Friday, 19 September 2008

New show of pop ups hits The Lowry

Cities and landmarks created in classic 'kids' materials, such as pop-up books and Lego are taking over the planet. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but when in Berlin, in March, i spent time in 'mini berlin' at the new Legoland in Potsdamer Platz, a display which features plenty of Berlin landmarks, such as the Reichstag - only in LEGO not brick- and now this concept is arriving here in Manchester, at The Lowry.

Opening next satuday, the new show is called Pop-Up and contains some of the planet's finest and most noble structures, hewn from paper and card rather that glass, steel and timber. It will also feature 'landmarks of Salford' - although quite what these will be remain unclear; 'The City of Salford will also be represented by local artists who have participated in a creative project with The Lowry.' says the official Lowry release. 'They have learnt how to make a drawing quite literally leap off the page and created pop-ups of Salford landmarks.'

Open: Sat 27 September 2008 – Sun 15 March 2009 at The Lowry.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Guardianing For Free....

Don't know if anyone else saw it, but there was this wicked feature in G2 in the Guardian yesterday, called How To Be A Thrifty Gardener.

I thought it was really inspiring and full of some top tips and things that would be reallllly easy to do with kids, such as stuffing breeze blocks with soil and little alpine plants and rummaging around for old catering oil cans to turn into plant potters. Obviously if you live in a flat like me, with a dog, child and tiny balcony your options are limited, but even i saw a couple of things i thought.... humm that's an idea.

The Guardian (no, they're not paying me, i'm just having a bit of a broadsheet moment) are also advertising this book 'The Foolproof Guide To Gardening With Children' on their website for £12.99, which is reduced from it's rrp of £14.99. Might make a good Christmas present in these credit-crunch times.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Family Friendly Film Festival, LEIGH!

Family Friendly Film Festival at the Turnpike Centre, Leigh. On Friday 15 August, from 1.30 - 3.30pm there will be a 45 minute programme of short films and animation, followed by fun-filled art and craft activities. AND BEST OF ALL! its free.

Free tickets can be collected in person from Leigh Library Counter or call the Library on 01942 404404 to request tickets.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Summer In The Park

Despite the fact that it's likely to pour, everyone but everyone is going to Summer In The Park, this weekend.

Mr Scruff (!! Wooo!!) will be there. Some other DJs and stuff will be there too, but best of all, included in the price is a Baby Loves Disco party - which would normally set you back £8 on it's own, and this event costs £9.50 for Baby Loves Disco PLUS loads of chef demos, tasting stalls (my FAV thing, as a nine year old, were cheese counters with free bits of cheese on them. or stalls giving away buttered bread for you to try the butter. FREE FOOD! does life get any better?!) and food stalls, more bands.

They're all chugging manc rockers to me, like I Am Kloot, but people like them, plus, all your friends will be there!

This Sat and Sun. £9.50 per day. Kids 11 and under are free.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Wet Sounds comes to Mcr this Sat

This is an underwater disco, and you only pay for the price of entry to the pool. HOW GOOD IS THAT! check it out here.

Levenshulme Baths. Barlow Road Levenshulme 0161 224 4370. 1pm to 2.30pm, 3pm to 4.30pm.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Cheshire Steam Fair, July 12 & 13

The Cheshire Steam Fair is on the weekend of the 12/13th July.

Rachel, who is mother of Noah says... "My son LOVES steam and he loves trains and all that shizzle."

And who doesn't, man! Here are the details...

The show is on both days, 10am to 5pm and tickets cost £6 for adults, Under 16’s £3 and Family Tickets £15. I'm guessing that toddlers / u3s are free, but don't quote me.

There's not a huge amount of info about what's on but click here for updates. So far promised highlights include steam engines, fairground organs, classic and vintage cars and trucks (vintage trucks are SOOOO AMAZING SEE ABOVE), old motorcycles, tractors, engines and somethig called an 'autojumble' too!

There will also be a children’s corner and old time rides as well as a modern funfair. Come on.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Feast! and an actual Carpet Of Flowers

Oh ho... those lovely people who brought us Feast! (the picnic in Platt Fields park last weekend) are getting ready to put on another couple of fabulous kid-friendly events.

