At Home Activities

If it's not possible to visit us, we've still got activities you can do at home! Check out our videos from the fabulous Lauren Learns History and try out the crafts.

Make a Burst Pipe Cracker!

Did you know, Christmas Crackers were created in 1846 by Thomas Smith, a British confectioner that was inspired by bon-bon wrappings he saw on a trip to Paris?

Our freelancer Lauren and the Story Box has been getting crafty again for our family Saturdays online. Check out our video and find out how to make your very own Burst Waterpipe Christmas Cracker!

What you’ll need:

  • Tissue Paper – dark blue and light blue
  • Card Roll – from kitchen toll or loo roll.
  • Glue.
  • Scissors.
  • String.


  1. Cut your card roll into three equal sections
  2. Lay out your dark blue tissue paper, cut so that it’s wide enough for all three tubes to be layed out in a row with a 3cm gap between each one, and long enough to wrap around the card rolls at least once.
  3. Glue your card roll sections to one end of your tissue paper, leaving a 3 cm gap between them,
  4. Thread your light blue tissue paper into your rolls. Half of it should line up with one end of your craker, and half line up with the other end of your cracker. When your cracker is pulled, this will be the water bursting out the pipe.
  5. Add your cracker snap if you have one. If not don’t worry, your cracker just won’t make a noise! Place it in the middle of your roll, running through all three sections
  6. Add your prize into the middle section.
  7. Add a little glue along the opposite side of your tissue paper and roll it around your card.
  8. Twist the two outer sections and secure it with string!

    That’s it, all finished! You can make several so that you have a whole set for Christmas Day

Make a Moving Locomotive!

Did you know, the museum has it’s very own train track that was used for transporting coal? ??

What you’ll need:

  • 2 paper cups.
  • Scissors.
  • Pen.
  • Felt Tips.


  1. Draw a line around the bottom of your first cup.
  2. Draw your locomotive on the line.
  3. Cut around your line and locomotive to complete your foreground.
  4. Use your foreground to mark the height and draw a matching line on your second cup.
  5. Draw your background above the line on your second cup. We’ve drawn the museum but you can choose anywhere you like.
  6. Colour in your foreground and background.
  7. Place your background cup inside your foreground cup.
  8. You’re ready to go! Hold your foreground whilst turning your background to see your locomotive moving round!

    That’s your moving locomotive finished. ??

Make an Engine Driver Hat!

Did you know, our collection includes a steam locomotive that was built by volunteers? ??

Our freelancer Lauren and the Story Box has been getting crafty again for our family Saturdays online. Check out our reel and find out how to make your very Engine Driver Hat! ?✂?

What you’ll need:

  • 2 or 3 Sheets of A4 Card.
  • Scissors.
  • Pen.
  • Colouring pencils.
  • Glue.


  1. Draw two lines, equidistant from the two long edges of your card. Add tabs spaced along the inner edge of each line and cut them out.
  2. Glue the two strips together on one short edge so that the tabs are all on the same side. Wrap it round your head and mark where they meet then use this marker to glue the other short edges together. This will create a circular hat rim.
  3. Use your hat rim to draw a circle on your second piece of card and cut it out.
  4. Use the tabs on the rim to glue your hat rim and the circle together. You should now have a hat without a peak.
  5. Use your hat to draw a curve on your card. This will form the inside edge of your hat’s peak.
  6. Draw a bigger curve connected to the inside edge of your peak at both ends. This will create the outside edge of your hat peak.
  7. Draw some tabs on the inside edge of your hat peak and cut the whole thing out.
  8. Glue your peak on the rim of your hat.

That’s your hat finished. Time to get creative and decorate your hat however you like! ??

Make a Thaumatrope!

Did you know, the Thaumatrope was a popular optical illusion toy in the 19th century?

Our freelancer Lauren and the Story Box has been getting crafty in the first of our family Saturdays online. Check out our video and find out how to make your very own steam engine thaumatrope

What you’ll need:

  • Hole punch
  • Something round (a cup or mug works well!)
  • Card
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Colouring pencils
  • String


  1. Using your card, draw around your round object to make a circle and cut it out
  2. Draw the body of your steam engine, one big rectangle, one medium sized rectangle and one small rectangle.
  3. Add three wheels, a funnel and steam then add the detail (Why not take a look at our website, link in bio for inspiration)
  4. Flip your card over so that your steam engine is upside down, face down
  5. Draw your engine driver directly where your large rectangle sits on the other side
  6. Hole punch horizontally both sides of the card and attach the string
  7. Spin your thaumatrope using the string and see your engine driver appear within the engine!