Home education

The Horniman offers a dedicated programme of object handling and outdoor workshops for home educated learners and their families.

Home education and the Horniman

If you would like to join our home educators’ mailing list, please email schools@horniman.ac.uk

Upcoming Workshops and Events

Please note, only one adult per child may attend.

Workshop: Seeds, Plants and People

Date and time: 11 January, 2pm—3pm

Tickets: £3 per child

Tickets will be released two weeks before the workshop.

Age: 8—13

Topic: Science and Anthropology

Discover how seeds are dispersed, why people need plants and how plants are used by peoples around the world.

Observe real seeds and find out how they are dispersed; explore a variety of plants and their uses; learn about cultures by discovering plant based artefacts from around the world.

Workshop: Toys and Puppets around the World

Date and time: 18 January, 10.30am—11.30am

Tickets: £3 per child

Tickets will be released two weeks before the workshop.

Age: 5—7

Topic: Design and Technology

Play with amazing toys and puppets from around the world. Explore the mechanisms, materials, and uses of toys: from a Zimbabwean push-along drummer, to a Russian pendulum toy, to Guatemalan worry dolls, and use Indian Kathputli puppets to tell stories.

Workshop: Art Portfolio

Date and time: 10 February, 1pm—2pm

Tickets: £3 per child

Tickets will be released two weeks before the workshop.

Age: 13—17

Topic: Art

With over 3,000 objects in our unique Handling Collection, our Learning Officers will select a variety of artefacts for you to sketch and photograph.

From traditional art and textiles from around the world to natural forms, it is a fantastic opportunity to develop still life sketching skills and form ideas and concepts around own work. You will have the chance to reposition and arrange objects, explore new textures and forms and get inspired by the stories behind them.

Workshop: Musical Instruments around the World

Date and time: 21 April, 10.30am—11.30am

Tickets: £3 per child

Tickets will be released two weeks before the workshop.

Age: 5—7

Topic: Music

Explore the sounds from around the world in this interactive hands-on session. Play a talking drum from Ghana and learn how to change its pitch, feel the air vibrate inside a Turkish doumbek, and explore world instruments made of unusual and recycled materials. As part of the session, you will have exclusive access to the Hands On Music Space which features a wide range of world instruments.

Workshop: Ancient Benin Kingdom

Date and time: 29 April, 1pm—2pm

Tickets: £3 per child

Tickets will be released two weeks before the workshop.

Age: 8—13

Topic: History

Learn about the culture, beliefs and achievements of this ancient African Kingdom as you handle replica artefacts made especially for the Horniman in modern day Benin City.

Uncover the stories behind brass plaques by carefully decoding the symbols and clues within them; discover how the Oba used objects to show his power; and see the stages of the incredible Lost Wax Process.

Workshop: Rhythms of the World

Date and time: 14 June, 1pm—2pm

Tickets: £3 per child

Tickets will be released two weeks before the workshop.

Age: 13—17

Topic: Music

Go on a journey around the world as you explore the science of sound whilst playing traditional instruments from West Africa, northern India and Trinidad in this exciting hands-on workshop.

Discover why squeezing the strings of a West African talking drum changes its pitch; learn to speak and play Indian bols on traditional drums; and consider why some Trinidadian instruments are made of unusual materials.

Home Education Day: People and Nature

Date: 19 May

Tickets: Tickets will be released two weeks before the event.

Come and join us for a day of workshops, explore indigenous peoples’ traditional ways of life, discover wonders of the natural world, discuss human impact on nature and solutions for positive change.

KS1 Workshops

Workshop: Arctic Adventure

Time: 11am—12pm

Age:  5—7

Topic: Geography

Travel on an exciting, imaginary journey to the Arctic in this interactive hands-on session. Discover some amazing Arctic animals as you touch a real orca tooth and reindeer fur, and learn how their bodies help them to survive in their cold habitat. Learn about traditional Inuit life, from their homes to their clothing, and discover how they use natural resources to survive.

Workshop: Minibeast Hunt

Time: 12pm—1pm

Age:  5—7

Topic: Science

Discover the world of minibeasts. Find out what minibeasts are, explore our gardens to investigate minibeast habitats, and observe minibeast features and behaviours.

Please note: This is an outdoor session. In the event of adverse weather, an alternative indoor session will run.

Workshop: Animals and Habitats

Time: 12.30pm—1.30pm

Age:  5—7

Topic: Science

How have animals adapted to their homes? Discover for yourself as you get hands on with taxidermy animals from different habitats. Identify animals, examine their features and think about some of the challenges these creatures face in our changing world.

