May Half Term and Spring Activities in Dorset


Turn nature deficit disorder on its head by transforming your children into mini adventurers and masters of play this spring…




Get on your bike – it’s Bike Week – 10 to 18 June

It’s National Bike Week - – from 10 to 18 June, when the nation will get mobile on two wheels. Do keep an eye on the website for details about local events.

If you’re wanting to pedal along a nearby route that is suitable for all the family, then you may wish to consider a section of: the Moors Valley Country Park and Forest; the Northport Greenway and Sika Cycle Trail; the Bournemouth Pier to Pier route from  Boscombe to Bournemouth.

Alternatively, choose from one of the many other routes found at

To find a Bike Week event near you take a look at


Top Tips to a Successful Family Bike Ride

To locate a cycle route or to join the National Cycle Network visit the Sustrans website - - which has a vast number of maps of cycle tracks all across the UK.  The National Cycle Network has over 14,000 miles of routes throughout the UK and passes through the centre of every major town in the UK. 75% of people live within a couple of miles of it. A third of the routes are traffic-free, with paths along disused railways, canal towpaths and forest tracks, whilst the remainder follows quiet roads and traffic-calmed streets.


Tips from Sustrans - Planning a family bike ride

  • Don't go too far: it is better that everyone enjoys themselves on a short ride and comes home eager to plan the next trip.

  • Check the route beforehand: make sure you don't get lost and plan some options for short cuts.

  • Avoid very hilly routes, busy roads and difficult junctions.

  • Let the slowest cyclist set the pace.

  • Make it interesting: children can get bored so plan plenty of refreshment breaks. Little and often is better than one long break half-way. For younger kids, have a few games, like I-spy, up your sleeve to play along the way.




Time for Play: 3.30pm to 6pm

It seems the best time for children to play is directly after school. Research from Play England’s Street Play project showed that the hours between 3:30pm and 6pm on weekdays are considered as the ‘critical window’ for children’s physical activity.

The differences between highly active and non-active children, and non-obese and obese children, are at their most pronounced during this time.

The Street Play project’s vision is for every child to have the freedom to regularly play independently in front of or near their own front door – Read more at – Street Play

Streets Alive has a useful Street Play Toolkit and Street Play Pack of specially selected equipment that encourages play between children of all ages in the neighbourhood – visit


Great Traditional Games to play in and around the home:

  • Hopscotch

  • Cat’s Cradle

  • French Skipping

  • Make mud pies in the garden

  • What’s the Time Mr Wolf?

  • Skipping

  • Marbles

  • Shadow Tag




Get water confident, ready for the summer

When a child can swim confidently, he or she has open access to enjoy a wide variety of other water sports such as surfing, sailing, canoeing and diving. Playing in and around the rivers and the oceans suddenly becomes less dangerous if a child can swim and has a strong grasp of water safety.

Drowning Prevention Week, from 16 to 26 June, aims to reinforce basic water awareness and on the website - - there are details on how children, aged 8 to 12 years, can sign up to become Rookie Lifeguards .

Prior to that, it’s Learn to Swim Week, from 10 to 16 June -

If you’re looking to find a local swimming pool or ASA approved swimming lessons enter your location details at


This spring make a big splash at:

Splashdown; Osprey Leisure; Brenscombe Outdoor Centre; Shore Sports; Bournemouth Coastal Activity Park; Shaftesbury Oasis Pool. 


Make a big splash in the sea – take your pick of beaches!






For free taster canoeing sessions in the region, from 27 May, during National Go Canoeing Week –





Become a Den-Master!

During Save the Children’s Den Day, on Friday 16 June, many schools will hold a day of den building. No doubt many youngsters will feel motivated by the occasion and will want to become Den-masters and make their own dens at home or in the back garden, or visit an attraction where den building is actively encouraged. Here’s how…

Indoor Dens: Hours of fun and adventures will be had at home with strategically placed chairs, an oversized bed sheet and a few random empty cardboard boxes.

Outdoor Dens: Pop-up tents make a convenient and easy outdoor den but for something more traditional, create a man-made construction using some of the following items: chairs or a table to form the solid structure; poles - such as a broom, tent poles or a bamboo pole; fallen branches; string or rope and a plastic dust sheet or tarpaulin. Learn how to make a den here -

To discover more about Den Day visit


Fantastic local spots for adventure play:

Brownsea Island, the New Forest, Moors Valley Country Park, Avon Heath Country Park, Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve






Pitch up for National Camping and Caravanning Week – 29 May to 4 June

Fancy something more comfortable than pitching up in a den?

