With half term quickly looming upon us, I have been more aware of the local things here in East Yorkshire that there are to entertain the kids. I am all for spending as little as possible in the school holidays and trying to stay local (if you’re not heading away for the week) to make the most of where we live. I also don’t like to see families feeling pressure to spend a lot to be able to entertain their kids/have fun, and whilst we do enjoy the odd paid for trip out, we usually try to avoid too many pricey places as I resent half terms being a reason to have to drain the bank account. I also find that kids clubs (whilst great for keeping them busy and learning) pricey when you have 3+ kids to pay for. So I have been thinking of FREE things!

In half term breaks and the school holidays, I want to be able to spend time with my little ones – I love spending time with the kids and look forward to our slower mornings, giving them time to play or watch something, followed by an adventure out somewhere. I am all for getting them out and giving them variation, adventure, imagination, and when it comes to our days out in the holiday’s,  I usually want cheap or FREE and something we can all enjoy together.

Over the years our themed weeks have been a hit for accomplishing these goals of mine, and I still stand by it as an excellent tool that works – especially for Easter and Summer! But this half term I have come up with 5 free ideas (one for each day!) that would be fun and includes varied places (along with ideas of things to do once there), from across East Yorkshire, to help you have a relatively Free, mixed and hopefully fun half term with your kiddies this October!

Street Life Museum/Museum Quarter – Hull

The street life museum in Hull has been a favourite of ours since the kids were little and so is always the first choice for a museum day out to Hull! It is filled with things to explore and smells and sounds of the past (some very potent smells I may add!). You begin on an old street with double decker buses, trams, a plane overhead and little old shops to nosey in. Upstairs you can have a ride in an old spooky carriage, see horses (fakes obvs!) and bikes throughout the years. If you have some change then there is a lot of fun to have downstairs with the old arcade and penny games!

As I say, our focus is always the Street life museum and we can often spend  a couple of hours there playing imaginative games, looking at interesting things and generally exploring the past! But just across from it is the Museum of Hull & East Riding – this again (like all of the Hull museums) is free and kid friendly. I haven’t been recently but they usually have drawing and things for the kids to do – especially during school holidays. Outside of these museums there are picnic tables and a little garden/maze area with ponds the kids love to run in and have lunch. Alternatively just around the corner is the Arctic Corsair – an old museum ship. We haven’t ever had the chance to check this one out as I always have a pram with me, but we do have it on our “to do” for early next year and I have heard it is fun for the kids too.

If you are not completely done in and and ready to head home to play and chill, then there is also Wilberforce house (slavery museum) and a little ways in to town, you will find an old school house museum. This one again is a favourite with the kids, with many opportunities to role play and dress up, as well as several spooky things to see (think a real mummy!).

Museums are such a fun day out – They are almost always free and they are great whatever the weather.

Walk (scoot or bike) The Humber Bridge/Country Park 

Just last Saturday we enjoyed a lovely walk across the Humber Bridge! It reminded me what a great adventure it is to take the kids on (provided its not windy!). We usually park at the Humber Bridge Country Park (purely because we live this side of the bridge), then the kids can get on their bikes, scooters or just walk, and head up on to the bridge for a good stroll across to the other side ad back again. There is so much to see and as I say, it is a real adventure!

Around the Country park, you will find picnic tables for lunch and various lovely nature walks. You can walk down to the riverside and find a park (its a but naff but the kids love it) or wander through the woods to discover lots of exciting and beautiful Autumnal scenes. With days like this I often like to pack the kids a little treat and then give them a scavenger hunt to do to find things that will “earn” them the treat – it passes time and they love it (I will attach an idea to the bottom of the post that you can use for this day out, or Danes Dyke)!

If the weather is dry, then this will be a great Free day out to blow away the cobwebs and burn some energy. It is sure to have them feeling adventurous!

Ferens Art Gallery 

Art Gallery’s are such peaceful and interesting places (at least until my kids descend). I suppose on the surface they are not an obvious place to take kids during half term, and for some they may even seem “boring”! But Ferens Art Gallery is both interesting and very kid friendly too. I have been reserving this one for a rainy day activity – basically my idea is to head to there with a list of things for them to find (a painting of a lady/a model of a person/a painting with food..a boat etc) – helping them to look and take note of the art there. After this we would explore the kids section where they have lots for kids to explore, create and play with. And then finally they will have a dabble in “Still Life” drawing and find something they especially loved in the gallery to sit and copy/draw…it may be a painting, or perhaps a sculpture. Either way I want them to think about it and talk about what they like then draw their own picture of it to remember and to get some creative vibes flowing!

