Monday, 04 April 2016
Family days out this April
From exhibitions to theatre, imaginative storytelling is working its magic this month, says Nifa McLaughlin
Us grown-ups have Netflix and our box-set addictions, and now little ones can enjoy their own ‘series’, too... If you saw last year’s show The Polar Bears Go Wild, we bet you’ll love to join them on the next instalment of their adventure, The Polar Bears Go Up, at London’s Unicorn Theatre in Southwark. This time, their mission is to fetch a balloon that’s gone into space – using just trees, clouds and their jumping skills. The perfect spring treat for children aged two to five.
17 April-1 May
Imagine you got to build Lego for a living... Warren Elsmore does just that, and his intricate creations will be at the National Museum of Scotland’s Build It! exhibition in Edinburgh. His team will also be creating a model of the museum itself, and there’s loads of Lego for little ones to make mini masterpieces in the Builders’ Yard.
Until 17 April
If you love Michael Rosen’s brilliant rhymes, this inventive live adaptation of Happy Harry’s Café is right up your street. Harry serves delicious food to his friends, but what will happen the day Matt the Cat tells him that his soup is no good?
In two versions: 19 March- 15 April for ages three to five; 9-15 April for 12-36 months
Head to Seven Stories in Newcastle upon Tyne for the colourful exhibition Rhyme Around the World, which invites families to step into their favourite nursery rhymes and discover new ones from faraway lands. Beautiful illustrations lead you through this multi-sensory exhibition, which all the family will love.
Until 9 October
As if there isn’t already enough to inspire little ones among the towering plants and exotic species at the Eden Project in Cornwall, now they can listen to storytelling sessions at the beautiful Citrus Grove in the Mediterranean Biome. Every day at 12 noon and 2pm, talented storytellers relate enchanting Cornish folk stories and fables about rainforest plants from the Amazon.
Leader of the pack
If you’re thinking a play about newlyweds and flat-pack furniture won’t excite under-fives, think again! This delightful show about a couple given a flat-pack home as a wedding gift will have you all roaring with laughter at the muddle and chaos. Slapstick comedy accompanied by live music in true silent movie style, Flat Pack is perfect for children aged three and up.
26 March, Walton-on-Thames; 16 April, Canada Water; 23 April, Southampton; 24 April, Jacksons Lane, London
Read all about it
There’s nothing better than seeing your children discover the magic and wonder of books, and what better way to celebrate this than at Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival. With more than 50 events, children can enjoy sessions with local and national authors and illustrators, in both English and Welsh. There’s something for all ages, including adults who want to get into children’s book writing.
Astronaut Tim Peake orbiting the earth in the International Space Station has made us all fall in love with science again, and we say start early with your tots. Check out the Toddler Days at Cardiff’s Techniquest where, for one day a month during term time, toddlers have the run of the exhibition floor as well as themed activities and stories – all aimed at helping them discover science. The bonus? Techniquest is buggy-friendly and has nappy-changing facilities.
The next Toddler Day is 6 May
Show and tell
CBeebies favourites Chris and Pui bring Momo, Teddington, Tom and other toys from their TV series Show Me Show Me to their new stage show full of songs, stories and sketches. Familiar characters including Twinkle, Incy Wincy, Granny Humpty and others will also appear. Suitable for ages two up, and little ones are invited to take their favourite toy along too.
5 April, Aberystwyth Arts Centre
The cat's whiskers
There are treats in store for little ones at Drusillas Park in East Sussex when favourite characters appear on special days throughout the year. For instance, you can snort with laughter and find some muddy puddles as your tots meet Peppa Pig and her brother George on 6 April.
The little ones will love this! At the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds, tots can make their very own – fake, that is – poo, sick, blood, snot and wee in a series of Body Lab workshops. Many awkward questions about bodily functions answered on your behalf – although it might put you off visiting the café for a homemade slice afterwards...
24-25 March, 28 March-1 April, 4-8 and 11-15 April
Roll up, roll up
Being a parent already feels like a roller-coaster ride, but those who want even more thrills can take part in the Albany’s circus family workshop in Deptford, where you and your children (aged three upwards) can learn to tumble, fly, swing and spin together. You’ll get serious Brownie points from your kids if you can fly the trapeze higher than them!