Well, it’s National Camping and Caravanning Week from 29 May to 4 June. So, if the weather’s looking good, head to your local campsite – find one at






Pack up a Picnic – 16 to 25 June

As part of the season’s mini adventures pack up a tasty picnic for the kids. It’s National Picnic Week from 16 to 25 June – for ideas on how to fill those hampers look at or grab some nutritious ideas from  






Get together for The Big Lunch – 18 June

Designed to draw communities together by dining in a communal way, The Big Lunch, an initiative started by the Eden Project, will be taking place on 18 June this year. Why not use this as a great opportunity to form closer bonds with your neighbours? To get started see







Children’s Art Week – 10 to 18 June 

Children's Art Week, the nationwide celebration of creativity for children and their families, will take place from Saturday 10 to Sunday 18 June.

Last year, the occasion was well received when 146 events took place, and 18,825 participants enjoyed creative activities at 116 venues, including galleries, museums, primary and secondary schools.

Find out what’s happening near you at 





It's Child Safety Week - 5 to 11 June

The aim of Child Safety Week is to raise awareness, forge partnerships and put child accident prevention on the local agenda. This year Child Safety Week will run from Monday 5 to Sunday 11 June with the theme ‘Sharing is Caring’ .

Organisers are asking families, communities and professionals to show they care by playing their part in keeping children safe and sharing their experience and knowledge – not just about the horrors of accidents, but also the really practical, simple things they do to prevent them.






After School Summer Checklist:

Embrace the longer days with enriching moments that all the family will be able to enjoy together. Here are some ideas on how to spend that time – (many are dependent on the age of your children):

  • Watch the sunset from a viewpoint
  • Picnic outside in the park
  • Take an early evening bike ride – take a little snack
  • Paint a picture of the early evening skies
  • Go scooting (then catch the bus home)
  • Go on a trail – a town trail, a nature trail
  • Go foraging – for raspberries and blackberries
  • Paint and decorate plain ceramic pots that can be used in the garden
  • Look up at the night sky – track satellites, look for the international space station
  • Go paddling – canoeing, an organised canoeing trip, have fun on a pedalo
  • Use some coloured chalk to draw shapes and pictures on your patio (if you have one!)
  • Play games – French cricket, football in the park, Frisbee on the beach, Boules in the park, rounders (get another family to come along), snail races
  • Go swimming - in the sea or a tide pool
  • Go fishing
  • Watch some outdoor theatre, outdoor music, evening fireworks





Children’s Hospice Week – 22 to 28 May 

Children's Hospice Week is the UK's only awareness and fundraising week for children with life-shortening conditions and the palliative care services that support them. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Let's Turn up the Volume’ which is designed to raise awareness of what life is really like for families caring for seriously ill children. To learn more or to help raise funds visit



Find out what children's activities are taking place in and around Dorset this May half term, and beyond, here...

Turtles and angels at Adventure Wonderland

Dorset’s award-winning family theme park Adventure Wonderland is the perfect place to keep the kids entertained this May half term. The park, opposite Bournemouth Airport, has more than 30 exciting outside rides including the Runaway Train, Ghostly Galleon, Battle Boats and Flying Jumbos, plus the ever-popular Cuddle Corner farmyard and the south's largest hedge maze.

On 31 May, there will be not one, but two, of the world-famous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arriving at Adventure Wonderland. Raphael and Leonardo have taken time off from battling with the forces of evil to appear at the Park at intervals throughout the day, so don’t forget to take your camera. On 17 June Heart FM’s Angels will be at the park to keep the kids entertained, playing games and face painting. Also, watch out for a thrilling new water ride opening this year!

Don’t forget to book online for a 10% discount. Details of all activities can be found at or by calling 01202 483444.


See The Tank Museum’s new Tiger Collection

The Tank Museum brings history to life, with the world’s best collection of tanks and explosive live displays. See almost 300 armoured vehicles as you explore eight powerful exhibitions. There are family-friendly activities taking place every day and the 1pm Tanks in Action display every weekday. Children can let off steam in the outdoor play area or inside soft play, adjacent to the Museum’s Café. New for Spring 2017, don’t miss “The Tiger Collection”, which brings the Tiger tank family together in a world first. Visit


Ahoy Matey… the Pirate Ship at Snowtrax is now open!

