Wednesday, 27 May 2009

FREE STUFF FOR KIDS FROM THE OPEN UNIVERSITY

Loads of free offers from the Open University to download and send off for; posters, History Detective booklets, recipe cards, a whole set of activity cards to use with your children and much, much more. Plus, check out their interactive pages for interesting things for older kids and grown ups - find out your learning style, explore Mars, find out just how much science is in your kitchen and loads more!
More Ideas HERE for Things to do on School Holidays!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

16 FREE (OR NEARLY FREE) THINGS TO DO AT HOME WITH THE KIDS IN THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

Play skittles - line up plastic bottles on a smooth flat floor and hit with a ball made from screwed up newspaper, a small foam ball or tennis ball.
Make salt dough models - mix 3 cups of plain flour, 1 cup of salt and approx 1 cup of water. Mix well until blended and smooth. Model like playdough, use biscuit cutters to get some good shapes, make beads to string for bracelets or get seasonal and start making decorations for Christmas!. Dry out your finished creations in a cool oven (100C, 200F,Gas Mark 1/4) or you can leave to dry naturally (takes up to 48 hours approx).You can then paint and varnish them when they are dry.
Memory game - lay out a collection of small items on a tray- around 10 things - kids can do this themselves if they want to then give them 2 minutes to look at what is there- cover the items with a cloth and ask them to list what was on the tray. Another alternative game is to secretly remove one item at a time, show them the items again and ask them each time what item is missing.
Make paper plate masks - use paper plates to draw and colour masks, cut out eye holes (help smaller children with this task). use shirring elastic if you have it, knotted through holes at each side of the mask, alternatively stick a lolly stick or straw at the base so the mask can be held in front of the face.
Home camping - this is really for small kids - use a clothes airer (triangular type) or a table, cover with old sheets or blankets, equip with torches, pillows, sleeping bags etc and food supplies for lunch!
Paper and pen - play naughts and crosses or hangman. Play dots and blocks- draw out a grid of 10 dots by 10 dots and take it in turns with a partner to connect 2 dots with a line. When you complete a box you write your initial in it. At the end, the person with the most initials is the winner.
Blow football - use straws and a ping pong ball and make a goal on the table with 2 pairs of unopened tins.
Decorated biscuits - decorate digestive biscuits with icing made from water and icing sugar (not too runny - add a little water at a time to get the right consistency - you want to be able to spread it over the biscuit, but you don't want it running off the sides!). Decorate with sprinkles, smarties or crumbled chocolate flake (makes good "hair" on faces).
Home picnic - spread a blanket on the floor and have a picnic in the house (or garden). Enlist the kids' help to make up bottles of juice and sandwiches.
Make pizzas for tea - buy plain pizza bases (or make your own from pizza mix) and spread with sauce and varied toppings. Small individual ones are ideal if you can get them, as each child can then make (and eat) their own.For younger kids, they could draw/design their own pizza first on paper or paper plates and then shop for the ingredients to make it. May be a bit messy - but at least you get a meal cooked!
Cook some cup cakes - buy or cook small plain cakes and decorate - as per the decorated biscuits.
Start a home cookery course - borrow a kids' cookery book from your local library or get some kids' recipes from the Treats to Cook with the Kids section of Delicious Magazine. Each day, get the kids to choose a recipe, make a shopping list, shop for the ingredients (and work out how much the recipe costs), cook and finally eat it - get them to rate the recipe - hard, easy, tasty or not! This gets them to practise their organisational, practical, budgeting and maths skills.
Visit a city farm or community garden- they are free or cheap to visit. Find your nearest HERE.
Check out what there is in walking distance of where you live - be creative - it may be only something that everyone walks or drives past every day e.g. a war memorial - what is it for ? Are there any surnames you recognise, perhaps from friends at school. Which war was it? What can you find out about it? Use your local library or tourism office to find out some facts about unusual buildings, parks, statues etc in your area.
Start to learn a new language in preparation for your holidays! Kids can use a dictionary to look up the names of household objects, clothing etc (or use the Internet) in your chosen language - write the foreign word on post-it notes (on the front - English translation on the back) and put on on your chosen items. Get kids to keep practising the names then take all the post-it notes off the next day and see how many they can remember, by putting the post-its back on the correct items. Build upon this each day adding new words.
Visit the Met Office Education website for loads of weather experiments, such as Make a Cloud in a Glass, measuring a puddle, make a Windmill, raingauge, etc plus, online games such as Snowflake and Cloud Attack and for younger kids, loads of weather related colouring pages to print out and colour.
More Ideas HERE for Things to do on School Holidays!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

EVEN MORE FREE THINGS TO DO IN SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

Vist the (Bethnal Green) Museum of Childhood, London.And it's not just for kids. See over 6,000 exhibits covering 400 years of childhood - from Harry Potter's Nimbus 2000 broomstick back to around 1750s.

Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, +44 (0)20 8983 5200, vam.ac.uk/moc. Open daily 10am-5.45pm.


National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

This museum charts the Industrial Revolution from a Welsh seaport perspective, including archive images and oral history, to give an insight into community life. Poverty versus wealth, dangers to health and body, families under pressure, noise, grime and exploitation are all covered in this warts 'n' all investigation.

