Pond-Dipping & Bug Hunts

Consolidate learning on adaptation, food chains, life cycles, interdependence and sustainable development by searching for animals in our large ponds, hedgerows and log piles. Use observational skills to develop scientific enquiry, ask questions and set up real investigations. Use our microscopes, tanks and other equipment to devise experiments to discover more about animal behaviour or test a hypothesis.

Group size: 6-12
Time: 1hr +
Cost: Free


Wood is good! Trees provide an endless source of investigation all year round and Kench Hill has a wide variety of species. Develop scientific skills through close observation, study variation, classification, seed dispersal and reproduction. Investigate how trees affect the environment. Make maths fun by measuring height and girth, or estimate age and number of leaves. Make rubbings, or use Autumn leaves for spectacular results in environmental art. Visit local woods to compare broadleaved and coniferous trees and discover a world of woodland creatures from badgers to beetles.

Group size: 6-12
Time: 1 hr +
Cost: Free (minibus trips extra)

Wonderful Wool

Wool is a versatile material with interesting properties to explore – and we have a plentiful supply from our local sheep. A variety of investigations are possible to run alongside craft activities (See Natural dyeing etc.) Test the efficacy of different detergents by how well they wash wool, using proper scientific methods of fair testing etc. Compare and predict the results of using a variety of dyes to colour the washed wool. Test its strength, stretchability and insulating properties…

Group size: 12
Time: 1 hr
Cost: Free

Go Batty!

We DO have bats in the belfry at Kench Hill! When the sun goes down the bats come out in search of prey. What do they eat? Where do they live? How do they communicate? Take a night walk round the Centre and watch these fascinating mammals perform an acrobatic display in search of dinner. Use a bat detector to hear them echolocate. Learn about life cycles, interdependence and food chains. April-October only

Group size: Any
Time: 1 hr at dusk – times vary
Cost: Free


Take advantage of the frequent clear, dark skies, using the naked eye and binoculars to observe a galaxy of glittering stars rarely seen in the light-polluted city. Spot the Milky Way over head, observe the passage of the moon and lengthening of the shadows. Be astounded with wonder at the vastness of Space. Can be combined with a bat walk in summer or a night walk at all times…

Group size: Any
Time: 30 mins +
Cost: Free

Meet The Animals And Chicken-Feeding

We use our pet guinea pigs for an in-depth biology lesson, where children can handle the living animal correctly and gain confidence whilst learning about food chains, life cycles and life processes. Perfect introduction to animal biology before a trip to the Rare Breeds Centre. The daily feeding of Kench Hill’s poultry is a popular morning ritual, teaching care and respect for living things, as well as a demonstration of recycling!

Group size: Max 10
Time: 8.30am daily for chicken-feeding
Cost: Free


Kench Hill is an ideal location to set up additional scientific investigations based on real questions, which can be studied over the whole week. Devise experiments stimulated by enquiry from other activities. We constantly endeavour to devise new and exciting seasonal activities suitable for small groups.

We can try to tailor a programme to support your classroom planning, but a few suggestions are given below:

  • Bread-making could lead to further work on yeast and micro-organisms, including exploration of our compost heaps.
  • Clay play naturally leads to investigation comparing properties of different soils and rocks
  • Cold weather provides a heap of resources to explore the properties of water as it freezes, using snow and ice, measuring temperature, shapes, patterns. How do fish survive in a frozen pond?
  • Use the bird feeding tables to test food preferences of our garden birds. Toast or cornflakes?
  • Days of healthy exercise could stimulate an investigation into human biology – pulse rates etc.