Complete with multiple decks, a pirate’s pole, working helm and spiral slide, the Pirate Ship at Snowtrax is perfect for everyone from land lovers to seasoned buccaneers! Topped with its very own jolly roger, the Galleon is a seriously impressive vessel that’s more than ship shape for a day’s fun for the kids! The pirate ship is recommended for ages 5 and over – Snowtrax can’t wait to welcome you aboard! For details ring 01202 499155 or visit the web -


The latest Moos and Views from Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park

Even when it's pouring down with rain, Farmer Palmer’s is a great place to visit. There’s plenty to do under shelter and, anyway, who doesn't love to pull on their wellington boots and splash in muddy puddles. Visitors always receive a warm welcome from the friendly staff and enjoy the peaceful setting of this scenic, countryside attraction. Children can have fun exploring the park – jumping on the inside bouncy castle, watching the piggy racing, pedalling on the go-karts and clambering up the straw mountain. Save money by buying an annual pass and indulge your child in hours of unlimited play! Find Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park at Wareham Rd, Organford, Poole, Dorset, BH16 6EU. For more details call 01202 622022 or visit


Discover 1000’s of amazing creatures come rain or shine!

Experience a magical underwater adventure at the Oceanarium this half term. Home to thousands of enchanting creatures, discover a very cute colony of Humboldt penguins, a family of mischievous otters, a cunning croc, menacing piranhas, stunning sharks, mesmerising jellyfish and beautiful clownfish. Don’t miss daily talks and feeds and additional school holiday activities plus make sure you pay a visit to the kids’ play zone, Offshore Café, Bay View Terrace and The Cove shop. Whatever the weather, there’s so much to ‘sea’ and explore. Find the Oceanarium next to Bournemouth Pier. Book online for fantastic savings at


Whitsun Kid’s Club at Osprey Leisure Centre

This school holiday Osprey Leisure Centre has scheduled the usual variety of popular activities for kids aged 5 -14 years into its programme, from 30 May through to 2 June.

Amongst the usual mix of activity days Osprey is now offering a full or half day option on Tuesdays and Thursdays which, if desired, can include the pool inflatable session for 9-14 year olds in the afternoon. Although available for birthday parties, this inflatable session is not otherwise available, other than during the school holidays for only £3 per child for a full 2 hours or free if incorporated in the activity day. Now that the Legacy Cafe is open, parents have the chance to add a lunch for only £3. For any further information call 01305 824378 or visit


Population Boom at the Heavy Horse Farm Park

Heavy Horses are the true stars of the show at The Dorset Heavy Horse Farm Park and Rescue Centre. The Park has recently welcomed two Suffolk Punches, Uno and Abbey Rose who is in foal, as is Orestes, a rare Ardennes breed, who is loving all the attention from visitors. The attraction has launched a Heavy Horse campaign to raise awareness of how rare and endangered these breeds are. As well as the Heavy Horses, there are plenty of activities to be enjoyed, such as horse drawn carriage and pony rides, tractor trailer rides, engaging daily talks and tours, extensive play areas, go carts, vintage fairground rides, exciting bygone exhibits and a must visit to Smokey Joe’s ranch café. Visit


Melon Madness at Monkey World

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the Spring and Summer Bank Holiday weekends, every child that enters Monkey World bringing a melon for the primates will receive a free Monkey World badge. Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre is open every day of the Bank Holiday weekend from 10am till 5pm (last entry 4pm) so take your family to see Monkey World’s family. Read more at


Lemur Landings - Bigger and better than ever!

Lemur Landings has always been a great place for the kids to let off steam but after a winter of refurbishments and new installations, this popular children’s entertainment and party centre is bigger and better than ever!

There’s still stacks of fun to be had on the enormous play frame, ball pool and cannon blaster arena, but now, there’s a brilliant new climbing zone with exciting interactive DigiWall, and confidence building Sky Tykes for younger visitors. Plus of course there’s everyone’s favourite, brand-new role play village and street scene. Littlies are not forgotten either, with a new baby sensory area and a dedicated play frame for those under 110cms.

A new suite of party rooms await, which is just the job for stress free parties and happy birthday memories. Better still, there’s no mess to clear up afterwards. A range of affordable party options are available for tiny tots to the most adventurous climbers. See the website or call 01202 740500.


Take the Plunge at Splashdown

With summer just around the corner Splashdown is open every day right round until the end of September with all the flumes flowing and the slides sliding. It’s a great place for some good old fashioned fun for the whole family. Take a spin and choose a tune on Infinity, with its funky lights and disco sound effects. Plunge down the Grand Canyon or pick up speed on super-fast Velocity and don’t forget to say hello to the resident dragon in his lair! With loads of other exciting flumes and a toddler’s pool, book online at or call 01202 716000.


