May Half Term and Spring Activities in Norfolk
There’s really no excuse for the kids to get bored this May, June and July as there’s a truly wonderful line up of events taking place week after week.
Fill those longer, warmer days with engaging hobbies, fun activities, healthy eating, holiday planning and exciting half-term events…
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 14 to 24 June 2019, aims to reinforce basic water awareness and on the website - www.rlss.org.uk/water-safety/drowning-prevention-week - 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 13 to 19 May 2019 - https://www.sta.co.uk/events/international-learn-to-swim-week/
If you’re looking to find a local swimming pool or ASA approved swimming lessons enter your location details at www.swimming.org/poolfinder
Learn to ‘Swim Safe’ Outdoors
Swim Safe is a fun and free water safety activity for children aged 7-14 years. Founded by the RNLI and Swim England, it teaches children, who can swim at least 25 metres, essential water safety skills through a fun session delivered by qualified lifeguards and instructors at a choice of open water locations.
Children learn where it is safe to swim, how to float, what to do if something goes wrong and how to call for help if someone else is in trouble. The free 60-minute session includes beach safety advice, up to 30 minutes in-water tuition and all the right kit for swimming outdoors. Find and book a session near to you via: https://swimsafe.org.uk
Learn to Swim at a Pool Near You
Currently, there are 1.18 million children learning to swim on the Swim England Learn to Swim Programme. Find your nearest pool offering swimming lessons, including crash courses during the summer months, at www.swimming.org/learntoswim
This spring make a big splash at:
Beccles Lido, Barton Turf Adventure Centre, St James Pool in King’s Lynn, and Hautbois.
Make a big splash in the sea – take your pick of beaches!
Field to Fork Experience
According to the latest research by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), that involved more than 27,500 children across the UK, 29% of five to seven-year-olds thought that cheese came from a plant and 13% of eight to 11 year olds, thought pasta came from an animal.
With these statistics in mind, events such as Open Farm Sunday are great at helping children learn about where their food comes from, giving them a first-hand, field to fork experience.
Open Farm Sunday: Sunday 9 June
On 9 June 2019, hundreds of farms all over the country will open their gates for the LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) Open Farm Sunday. This annual event is a must for anyone interested in how farmers produce food and care for the countryside. Essentially, it’s all about making the link between nature, farming and food.
Families visiting a farm on Open Farm Sunday may be entertained and educated on tractor and trailer rides, farm walks or along nature trails. Visitors may even discover how worms are a farmer’s best friend, watch sheep being sheared, see cows being milked or chicks hatching. To find out what local farms are taking part see www.farmsunday.org
LEAF Open Farm School Days: Throughout June
The LEAF Open Farm School Days are an initiative where children can visit farms and learn about where their food comes from. Throughout June, many farms will open their gates for educational visits to enable children to learn about how their food is produced and to meet the farmers who grow it. Teachers can go to https://farmsunday.org/schools to organise a school visit.
National Children’s Gardening Week: Saturday 25 May to Sunday 2 June
National Children’s Gardening Week aims to capture children’s enthusiasm for growing plants and being in the garden. Find ideas for fun garden projects and activities at: www.childrensgardeningweek.co.uk
It's Picnic Week – Friday 21 June to Sunday 30 June
Eating al-fresco is one of summer’s great pleasures, and after a hearty run-around it’s easy to tempt the children to sit down and tuck into an equally hearty picnic!
Picnics produce a tremendous amount of plastic, but they don’t have to. When you see how much goes into making just one plastic spoon, you may think washing up a few plates after a picnic isn’t such a big deal. Many families use reusable, sturdy plastic containers rather than single-use plastic to ship their picnic food, but if you want to go totally plastic-free here are some suggestions for you…
When buying picnic food, try to choose products that are not packaged in plastic. Opt for loose fruit and vegetables at your local greengrocer or supermarket and make your own sandwiches or pre-made salads stored in bamboo lunchboxes or sturdy glass containers.
Finger food such as chicken drumsticks, celery and carrot sticks, cocktail sausages, scotch eggs, potato wedges, sausage rolls and vegetable kebabs can all be consumed without a hint of plastic in sight. For storage, use tin foil, wax paper or glass containers.
- Wrap the sandwiches in tin foil or a fabric napkin that can double up to catch the crumbs.
- Use light stainless steel cutlery, old plates or fabric napkins
- Store the drink in a re-usable bottle. Many bottle producers are creatively using alternative materials such as bamboo, sugar cane, stainless steel and glass.
- Serve up the drink in small sturdy mugs or tin mugs.
- Transport all the food using an old fashioned picnic basket or reusable canvas bag.
As part of the season’s mini adventures pack up a tasty picnic for the kids. It’s National Picnic Week from 21 to 30 June 2019 – for ideas on how to fill those hampers look at www.nationalpicnicweek.co.uk or grab some nutritious ideas from www.greatgrubclub.com.