Oystermouth Road, Maritime Quarter, Swansea, +44 (0)1792 638950, museumwales.ac.uk. Open daily 10am–5pm

People's Palace and Winter Gardens, Glasgow

The People's Palace is the story of ordinary Glaswegians and, how they have made the most of the poor hand life that has often dealt to them over the last 250 years: a single tenement room contrasts with a tobacco lord's trappings while political banners and the famous banana boots worn by Billy Connolly on stage in the 1970s are different voices of Glasgow culture. The splendid Victorian glass-and-iron Winter Palace, housing tropical and subtropical plants is the perfect place for a warming coffee and a slice of Millionaires Shortbread.

Glasgow Green, +44 (0)141 276 0788, glasgowmuseums.com. Open Monday to Thursday and Saturday 10am-5pm, Friday and Sunday 11am-5pm

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth

Housed in an Italianate/Scottish villa on the cliff side, the Russell-Cotes is a "must see" even on the sunniest day in Bournemouth. See this highly colourful collection of artworks, stained glass and Japanese souvenirs collected by the Russell Cotes family during their travels in the late Victorian period. Currently showing (until Aug 9) is A-Z, A Handbook, featuring mosaics by Cleo Mussi, one of the world's leading exponents of the art.


Blaise Castle House, near Bristol

Jane Austen described this handsome late 18th-century mansion as "the finest place in England". It is situated in the parkland of the Blaise Estate, just north of Bristol and serves as the city's social history collection. Has a collection spanning the last 300 years, showing domestic equipment and items used in bygone Bristol households, a large Costume Gallery and a toy collection. See the unusual items in the Cabinet of Curiosities; a Hiroshima fused glass bottle, a Scold's Bridle and an arm bone of a Bristol rioter (1831) carved with a human face!

Henbury Road, Henbury, +44 (0)117 903 9818, bristol.gov.uk. Open Saturday to Wednesday 10am-5pm.


Leeds City Art Gallery

Perhaps one of the best collections of 20th-century British art outside of London. Nationally important prints, watercolours, paintings, sculptures, photography, and contemporary art include works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Antony Gormley and Francis Bacon. There is a new multi-media exhibition gallery and the Victorian Tile Hall café.

The Headrow, Leeds. +44 (0)113 247 8256, leeds.gov.uk/artgallery. Monday to Tuesday 10am-8pm (except Bank Holidays). Wednesday 12pm-8pm. Thursday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Sunday 1pm-5pm.


Linen Hall Library, Belfast

Between the 17th and 19th centuries linen was almost as important to Ireland as wool was to England. One of Belfast's "hidden" gems, known to locals only - where you can enjoy a coffee with splendid views on to the buzzing hub of the city, Donegall Square. Tucked away in a new annex is a small museum with features on The Troubles and, should you wish to trace Irish roots, a genealogy section.

Library: 17 Donegall Square North, +028 9032 1707, linenhall.com. Open Monday to Friday, 9.30am-5.30pm, Saturday 9.30am-1pm.


Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham

Perhaps one of the finest small art galleries in Europe with works by Monet, Manet, Magritte; Renoir, Rubens, Rossetti and Rodin; Degas, Delacroix and van Dyck, not to mention Turner, Gainsborough and Picass, housed in an art deco building. The Barber is also renowned for one of Europe's best collections of coins.

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, +44 (0)121 414 7333, barber.org.uk. Open Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm.


Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead

The North East's leading gallery of design and contemporary craft. Alongside the Shipley's excellent fine art collection, a new Designs for Life gallery showcases over 300 objects from all over the world. C

On 23 May the eagerly awaited Great North Museum: Hancock and the Hatton Gallery (admission also free) will be opening on the other side of the Tyne.

The Shipley: Prince Consort Road, Gateshead, +44 (0)191 232 6789,

Great North Museum Barras Bridge,

Newcastle upon Tyne, +44 (0)191 222 6765, twmuseums.org.uk/greatnorthmuseum

Both are open Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 2pm-5pm.

More Ideas HERE for Things to do on School Holidays!

Friday, 22 May 2009

THINGS TO DO AT HOME IN THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

Try some wacky experiments at home with ideas from www.planet-science.com. Whether it's a volcano, slippery slime or crazy custard, there are lots of activities to keep your budding scentists busy all week.

Go on a welly-wanging walk with friends and neighbours. Gather in a large, open space away from any buildings or roads and take it in turns to hurl your welly as far as you can, hopping in your remaining welly to where it lands. Award prizes for the wangers who produce the longest, highest and wonkiest throws, plus booby prizes for anyone who falls over while hopping!

Make your own kites from bamboo sticks, bin liners, strong tape and string - and get out in the wind. For more professional advice contact The British Kite Flying Association who have links to local kite-club websites.

Organise a scavenger hunt in a park or your back garden if it's big enough. Write a list of things to find, such as a feather, something red, a fir cone, something that holds water or a brown pebble/stone. If you can keep your kids within sight while they scavenge, then you can sit down and enjoy a flask of coffe or cold drinks while they run around and exhaust themselves!

