5 things to do during Whit week half term 2017

The Whit Week Half Term falls under the sad shadow of the Manchester bombing. I live 5 miles away from the arena, and we’ve felt the emotional reverberations of the atrocity. The mood is defiant but subdued. Everyone I know wants to stay at home, holding their kids close where they can keep them safe. But generally kids don’t always love being stuck at home and will want to do something over the half term regardless.

For us our half term fun will be had on the fringes of the city. Whilst I’m happy to visit the city centre myself; for the next week or so at least we won’t be going in as a family. I know we can’t wrap our children up forever. We can just make sensible, informed choices and get on with life and live it well.

If you’re keen to avoid the city centre with your kids for now, I’ve selected a few out of town things to do in Manchester over the Whit Week Half Term. I’ve not included them here, but there will be lots of things to do over the Whit Week Half Term in the city centre, at the Whitworth Art Gallery, the Museum of Science and Industry, and at the People’s History Museum. However you choose to spend half term, enjoy it.

Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

We will be going to see The Three Musketeers at the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale on Friday 2 June. Presented by The Three Half Pints;  Fresh from Justin’s House and Spot Bots, we will be joining CBeebies’ favourites in this hilarious new slapstick adventure of chivalry, swordplay and suddenly falling over!  For ages 5+

5 things to do during Whit week half term 2017

For ages 3+ catch Julia Donaldson’s famous book The Scarecrows’ Wedding, brought to the stage by Scamp Theatre. Running on Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May. Scarecrows Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay decide to get married and Harry sets off for their wedding day essentials. This truly heart-warming adaptation promises wit, drama and wedding bells!

On Thursday 1 June, Waterside will be screening Sing-a-long Trolls.  Bring the kids and sing your socks off to Trolls hits such as Can’t Stop The Feeling and True Colours.  Come along in Troll-themed fancy dress or costumes in bright rainbow colours. Prizes will be given out for the best outfits!  Tickets just £5 (or £2.50 for Family Club members).

Based on the fabulous new book by Steven Lee and with magic designed by Paul Daniels, Don’t Dribble on The Dragon is a spectacular musical adventure about growing up and the importance of family is the perfect feel good show.  For ages 3+ on Saturday 3 June.  Steven will also be signing copies of Don’t Dribble on The Dragon after the show.

Salford Quays Culture’s Summer Showcase

Over half term, endangered species from land and sea migrate to the metropolis of MediaCityUK, in the form of four gigantic sculptures for Quays Culture’s Unnatural Borders exhibition, which will run from Saturday 20th May until Monday 29th May.

Four large sculptures represent endangered species – Polar Bear, Whale, Red Squirrel and a Bee. By day the sculptures tower over the public on large separate plinths. When the sun sets at 9pm they are illuminated with stunning visual projections, bringing a magical show of light and illusion to these 3D animals and their location. Day or night, these sound pretty awesome and worth seeking out, especially if you’re visiting Media City for other reasons too.

5 things to do during Whit week half term 2017

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre

Ok, so this means a bit of a drive to Widnes, but the boys go here often and they really enjoy their visits. This amazing science centre has three interactive galleries to explore as well as a stunning rooftop observatory. During this half term they have two interactive workshops for budding scientists to enjoy.

Ludicrous Liquids – A chance for young scientists to get some hands-on fun in the lab, experimenting with interesting and surprising liquids. How many colours can you get into your rainbow straw and do you make a lava lamp? Hands-on workshops at 11am and 2pm

Fantastic Plastic – One of their most popular hands-on sessions. Enjoy working with an amazing plastic material to make a keyring to take home. Hands-on Workshops at 12 noon and 3pm.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

Join the Junior Farmer’s Club and learn how to care for the animals on the farm. Groom and feed Pip the friendly pony, feed and muck out the pygmy goats and collect the eggs from the chickens. Available on Thursday 1st and Saturday 3rd June from 1-3pm. The cost of the session is £10, for more information or to book phone 0161 946 0726.

