ParkLives Manchester – Free Activities for Kids

Whilst I was searching online for things to do with my five year old over the summer (preferably free things to do), I happened upon the ParkLives website which is a partnership between Coca-Cola Great Britain and Manchester City Council.

ParkLives offers free and fun activity sessions across the city and it is now in its second year in Manchester. There are a huge range of activities available, from multi-activity fun camps for families, walk to run sessions, buggy fit and more.

I had a look at what was on in my local park, Fletcher Moss in Didsbury and found there were a few weekly activities to keep us entertained over the school holidays. Plus when the boy goes back to school I can take part in some of their free exercise classes – perfect!


There are hundreds of activities listed on the ParkLives website and you can quickly and easily book yourself in for an activity session in advance. I booked us in for a “Roaming Rangers” session on what was a very lovely sunny day to spend wandering around the park.

On arrival two lovely ladies gave us a map, a checklist and some basic instructions for an afternoon or orienteering. There were 14 checkpoints around the park and we had to find them all and wrote down what we found at each one. Some were easier to spot than others and I wasn’t sure if he would be able to hold his concentration long enough to find them all, but I was wrong.


He was in charge of map reading, which in practice meant he held onto the map and would point at the next number we needed, whilst I read the map and pointed us in the right direction. The trail was quite long, I was wearing a Fitbit and I think we covered around 3k which is quite far if you have little legs.

There were lots of families out enjoying the sunshine and following the trail, plus there were a couple of other fitness groups on walks and doing other exercises around the park, it was lovely to see and everyone was friendly and looked like they were enjoying themselves.


All of the activities are designed to get people moving and our “Roaming Rangers” session certainly did that. Although it was a pretty long walk (especially if you factor in the walk to and from the park) the small boy loved it all. He couldn’t wait to find the next checkpoint and to tick it off the list, in fact he was quite disappointed that we finished it and he wanted to do it again. 

If you’re looking from some free family fun over the school holidays (and beyond) then it’s well worth checking out the ParkLives website to see what’s available in your area. I’ve made a promise to myself to do something active with me and the boy for the next four weeks, so keep an eye out to see what we get up to next week!

For more information on ParkLives, or to book and activity visit the website.

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