Wednesday 28 October 2020

Ad | What To Do With The Kids At Home - Autumn/Winter 2020

It's all very different, but that doesn't mean we can't still make it fun! When we look back, we won't really remember 2 weeks of self-isolating that turned into nothing, or all the hours we were trying to work while the kids asked endless questions. The things we'll remember the most will be the times we laughed at technology fails, the zoom calls with Grandma, the fact we sent parcels and letters. The precious hours getting to really know our family, the NHS, the rainbows, Marcus Rashford, and most of all, the way we still made it work.  

Here are lots of people who are still making it work in order to entertain us, and maybe teach us a few things along the way... Throughout the post are some printables that you can click on, save and print off on A4 paper... 

Online activities for your family this Winter jelly sweet tree with stuck on sugar stars

have some amazing new online creative sessions!

To book onto sessions you need to join the Bright Sparks, which is free to families on low incomes, and during the Coronavirus pandemic the £15 membership is also being waived, so that everyone can benefit. The sessions are FREE. Toddler sessions run on Tuesdays, family sessions on Saturdays. Sessions are open to all, and have to be booked via the Z-Arts website up until midnight the night before (you only need to book one ticket per family).

Toddler Sessions - Tuesdays, 10.00 - 10.30am
1st December
, led by Gill - Kitchen Disco – let’s get fruity! Join Gill in a playful bendy yoga session themed on the fantastic story 'Kitchen Disco'.
8th December, led by Natasha - Hibernating - with The Very Hungry Caterpillar as inspiration.
15th December, led by Tom - Sticks and Stones workshop - create some winter characters that may be hidden outside. 

Family Sessions - Saturday 11.30am - 12.30pm
21st November,
led by Gill - Find joy in the everyday - a mindful nature treasure hunt and then join Gill in creating a superb stick crown and some fantastical sculptures.
28th November, led by Yemi - Make & believe heritage in your home! You will uncover, search and explore items that represent your family’s culture.
5th December, led by Natasha - Christmas creations – reuse, recycle and repurpose.
12th December, led by Janine - Create your own Dreamcatchers - collect items on a winter's walk and join Janine to teach you the magic of  creating your very own Dreamcatcher.
19th December, led by Tom - Storyteller Tom shares his tips and tricks for creating new settings where your stories can be set.  Walk around your neighbourhood and put the things you see into your stories. 

If you like the idea of online classes, Z-Arts are running their Bright Sparks sessions via Zoom. If you're a Bright Sparks member, you can sign up for as many weekly online classes as you would like. If you're interested in Bright Sparks membership, email

Collectuion of interesting papers on a desk. Several say Humbug, others seem to be a map and paper items such as flowers

Christmas Theatre - from home

are working with renowned family theatre company Wrongsemble to deliver an alternative online Festive Christmas show – HUMBUG – to homes and schools throughout the country.
All ages can enjoy seven filmed episodes of this exciting story throughout December, accompanied by an interactive HUMBUG ‘Fact File’ filled with 13 artefacts sent directly to your home.
HUMBUG takes place deep beneath the city, where a secret world full of wonder awaits; a place where wizards bake endless gingerbread, goblins bottle festive cheer, and there’s a whole department devoted to detangling fairy-lights! This is the Ministry of Make Believe.... Recently strange things have been happening at the Ministry. From nose-less snowmen, to exploding baubles, and a forest of bald Christmas trees – things are not quite right… It’s almost like someone (or something) is trying to sabotage Christmas! Together with Secret Agent Dash, audiences will help to solve the mystery and save the day!

1 - 31 December 2020, 7 short films - A £10 family ticket gives access to all 7 episodes of this online digital adventure throughout December, and is accompanied by an interactive HUMBUG Fact File filled with 13 artefacts sent directly to you.

Find out more and book online at Diverghub - online platform for Waterside arts & theatre

NatGeo Family at Home collage of 4 exploring family photos

National Geographic have now set up an entire 'At Home' platform for families, and content changes every couple of weeks. You can it all on the National Geographic At Home family pages - it's dinosaur month! There is masses to interest anyone who has an interest in plants, animals, the world around them or beyond. We've even joined in with a couple of the FREE online video-conferencing sessions with real explorers and paleontologists... 

Z-Arts creative teams have been really busy behind the scenes putting together loads of crafty arty things you can do at home.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre have been doing 'Build At Home' Sessions with Masterbuilder James over on Facebook - and if you missed them, go to the LEGOLAND Facebook page 'Videos' section. 

Chester Zoo have absolutely loads of information online, including a virtual tour and educational resources, plus stories about the animals who live there.

Game makers Asmodee have a whole range of FREE 'print and play' versions of popular games. They include Dobble, Cortex, Classic Timeline, Dixit and others. It's a fantastic opportunity to have a try of some of my family's favourite Asmodee Games... You can find the Asmodee Print And Play Family Games here.. 

Puffin Books Childrens literacy Door sign

Manchester Museum has lots of different galleries and exhibitions available to view online.

Greater Manchester Police Museum also has collections online.

People’s History Museum in Manchester have reopened for now, but you can still explore their collections and take part in digital events and activities using their Ideas Worth Exploring online resources. Each month they have a different Doodle Den challenge, to encourage kids to think, and get creative. 

