School's out! 20 ways to keep kids happy this spring

Stuck for ideas to entertain your brood? Simone Kane looks at a selection of events around the UK this spring

1. The Science of Survival, the new paid-for exhibition at London's Science Museum, launched yesterday. It uses games and build-your-own activities to explore effects of climate change and dwindling resources on our future. Aimed at children aged eight years plus (survival.scienceof.com).

2. Families can have fun with falconry at Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre in Northumberland, which runs a range of educational courses and activities. Its Family Hawk Walk (£120 for two adults and two children) includes a country stroll with a Harris hawk. Book ahead (kielderwaterbirdsofpreycentre.com).

3. Build a rover robot and take part in science workshops with Gallery Buskers at Mars Yard, the new visitor experience at the National Space Centre, Leicester. It replicates the surface of Mars, and will be used to test the British-built ExoMars rover robot, Bridget (spacecentre.co.uk).

4. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire has introduced a new Canoe Safari, a unique way to follow its wetland trail. Visitors can also learn about bird surveying, or take a Land Rover Safari in search of the brown hare. Canoe safaris cost £3 on top of the usual entrance fee (wwt.org.uk).

5. More than 70 clubs will be exhibiting hundreds of scale replicas of aircraft, ships, cars, bikes and trucks, as well as Doctor Who models, at the Scale Modellers Show at RAF Museum Cosford in Shropshire today (raf museum.org/cosford).

6. The Dumfries & Galloway Wildlife Festival in Scotland continues until next Sunday. Nightly Stars & Stripes sessions at the WWT Wetlands Centre, Caerlaverock, allow children aged from five to 12 to watch wild badgers feeding from the observatory. Booking essential (wildlife festival.org.uk).

7. Head to Dinosaur Isle on the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, to take part in a special Fossil Walk along local beaches to hunt for pieces of the past. An all-weather museum, Dinosaur Isle has plenty to keep visitors busy with animatronic dinosaurs and its own fossil displays. Fossil walks are held daily from 7-11 April and 14-18 April and cost £12 for a family on top of the usual entrance fee. To book ahead go to dinosaurisle.com.

8. Potential pirates passing The Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour in Scotland can climb aboard for some swashbuckling storytelling. Resident raconteur Lulu Black will have adults as well as children spellbound with her legends of the sea. Sessions at 11am and 12 noon, 7-11 April and 14-18 April (glenlee .co.uk).

9. Kids can pair up with a 2,000-year-old Celt to learn about life in an Iron Age fort at Castell Henllys in mid-Wales. The centre's Celtic Fun Activities for Children lets them try their hands at bread-baking, spinning and dyeing wool, building a traditional round house and training to be a warrior. Celtic Fun Activities twice daily on 8, 10, 15 and 17 April. Booking advised (castellhenllys.com).

10. The Shiny Scales and Lizard Tales Festival takesplace at Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books, in Newcastle, and includes a host of dragon and dinosaur-themed events. Author sessions, storytelling, puppet-making and animation workshops are just some of the diversions during the festival, which runs until 27 April (sevenstories.org.uk).

11. Looking for foodie fun? Head to the Exeter Festival of South West England Food & Drink, which takes place in Devon from 11-13 April. In the Food Is Fun Marquee kids can get active with Exeter City FC players, help chef James Chubb cook up some seafood or learn how to create the ultimate Cornish pasty (visitsouthwest .co.uk).

12. Budding chefs can book on to La Petite Ecole, a one-day cookery course at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Oxfordshire. Students can explore the gardens to learn about vegetables; seasonality; free range and organic foods; nutrition and health; before experimenting in the kitchen. There are courses available for different age groups, from £225 to £695 with prices including tuition, both morning and afternoon tea and lunch (manoir.com).

13. There's a treat in store for grans and grandpas next weekend when they can travel free on the Kent and East Sussex Railway during Grandparents Weekend. Take a train along the picturesque route between Tenterden and Bodiam Castle on 12 or 13 April and grandparents go free when travelling with a full-paying child under 11 years' old (kesr.org.uk).

14. Chester Zoo is holding two Sensory Awareness Days next weekend to help people with sensory disabilities to get more out of their visits. Animal talks will be interpreted in sign language and special tactile sessions will allow visitors to touch animal skins. Carers are admitted free. (chesterzoo.org).

15. There are lots of traditional crafts and skills to be tried out at the regular Green Dayz – Big Weekendz, organised by the Fedw Hir Eco Centre near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. Local experts will be on hand next weekend to help children master such skills as lathe turning; willow weaving; pottery making; dry-stone walling; wood carving; hedge laying and chainsaw carving (southernwales events.com).

16. The Museum in Docklands, London, is celebrating Bangladeshi New Year on 14 April with a day of events for families. There's storytelling, silk painting, rhythm workshops and a variety show by the Kobi Nazrul children's group (museumindocklands. org.uk).

17. Hop to it and join in the Froggy Fiesta at Walton Lake in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, on 17 April, when rangers from the Parks Trust will introduce children to some amphibious antics (theparkstrust.com).

18. There are lots of events across the National Forest over the spring holidays. The Rosliston Forestry Centre, Derbyshire is holding a Five for a Fiver day on 18 April when children can choose five active pursuits including archery, laser combat and the climbing wall, for just £5. Runs from 12noon until 5pm (roslistonforestrycentre.co.uk; nationalforest.org).

19. Welcome the blossom at Low Farm in Cumbria in a traditional festivity on 19 April. Damson Day marks the arrival of tons of white flowers on the fruit trees in the Lyth and Winster Valleys and is marked by demonstrations of damson cookery, orchard walks, sword-fighting, archery, music and traditionalcrafts(lythdamsons.org.uk).

20. Early birds will catch the worm – and the best birdsong – on the RSPB Dawn Chorus Walk at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Co Down, Northern Ireland, on 19 April. There's a special scavenger trail for children. Book ahead (uftm.org.uk).

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Front of House Receptionist / Receptionist

    £21K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Front of House Receptionist to provide th...

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders