Family Fun Day: Imaginative inventions

Arrive any time between 11.00am and 4.00pm, Sunday 15 May

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • 'BUILD YOUR OWN TELEVISION RECEIVER.' Science and Invention magazine cover, November 1928

    Credit: Public domain


Standard £14

3 – 18 year olds £7

Discounts for Ri Members and Ri Young Members

Event description

From the ancient Greeks to the modern day, inventions have shaped the way society has grown and the world has progressed, with many of these important developments invented right here at the Ri. Hear from Adam Hart-Davis, get hands-on, see demos, and explore the amazing inventions that have shaped our modern world.


Adam Hart-Davis: Why do experiments?
11.30am, 1.15pm,

From Galileo to Faraday, great scientists have done experiments to test their ideas. Isaac Newton bought a prism at a fair and used it to investigate the colours of the rainbow. On the Moon, David Scott dropped a hammer and a feather at the same time. Adam Hart-Davis will talk about Galileo, Faraday, and other scientists, and demonstrate a range of their experiments.

Anna Ploszajski: Resonating inventions 
12.15am, 2.00pm, 3.30pm

Resonance is all around us in the world - it's what makes many musical instruments work, and it's even how you can push your friend high on a swing. If one object that's vibrating transfers those vibrations to another object at just the right frequency, the second object will vibrate even more – that’s resonance. Just like when you push your friend on the swing at just the right time and make them go higher and higher. Join Anna Ploszajski to discover how resonance is key to a wide range of exciting inventions, from keeping time to contactless payments, microwave ovens to even making music with flames!

Resonating inventions 

Hands-on activities and demos

Learn about important inventions from right here in the Ri, like Dewar flasks and the electric motor. Take a trip back in time, learning about Hero’s engine, ancient cryptography or the Japanese abacus. Finally, find out about more modern inventions, like how to make an electric circuit with playdoh or even how to use fruit as batteries! Joining us on the day with also be the Royal Veterinary College and UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

Pick up a guide when you arrive to make sure you visit all that is on offer. 


How to make a vacuum cleaner

have a go at building this 100+ year old invention. Working in pairs, you will design and build a small battery powered vacuum cleaner, learning about how they work along the way. Suitable for ages 10 and up; younger children should be accompanied by an adult. 

30 minute workshops, at 11.15am, 12.00pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm, sign up on the day.

Please note

All children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a ticket-holding adult.

We advise booking tickets in advance because we have been known to sell out up to a week before the event.

We will have a small film crew from the Xinhua News Agency representing a Chinese English language TV station filming a short piece about the event between 11 and 12. This crew will be supervised by an Ri member of staff at all times and close-up filming or interviews will only take place after the Ri member of staff has spoken to the parent to check they are happy to go ahead. If you would prefer your child was not filmed at any point, please could you take a coloured sticker from reception when you arrive so we can identify those children who should not be in shot at any time.   

Become a member

Benefit from free and better than half-price tickets, special offers and access to the CHRISTMAS LECTURES ticket ballot.

Join todayGo

Upcoming Events

View all events