Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Cheap days out with the kids

1. Go to the woods
Your local woods, especially those run by the Forestry Commission, can play host to a great day out. Try Alice Holt Forest - there's so much to do! You can walk, cycle, play or just have a picnic in these lovely woods. Experience life in the trees with Go Ape, take a relaxing break in the café and finish your visit with a quiet stroll in one of the more remote parts of the Forest.
If you don’t mind spending some money there is theatre in Alice Holt Forest as well. Chapterhouse Theatre Company will be there on Friday 14th August with an open-air production of the classic favourite, Cinderella. You're welcome to have a picnic in the performance area before the show. Kids are invited to come in fancy dress and the show starts at 5.30pm.
For more details http://www.forestry.gov.uk/aliceholt
Check out what your local forests are putting on by visiting http://www.forestry.gov.uk/

2. Go to the theatre

Kids Week - Children aged 5-16 years old can see over 28 dazzling shows for free, as long as they are accompanied by an adult paying full price.
As well as all the amazing shows on offer, Kids Week are sorting out a whole raft of free linked activities and workshops. Children can peek backstage, learn to dance, sing with the cast and enjoy exclusive post show Q & As
Hurry - booking for Kids Week is open for performances 14-28 August
For more details go to http://www.kidsweek.co.uk/

3. Go to a local park

Heaton Park in Manchester, a council-run park with a great Animal Centre, two dedicated children’s play areas that provide a range of activities for children aged from 3 years up to 14 years is a good example. There’s loads to do here, including tram rides, pitch and putt and rowing boats.

4. Go to the beach

The British weather is pretty miserable for some of us this summer, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the beach. Just accept it's going to be wet and grab some waterproofs and a picnic and head on down to your nearest beach for some fun and games.
When preparing a wet weather picnic, think about taking some warm food. Sausages and baked beans can be kept warm in wide mouth flasks and homemade soup with chunky bread always go down well. And of course don’t forget the trusty flask of hot chocolate.

5. Go to Covent Garden

‘The Kids Are Alright’ – two weeks of top entertainment and special offers for children of all ages, set in the historic surroundings of Covent Garden’s Piazza, runs from Monday 10th – Sunday 23rd August.
The Piazza becomes a kids’ playground, complete with sandpit, ball pit, face painters, balloon modellers, as well as juggling and plate-spinning workshops from Covent Garden’s very own street performers.
Meanwhile, budding chefs can get messily creative with icing and silver balls as they get stuck into cupcake decorating classes and chocolate making tutorials on food market days (Thursday 13th and Thursday 20th August).
For more details go to http://www.coventgardenlondonuk.com/kids-are-alright

6. Visit a museum

Most museums run a free entry scheme and can be a great day out. Have a look and see what your local museum has to offer.
For a fantastic free day out in York visit the award winning
North Yorkshire National Railway Museum, home to some of the world’s railway legends including Mallard, the world’s fastest steam locomotive, the iconic Japanese Bullet Train and the Chinese locomotive, one of the largest steam engines ever built in Britain and You can even learn how to control signals.
With daily demonstrations, loads of interactive exhibits, a special event programme and FREE museum admission, enjoy action-packed fun for the whole family.
For more details go to http://www.nrm.org.uk

7. Go stargazing

targazing makes a great trip out with the children and you'll be amazed how patient they can be. My own children used to spend hours waiting patiently to see a shooting star and August is the month to see shooting stars. During the Perseid showers in mid August you can usually guarantee to see comets and shooting stars and if you're lucky enough to live right up north you might get even a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis.
It's a fun night out and you could incorporate it into a nighttime barbecue with stories and campfire songs. Just make sure you dress warmly and take a blanket.
>>How to make a homemade barbecue for your campfire

8. Find out how television works at the BBC

The BBC run tours all over the country – what does your local television centre offer?
The CBBC Interactive Tour lets you have a go behind the scenes! You can visit the Blue Peter Garden, a dressing room, take a peek into some of the studios at Television Centre and then have your photo taken by the Prank Patrol Car. If you are ready to be challenged by the bravest warrior of them all, take part in the
Raven game and then become 'Diddy Dick and Dom'!
The CBBC Interactive Tour is aimed at children aged from 7 to 12 years old and lasts one and a half to two hours. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
For more details go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/tours

9. Go foraging for your dinner

Unleash your hidden hunter. Get out into the countryside or parks and riverbanks and go looking for your dinner. Children love picking blackberries and will spend hours searching for tasty morsels. All along the lanes and towpaths you can find an abundant supply of wild garlic, blackberries, sloes and other delicious goodies.

To add to the fun you can always go home and make your own jam with your ill gotten gains.

NB. Two words of warning - go to your local library and borrow a book on foraging so that you know that what you're eating is safe. And avoid foraging for mushrooms unless you really know what you are doing! For some top tips on foraging try www.selfsufficientish.com

>>For some top tips for jam making
>>How to make strawberry jam

10. Visit the Bank of England

We all know what the banks have been up to lately, but do your children? Do they know where money comes from? The Bank of England Museum tells the story of the Bank from its foundation in 1694 to its modern role of keeping inflation low, issuing banknotes and working to keep the financial system stable. Interactive displays with graphics and video help explain these many and varied roles.
Did you know that
Kenneth Grahame, the author of Wind in the Willows, worked at the Bank of England for thirty years? He became Secretary in 1898 and remained in that position until 1908. Little known details of the famous author’s Bank career can be found in one of the Museum displays. During August the museum are running MASKerade where children are encouraged to step into the roles of Ratty, Mole, Badger or Toad and colour their own mask of one of the well-known characters from ‘The Wind in the Willows’
MASKerade runs between 20 July - 28 August - 10.30am - 4.00pm
>> http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/museum/exhibitions/maskerade.htm
>> http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/

For more ideas for free days out try visiting these sites

>> http://www.familydayoutuk.co.uk/
>> http://www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk/
>> http://www.letsgowiththechildren.co.uk/

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