Half Term

Join the Great British Bee Count – a fun, free activity for half term

Help your kids discover more about the wonderful world of Britain’s bees this half term, with a fun, free and informative app.

Ideal for families, the Great British Bee Count is organised by Friends of the Earth, and is supported by TV wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan and Buglife, with sponsorship from Waitrose.

With a free and easy-to-use app the Great British Bee Count, which runs to the end of June, aims to help people:

  • recognise the common bees species that visit our gardens, parks and countryside
  • learn more about the diversity of (over 250) bee species in the UK
  • take steps to help them – for example by creating bee-friendly habitats

There is also a GPS function on the app, which records the location of the bees recorded and posts them onto a map: https://www.foe.co.uk/page/great-british-bee-count-map

People can take part by downloading a free app, which enables them to submit details of the bees they spot – and photographs too if they manage to catch them quickly enough! www.greatbritishbeecount.co.uk

Buff tailed Bumble bee on an azalea flower, London.

Buff tailed Bumble bee on an azalea flower, London.

Young children can also join in with a Bee Bingo activity sheet: https://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/bee-bingo-77793.pdf


New research from money-saving website Voucherbox.co.uk, which looks at the extra financial costs working parents face. Getting time off from work and arranging leave, along with funding additional activities to keep little ones happy can often leave parents wondering how they can achieve this on a budget. Parenting blogger Afra Willmore at Mad Mum of 7 – is offering plenty of money-saving ideas on her blog https://www.voucherbox.co.uk/verything/super-half-term-deals-entertain-kids/


Half Term Activities for the whole family in the Heart of Hyde Park

Nature Explorers: Hedges & Hedgerows Tuesday 31 May 2016: 10am – 3pm £15. Suitable for 8 to 11 year olds Give yourself a rest and drop your 8 – 11 year old off at our Education Centre for a fun filled (and educational!) day of outdoor games and activities this half term. Drop off at 10am and collect at 3.00pm. Book online now to avoid disappointment.

Discovery Day: Hedgehog Heroes 1 & 2 June 2016: 11am – 3pm Free of charge. Suitable for the whole family! Booking not necessary – just drop in.

More information on our website!


Slip into half term fun at the National Marine Aquarium with Slime Week

The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth is preparing for a bumper week of half term fun with its very own Slime Lab. Taking place daily between 28 May – 5 June, visitors can look forward to a range of activities dedicated to finding out more about the slippery stuff – slime.

Daily slime workshops will be on offer in the Aquarium’s Slime Lab, where visitors will be able to get their hands on with some sea creature slime.  They’ll learn how many different types of marine life use a coating of slippery slime to help protect themselves, squeeze into small hiding places to escape the clutches of undersea predators and even how they use it to find their way home. www.national-aquarium.co.uk or call 0844 8937938.

Slip into half term fun at the National Marine Aquarium with Slime Week (3)

Penguin Week at Birdland: May Half Term

Waddle with the penguins for Penguin Week this May Half Term at Birdland Park & Gardens. From 28 May – 5 June, head to Penguin Shore for plenty of penguin fun.

Keepers will be putting your penguin know-how to the test with a special quiz about our piscivorous pals, plus enter the competition to be in with a chance to feed the penguins.

Discover the parcel of penguins living in Penguin Shore and learn all about the quirky personalities of the colony of King Penguins and comical Humboldts. Meet film stars and the World’s oldest penguin.

Watch Keepers feed the two species of Penguins at Birdland their nutritious fish supper at 11am & 2.30pm daily. They are fed buckets of Herring and Sprats, both the King Penguins and Humboldt’s favourites respectively. Whilst watching the feeding hear lots of exciting facts, be introduced to each of the penguins – some of whom are famous film stars! The engaging and informative talks offer the opportunity to find out more than ever about the residents.  Penguin Week at Birdland, Park & Gardens £9.95 Adults, £6.95 Child (3-15) birdland.co.uk

©MARK HEMSWORTH. 19/04/16. BIRDLAND, BOURTON ON THE WATER, GLOUCESTERSHIRE. Penguin football at Birdland. A Danish penguin plays football against the English penguins with jumpers as goal posts. Photo credit : MARK HEMSWORTH


Spring themed tile decorating workshops at Jackfield Tile Museum, Ironbridge

Half-term 28th and 30th May – 4th June

Design your own spring themed ceramic tiles at family drop-in tile decorating workshops during the late May half-term holidays at Jackfield Tile Museum in Shropshire’s Ironbridge Gorge.

Designs can be as colourful and original as your imagination allows, perhaps some farm animals, bright spring flowers or a sunny day by the sea.  The fun and informal sessions will take place on Saturday, 28th May and between Monday, 30th May and Saturday, 4th June.

The Victorian tube lining technique will be used to decorate the tiles, which are priced from £5 per tile (p&p extra to have your tile sent home after firing) plus the museum admission fee. Workshops start from 10am, but allowing up to 1½ hours to decorate your tile, last admission is at 3.15pm.

Open 10am to 5pm Jackfield Tile Museum is one of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums. A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing unlimited entry into all ten museums costs £25 per adult, £20 for seniors, £15 for children under 18, £68 for a family of two adults and all their children and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free (terms and conditions apply); Passports can also be bought online in advance saving 10% and individual entry tickets are available at each museum. Activities and workshops vary day-to-day and some carry an extra charge.

For further information call the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on 01952 433 424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk. The Gorge is easily reached via the M54 motorway exiting at Telford junction 4 or 6.