Spruce up those summer packed lunches and picnics with some tasty ideas, found here Healthy Lunchboxes - NHS: www.nhs.uk/change4life/recipes/healthier-lunchboxes
Salad and summer recipes at World Cancer Research Fund: www.wcrf-uk.org/uk/recipes/recipes-home
Picnic recipes at BBC Good Food: www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/picnic
Get Together for The Big Lunch – 1 and 2 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 1-2 June this year.
Why not use this as a great opportunity to form closer bonds with your neighbours? To get started see www.edenprojectcommunities.com/thebiglunch
Bike Week – 8 to 16 June
It’s National Bike Week - www.cyclinguk.org/bikeweek – from 8 to 16 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 Granite Way from Okehampton to Lydford; the Tarka Trail in and around Barnstaple; the Mineral Railway Trail at Tamar Trails; the trails at Haldon Forest near Exeter; the Exe Estuary Cycle trail that runs along the estuary from Exmouth to Dawlish.
Alternatively, choose from one of the many other routes found at www.sustrans.org.uk/bike-routes-map
To find a Bike Week event near you take a look at www.bikeweek.org.uk
Top Tips for a Successful Family Bike Ride
To locate a cycle route or to join the National Cycle Network visit the Sustrans website - www.sustrans.org.uk - 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.
Children’s Art Week – Saturday 8 – Sunday 16 June
Children's Art Week, the nationwide celebration of creativity for children and their families, will take place from Saturday 8 to Sunday 16 June 2019.
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 http://engage.org/childrens-art-week.aspx
It's Child Safety Week - 3 to 9 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 4 to Sunday 10 June 2018 with the theme ‘Safe Children: Together we've got This’ .
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.
Children’s Hospice Week – 17 to 23 June
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 www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk/childrenshospiceweek
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
Find out what children's activities are taking place in Norfolk this May half term, and beyond, here...
Fill those longer, warmer days with engaging hobbies, fun activities, healthy eating, holiday planning and exciting half-term events…
Jungle Fun at Bananas Soft Play
Take your kids to explore the brand new Bananas Soft Play area at Long Stratton Leisure Centre. With three storeys of jungle fun including rope bridges, tunnels, rollers, a twin lane wavy slide and much more for your little ones to enjoy, you can relax and enjoy the fantastic new cafe with family and friends or simply unwind with a magazine and a coffee. Bananas Soft Play is open 7 days a week for 0-11 year olds. Visit www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/bananas
It’s Time to Stomp, Dine and Strike at JR’s
Stomp Dine Strike this holiday time at JR’s! Children under 12 years old can slide, climb, tunnel and crawl at Stomp; then eat and drink at Dine with something from the All-American classics menu; then hit the funky tenpin lanes at Strike.
Plus, take the children to the new outdoor ‘Stomp Out’ play area which is packed with exciting play equipment such as a 4-way springer; a musical instrument circle; mini-beast springers; a mini climbing wall; a multi-coloured tube slide and wonkey wooden play towers and bridges. See www.stompdinestrike.com or call 01692 407793.
Spring Storytelling Workshops for Children
Norwich Puppet Theatre are offering something a bit different this half term, with a storytelling workshop for ages 4+. This will run alongside The Goose Who Flew, a heartfelt show that offers an age-appropriate exploration of the issues facing people who seek safety in a new land. In the one hour workshop, children get to work with the performer, exploring the themes of the play and expanding the story. Tickets cost £14 for both the show and the workshop. See more at www.puppettheatre.co.uk or 01603 629921.
Snowboard Lessons for Juniors at Norfolk Snowsports Club
Children aged 8 – 12 years are having the most fun looking sideways whilst sliding down a slope! Snowboarding has become a big hit with children who can now join in on the fun at the Norfolk Snowsports Club in Trowse, close to Norwich.
Children can learn the basics in beginner lessons, then progress in the improvers group or book the kids on a Day Camp in the school holiday where they can try snowboarding, skiing and tubing. For bookings and details see www.norfolksnowsports.com
Spring Fun at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden
Families can enjoy the colourful woodland garden on a special Spring Walk at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden on Sunday 26 May at 11am. Then on Wednesday 29 May, from 11am to 3pm, get close to the animals from Wild Touch, an experienced wildlife rescue service based in the Norfolk Broads, or go on an evening cruise at 7pm to St Benet's Abbey and, on your return, enjoy a warming hot chocolate in the tearoom. Tickets for the evening cruise, including garden entry from 10am, are £16.50 per adult and £11.50 per child and must be booked in advance.
Plus, the Great Bear Hunt is back at Fairhaven. Volunteer Andy Usher has carved 10 bears, which are located throughout the garden next to trees and shrubs. Get out and about, hunt the 10 bears in the garden and learn about the woodland, then go den building in the Dell. Call 01603 270449 or see www.fairhavengarden.co.uk
Fathers Go Free at Amazona!
