Half term saviours
Panic setting in already? Fear not - it's Muddy to the rescue with loads of fun ways to keep the kids entertained over the holiday, so you can reeelaxxx.
Half term’s nearly here already? I only just put away my flippin’ Christmas tree. Harrassed parents take a breath – here’s our guide to keeping the darlings occupied this Half Term. Anything utterly brilliant and unmissable that I’ve left off? Let me know in the box below.
MUSIC AND PERFORMANCE
If you’re after a way to introduce little ones to classical music, this family concert by the Philharmonia Orchestra at The Bedford Corn Exchange on 15 Feb is the perfect starting point. It celebrates the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will feature film and TV favourites like Chariots of Fire and Flight of the Bumblebee. Afterwards there’ll be a chance to meet the musicians and conductor. Aimed at ages 5+. If that fails, there’s always Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children on 19 Feb at the Watford Palace Theatre!
The Amazing Bubble Man will be popping up at Broadway Letchworth on 20 Feb with his mind-boggling show, while Ben Wonder (BGT finalist 2019), will be bringing his mesmerising magic show to the stage at Harpenden Public Halls on 21 Feb. Plus there’s more sleight of hand from Tom Brace at his family show Brace of Spaces on 21 Feb at Rhodes Arts Complex.
Theatre-wise, the unstoppable David Walliams (with the producers behind Gangsta Granny and Horrible Histories), brings his stage adaptation of Billionaire Boy to the Hertford Theatre from 12-16 Feb. Also at Hertford Theatre, there’s the cute tale of Lily and Bear on 18-19 Feb, then a magical adaptation, Little Grimm Tales on 20th Feb (above), featuring all of the well-known characters from Hansel & Gretel to the Elves and the Shoemaker and the Frog Prince, performed with colourful puppets, clever theatrics and spellbinding music. And another Grimm tale gets a refresh as Rumpelstiltskin and the Snail of Destiny, show up at Rhodes Arts Complex on 15 Feb, courtesy of Widdershins puppet theatre.
Meanwhile at St Albans’ Sandpit Theatre, there’s Big Book Tall Tales on 20 Feb, about a library caretaker who discovers a 6ft-tall book which has lost its words. And beloved children’s author/illustrator, Nick Sharratt’s Shark in the Park series comes to the stage at Watford Palace Theatre from 21-22 Feb. Then over in Bedford, Suitcase Shakespeare brings just a pair of actors and – yep – a suitcase, filled with random props to The Place on 18 Feb, to boil down the Bard’s words into just 45 minutes of hilarous songs and fun.
Over the border in Bucks, At aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Gray and Jim Field’s best-selling series of picture books is reimagined on stage in Oi Frog & Friends! (until 15 Feb). Expect humour, a fun time and loads of rhyme (hey, see what I did there?).
ART EXHIBITIONS AND WORKSHOPS
Peel your teens away from their devices for this exhibition of ‘phygital’ painting (a combination of physical and digital, keep up!)? for Alison Goodyear’s Paint Park exhibition at MK Gallery’s Project Space, from 8 Feb. Just make sure you let them have a turn with the VR headset, eh?! Then there’s a whole raft of arty fun for all ages happening throughout Luton’s Culture Trust venues – Feb Fest runs from 15-21 Feb and has a jam packed with storytelling, shows, dance and workshops, as well as a free creative space called The Imagination Station open throughout.
Talking of imagination, there’s plenty of opportunity to get their little creative minds whirring at Oglee Poglee’s Holiday Craft Workshop in Berkhamsted on 21 Feb. This Half Term the theme is Pip’s Big Birthday Tea, where they can make a giant cake, wrap the presents, create a menu and decorate the room. It’s suitable for 18 months to 10 years. There’s also a Half Term Children’s Crafts drop-in at Rhodes Arts Complex from 18-20 Feb, where they can make colourful bugs. And little scientists will love the explosive drop-in Mad Science session at St Albans Museum and Gallery on 15 Feb.
Hop over to Bucks and as always Waddesdon is on it for half term with one day family cookery lessons where you and the kids can make lunch in the Manor Restaurant, as well as sweet and savoury treats to take home; plus there’s space-themed orienteering challenges round the grounds with three routes for different ages. The adventure playground and stables cafe and shops are also a big draw. Spend the whole day up here and knacker your kids out good and proper.
Got a budding vet on your hands? There’s a specially created animal hospital for Vets in Action at Whipsnade Zoo this Half Term where they can get hands-on experience carrying out treatments on soft toys, from checking chimps’ heartbeats to helping stranded seals from the real zookeepers. And it’s all included in your zoo entry price (suitable for ages 5-11).
Then head over to Leighton Buzzard to meet the newest resisents of Mead Open Farm and bottle feed their older siblings for Lambing, from 15-23 Feb. There’ll be February Frolics all week over at Willows Activity Farm near St Albans, too, with daily bottle feeding and wooly themed arts and crafts. Or if it’s minibeasts they’re into, head to Ashridge Estate from 17-21 to discover the creepy crawlies lurking underground, with their Half Term Trail and Craft activity.