Jackfield Tile Museum half-term tile decorating 28 and 30 May - 4 June

Splash into summer at Lee Valley White Water Centre

A day of action filled activities and entertainment, watersports, free games and fun, with a host of things to do for families including a treasure hunt, disc golf, Scuba® diving, bouncy castle, furry farm animals and face painting, is in store at Lee Valley White Water Centre on Sunday 29 May.

The venue is holding its Summer Splash event between 11:00 and 16:00 when there’s also a chance to try many of the water sports available throughout the summer such as canoeing, Family Rafting, Go Sup – stand up paddle boarding for the over eights on the lake and rafting the rapids (age 14 and upwards) down the same 300 metre course where Team GB won gold and silver in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As a special plus for visitors to Summer Splash, this year for the first time, the centre will have a new sandy ‘beach’ available for children to play in to their hearts’ content.

The new beach area, at the Pavilion in the Park at the centre, is made up of 140 tonnes of light golden sand and will be open all year round for visitors to have free fun. As well as the beach, a special children’s play area is being provided.

On the water, there is other fun to be had, including Hydrospeeding, which is similar to bodyboarding but on fast flowing white water and Hot Dog sessions in two person inflatables, providing a heart pumping introduction to kayaking on the rapids

Paskell Blackwell, Lee Valley White Water Centre’s General Manager said: “It’s going be a great day of fun for kids and adults alike, with something for everyone. As well as all the special activities, those brave enough can raft the rapids down the same course where Team GB won gold and silver in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Now we will also be recreating the beach without families having to go to the seaside and as well as all the exciting water sports, we will have lots to entertain children of all ages. So for those wanting a fun day out, Lee Valley White Water Centre is the perfect place for a Summer Splash!”

It is advisable to book in advance for white water rafting, Hydrospeeding, Family Rafting and Hot Dog sessions as there’ll be limited spaces available on the day.

Parking will be available at the neighbouring Showground with a £5 parking charge on the day.

Sunday 29 May Time: 11:00 – 16:00 FREE entry but the white water sports have a charge (prebooking required)  Lee Valley White Water Centre, Station Road, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, EN9 1AB.

To find out more and to book the white water activities:  www.gowhitewater.co.uk or call 03000 030 616.

During half term, Lee Valley White Water Centre is also hosting Go Canoeing Week from Saturday 28 May- Sunday 5 June with hour long canoeing taster sessions for families for just £5 per person.

Summer Splash- Lee Valley White Water Centre

Animal treats during Love Your Zoo Week

The animals at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo are in for a treat during the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) Love Your Zoo Week (30th May to 3rd June).  Each day over the week, which coincides with the May half term school holidays, a different animal will be in the spotlight, receiving special enrichment toys made by visitors to the zoo.

Children can help the keepers create enrichment toys for the meerkats on Monday 30th May at 2.15pm; for the coati on Tuesday 31st at 2pm; for the otters on Wednesday 1st June at 2.30pm; for the mara and agouti on Thursday 2nd June at 2.15pm; and for the monkeys on Friday 3rd June at 3pm.

There’ll also be the chance for visitors to make an animal badge throughout the week from 11am to 12.30pm and to listen to an animal a story at 11.45am.

Normal entry fees apply and for some activities there is a small additional charge – please see the website for details. All proceeds from the badge making on Wednesday’s Otter Day will go towards otter conservation, in celebration of World Otter Day on May 25th.

There are lots of lovely animals to see at Battersea too, including Kune Kune pigs Wiggle and Piggle, donkeys Smokey and Dusty, and Shetland pony Feather. Emus Ant and Dec are great fun to watch, along with the cheeky Asian short-clawed otters and mischievous meerkats. With ring-tailed lemurs, wallabies, Scottish wildcats, agouti, mara, chipmunks, gerbils, rabbits, guinea pigs, harvest mice, giant snails, snakes, African grey parrots, finches, lovebirds, bearded dragons, Emperor tamarin monkeys, cotton-top tamarins and more, there is plenty of animal fun.

The Zoo’s fabulous playgrounds provide children with hours of adventure and fun, with a real tractor and life-sized fire engine to explore as well as amusement rides, sandpits, water play and diggers.

New for 2016, the Zoo is offering Keeper Experiences for children and adults. To find out more about all the activities at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo, please see the website at http://www.batterseaparkzoo.co.uk

Emperor Tamarin Monkey

Squire’s encourage children to eat their greens!

Plant A Fruit & Vegetable Box  Monday 30th May – Friday 3rd June 2016 10am – 4pm All Squire’s Garden Centres (except Chertsey)  £5.50

Put the fun back into eating your greens, and keep your children entertained, by bringing them to Squire’s Garden Centres at May Half Term where they can plant a tasty and nutritious fruit & veg box to take home.

This is a great way to get children outdoors and into gardening.  For just £5.50 children can plant up a box with 3 plants – choose from pepper, lettuce, tomato or strawberry plants – then take the box home to care for the plants and watch them grow.  Children will no doubt see the fun in eating their own home-grown greens!

Squire’s will also be running FREE activities for children at Half Term.  Get creative and enter Squire’s Colouring Competition to colour in Hazel the Squirrel in her vegetable garden, the best entries will win a prize!  Or be a detective and take part in their Veggie Hunt – follow a trail of questions around the garden centre and collect a sticker at the end.

Squire’s “Create & Grow” activities for children take place every day from Monday 30th May to Friday 3rd June from 10am-4pm.  Plus there’s no need to book, simply turn up on the day.

Visit www.squiresgardencentres.co.uk to find your nearest garden centre.

Child planting veg box

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