A new ride and swashbuckling shenanigans at Crealy

This May half term, join Crealy Adventure Park and Resort at its annual swashbuckling event, Pirate Week, and enjoy an adventure with Captain Crealy and his crew! The second brand new ride for 2017, The Jolly Roger, will be setting sail for its maiden voyage, so why not hop on this all-new giddy galleon, which will have the whole family in a spin. Throughout the week, Captain Crealy and his shipmates will be performing live shows on the Piazza Stage including family favourite Off the Pirates Cove. The resident Captain will also be looking for new recruits, and to do so will be holding his cutlass workshops, do you have what it takes?

In addition, Pop in the Park is back on Sunday 4 June with top tribute acts performing family friendly sing-along hits on the Piazza Stage. Book in advance online and save up to 20% off the gate price, and don’t forget to validate your ticket before you leave Crealy to receive seven days of fun for the price of one. Full details can be found at


Fun for all ages at RockReef Activity Attraction on Bournemouth Pier!

RockReef is open 7 days a week providing healthy, challenging fun whatever the weather! With 28 climbing challenges, a Highline aerial obstacle course, Pier cave, Vertical slide, leap of faith challenge and pier to shore zip wire, there’s plenty to keep all ages entertained. 

Do you have a birthday coming up? If so, RockReef is one of the best birthday party venues in Bournemouth, with all parties including 1½ hours of activity and a choice of party food in a designated party area in the RockReef café. 

During term time, RockReef's popular After School Club ‘RockStars’ is full of fun challenges and adventure activities and gives huge savings on regular prices. Visit for more information or call 01202 237912. 


Step back in time at Corfe Castle

On Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 May, the walls of Corfe castle will echo to the sound of swords and shields at its Medieval Living History event. Historia Normannis will bring the history of 900 years ago to life with combat displays, humorous historical presentations, demonstrations and talks. The following weekend, on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May, explore an exciting period when falconry developed into a stylish, sophisticated and noble sport at the special Medieval Falconry event. During May half term week, from Tuesday 30 May to Sunday 4 June, there will be a performance of The Spice Box, a captivating, humorous story about a mysterious spice box washed up and captured on the shores of Purbeck. The performance, which will happen at intervals throughout the week, will be full of eastern promise with tales of spices, pillaging, pirate ships and kidnappings. For details see


Green fingers and family explorers at The Priest’s House Museum

The Priest’s House Museum and Garden in Wimborne has fun planned for all the family this spring. ‘Family Explorers’ on Tuesday 30 May, 10am to 2pm, will be a fun packed day of hands on, creative activities for all the family, and admission is just £1.75 per person. Other big attractions include the museum’s current special exhibition - ‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’, which will appeal to green-fingered visitors of all ages. Plus, there are a range of self-directed children’s activities available throughout the year. Find the Priest’s House Museum and Garden at 23-27 High Street, Wimborne Minster, BH21 1HR. Call 01202 882533 or visit


Into the Water at Pavilion Dance

Step into the blue with the foot-stomping and hand-tapping family dance adventure Into the Water by Up and Over It on Sunday 21 May, at Bournemouth’s Pavilion Dance.  Featuring Riverdance alumni and Britain’s Got Talent duo, Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding, the beautiful, fast-paced adventure of discovery is set in a magical wasteland where anything is possible and friendship is everything. Packed with dance and percussion, this playful hour sees hands and feet fly at breathtaking speed in a cheerful jumble of rhythmic precision and folk-filled fun. For tickets, bookings and further information call 01202 203 630 or visit


Bella To Go from Bella Ceramics

Bella Ceramics pottery painting studio in Weymouth is excited to offer a new way to enjoy pottery painting at a venue of your choice. The new service is titled ‘Bella to Go’, and it enables children to choose ceramic pieces, which are then packed in a box with everything that is needed to paint them with. The box can then be taken to any event, making it particularly good for kids’ birthdays, hen-do’s, girls’ nights in - or any gathering.  Call 01305 780343 or email for details.