Read about one of our previous visits to Wythenshawe Community Farm here.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

SHIFT Digital

Over Whit week half term, Shift Digital will be running a series of free events in libraries and other venues in Cheshire. If you’ve got kids who are into coding, computers or science, it’s well worth taking them along.

Join Shift for Superhero Sewable Circuits on Wednesday 31 May at the Electric Picturehouse, Cross Street, Congleton. Make your own light up superhero mask. Learn the basics of e-textile sewable circuits and stitch light up LEDs onto felt to customise and create your own design. Ages 7+ FREE Places limited – to book call  01260 270908.

Minecraft fans should go to PatternCraft at Congleton Library on Tuesday 30 May  – 10am-12noon / 1-3pm. Go along and create 8 x 8 punchcard designs; feedback your card into the reader and by the magic of python code converting the physical holes in to binary files of 0’s and 1’s, build it on a minecraft map. Drop In – FREE – All Ages Call 01260 375550.

At Holmes Chapel Library on Thursday 1 June 10am-12noon / 1-3pm, learn to program the Micro:bit LED display and create interactive bitmap art that responds to movement and button presses. Ages 7+ FREE Places limited – to book call  01477 689550.

The full SHIFT programme – including talks, workshops, professional training, tech meet ups, art installations, family events and drop-in coding sessions – is listed on their website: www.shift-digital.co.uk

We hope you have a great Whit Week Half Term. If you’ve got any ideas for other fun things to do, please do mention them in the comments below!

Days Out: Wythenshawe Community Farm

Last weekend we headed to our local community farm, it’s small but is home to cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, a little Shetland pony, a gaggle of ducks and a peacock. We’d heard that a calf had been born that morning so we were keen to go along and meet the new arrival.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

Wythenshawe Community Farm is a lovely little farm which we visit on a regular basis. It’s especially charming in spring when they have newborn lambs and calves to ahh over. We were not disappointed, there were several calves including one which was just 3 hours old and still wobbly on his legs, as well as tiny triplet newborn lambs and some slightly older lambs frolicking in a paddock tucked away in the walled garden.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

Our first stop was to see the newborn calf, both baby and mum were in a pen of their own. Mum was nuzzling and looking after her baby and it was a lovely sight. The calf was very wobbly on its legs but it had a drink of milk and then curled up for a rest.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

Tucked away in a nearby shed was a Jacob cross sheep and her day old triplets. You can’t see the lambs too well, but I didn’t want to intrude on her, but they were incredibly sweet.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

We heard (and could hear) that there were more lambs in a paddock in the walled garden, so we wandered over to have a look. In the walled garden there was a pony, some goats, some older sheep and a paddock full of ewes and their lambs. Its also a good space for little ones to run around (under supervision) and there were teams of volunteers digging out the vegetable beds ready for some spring planting.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

There were a lot of twin lambs and they were all cheeky and a joy to watch as they jumped and played, baa-ing their heads off.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

The small boy LOVED the cheeky lambs and we couldn’t tear him away. I suspect we have another sheep enthusiast in the family!

Although Wythenshawe Community Farm is small, we spent a couple of hours there exploring, talking about the animals, falling in love with the lambs and having a lovely spring afternoon together.

Wythenshawe Community Farm

Whilst the boys went to have another look at the cows I visited the on-site farm shop. It’s small but excellent value. I picked up  large jar of local honey, 6 duck eggs, two blocks of Greenfields Lancashire cheese and 12 primulas (they sell plants, they’re always really good quality). I bought all of that for a few pence shy of £15 and I know that any profit will be ploughed back into this great community resource.

Next to Wythenshawe Community Farm is a huge playground to explore, and on the other side of that is a community cafe and Wythenshawe Hall, which had a fire last week so is not at present open to the public.

If you’re in South Manchester I can thoroughly recommend a visit to Wythenshawe Community Farm to meet the animals, we’ll be going again soon to check on the progress of the triplets and see how the baby calf is doing. It’s free to visit, there is parking nearby and they always have such a lot going on for local families to enjoy. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more information and updates.