Help is at hand to keep holidaying kids happy

A group of children on a bug hunt on the lawn at Polesden Lacey
A group of children on a bug hunt on the lawn at Polesden Lacey
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SUMMER holidays are here and your children are no doubt looking forward to six weeks of charging about and getting up to mischief.

But help is at hand to keep them occupied and maintain your sanity, with a huge range of activities both free and paid for on offer across the Vale.

The Queens Park Arts Centre in Aylesbury has laid on a series of creative workshops to reactivate the little ones’ minds after hours of computer games.

Unfortunately this week’s workshops are fully booked, but on Monday your kids can indulge in a two-day drama course where they will produce a few short plays to perform to the parents on Tuesday afternoon. It’s for children aged nine to 12 and costs £30 for two days.

On Tuesday there is a pottery class where children aged sevne and over can sculpt mystical castles in clay, then on Wednesday the big kids can make jewellery at a beading workshop while the little ones can let their imaginations run wild at Dragons, Knights and Fair Maidens to create their very own knight in shining armour.

The crafts continue on Thursday with workshops to build a secret garden, create a growing owl out of cress or sculpt a peppermint flavoured fondant mouse.

Starting on Monday, August 8, there is a three day science course for all those budding Brian Coxs, but if they prefer a bit of rough and tumble Colonel Custard is holding a stage fighting workshop where wannabe Bruce Lees can choreograph a Hollywood fight scene.

For something more sedate, bring out the artist in your child at the Van Gogh and Seurat Art Workshop where they will apply the methods, themes and materials of the masters to create an individual and a joint piece of art.

For details of all the events going on at QPAC call 01296 424332 or go online to www.qpc.org

National Trust properties are open for children to explore and there are different events taking place to make your visit a bit special.

Stowe Landscape Gardens has its very own Six Weeks of Summer calendar – each day has a different activity for having fun outdoors in the gardens or in the parkland.

From enjoying the simple pleasures of a game of Pooh sticks to discovering rocks, clouds and insects, there is a wide range of suggested activities to suit children of different interests and ages.

Activities are based in the gardens from Wednesdays to Sundays throughout the school holidays and in the parkland on Mondays and Tuesdays when the gardens are closed.

One suggested activity is a wildlife amble together through the gardens – there are often many different birds singing in the trees, as well as fish in the lakes and rabbits nibbling on the grass.

Don’t forget the mini-beasts in the grass and under logs.

And with beautiful temples, tall towers, arches and sculptures Stowe is the perfect setting for a fairytale story. Children are encouraged to imagine that they are a Prince or Princess, they can tell and act out their fairy stories in the gardens.

They could also make themselves a crown with a strip of card, glue or tape and a few leaves from the gardens.

There are also four free family fun sessions throughout the holidays ranging from mini-beasting to discovering trees with Stowe’s community engagement officer Susan Le. These are free to attend but must be pre-booked on 01280 822850.

Susan said: “The free family fun sessions are great for local people to enjoy the gardens at Stowe for the first time, all for free. We want to encourage local families to enjoy the great outdoors so if you are stuck for ideas pick up a copy of our Six Weeks of Summer calendar for useful tips to keep youngsters entertained during the holidays.”

To find out more about the activities log onto www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stowegardens or call 01280 822850.

At Waddesdon Manor every Wednesday in August children and an accompanying adult can grab a free tour of the house before it opens to the public.

Meet at the front door for a tour with your very own Waddesdon Manor Guide from 11.30am – places are limited so booking is essential on 01296 653226.

Normal admission charges to house and grounds apply.