If this only takes a morning or afternoon up, then why not take a walk along the marina and look at boats, or head across the way and look at the Hull Maritime museum. Also, just 10 mins walk up to the Museum quarter in Hull you can check out the East Riding Museum, The Victorian school house or the arctic corsair I previously mentioned if you didn’t have time before! The kids will love it!

*Don’t forget your sketch pads / clipboards and paper and pencils for this day out! If in doubt hit the poundshop or B&M/Home bargains on the way! 

Danes Dyke & Flamborough Head

Danes Dyke was always a favourite when I was a kid, and I love to take my kids there now too – in all seasons. It’s great for a walk and adventure, as it has the cliff tops, a forest and the beach to explore too. There are also a few ruins there, but we usually start off from the car park and head down one of the paths into the woods. We just love to wander and explore and the kids climb on fallen trees and up bankings, generally just having fun in nature. We then make our way down to the beach (because beaches are great in all seasons too and provided the kids have their wellies on, then a little wander down to look in rock pools or search for interesting beach treasure, is a successful day) before walking back up to the car!

Following a visit to Danes Dyke, a 5 minute drive up to Flamborough head is always exciting to look at the lighthouse or have a lovely cliff top stroll! You could then have some chips in Bridlington or an ice cream if its not too freezing!!

Beverley 

I have chosen a day out to Beverley because it has several varied and interesting FREE things to do to entertain the kids quite easily for a whole day! Of course it has it’s play centres and Flemingate (with a cinema, the newly opened inflatanation and restaurants), but the historic side of Beverley is oozing with things to discover and is very pretty too.

The obvious things for a day out in Beverley would be the Minster – It is very pretty and impressive and my kids love having a look around. Or you could also have a walk over the westwood – we like to walk up to “The Black Mill” and explore the wooded areas too, to blow away the cobwebs. And then take a nosey in their free museum which is located in the Library, or if you have time, then Beverley also has a Town Trail which looks really interesting and would also take up a chunk of the day too. It had you looking for historic spots and finding out about those who once lived there (You can find details here).

Beverley is beautiful and a really cute market town!

We are actually going away this October half term now, but if we weren’t, then we most definitely would be doing these things for our school break. I wanted to share these ideas anyway as I hope they will be helpful in cutting the cost as we head towards Christmas and also to keep your half term varied and different. I will definitely be keeping them to entertain my kids in February Half term, and maybe the odd day in the Christmas Holiday too I expect!

There are many play places and pricey days out to be had, and swimming is always a firm favourite too. But why not simplify Half term this time and keep it fun, varied, adventurous and Free! Carve some pumpkins and do some Halloween baking midweek too and you will be sure to have a special and memorable half term together.

Here is an Autumn scavenger hunt for the kids – Have Fun! 

*This is not a sponsored or collaborative post – just my faves! 

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Since seeing “The Greatest Showman” a few weeks ago, my children have been slightly (insert very) obsessed with Circus’ and stunt people. They dance, attempt to do random stunts, and put on shows for us all of the time. Megan especially dreams of a life in the circus as a trapeze artist, and will often use this as the main reason she doesn’t need to go to school EVERY day! So, you can imagine the sheer excitement that ran through our home last week when we were invited to see The Paulos Circus in York on Saturday for a family afternoon of fun! Lets just say it was the ultimate dream for them, and a wonderful treat for us all.

We invited Grandma along with us as we thought she might enjoy it too, and all hopped in the car and headed to York with a picnic! It was easy to find, plenty of free parking, and thankfully traffic was minimal for a Saturday afternoon which was great. Once there, and after a short wait in line, we found some spare seats (its a free for all so get there early) which were nicely placed just on the second row back. The show was fantastic throughout, and we all had a laugh a minute as we sat there in the big top as spectators of the 2pm performance of “The Paulos Circus” and their #CreatingMemoriestour2018!

 Nothing beats the thrill of live entertainment, especially when it is something you are so passionate about, and involves a show that is filled with so much to see, and generally all round very talented individuals. They only have about 8 performers for the whole thing, which in itself is amazing. And together “The Paulos Circus” team put on an incredible 80 min show that is jam packed with ‘edge of your seat’ stunts, traditional circus tricks, catchy and well loved music, laugh out loud jokes and all round silly behaviour!

It opened on a complete high with stunts that took our breath away. And then, just when you become reasonably comfortable with what you are seeing, they would step up the shock factor and add in blindfolds to which you would here a subtle “nooooooooo” make its way across the audience! There were several moments (straight up and throughout) that had us torn between daring not to look, and needing to look at what they were about to do. It was such a fantastic opening (and all round performance) that had us captivated from the start.