On Sunday 16 June, Amazona Zoo in Cromer will be giving dads a free entry ticket to celebrate Father’s Day. Amazona Zoo is a great day out where families can learn about a varied and fascinating selection of animals native to South America. Home to over 200 tropical animals, including jaguars, pumas, ocelots, monkeys, snakes, caimans, flamingos, tapirs and Tic-Tac the toucan, the zoo is committed to helping visitors discover nature and providing education on conservation issues set within 15 acres on the north Norfolk coast. As well as the wide variety of animals, the zoo also has a well-equipped indoor play area Jungle Tumbles, and an extensive outdoor area Rainforest Springs. For more information visit www.amazonazoo.co.uk, call 01263 510741.
Roarrsome Fun at ROARR! Dinosaur Adventure
After a scorching Easter weekend, Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure is ready for the spring season as it opens two brand-new attractions and re-opens two of its popular summer activities, Predator High Ropes and Dippy’s Splash Zone.
The park, which is surrounded by 85 acres of enchanted woodland, has opened Dippy-Ville, a brand-new soft play area which boasts an interactive BEAM floor game, wall activities and padded areas with large building blocks.There are other attractions for all ages to enjoy, including the Dinosaur Trail, Secret Animal Garden and Dinomite Indoor Play. Plus, there are plenty of ROARR-some food outlets available too, including The Explorers steampunk themed restaurant. Book online for best savings at www.roarrdinosauradventure.co.uk
Free Entry to Pleasure Beach
Pleasure Beach, a free entry amusement park is situated at the South end of Great Yarmouth’s famous Golden Mile dominating the seafront with its rides.
From rollercoasters to bumper cars, a revamped Haunted Hotel to water attractions, there is something to keep all family members happy for hours. To win a free family day out at Pleasure Beach take a look at the competitions page in this magazine. For information see www.pleasure-beach.co.uk
Fathers VIP Day
To celebrate Father’s Day, join the Bure Valley Railway for a special train and lunch package on Sunday 16 June. Starting from Wroxham, experience the magic of steam through nine miles of Norfolk countryside, following the picturesque Bure Valley, before arriving at Aylsham. On arrival receive a complimentary drink and sit down to a two-course set lunch, including coffee and mints, at the Whistlestop. After lunch each Father has the opportunity to drive a steam engine before the return journey to Wroxham. Limited spaces are available for this special package and therefore must be pre-booked - see www.bvrw.co.uk
Half Term Adventures at Blickling Estate
Children will be able to run off some steam this half term at the Blickling Estate from Saturday 25 May to Sunday 2 June. A variety of fun family activities will be available across the estate – from 'sow and grow' in the walled kitchen garden to exploring further afield with the daily cycle hire. Blickling will be open every day from 10am, with a wide selection of bikes and equipment available, including children’s bikes and tag-alongs. For more, see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling
Medieval Medicine at Time and Tide, Great Yarmouth
Have you ever wondered what life was like before modern medicine? Find out about historical healthcare’s gruesome cures and poisonous potions through the methods of five practitioners, from the barber surgeon to the apothecary. Get up close to skeletons and find out what archaeological science can tell about the lives, diseases and medicines of people in the past. Plus, there’s a chance see the short film A Touch of Plague by Horrible Histories writer, Terry Deary. The exhibition runs until 22 September at Time and Tide, Museum of Great Yarmouth Life. For more information visit www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk.
Great Yarmouth Racecourse’s Family Fun Day: 30 May
Looking for a fun day out over the Whitsun Half Term break? Look no further than Great Yarmouth Racecourse’s Family Fun Day on Thursday 30 May where there will be magic and circus skills to entertain the children in addition to the 7 exciting horse races that are guaranteed to get the family’s pulse racing.
The racecourse is welcoming to all and children U18 enjoy free admission to all fixtures ensuring a great value day out for the entire family. Read more: www.greatyarmouth-racecourse.co.uk
Piggy Racing Fun at Church Farm
May Half Term will be packed full of lively family activities at Church Farm. In addition to the usual attractions such as the ride-on pedal tractors, indoor and outdoor play areas and nature walks, the infamous pig racing will take place every afternoon. The louder you cheer, the faster they run! Other farm activities will include animal encounter sessions, tractor and trailer tours and donkey treks. For details ring 01366 382162 or visit www.churchfarmstowbardolph.co.uk
Shotford Hall Farm Opens its Gates: Sunday 9 June
Shotford Hall’s Open Farm Sunday on 9 June offers the opportunity to discover where and how your food is produced and used, and how the farmers look after the environment. Ever wondered what it’s like in the seat of a tractor or combine harvester, or what technology is involved in farming?
How are animals reared and cared for? At this special event, families will be able to talk to the people actively involved in farming and much more. The activity barn will also keep the children busy whatever the weather! For details call 07767 708106.