Family days out this October 2015

From theatre to ballet shows, Nifa McLaughlin's got plenty of ideas to keep us busy this month

Discovery centre

Brilliant ballet

Following the success of Three Little Pigs and Elves and the Shoemaker, Northern Ballet is now bringing its magic to Tortoise & the Hare, a ballet especially for children. At just 40 minutes, it's the perfect length to keep little bottoms on seats and makes a great introduction to ballet for smaller children, who will be enchanted by this classic story.

From 22 October

Friends forever

Bear and Caterpillar are best friends. But how will Bear cope when Caterpillar turns into a beautiful, high-flying butterfly? Four- to seven-year-olds will love the puppetry, music and storytelling in this charming tale of Bear and Butterfly.

Touring the UK 9 October-24 December

Home from home

The Chiltern Open Air Museum is actually a collection of 33 historic buildings you can scurry between if it rains. Children can dress up, meet farm animals, play old games and even have a go at making candles. Meanwhile mums and dads can try to work out if it was Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife they recognise some of the houses from.

Until 30 October

Funky town

Looking for an excuse to visit Belfast? How about dropping in at W5, the award-winning science and discovery centre that includes a newly renovated under-eights area, The Town of Discovery. In 16 themed zones you'll find more than 50 interactive play areas where little ones can enjoy the likes of painting on a digital canvas in The Art Studio, flicking through digital storybooks in The Castle, hearing animal noises in The Farmyard, and taking a dip in a virtual rock pool at The Beach. Little petrolheads will also love the new Donnelly Group Garage, where there's a soft-play F1 car to build and a real Fiat 500 to sit in and go vroom! 

Ice, ice baby

A couple who yearn for a child build a figure from ice and snow... and the Snow Child comes to life. She dances in the wind, talks to animals and brings joy to all. But what will happen as winter turns to spring? This charming piece of theatre will enthral.

Touring from October

What's the magic word?

Oh, we do love a moral story, especially when it's parcelled up in a beautiful classical ballet. London-based company Let's All Dance has a new touring ballet aimed at young audiences. The Magic Word tells the story of a beautiful but spolit Forest Queen who loves dancing in the warm sunlight between the trees. But when the temperature drops she grows cold and hungry, and has to learn how to ask nicely for things. It's only when she meets the Forest Elf that she finally discovers the true merit of sharing... This heartwarming story is sure to delight both young and old.

From 10 Oct

Bears, buns & bad things

I've lost count of how many times we've read We're Going on a Bear Hunt, so we can't wait to visit this new exhibition exploring Michael Rosen's poems and stories at the Discovery Children's Story Centre in Stratford, east London. Kids can climb inside a huge choccie cake, squelch their way through a Bear Hunt and explore things in the Dread Shed.

From 16 October

A night to remember

One midsummer night, two little girls are taken on a moonlit adventure by a mysterious winged creature. He's the King of Tiny Things, and shows them the darkness they were afraid of is actually full of wonderful creatures. But when he runs into difficulties, can they save him in time? This adaptation of Jeanne Willis' book includes puppetry, circus arts and music. Catch it in Malvern, Stockton-on-Tees, London, Leeds, Doncaster and Bristol. 

RSVP

You are invited to:
The best wedding ever,
the best wedding yet,
The wedding that no one will ever forget...
Now there's an invitation you can't refuse! Fans of Julia Donaldson's book The Scarecrows' Wedding will be delighted that it's being brought to life by Scamp Theatre. Just the right amount of wit, drama and romance to entertain children aged three plus.

Until 25 October

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