Each of the stunts performed were amazing and we saw everything from “A Clown” (not in traditional clown attire), to a juggler… Trapeze…tightropes and knife throwing! We were completely wowed by the magic of the light show, and this was a truly spectacular part – it must have taken ages to coordinate! “Mr Laser” brought the mystery factor to the ring, and blew us all away as he moved and commanded the flow of light around us. I loved how though his performance he created the illusion of light being something more physical that you literally felt you could reach out and grab! Alice especially was fixated on this whole part, and loved it. It was something I suppose was extremely sensory for the younger members of the audience as well as being awesome for us all. (These pics don’t really do it justice)!

The show was great for the kids  – they loved the shock of the stunts and performers, the beauty of “the sparkly lady” on the Trapeze ring, and they laughed their socks off at the mimes, and antics of the lovable “Mr N”! They loved the experience of being in a circus tent as a spectator of live talent, and especially loved the fresh popcorn that grandma treated them to!

For us adults it was hilarious and breathtaking, and overall it had a good balance of being both exciting and a little silly. It was filled with laughter, amazement and just pure joy for all of the family, and from Alice at almost 2, up to Grandma who is a little older, we all very much loved it from start to finish and had a great Saturday afternoon as a family.

Circuses, I find are such a lovely thing to do as a family. They provide moments to laugh together, moments to be wowed together, and moments to be completely blown away together. I love that in places like this, we are all feeling the same emotions at the same time, and I love the excitement and adventure of being in a big top where extraordinary things occur! It makes lasting memories for all and is all such a fun and lovely family day out.

Isn’t it amazing what people do for jobs? It is inspiring (especially to our budding trapeze artist) to be in the presence of people with such wonderful talents, and it most certainly gets a thumbs up from us!

The Paulos Circus is touring Yorkshire right now, and For just £7 each, it is money well spent, and an absolute bargain for a family afternoon out! There is something for all ages (even little Alice loved it) and both kids and adults alike will have a jolly old time! It is currently at ROKO HEALTH CLUB, Stirling Road, York, YO30 4TU From Friday 6th of April until Sunday the 13th of May, and then I believe it will be coming to East Yorkshire! For all dates and times why not keep upto date by following them on Facebook or Twitter!

Please note there is knife throwing, and a scene with a plastic bottom… but thankfully not together!!!!

*Thanks so much to The Paulos Circus for inviting us along in return for a review. All thoughts and pictures are my own.
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I’ve had this post in my drafts for quite a while (since the Summer to be exact). And whilst we have entered a new season, I still very much wanted to preserve and share this moment from the Summer, and just generally remember how joyful it was for little Megsie.

Megan has loved adored animals for as long as I can remember and since understanding about careers and jobs, she has told people she wants to be a Vet (or a farmers wife with 100 babies)! When Ethan went off to preschool she would ask weekly to go to the farm, and even now her ideas for birthday treats and family outings involve zoos, Sea life or animal parks. Her life very much revolves around animals, and so of course they featured several times on our Summer bucket list,.  . And it was on the last day of the summer holidays we chose to go to the Animal Park and Bird of Prey centre at Park Rose Village, Bridlington and finally accomplished the farm goal!

Here we anticipated we’d enjoy a lovely day out together, seeing the usual farm animals, along with the added bonus of birds of prey and reptiles. What we didn’t anticipate though (and what was the real highlight), was that we would have an opportunity to get up close to the Wallaby’s and have a go at feeding them! Park Rose let visitors get hands on with feeding times and animal handling through out the day and it was such an exciting and fun thing to do with the kids.

  

We arrived about 10ish and so were right on time for feeding the wallaby’s at 11 after looking round the park! It was something Megan was absolutely keen to do and over the moon about. It was fun for us all but an especially beautiful moment to see our little animal lover sat on a log making friends with some wallaby’s! She was so patient and still… so engrossed and at ease. She didn’t squeal or flinch like some of the kids did, and she didn’t tire and just lob it at them across the pen (again like some other kids did!). Instead she looked at them longingly, and waited and waited patiently and quietly taking it all very seriously. It was then that she was able to put them at ease too and make friends with the wallaby’s (as she told us afterwards) and enjoy some extra ordinary moments feeding them.

Located just outside of Bridlington it is only 20minutes for us now, and was a very reasonable family day out at only £20 for us all to get in. It isn’t vast but it is very unique, has some great things to do, and you can come and go all day with the same ticket if you wish. They also have a Groupon on at the moment for Kids to have a hands on experience with the Birds or Meerkats … if you don’t want to pay extra then just go along as a regular visit like we did (maybe this half term?) and in the mornings you can feed the Wallaby’s, handle reptiles and watch the nutty Emu’s dance around their pen!