Now I wouldnt normally be quite so effusive when it comes to outdoor, kiddy events (wet faces/ wet hair/ mud/ nowhere to change nappies/ bug-filled falafels... ) but Feast! was excellent last weekend, and i reckon that the forthcoming 'Tall Tales in the White Tent' , a kids event put on by Nicole et Martin Circus 21 to 25 August, and Carpet Of Flowers in Albert Square on 16 to 20 July on should be just as good too.

Particularly Carpet Of Flowers. (hayfever sufferers excepted, of course....)

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Disco for babies, with DJ Mr Scruff

Called Music Baby! this new 3 hour (!) under fives dance session takes place at The Lowry

on the following dates... Sat 5 July 2008 – Sold out, Sun 7 Sept, Sun 5 Oct and Sun 2 Nov and stars DJ and music finder, Mr Scruff on the decks, alongside Elliot Eastwick, of pub quiz and local radio fame.

Genres covered are set to include Soul, Funk, Hip Hop, Indie, Punk, Reggae, Latin, African, Disco, House and Funk. Meanwhile there will be visuals, a dance teacher, games, a buggie park food for sale, and the all-important bar.

1pm - 4pm, Tickets: £10, £7.50, £30 family ticket
Prices include healthy nibbles for the kids
Salford residents receive a 10% discount on tickets

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

PIRATE SCHOOL theatre show, this sat. 2.30pm.

Pirate School is coming to the waterside arts centre in Sale. Okay, so being a more centrally located bod lacking the millions one requires to reside in Sale, i don't spend a huge amount of time in the suburb, but this arts centre does put on a frighteningly good array of stuff for kids... in coming months they've got a kids stand up comedian, this show, various performing arts workshops aimed specifically at young people, and their adult programme isn't shy of great too, with singing workshops and such like for beginners too. Just the kind of thing to indulge in over summer, before winter makes you want to lock the door and never come out. sorry. that'll just be me, but it looks good allllll round.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Ok so it's not exactly on the doorstep, but i've heard some good things about Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham. It's the kind of place that kids will spend a field trip at, but it's got plenty of handz-on science stuff for younger kids too.

On Wednesday 28th May, they're having a ‘Colour Day’ to celebrate their latest exhibition, Eye for Colour, which explores things which are bright and colourful. As an added incentive Children who wear red on this day will get in for free.

I, for one, love stuff like this, cos all too soon children get soooo over dresssing up, so make the most of it while they can't protest!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Thomas Pulls In

Thomas & Friends arrive at the Opera House in Manchester, Friday 25 to Sunday 27 April

My son pointed out a flaw in the concept behind the Thomas stage show; 'Thomas can't go to a theatre mum, he has to go to a station' however, it looks like an excellent adventure all round, with musical numbers and characters like Thomas, Percy, Diesel, The Fat Controller and various other residents of the strangely named island Of Sodor.

The show clocks in at 90 minutes, and includes songs such as... ‘Roll Call’ and ‘Good Morning’ as well as a magic lantern festival.

Fri 2pm, 5pm, Sat 11am, 2pm and 5pm, Sun 11am and 2pm, £10 to £19.50, tel: 0844 847 2328

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Classical for kids: Wallace and Gromit at Bridgewater Hall

Presented by the above kid's tv personality, Chris Jarvis, this Saturday, a BBC Philharmonic classical concert at the Bridgewater Hall is set to feature the Wallace & Gromit film theme tune. For those like me who aren't exactly au fait with the classical conundrum, this could provide the perfect opportunity to get kids chomping at the classical bit, and even pracitising their cellos or what have you. It looks like a nice afternoon out anyhow.
The extravaganza is aimed at 7-13 year olds but suitable for all ages and music inspired by Harry Potter is on the programme too.

Saturday 5 April at 3pm, ₤5 for children, ₤8 for adults and ₤20 for a group of four. Tel: 0161 907 9000.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Native creatures, ahoy!

Arthur (or me, anyhow) are fans of British wildlife, and this is a round up i wrote for The Guardian a while back.