Love desserts? Love Creams Café Dorchester

As temperatures start to soar over the next few months, why not treat the kids to a delicious ice-cream or dessert at Dorchester’s Creams Café in Dorchester’s Brewery Square. This Italian/American ice-cream parlour serves up over 39 different types of ice-cream, along with freshly-made waffles, crepes and American cookie dough.  The Italian gelatos are renowned for their smooth, rich and creamy taste. Get a taste of what’s in store by visiting

Get spotted at the Martin Sheppard Football Academy

Martin Sheppard has been coaching football for many years in the Bournemouth area and is a very experienced level 2 coach. He runs training sessions that are designed to develop players of all abilities, while at the same time keeps the fun in football. Marc Scrimaglia who is the talent scout for Southampton will be attending various sessions, and will be looking to invite some players into the Southampton development programme. For more details visit


Elves and Fairies at Wimborne Model Town

It’s Elves and Fairies week during Whitsun half term, from 27 May to 4 June, at Wimborne Model Town. Included in the fun line-up is Mervin Cole’s Family Fun and Magic Shows on 30 May and 1 June at 12noon and 2pm. Fun elves and fairies storytelling sessions will take place on 31 May at 11.30am and 2.30pm – so why not dress up in a magical costume to add to the special atmosphere? Throughout the week there will be a quiz around the model buildings where children can look for clues from the little people. Visit


Youth Theatre workshops at the Bournemouth Pavilion

Now in its 5th Year, 2017 see’s the return of the successful Bournemouth Pavilion Summer Youth Theatre School in partnership with Enchanted Entertainment. This summer, why not take part in an 8-day long series of workshops based in the Pavilion Ballroom, aimed at improving musical theatre skills. The workshops will centre on singing, acting, dancing, performance techniques and general stage craft. At the end of the week, there will be two staged performances in front of a live audience in the Pavilion Ballroom. Visit or call 01202 055555


New train ride and trail at Honeybrook

This half term exciting things will be happening at Honeybrook Farm.  There’s a new train ride, running along the beautiful River Allen, and a fun Riverside trail to explore and meet the wildlife.  There’s plenty of opportunities to cuddle a rabbit, meet the farm animals and enjoy the play areas.  Also, Children can take an adventure on the pre-bookable Wild Skills Wednesday and Forest School Friday.  2017 admission prices now include train and tractor rides. Visit


Enjoy outdoor activities at Brenscombe Outdoor

During the school holiday, children aged 8 - 14 can have a go at new activities, polish their skills and enjoy a fun, packed programme at Brenscombe’s Adventure Day Camps. Activities include canoeing, climbing, high ropes, bush craft, archery, air rifles, team games, raft building and much more. For bookings and information visit www.brenscombeoutdoor/daycamps


Outdoor Adventures at Lulworth for the whole family

This half-term, children aged 8 years+ can join the Lulworth Outdoors team for one of Dorset’s fastest-growing adventure activities – Coasteering. Traverse, swim, climb and jump through millions of years of earth’s history on this unique Jurassic experience. Book a session between 26 May and 4 June and try a three hour coasteering session for half price, costing just £25 per adult and £17 per child. For this discount, just quote ‘JUMP’ when booking on 01929 400155. Visit


Herb garden tips from Orchard Park

Herbs are easy to grow, so are especially good plants to introduce children to gardening. Try planting a selection of tasty herbs valued as much for their ornamental appeal as their flavour. From sage to thyme, rosemary to clipped bay and flowering chives, combine herbs valued for their ornamental beauty to produce long-lasting displays as well as regular pickings for the kitchen. In small spaces herbs can be grown in pots, either planting them individually and grouping pots together into displays or creating bold combinations in larger containers. As many herbs have Mediterranean origins they relish a site in full sun where they can bake during summer. For details call 01747 835544 or visit


Pop into Poole Pottery this half term

This half term pop in to Poole Pottery to have fun designing and painting a piece of ceramic. Choose from a wide selection of pieces from plates and mugs to money boxes and ornaments. Your item will be fired in the Poole Pottery kilns, ready for collection a few days later. Prices start from just £7 – see their advert for a money-off voucher.  Find Paint a Pot at Poole Pottery at The Quay, Poole.  For details ring 01202 668681


A convenient way to transport all your summer items

Roll on Summer’s trolleys and waterproof based beach bags make perfect accessories for festivals, camping and beach days out with the family. Load up with all your essentials; towels, buckets, spades, boogie board, wetsuits, picnic and sun umbrella and still have a hand free for your coffee, child, phone - whatever you choose! Plus, the beach bags are perfect for carrying the family’s wet swimmers home. See Roll on Summer’s advert on page 20 of the latest magazine and take advantage of 20% off all the range. Visit


Bubble Football and Bubble Mayhem Parties with Vertigo Zorbing

Footie gets a bubble-shaped upgrade with Vertigo Zorbing! With torsos encased in a clear, protective sphere, players can hurl themselves into an hour-long session full of different games. Opposing teams will collide, rebound and roll head-over-heals as they battle for the win, safely cushioned by their inflatable Zorbs. Visit Vertigo Zorbing in Bournemouth or Poole for a fun packed experience. Visit









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