Half Term Fun in the North East

13th Feb 2015
Half Term Fun in the North East

February half term is now upon us but with weather changeable and wallets still recovering from Christmas, entertaining children during this school holiday can be a tricky business.  Whether you’re spending time at home or want to get out and about, here are 10 activities that will hopefully keep boredom at bay.

Days Out

Many of the region’s favourite visitor attractions are holding special half term activities:

Fairy Tale Fun at Seven Stories 
At Seven Stories you can meet your favourite characters from a host of fairy tales including Snow White, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Shrek and the Snow Queen. Join in with craft activities, enjoy interactive story times and have your photo taken with some of the most-loved fairy tale characters.  Go along dressed as your favourite fairy tale character for a chance to win a prize. Children under 4 go free.

First World War Training Camp at Beamish
Beamish Museum is inviting visitors to take part in a First World War training camp where recruits will be put through their paces. You can discover life on the Home Front and hear stories of North East soldiers.  On Shrove Tuesday visitors can also take a look at traditional pancake making in The Town and The Pit Village or try a wartime eggless pancakes at the 1940s Farm!

Gruffalo’s Child at Hamsterley Forest
Fans of the Gruffalo will enjoy the Gruffalo’s Child activity trail at Hamsterley Forest. Look out for Gruffalo-themed panels and complete fun activities along the way, from building a nest to searching for tracks and learning a bit about the forest cycle. The trail is free or you can purchase a Gruffalo’s Child activity pack from the forest for £2, this includes a collecting bag, activity leaflet, spotter’s sheet and pencil. 

Brick Planet exhibition at Woodhorn Museum
A must for all LEGO® fans, the Brick Planet exhibition showcases miniature wonders from around the world recreated in LEGO® bricks.  Also on display are some of the North East’s own historic landmarks, including the Tyne Bridge and the Angel of the North, which have never been seen before! Visitors can have a go at creating their own masterpiece in the hands-on creation station. During half term you can also make a life-size mini-figure mask in the free family craft sessions.

Bjorn the Polar Bear at the Great North Museum
A life size polar bear is prowling into the Great North Museum. Bjorn, a giant pod puppet, is incredibly lifelike – he walks, he growls and you may even get to stroke him! The bear is accompanied by his ‘keeper’ Ursula who provides a lively and informative natural history commentary. The event is free, with no booking required.

Staying In

Junk Modelling
Turn the contents of your recycling bin into wonderful models, creatures, robots and scenery.  Old cardboard boxes, toilet rolls, bottle tops and silver paper are all ideal junk modelling materials. Make sure the ‘junk’ is clean and safe, then simply lay out as many different items as possible and let your child’s imagination run wild. With a splodge of PVA glue, some sticky tape and a splash or paint, the possibilities are endless.  If you need inspiration for modelling ideas check out: www.activityvillage.co.uk/recycling-crafts or www.netmums.com/activities/g/top-junk-modelling-ideas-for-kids

Photo Album
Give your child a digital camera and let them take their own photographs of the things that mean the most to them. Toys, pets, family, special places, siblings and selfies all make good photographic subjects. Photos can be printed and stuck into a scrapbook that your child can decorate. Photo album crafts ideas and projects for kids can be found at:

Minibeast Hunt
Back gardens are the perfect venue for a minibeast hunt. Creepy crawlies tend to like dark, damp places so investigate leaf piles, under logs and tiny nooks and crannies, as well as flowers and plants. The Woodland Trust has a selection of printable sheets that you can use to help you spot the creatures and tick off those you find. Alternatively, talk about what animals you might expect to see, and then get your children to draw pictures of their favourites to create your own spotter’s card – www.naturedetectives.org.uk/packs/minibeast_pack.htm4.

Bake a Cake
Baking with children can be lots of fun, so why not use the half term holidays to try out a new recipe?  Decorating cakes and cookies is also an entertaining pastime for younger children. Play cafes, host tea parties or hold a cake ‘sale’ when the baking is complete. For simple baking ideas go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/collections/baking_with_children

Home cinema
Turn a simple DVD screening into a home cinema spectacular with a few simple steps.  Children can design posters for the event to display around the house.  Make tickets and popcorn to ‘sell’ at the box office then dim the lights and have ushers with torches lead people to their seats.