Wild Boar at Chipping, near Preston

Wild boars, fluffy chicks and tractor rides for a pound a go, plus plenty of related edibles too. Wild Boar Park, 10.30am to 4pm daily, £4.50 adults, £3.50 child, £14 family. Chipping, Preston (Call 01995 61554)

Shire Horses at Cotebrook, Cheshire

A working stable packed with Shires, Clydesdales and rolling acoutrements. Horsing about guaranteed.Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre, 10am to 5pm daily, £5.95 adult, £3.95 child (under 5s are free), £18.50 family, Cotebrook, near Tarporley, Cheshire (call 01829 760506 or visit

Seals in Gweek, Cornwall

A rescue centre for the lost and poorly seals of the south, with sea lions and otters to add to the fun. The National Seal Sanctuary, from 10am daily, £10.95 adults, £7.95 child (3 to 14), Gweek, near Helston, Cornwall (call 0871 423 2110)

Shrew in Herne Bay, Kent

A forest park crammed with small and often endangered creatures like pool frogs, harvest mice and water shrew. Wildwood, 10am to 4pm daily, £9.50 adult, £7.50 child (3 and over) Wildwood Trust, Herne Common, Herne Bay, Kent (call 0871 7820081)

Kingussie Hooper swans in the Highlands

Home to over 100 of the Nordic charmers right now, as well as the odd Golden Eagle, Scottish Cross Bill and Black Grouse. Insh Marshes RSPB Reserve, open at all times, free, Kingussie, Highland (Call 01540 661518)

Easter days out: The Deep and Eureka!

Ideas for easter days out....

The Deep (in Hull, but don't let that phase you) launches Shark Summer season next Friday (March 21) which includes the daily screening of a '4D shark movie' which will star great whites, whalesharks and giant hammerheads. Excellent. Not one for the feary.

Halifax's Eureka museum meanwhile has something for all ages in the form of a Dinosaur Dig (March 21 to April 13) The museum's park will be transformed into a dinosaur dig fit and, if your young diggers dress up as explorers or dinosaurs, they get in for free with a paying adult.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The Nutcracker!

This weekend we are going to a show at the Lowry called Matthew Bournes Nutcracker!

There's something about the use of an exclaimation mark after any event title that puts me right off. I'm trying to think of examples to illustrate my point and failing, but regardless of my feelings, the show sounds right up my son's street. He likes (in order of passion)

1. sweets (the show culminates in sweetie land)

2. theatres (they are dark and he gets to lie around eating sweets while people parade around for his pleasure)

3. dancing (most days include at least an hour of his own personal dance-fusion which combines air guitar with gestures of a lady of the night. i have no idea where he gets it from).

I will report back, but the last few Saturday matinee tickets are on sale now.

Friday, 15 February 2008

My Kid Could Paint That?

My Kid Could Paint That is a new film / doco showing at Cornerhouse. I've read loads about it and i think, by exploring the story of alleged US child painting prodigy Marla Olmstead, it raises the issue of how much it's okay to do for our kids and how far it's okay to push them before you become a bully. Complex issues, all round really.

Its showing today - Sun at 2pm and 6.25pm. and Mon 8.40pm.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Giraffes Can't Dance

Oldham Colisseum have a new kids venue in the charming village of upper mill, and they've got two shows for kids lined up that you can book for now;

First up is Dr Nose Travels Through Time (for 5-11 year olds) on Friday March 7 at 4.30pm and next is Giraffes Can't Dance (for 3-7 year olds) on Friday April 11 at 4.30pm

Tickets cost £4 to £6 and can be booked here.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

this is what it's like in my house

i actually stole this link from rob (thanks rob) who's well into music, but i like it a lot.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Opera for kids, innit

Children's musical The Adventures Of Pinocchio comes to the Lowry this week. One for slightly older kids, (they don't recommend it for the under 8s) its the debut of Opera North's show, and it's received some charming reviews (including this five star one from it's Leeds debut) making it must-see viewing for the cultured family.

The Lowry are also running Pinocchio Family Workshop for £5 at 5.15pm this Friday, and 3.15pm on Sat.