Playing With Science is an exhibition about toys. At the Science Museum we love toys as much as you do. We have loads in our collections – from Victorian parlour tricks to Barbie dolls and robots.
Mind-boggling puzzles, decorative patterns and 3D illusions are just some of the ways science can be entertaining. Magnets, electricity and light can all produce astonishing effects.
Whether they are Victorian parlour tricks or 'executive' desk toys, often the best fun with novelties and gizmos is guessing how they work.
Not just fun and games
Most toys and games are just for fun, but some have other uses too.
Psychologists can test children's physical, intellectual and emotional development by watching how they play. Toys and games are also used to educate and inform both children and adults, sometimes in an attempt to influence their behaviour.
Building your own world
Construction toys let children create their own buildings, vehicles and machines.
Toys like this have been around for nearly two hundred years and can be found all over the world, in many different designs.
They let children learn about the principles of machines and structures and often claim to turn them into young engineers or architects.
Toys in a changing world
When children play they create their own worlds, but their toys also reflect the adult world around them.
The Science Museum collects toys for many different reasons, including the materials they are made of, the exciting new technologies they use, and the stories they can tell about the changing societies we live in.
Science at home
For centuries, children and adults have experimented with science in their living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and gardens.
Whether you're gazing up at the stars or down onto microscopic worlds, playing 'doctors and nurses' or accidentally spilling acid on your mum's new carpet, you can always make exciting new discoveries.