Ladybird Tuesday: Magnets, Bulbs and Batteries


There's absolutely no doubt that I was something of a geeky child. I had a chemistry set and also a selection of batteries, bulbs and electric wires. I also had a magnet set that I loved so much that when I saw the same one for sale on eBay last year (in new condition) I bought it instantly to put away for Little Miss C and her, then still a bump, baby brother. It's no wonder that I went on to study physics and chemistry at A-Level and engineering at university.

I would have loved the Ladybird Junior Science Book Magnets, Bulbs and Batteries – in fact some of the projects look so familiar that I am actually wondering if I did own a copy when I was younger, or if not it must have been a very similar book. The Junior Science series (series 621) contained just 4 titles (Magnets, Bulbs and Batteries, Light, Mirrors and Lenses, Air, Wind and Flight and Levers, Pulleys and Engines) but all were written to guide children from the fundamental scientific principles through to experiments to encourage independent thinking and understanding.


It's funny how you can be suddenly reminded of something from childhood that you had completely forgotten about until now. I recall sitting in my parents "conservatory" (where it was always freezing cold) with an old plastic tray full of water and two little boats made from pieces of cork with magnets attached to the bottom, much like these seen in the picture above. Seeing magnets moving something without being in physical contact for the first time was quite magical, if a bit difficult at first to get my head around.


As with so many Ladybird books, some of the projects do give away the era in which they came from. I can't see many children of today choosing to make signals for their model railway, but in the days when children did not have as many toys as they do today this would have been the only way for many children to extend their train sets.


Inside the front cover of the book is a list of equipment needed for the experiments in the book with the words "you will probably have most of them". Once again I'm unsure how many houses in the year 2013 would have iron filings or copper sulphate crystals hanging around. I'm also not sure how easy they would be to buy without the use of the Internet! Maybe I should start building up a home science kit now so that I can work through all these experiements with the children once they're a bit older.

If you have a collection of old Ladybird books then please feel free to join in with Ladybird Tuesday. There are no formal rules to follow, just leave a link to any post you write in the comments below and if you're feeling kind link back to my Ladybird Tuesday category here on Being Mrs C. Thanks!


  1. says

    Im beginning to think I might need to create a master list of all these that we are writing about – there are some absolute gems! :-)

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