Feb Half Term: What to do with the kids on rainy days
On the off-chance the sun doesn’t do its stuff, no worries, Muddy has it covered – there’s always Vitamin D drops and loads of brilliant stuff you can do with your little darlings indoors. Here are our top picks for the week ahead.
OUR FAVOURITE LOCAL MUSEUMS
1/ Think, Make, Do, Cyber, Bletchley Park, Mon 13 – Sat 18 Feb
Every day this week, drop-in workshops, games and activities at Bletchley Park bring the world of the wartime codebreakers bang up to date with a look at online safety, asking you how secure your own password is and sharing how you can spot the tell-tale signs of a phish. Great for families with children aged 5-14 years. bletchleypark.org.uk
2/ Clangers, Bagpuss & Co, The River and Rowing Museum, Henley
I’m not sure who’s going to love this most, me or my kids. A behind-the-scenes peak at some of the all-time classics of kids’ TV – learn to speak Clanger and have a go animating characters like Bagpuss and Noggin the Nog.rrm.co.uk
3/ Oxford Museums
All the local biggies are rolling out something special for the midgets over half term…
Oxford’s magical Pitt Rivers (above) always has trails and drop-in activities going on and they’ll be having a ‘Chicken Bonanza ‘ for kids (Year of the Rooster, yeah?) from Mon to Weds. If you’re in the area, you could check out the fab-sounding new Volcanoes exhibition at the Weston Library on Broad Street that promises fire-belching mountains and blood-red waves of lava. There’s a packed line-up of Half-Term Happenings at The Story Museum in Oxford, with workshops, storytelling and author events galore. For braver kids (and their grown ups, seriously!), a costumed tour guide will take you round Oxford Castle and the spooky Debtor’s Tower and Prison. The Ashmolean Museum on Beaumont St is celebrating Italian Carnival week (me neither..?) with drop-in mask-making for kids on Weds 15 & Thurs 16. The Science Oxford team seem to be here, there and everywhere this week, running brilliant, interactive workshops for kids at venues in and around Oxford including The Story Museum, The Earth Trust, Abingdon and at the River and Rowing Museum, Henley. The Bate Collection of Musical Instruments has gallery trails, colouring and word-searches all week and some stunning instruments from around the world to gawp at.
4/ Across Bucks and Oxon
At Banbury Museum, kids can explore fossils, under the microscope, get crafty in the Secret Garden, become art detectives and even make their own Hungry Frog game. The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Gt. Missenden, have storytelling, activities and trails all week – they recommend booking in advance. Don’t forget too, that Aylesbury has its own, Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery , tucked in neatly next to the Bucks County Museum. This is smaller than Gt. Missenden Dahl Museum – my kids actually prefer it as there’s loads of hands-on stuff. It’s only open to the public during school holidays so well worth a visit – rainy day or not! Milton Keynes Museum are pulling out all stops to entertain you and the kids all this week, with loads of really different, fun things to do – from scientific experiments to taking classes in the Victorian schoolroom, to making hot buttered toast on the range, to trying out the stocks. On Tues and Weds, the brilliant enactors from Live’n History arrive to present their grippingly gruesome talks on 17th century surgery and Tudor Crime and Punishment! At Blenheim Palace, there’s a week of Lords & Ladies workshops, where kids can get all dressed up and have a taster of the life of the privileged few.
1/ Cirque Berserk, Wycombe Swan, Tues 14 – Weds 15 Feb
Take thirty jugglers, acrobats, dancers, drummers, stuntmen… add Muddy fave Tweedy the Clown and throw in a ‘Globe of Death’ for good measure: what’s not to like! A contemporary take on the trad circus that sounds well up our muddy street. wycombeswan.co.uk
2/ Wow! Said the Owl, Matinee Show, North Wall, Oxford, Sat 11 Feb
Gorgeous show for your littlies (ages 2 -5 ) which brings to life Tim Hopgood’s gorgeous book with puppets, music and storytelling. thenorthwall.com
3/ London’s Burning, The Theatre, Chipping Norton, Fri 17 Feb
An evening show from Science Oxford aimed at over 10s – it’s a really is a clever combo of narrative and demos – weaving the story of the Great Fire of London into a mesmerising show! scienceoxford.com
4/Big Howard’s LOL-tastic Yuckfest For Kids and Well Trained Adults, Pegasus, Sat 11 Feb
CBBC’s Big Howard in his popular kids’ show, perfect for children 8 +. pegasustheatre.org.uk
SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT
Children’s Underwater Explorers, Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, Weds 15 Feb
Loving the sound of this! An ordinary swimming pool’s been transformed into an magical subaquatic world by Surrey Wildlife Trust for kids to get a real hands-on experience of plants and creatures from different habitats.
Suitable for children aged 7-11. Children must be confident in water. This is a free one-off session, funded by the Heritage Lottery Funded project at Meadow Farm near Bicester – email [email protected] for more information and to book your session.
Takes place at Bardwell School swimming pool, Bicester, bbowt.org.uk
Steaming Days, Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Wed 15th & Sun 19th Feb
All aboard! If you are looking for a First Class family day out, look no further than a Steaming Day at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, where your children can experience a ride on a real steam engine! You can also take a trip on the miniature steam engine, visit the magnificent exhibition hall, and spend some time in the beautiful glass-roofed visitor centre with café, shop and stunning vintage locomotives on display. bucksrailcentre.org
BEST OF THE NEW MOVIE RELEASES
If all else fails, sling them off to the cinema for a couple of hours – here’s my pick of some of the best new films coming out this half term…
A Monster Calls (12A) is from much the novel by much-loved children’s author, by Patrick Ness. It’s a heart-rending story about 12-year-old Conor who escapes to a world of monsters and fairy tales as he tries to deal with his mother’s illness and his classmates’ bullying.
The Lego Batman Movie (U) In the follow up to The LEGO® Movie, LEGO Batman gets to star in his own big-screen adventure.
The Space Between Us (PG) . My kids adore Asa Butterfield (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Nanny McPhee, Miss Peregrine’s Home….) so I know they’ll definitely be dragging me to see his latest film, which is the first one he’s starred in since he turned adult, bless. Butterfield plays the first human born on Mars who travels to Earth for the first time, seeing it all through innocent eyes.
Sing (U) Feel-good animation from the makers of Despicable Me, Sing is about a Koala’s attempt save his failing theatre from ruin.