 Seasonal Bucket lists are a great way to involve the whole families interests in outings and activities. They are a way for kids to try new things as well as doing the things they love too. I find them an excellent way to show appreciation for that season, give us some focus, and create habits of seasonal appropriate activities for the whole family. For Autumn we hope to (and have already done) …

2017 Autumn Bucket List

Bake Ginger bread
Make an Apple Pie 

Go on a Spooky Walk 
Go to a Halloween Party (or 2)
Watch a spooky movie together
Go to a fair
Go to a Bonfire & Watch some fireworks
Write our names with Sparklers 
Make something using things from Nature 
Build a fire and snuggle round it 
Go out for Hot chocolate
See a windmill

Climb a mountain 
Go on a Bike Ride
Collect Conkers

Go to a Pumpkin Farm 
Carve Pumpkins
Go on a muddy nature walk
Eat warm Soup

What traditions do you enjoy in the Autumn?

*This is not a sponsored post! 
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What do you do when you grow up on a farm with nature all around you? When you live in a place where you can climb trees, paddle, build dens and explore with your friends til your hearts content? Well if you are Tor and Christian Carver, then you grow up and recreate it for the masses in the form of Williams Den of course – a place of adventure, exploring, and a place where you will struggle to get your kids home!

Located in East Yorkshire and just off the M62 in North Cave (very convenient), you will discover a play centre far different from the norm! Wood, sand, water, tree houses, a zip wire, mud and more combine with children’s imaginations to create the “best play place ever” and we had “the best day out” last Thursday there!

My 3 were certainly in their elements with Alice clambering over rocks to splash in the little rivers, and Megan playing spider over the nets. Ethan spent literally hours pumping water and damming it up before conquering all levels of the den. They climbed, splashed, played all day and each loved it for different reasons. But mostly they loved it for the reason it was intended – the freedom of being able to explore and do pretty much anything as they would outdoors all day long!

The Den itself is built of responsibly sourced wood, and housed inside a huge barn. It has various levels and platforms that are connected by nets, beams and bridges. At one end you will find a large sand pit and slide, to the other a little river running through the bottom and ending under a waterfall. Kids can play on, in and around any of it, provided they are being kind and careful.

Outside you are greeted with panoramic views of the Yorkshire Wolds and hand crafted picnic benches all around to enjoy lunch or sit with an ice cream. Here the adventure continues as kids can enjoy climbing on slabs of stone, nets and beams or crawling through tunnels in the mole hills. There are mud kitchens, grass hills, more sand and water play, and a couple of zip wires too.

Taking kids tree climbing, river paddling and scrambling over logs and rocks isn’t everyone’s scene or even available in close proximity, but it’s something we love to do. Irrelevant of where you live though or how comfortable you are with those things, Williams Den gives all kids and parents the opportunity to be more free range in a safer and more controlled environment. You can give your kids those experiences without venturing too far.

What we Loved the most –

 * Water play and hand pump

 * That you can take your own food in – such a bonus (though the wood pizza’s are very delish and reasonable too)

 * That the toilets are family friendly (most have an adult and child toilet in each cubical and are not gender specific!)

 * The gorgeous views and scenery

 * The nets and “spider webs to climb in”

 * That waterfall (more water!)

 * “Everything – its just the best place ever mummy!” (Ethan).

Williams Den is open every day but til 7pm Thursdays through Saturdays, and would certainly be an investment with a “Friends of the Den Pass”. We will most definitely be returning again and again as I know its a place they will get a lot out of for many more years. And it has the bonus of being only 20 minutes away!

 So whether you have a tot or young teen, and whether they daring and risky like my kids or more cautious and curious, Williams Den seriously has something for everyone at each level and age – it really is designed for the growing child. The steps are high enough that toddlers can’t get up unaided but small enough to be the start of a great adventure for older kids. Mine are very quick and co-ordinated and so shot up all over and loved every second they were there (especially the 10 mins when they scoffed the yummy ice cream!). So take a few pairs of dry clothes and towels, perhaps a picnic or money for a yummy lunch, and get exploring and clambering down at Williams Den this Summer!

* Thank you to William’s Den for inviting us to review the Den Free of charge in return for an honest review. All thoughts and pictures are my own. Interesting to note that whilst there the rain poured and despite easily 200 people being inside it didn’t feel too claustrophobic or overly crazy. All Kids seemed chilled and laid back… 

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