HALF TERM FUN
By Ann Evans
The kids will be breaking up for the half term break before you know it. So here’s a round-up of some of the fun – and educational family outings that you might want to take them to in Shropshire and Warwickshire.
There’s always so much to see and do at Shropshire’s Ironbridge Gorge Museums, but over half term there’s also lots of hands-on activities for families to take part in.
At Blists Hill Victoria Town you can learn all about the history of Victorian sweets and get up close to some unusual objects from the Victorian sweet industry. You could make a miniature miniature roof tiles from air-drying clay and personalise it with alphabet stamps and hand prints. Or you could try candle dipping, building a wall with mini bricks or colouring in pictures of Victorian Scenes. On Valentines weekend you could typeset and print a Valentines card using Victorian techniques in the Town’s Goods Shed.
Over at Enginuity you can design, build and launch a pneumatic rocket and discover the fun of flying. You’ll be using paper, card and plastic to create model rockets of around 30cm in length which can be ‘fired’ from Enginuity’s air powered pneumatic launcher through a selection of suspended targets. You’ll also be able to discover more about the engineers and inventors from the early days of aviation.
You can join a circus themed tile decorating workshop at the Jackfield Tile Museum. Be as creative as you like using the Victorian tube lining technique to decorate your tile. Tiles are £5 each and there will be p&p to have your finished tile posted to your home after firing.
Head over to Coalport China Museum to celebrate Chinese Year of the Monkey with family activities and hands-on workshops. Decorate your own Chinese design on a clay plaque or try your hand at sculpting a monkey, pagoda or lotus blossom from clay. You can also paint a delicate china flower or fridge magnet and join in free paper based activities.
For further information, prices, dates and time contact the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre
on Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk.
If Warwickshire is more your neck of the woods, then Shakespeare’s England has plenty to offer.
Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace to discover the toys young William would have played with. Put your hands into the feel boxes to work out what is hidden inside.
At Hall’s Croft figure out secret messages and write your own in invisible ink – just like spies did in World War 1.
At Harvard House learn how Tudor houses were built, and help the team build their own miniature versions. Learn about mucky wattle and daub, and the dangers of a thatched roof.
Visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage to learn about baking and dress up as a Victorian descendent of Shakespeare’s wife plus have a go at cutting your own biscuits.
To coincide with the launch of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s forthcoming production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A play for the Nation, the Stratford-upon-Avon based theatre company is offering families a whole host of activities based on the magical play. Highlights include singing songs inspired by Shakespeare’s mystical play, creating your own version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a day with help from an RSC expert and exploring a range of props, costumes and accessories based on the fairies and Athenian court.
The RSC has commissioned a brand new self-guided tour to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s legacy. Shakespeare Steps invites people to follow in the footsteps of the world’s most famous playwright. The free self-guided tour, which involves eight locations, will run alongside Stratford’s historic spine. At each stop visitors can follow footsteps and speech bubbles painted on pavements that work as instructions for acting out mini dramas. The tour launches on 30 January and a free map will also be available to guide visitors, give them historical background and will also feature a treasure hunt challenge for children.
At the MAD Museum you can join the museum’s illustrious list of resident artists by designing your very own eccentric piece of automata. The winning design will be built and exhibited at The MAD Museum for everyone to see and play with. Automata is a sculpture (typically wooden) which moves in a clever or funny way. Get inspired then get designing. All entries need to be received by 5pm on Monday 22 February.
To celebrate the re-opening of the British Motor Museum (formerly the Heritage Motor Centre) children of all ages can enjoy “Build a British Car Week”. Every day they can test their knowledge with the ‘Family Story’ trail and join one of the workshops in the LEGO® Education Innovation Studio where they can get creative building a British car with bricks.
Take part in an Elizabethan spy week at Tudor World in Stratford-upon-Avon. In the past spies worked with codes and invisible ink, breaking seals and forging signatures. Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth’s famous spymaster, had a network of agents who operated in secret including William Shakespeare. Young visitors are tasked at cracking the code at the school desk and each will be given a Time Travelling passport to complete.
Enrol in Kenilworth Castle’s Academy for budding knights and princesses, with hands on medieval fun. Transform yourself into a courtly Lord or Lady with tips on everything from curtsies to combat!
Take part in an innovative workshop exploring the heritage of Stratford’s High Street by engineering models with the help of expert model maker. The workshop will take place at The Old Slaughter House on Monday 15 February from 10am – 3pm and Tuesday 16 February from 10am – 3pm. The workshop is for children aged 6+, booking required. Workshops costs £20 each, concessions available.