KS2 Workshops

Workshop: First Peoples North America

Time: 11am—12pm

Age:  8—13

Topic: Geography

Compare and contrast life for first North Americans from two different geographic regions: the Pacific North West Coast and the Great Plains.

Discover how the climate and resources of each region shaped life for two different tribes, the Haida (Pacific North West Coast) and Lakota (Great Plains). Handle objects from each region including a totem pole and beaded moccasins.

Workshop: Pond dipping on Nature Trail

Time: 12pm—1pm

Age:  8—13

Topic: Science

Step onto London’s oldest Nature Trail, explore the wild side of the Horniman Gardens and the animals that live there. Dip nets in the Horniman’s pond, use scientific equipment to collect animals and first-hand observation to learn more about them. Reconnect with nature and find out which animals live in a pond.

This session will run outdoors on the Horniman’s Nature Trail and will go ahead unless in the event of extreme weather. Please ensure you are dressed appropriately for the weather. In the event of extreme weather, the session will be replaced with an indoor session.

Workshop: Rainforest People and Animals

Time: 12.30pm—1.30pm

Age:  8—13

Topic: Geography and Anthropology

In this session, you will have the unique opportunity to handle beautiful objects crafted by the Wai- Wai; a group of people living in the Amazon Rainforest in Guyana. Learn about life in the Rainforest by exploring unfamiliar objects, guessing their function and exploring the natural resources used to make them.

Get up close to a taxidermy caiman, armadillo shell and snake skin along with other rainforest animals, and discover how their amazingly adapted bodies help them survive.

KS3 Workshops

Workshop: Meet our Curator

Time: 1.30pm—2.30pm

Age:  13—17

Explore evolution, extinction, human impact and conservation with our Senior Curator of Natural Sciences Dr Nicholls.

You will have a unique opportunity to learn directly from an expert and ask questions about our natural history collection.

Workshop: Extreme Environments

Time: 2pm—3pm

Age:  13—17

Topic: Geography

This session challenges you to think about extreme environments and survival. Pupils are presented with mystery objects to think about how people use natural resources to survive.

This session focuses on Arctic and Rainforest peoples and explores their lives, the objects they make and use, and the challenges they face today.

Use our learning resources

Use our learning resources and collections to explore a range of fascinating topics, from ancient history to habitats, to musical instruments.

Our resources can also be used flexibly, so can create your own activities, projects and learning materials too.

There are lots of ways you can use the resources and collection:

  • Encourage independent research: select three objects to explore in detail and create a fact file.
  • Download the pictures and text to create and give a presentation on your chosen topic.
  • Develop investigation and deduction skills by identifying ‘mystery’ objects.
  • Create a sketchbook of your favourite Museum objects.
  • Curate a mini-museum in a box. Print, draw or sculpt objects from the Horniman’s collection, research and write information labels, then design your own museum trail.

Home learning challenges

Arctic adaptations

Explore Arctic adaptations with Lucy and Shayna. How do animals and people survive in the extreme Arctic environment? Try some of the challenges at home.

This resource is suitable for children aged 5-11 years and covers:

  • Science;
  • Geography;
  • Literacy;
  • Design and Technology.

Become a curator

Why do objects mean so much to the people that collect them? Explore the reasons why museums collect objects with Shayna and Lucy, and curate your own cabinet of wonders.

This resource is most suitable for children aged 7-13 years and covers:

  • Literacy;
  • Language;
  • Problem-solving;
  • Design and Technology.

Explore more

Let’s talk toys

Explore the mechanisms, materials and significance of toys from around the world with Lucy and Shayna.

This resource and activities are most suitable for children aged 5-7 years and covers:

  • Science;
  • Geography;
  • Design and Technology.

Ancient Benin

Join Lucy as she talks about this replica of a brass plaque made in ancient Benin. Learn about the symbolism of these objects and the stories they tell.

This resource and activities are most suitable for children aged 7-12 years and covers:

  • History;
  • Literacy;
  • Art and Design.
Learn about the Lost Wax process, and consider the modern history of the Benin Bronzes

Turtle trouble

Join Shayna as she talks us through challenges around our oceans, plastics and the creatures, like turtles, who may eat them by accident.

This is most suitable for children aged 7-11 years and covers:

  • Science;
  • Environment;
  • Design and Technology.

Explore more