May Half Term and Spring Activities in Plymouth
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:
Tinside Lido; Fort Stamford Health and Fitness, Plymouth Life Centre, Crealy Great Adventure Park; Quaywest, River Dart Country Park.
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 Plymouth and Devon 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…
Adrenalin Quarry is Bigger and Better than Before!
Adrenalin Quarry has grown! Now, it’s bigger and better than ever before – with a Gravity Park, Water Park and Race Track! Since 2009, the friendly team at Adrenalin Quarry have thrown hundreds of thousands of you over the edge. It’s a fabulous place for thrill-seekers with the Zip, the Giant Swing, karting and the Aquapark as well as its axe-throwing and cliff diving activities. There are simply so many brilliant things to try or see and the great news is that entry is free, you just pay for the activities. For details see www.adrenalinquarry.co.uk or call 01579 308 204.
Jasiri the Lion meets the New Lionesses at Dartmoor Zoo
Lionesses Kimya and Nikita from Longleat, stepped outdoors into a new world, one with Dartmoor trees and Devonshire faces, kindly grinning welcoming them to Dartmoor Zoo. Existing resident lion Jasiri, was also pleased to see the lionesses, as he strutted along the fence in the enclosure next to theirs, his mane well-groomed and his nose high!
He roared deeply from time to time and peered over to see if the girls noticed! They did, and he was proud. The start to new friendships... Find out more about Dartmoor Zoo’s newest residents at www.dartmoorzoo.org.uk
Visit Wild Futures’ Monkey Sanctuary and Support a Charity
Nestled into the side of the south Cornish coast between Looe and Seaton, Wild Futures’ Monkey Sanctuary cares for a range of different species of rescued monkeys. Visitors can gain an intimate insight to a working sanctuary and a chance to meet some of its amazing monkey residents and wildlife inhabitants. Visit www.monkeysanctuary.org for prices and opening times.
Sign Up Now for Argyle Community Trust’s Whitsun Roadshows
The fun, inclusive environment that exists at Argyle Community Trust’s Whitsun Roadshows helps to develop a child’s core fundamental and socials skills. All courses run from 10am to 3pm and welcome children aged 5 to 15 years, of all abilities.
Prizes are available throughout the week along with plenty of different venues hosting different topics. To find out more information visit the website to find out more about the half term offers: https://argylecommunitytrust.co.uk/courses/
Squiggly Wiggly Giant Squid Splashes Back To Royal William Yard
One of Royal William Yard’s largest and most famous residents is set to make a big splash again this summer, with the Squiggly Wiggly Giant Squid returning from deep in the ocean, to take pride of place on the lawn. It’s not just the Squid who is returning, but also its sea creature friends, who are hiding all around the Yard, waiting to be discovered. Visitors are tasked with the challenge of hunting them down by taking part in the Squid Trail, simply pick up a free trail passport from Yard ambassadors to take part. On completion of the trail, participants can then make their way to retailers across the Yard to collect a free prize. See https://royalwilliamyard.com
Unicorn Week at Pennywell Farm
In addition to all the hands on animal activities, shows, rides and displays, a very special week is lined up at Pennywell Farm. This May Half Term, from Saturday 25 May to Sunday 2 June, Pennywell will be enjoying a magical week of unicorn fun to bring out the inner unicorn in everyone. Meet magical Merlin, Pennywell’s resident Unicorn for the week and enjoy unicorn treasure hunts, unicorn craft activities, games and prizes. Plus, if you buy your tickets online, there’s a free unicorn hot chocolate with every child ticket. Visit: www.pennywellfarm.co.uk
It’s May-Hem at Crealy
Visit Crealy Theme Park and Resort this May Half Term and get £15 tickets for their absolute May-hem event. With the most theme park rides in Devon and over 60 attractions to choose from, Crealy Theme Park and Resort offers plenty to do for the whole family. Take a spin on the Twister as you tower over 12 metres high and race your way around the track at 30mph or take on the Tidal Wave Log Flume, dropping 40 foot into the water below. Other rides include the Maximus Rollercoaster, where guests will shoot around ancient Rome at high speeds; Vortex, a high speed waterslide with stunning special effects; the Flying Machine and the Flying Dutchman. Families can also take part in the Crealy Grand Prix.
Visitors can validate their ticket during their visit and return to the Theme Park for the next six days for free, with Crealy’s seven days of fun for the price of one. Get your tickets at www.crealy.co.uk
Climb to Great Heights this Half Term
Located in the iconic ship building in Derriford, Plymouth’s Clip ‘n Climb is one of Europe’s largest centres. Visitors can look forward to taking on an array of incredible challenges with climbing lines to suit every ability, promising fun for all the family. Designed to put your fitness, determination and resilience to the test, Clip ‘n Climb Plymouth promotes a healthy lifestyle, offering benefits to both physical and mental wellbeing. Featuring the epic 26ft high climbing line ‘Ascendor’ and the world-famous interactive climbing wall ‘Valoclimb’ plus many more.... you’ll have plenty of opportunities to improve your confidence, discover your limits and ignite your passion for climbing. Visit www.plymouth.clipnclimb.co.uk