More Ideas HERE for Things to do on School Holidays!

FREE SWIMMING!

Many local authorities are offering free swimming for under 16 year olds (and over 60s). So grandparents and kids can go free! Take a look HERE to find your nearest participating pool.
More Ideas HERE for Things to do on School Holidays!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

FREE DAYS OUT IN THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS!

Enjoy England has a list of free fun days out for the family, including art galleries, museums (and not all in London), woodland and beaches.
Details: Enjoy England

More Ideas HERE for Things to do on School Holidays!

CHEAP OR FREE THINGS TO DO AT IN THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

Walking!
Free walking guides to download, explore beaches, forests, moorland and villages looked after by the National Trust,
Details: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
History
More than 400 English Heritage including abbeys, castles, ruins and stately homes sites are open this half term and plenty are free or reduced.
Details: www.englishheritage.org.uk
Enjoy A Roald Dahl Day
Vist the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in South Bucks (England’s Best Small Visitor Attraction 2008) for free storytelling and craft activities for families every day during school holidays, but you have to pay for admission. It is aimed at 6 to 12-year-olds and enables visitors to find out all about Roald Dahl’s life and stories.
Details: www.roalddahlmuseum.org
More Ideas HERE for Things to do on School Holidays!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

FRUGAL CELERY SOUP RECIPE

Do you ever have a head of celery wilting in the fridge after Easter or Christmas? I often do – or even worse, this year I even had a jug with cut celery pieces stuck in it, still in the kitchen 5 days after the Easter Sunday buffet! But, yes! I made soup out of it and it was delicious!
Here’s the recipe:
  • Slowly fry a chopped onion in a tablespoon of oil (or butter) until it’s soft and turns a pale gold colour - keeping the lid on the saucepan.
  • Add the roughly chopped celery and fry for 3 or 4 minutes.
  • Add 500mls (1 pint) of vegetable stock (made with a stock cube)
  • Simmer with the lid on for 10-15 minutes (until celery is soft).
  • Allow to cool slightly and then liquidise. You may need to add a little water if it is too thick.
  • Reheat if necessary and serve with a twist of black pepper if liked.
Serves 2 generously – or 3 in more “genteel” servings!

FREE EYE TEST AND 100 CLUBCARD POINTS!

Tesco is offering you a free eye test and 100 clubcard points at Tesco Opticians. You don't have to get your glasses from them. Find your nearest store with an optician HERE and don't forget to take your Clubcard!

ANOTHER FREE ACTIVITY FOR THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS!

If you or your kids are budding tennis aces, then take a look at this site. Tennis for Free allows you to search all over the country for places to play tennis for free and, in some cases, get free coaching as well.
Get playing!
More Ideas for the School Holidays!

Friday, 15 May 2009

FREE KNITTING PATTERN FOR THE ITV DIGITAL (AND PG TIPS) MONKEY!

Do you remember the great Digital Monkey on the tv ads? He seems to have made a great come-back on the PG tips ads with his old friend Johnny Vegas! Well, you can still get the pattern to knit him! Unfortunately, there's no photo on the pattern, but if you've forgotten what he looks like, (how could you!) take a look HERE and HERE!
If you want to get your needles out and create your own Digital Monkey, get the pdf instructions HERE!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

FREE THINGS TO DO IN THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

Sherwood Forest Country Park, Nottingham - visit this 450-acre country park with nature trails and plenty of exploring opportunities. www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk
Get free audience tickets to watch your favourite programmes being made -
www.bbc.co.uk and www.itv.com
Visit the National Football Museum, Preston and find out all about the history of your favourite sport and enjoy interactive activities.
if you happen to be in Cornwall, visit Roskilly's Farm, Helston where you can see delicious organic ice-cream being made and meet the animals.
If you have some budding ballerinas in your family, the new Royal Ballet School Museum, which presents the evolution of ballet, is a must see.
Stroll on a beach, enjoy the cliff walks, paddle in the surf, skim pebbles - or even swim if it's warm enough! Take a look at Britain's top 20 beaches and get out there!
More Ideas for Things to do on School Holidays!

Monday, 11 May 2009

NATIONAL EXPRESS £1 COACH JOURNEYS !

National Express Coaches is offering £1 coach fares for spring, on 180 routes - ideal for all those Bank Holiday trips. It does say that travel to or from airports is not included and that you can only book up to 7 days in advance.More things to do in the school holidays!

CHEAP BUS AND TRAIN TRAVEL!

If you will be looking for cheap bus and train intercity travel for the Bank Holiday Weekend or even better, the summer holidays, then give the Megabus site a look. The sooner you book your tickets, the cheaper they will be, so get planning! Journeys can be bought from £1 plus a 50p booking fee.The site also has a link to their sister service, Megatrain and a hotel booking section.
More things to do in the school holidays! 

FREE EVENTS FOR HOLIDAYS!

If you're looking for free things to do for the next Bank Holiday Weekend and even the coming school summer holidays, then take a look at the Free-Events site. It has a very long list of free events of all kinds all over the UK. There is no search facility, so it's a bit long winded, but still very comprehensive for all that. Well worth a look!More things to do in the school holidays!