The Science Museum is well known for its child-family galleries, packed with interactive, push-button fun. Great if you've got a curious 7- or 8-year-old, but what does it offer to slightly smaller children (and their parents)? Rather a lot, it turns out.
Head for the basement. It's part of the museum that often eludes visitors, with no grand staircase, nor Instagram-baiting exhibits.
Even so, adults may have found themselves down there admiring the charmingly old-school Secret Life of the Home gallery, or else grabbing a coffee at one of the quieter cafes. But the basement also contains The Garden, a purpose-built playspace for kids.
The sign on the door says age 3-6. In truth, there's plenty in here for slightly younger kids, too. Our two-year-old spent a good half hour wrangling the giant lego and rearranging traffic cones (because, apparently, she's Chase, off of Paw Patrol).
For those more confident with the rough-and-tumble of child's play, there's plenty of climbing apparatus and wall-mounted interactives.
The highlight is a chain of troughs with running water. That doesn't sound much, but the kids love it. Armed with toy boats and a splash-proof vest, they learn about water flow, sinking, floating, lock gates, and how to share resources. She could only reach the lower shallows, but our two-year-old was fixated.
Back on the ground floor, within the rear-most Wellcome wing, a second play area awaits. The Pattern Pod is a bit more sophisticated, with electronic projections, sound effects and motion sensors. It was all a bit much for our toddler, but kids of 4-8 will love it.
The Science Museum's play spaces are totally free to enter, with no booking.