The Science Museum Group have all collaborated to create an excellent site where you can remotely view loads of the exhibits from National Collections Centre, National Railway Museum, National Science & Media Museum, Science & Industry Museum and the Science Museum.

Liverpool Museum hosts lots of their collections online.

Lockdown_life_ White_Bricks

The Lockdown Life Project – How Do Our Young People Feel in Lockdown? does still seem to be running and even accepting submissions. This is a project by Chester-based not-for-profit organisation 2engage, giving young people 10-18 from across the UK a creative outlet to express how lockdown has impacted their life.
Project outcomes will be sent to schools and higher education settings across the UK to inform those who safeguard these young people and help them understand what they have been through. It’s hoped this will assist them in managing youngsters’ fears, expectations and emotions once they return to whatever the world looks like after Covid-19. 
Find out more on the website: or Facebook/TikTok/Instagram:         @lockdownlifeproject

TED Talks
If you have older tweens or teens then Emma (who is a teacher) has put together a list of some of the most Inspiring TED Talks for Tweens and Teens. Some are emotional, some tell us about achievements, and some talk about who we are, but all will make you think. 

Boy and girl smiling and looking interested using a computer
Codetoday teaches kids aged 7-16 to code in Python, one of the world’s most popular coding languages. Courses run online, with various options for age groups 7-10, 10-12, 13-16. At each stage children are introduced to Python at an age-appropriate pace, with age-appropriate concepts and projects. They have a FREE coding taster session that children can have a play around with to get a taste.

Omnibus Theatre, Clapham are online, including a DEM TIMES live performance. A young adult comedy-drama following the re-education of British-born troublemaker, Samuel Adjei, in a Ghanaian boarding school. New artists showcased every week - Omnibus Theatre Online

National Theatre of Scotland are creating a series of works Scenes For Survival.

Theatres Online have free theatre online, here's Wind In The Willows from the London Palladium.

Listen to the Glasgow Gruffalo with Elaine C Smith.

LEGO Lets Build Together play ideas
Click to enlarge

 LEGO Play Agents have been busy. They have play challenges, new play ideas and live build-a-longs - which will be shared on social media using the hashtag #letsbuildtogether and on the LEGO Group website - Let's Build Together

The Imperial War Museum have loads to look at online, including collections and the stories behind the pieces.

The National Football Museum have collections online and are currently thinking up inventive ways to let you get your football fix online.

The National Football Museum European Cup trophy

Kids In Museums have put together a list of 10 different activities you can enjoy at home online.

ComedySportz are moving their live improvised comedy shows online, and teaming up with other ad lib comedy groups too - check the ComedySportz Facebook page for details. 

Puffin Books Childrens literacy tracy beaker heightchart

Tracy Beaker is back with brand new stories in The Tracy Beaker Podcast, made by BBC Children’s In House Productions, and based on the books by children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson.
Each episode follows the adventures of Tracy and her friends – as well as the occasional enemy along the way. All episodes are now available on BBC Sounds.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is streaming loads of his musicals free of charge on You Tube. You can find an updated list of free online musicals, opera and other performances here.

BBC Sound and Bigmouth Audio have a 'Once Upon a Time in Zombieville' podcast which is perfect for visually impaired and sighted children to enjoy together. An immersive comedy-horror audio cartoon recommended for children aged 7-12 and their families. Season 1 and 3 are available free of charge from BBC Sounds and Apple Podcasts.

Puffin Books activities during school closures

Children's publisher Puffin are celebrating their 80th birthday and have a massive package for kids and parents this year. You can find all kinds of story telling and story ideas for budding authors, as well as The Puffin Podcast with Humza Arshad. 

Puffin Books Childrens literacy Wordsearch

Working with the BBC: Puffin have also signed up to offer content and activities for both a BBC Bitesize Daily broadcast and BBC Bitesize Online.
Puffin Schools: To support teachers, parents and caregivers now tackling home-learning, the Puffin Schools website has bite size activities and new categories such as Writing Prompts, Activity Ideas and Picture Book Packs
Partnership with TWINKL: Puffin are providing resources from their authors and illustrators to Twinkl’s home learning hub, which offers daily educational activities and a range of free materials to use at home
Teach Primary’s ‘Author in Your Classroom Podcast’: series to inspire the next generation.
 YA Book Club: Launching soon on teen and YA channel: Penguin Platform on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

5 Minute Science STEM for kids FREE activities

I'm a big fan of fun science activities, and a couple of years ago my boys and I put together a whole range of 5 Minute STEM Activities which are FREE or cost pennies, and don't need any special equipment. Some of them don't need anything except you.

The BBC have scheduled a full 14 weeks of educational programmes and lessons for children of all ages, and there's some really excellent stuff with some of the best teachers in the UK, celebrities, authors, scientists - it's all there. You can find out more on the BBC Bitesize website.

For actual real teachers, the Department for Education supported Oak National Academy has brought together more than 80 state school teachers and organisations across the sector to create an online school, with lessons for every age and subject. And it's full of exciting ways to learn from home - it's not all print-out worksheets and pages of writing.

Puffin Books Childrens literacy dreamer name

I'll add to this when I see anything appropriate - please feel free to email if you also have moved online while people can't visit! I have marked the post as an AD. I'm more than happy to add links to paid activities which are not free, because my family have to eat too, but I will only add links to activities which I feel are good value and genuinely a good product. 

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