Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Art Start Challenge Day 2: Chalk

Today I set up the challenge area 2 with different types of paper and chalk.
 First P got to work enjoying colouring the paper with the chalk and then I suggested she could try adding some water to her pictures.
 We tried different textured objects to try to create different effects.
 P then took the chalk outside.
If we repeated this, I think I would have more dark coloured paper and better quality material to give better colour.

Monday, 21 August 2017

IWM London + the School of Rock

Today we spent three hours at the Imperial War Museum, London which is a free museum to visit.

 I loved the fact it had part of Berlin Wall outside!

The highlight of the trip was the 1st WW exhibition. The display meanders through uniform, cinema footage of munitions workers through to a trench with tank in it along with lots of interactive exhibits that kept the girls interested. It covers everything from the early recruiting posters and queues of happy young men eager to sign up, to the military tactics and medals given out to the dead. There are plenty of weapons and uniforms on show, and personal mementos from the soldiers. A lot of the exhibits are very imaginatively displayed and it brought home how horrendous it must have been. To be honest, I could have spent longer there!

We also spent some time in the smaller World War 2 exhibition which was full of interesting artifacts, including this boat used the Dunkirk evacuations.

We also enjoyed the Family in Wartime exhibition which explored the life of the Allpress family during the Second World War. As well as reading and listening to audio clips about how their lives were affected there was a model of their home and an Anderson shelter. I enjoyed seeing this letter from an evacuee, particularly the postscripts. I could imagine writing them myself as a child!

        Evacuee letter, Imperial War Museum

We didn't visit the Holocaust exhibition as the IWM recommends no children under 14 visit - something to go back to with I on her own! We also visited the cafe which had some very expensive and not not so child friendly cakes!

We then went to the School of Rock, an Andrew Lloyd Webber version of the 2003 Jack Black-starring film. The best moment of the show comes when the children rock out properly at the contest - playing their own instruments!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Wrest Park

Whilst the big 3 were at Pony Club Camp at their riding school, P and I went to Wrest Park, an English Heritage property about 50 minutes outside Cambridge. First, we headed for the play area which had various wooden climbing and play structures as well as swings and a zip line
 We had a quick visit to the house which has a few rooms open. It was interesting to find out about the different people who would have worked there and about how it was turned into a hospital during the war.
 We then spent the rest of the day in the gardens which are extensive and full of quirky corners with statues, summer houses and water features. 
 There is also a rather wonderful tree to climb!
We happened to go on a day when they had one of their summer holiday activities on and so we joined a walk to find Wrest's faerie population.

 We then did a hunt for hidden faerie doors which was fun!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Woolsthorpe Manor and Belton House

We drove about an hour and half from Cambridge to visit Woolsthorpe Manor which used to be home to Isaac Newton.Newton was born here on Christmas Day, 1642. He returned here from Cambridge University when the university was closed due to the plague and it was during this time he performed his ground-breaking work on light and optics. It is also believed to be the site where Newton observed an apple fall from a tree – which led to him formulating his law of universal gravitatio
 We found the apple tree from which the apple falling inspired Newton.
We enjoyed looking round the house, although small it had a lovely homely feel. 
 P enjoyed hunting for the mice in each room.
 I liked the drawings on the wall!
We also enjoyed the science centre where you can find out more about the experiments Newton carried out! There were some really great hands experiments suitable for everyone.

We then drove half an hour to Belton House. It’s a lovely country house set among 36 acres of formal gardens and 1300 acres of parklands. The story of the Moondial is set there. The house wasn't open on the day we visited so we explored the formal gardens and the adventure play area. The play area it's self is fab - the oldest parts of it are from the 1970s and it has been added to over the years so it now stretches a good quarter mile among the woods. The best thing about the playground is the way it is designed – long and narrow, and among trees  – so you can’t see it all at once.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Audley End Miniature Railway

Today we visited Audley End Miniature Railway. We hadn't been for a couple of years and there was so much more to do! First, we went on the railway where we spotted bears in the woods!

Then we did the rather lovely fairy walk which is really lovely. When you arrive at the entrance to the walk you are greeted by real fairies and elves who helped the girls make their very own fairy wand. Everything is beautifully styled and magical right from the start. Then we walked under the beautful floral arch and looked for fairies, ticking them off in the fairy and elf spotting book the girls had been given. The fairies are hidden all through the woodlands and have information boards telling you all about them.

Then we went to the play area, where the girls enjoyed complementary hair brading and face painting. We also played with some of the games but ran out of time for story telling and craft fun! 

Friday, 4 August 2017

Bekonscot Model Village & Railway

 Today was P's 7th birthday but we also had to give and pick E up from her residential riding holiday. On the way we made 2 stops. The first was to Dinosaurs in the Wild, an imersive 70 minute live action adventure where we went back to the Cretaceous period.transported to TimeBase 67, a research station set in the late Cretaceous Period, to see scientists at work as they study dinosaurs.transported to TimeBase 67, a research station set in the late Cretaceous Period, to see scientists at work as they study dinosaurs. Whilst we waited to enter the time machines, we were each handed a pair of “UV protective glasses” to be worn whenever we were looking out external windows in the past, while we were at TimeBase 67 – a clever way to work the 3D glasses needed to bring the dinosaurs to life into the storyline. It is a really cleverly put together experience; instead of just walking around seeing animatronic and CGI dinosaurs, you are taken on a journey which is so realistic at times you can almost forget it isn’t.

 P totally got in to the adventure and really enjoyed all the parts! 

We then got back in the car and drove to Bekonscot Model Village which is the oldest original model village in the world, and opened for the first time in 1929. Although the attraction was updated with modern buildings over the years, in 1992 it was returned to a village stuck in the 1930s. There are six distinct villages: Greenhaily; Bekonscot; Southpool; Hanton; Splashying and Evenlode – with Epwood and Bekonbury castles and and Zoo. The villages are linked by a Gauge 1 model railway.

The model village is set over a large area, connected by little paths that you can wonder through. P loved the miniature trains running in between the buildings and was jumping up and down with excitement each time one went passed.

 We also went on the ride on the railway and P also enjoyed driving the boat!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Lapworth Museum of Geology and Winterbourne Botanic Garden

On a visit to Birmingham, we stopped for a visit to the free museum, the Lapworth Museum of Geology. First we stopped to admire the bear (there is a trail around Birmingham this summer!).
The museum holds one of the UK’s most outstanding rock, fossil and mineral collections, including dinosaur footprints including those made by large herbivores, such as an Allosaurus' skull and a woolly mammoth skull.We spent about an hour and a half looking round. P enjoyed completing a free trail where she had to look for certain items in the museum.
 Then we walked to the Winterbourne Botanic Garden where we had a cup of tea and cake in their cafe before having a quick explore of the gardens before it closed. Whilst, perhaps not for toddlers, P and E loved the bridge and stepping stones around the pond. We were followed round by a very friendly cat!