lifelong course of scientific exploration and investigation.

“We want ExpeRimental to be accessible to all families and young children and so we are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with The Royal London Hospital’s fantastic play team and to bring our activities to their young patients, staff and families.

She added: “Supporting families to do science is hugely important. 84% of the UK public agree that science is such a big part of our lives that we should all take an interest, but only 41% of adults and 51% of 16-24 year olds feel informed about science. Only a third of parents feel confident in helping with their children’s homework.”

Physics teacher and filmmaker Alom Shaha who helped to develop ExpeRimental said: “We are keen to explore working with specialists and local organisations to raise awareness of the project in under-served communities, to recruit and train up new contributors, and to eventually create a library of films that meet the needs of families from different cultures, those where English is not the first language and those who have children with varying needs and abilities.

“This new partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust is a very important first step in helping us achieve these aims."

About Barts Health NHS Trust

With a turnover of £1.25 billion and a workforce of 14,000, Barts Health NHS Trust is the largest NHS trust in the country, and one of Britain’s leading healthcare providers. The trust’s six hospitals – St Bartholomew’s (Barts) Hospital in the City, The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, The London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green, Newham University Hospital in Plaistow, Mile End Hospital and Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone – deliver high quality compassionate care to the 2.5 million people of east London and beyond.

Find out more at www.bartshealth.nhs.uk and follow @NHSBartsHealth for the latest news.