Those ‘Back to School’ signs may be up in the shops, but the summer holidays aren’t quite over yet.
And with the credit crunch biting hard, it can be a challenge to keep the children entertained when boredom sets in.
It doesn’t do children any harm to be bored occasionally; but now and again it’s good to get them out and about – and you don’t have to break the bank to do so.
At the National Media Museum there’s a packed programme of free summer activities for youngsters, from dressing up like a film star to editing a soap.
One of the museum’s two summer exhibitions is Live By The Lens, exploring the relationship between movie icons and photographers. Visitors can get close to the glamour of Hollywood by dressing up like a film star or trying their hand at being a producer.
The museum’s other exhibition is Sunny Snaps: Beach and Street Photography, celebrating the beach photographers once a common sight at the British seaside. Every Monday and Friday during the school holiday, the museum is holding Sunny Snaps Showreel sessions, taking a fascinating glimpse into holidays of the past with clips from the Yorkshire Film Archive.
The museum is also holding art and craft workshops, storytimes and family Saturdays in TV Heaven. In the interactive Experience TV gallery young visitors can try their hand at being a newsreader, producing and editing an episode of Emmerdale, hanging out with the Teletubbies or ‘swimming with sharks’ thanks to the magic of the moving backdrop.
Special ‘hands-on’ summer workshops provide the opportunity to make your own TV advert to take home, or invent and create your own animated characters using modelling clay.
For a family treat, the IMAX cinema is showing 3D films taking audiences to see lions deep in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert, to experience life on a space station and right down to the bottom of the ocean. There’s also chance to see Batman movie The Dark Knight in IMAX glory.
There are plenty of fun activities at other museums throughout the district including Cartwright Hall in Manningham, Bradford Industrial Museum at Eccleshill, and Cliffe Castle in Keighley. On Wednesday and Sunday afternoons in August you can try Chinese Printmaking among other things or help build the Lucky Lister Dragon, which will be used in a dragon dance at the end of the summer. Entrance to all these museums is free. Visit bradfordmuseums.org.
You could spend the whole day enjoying the delights of St Ives Estate in Bingley or Roundhay Park in Leeds, where you will also find Tropical World which you can visit for a small fee.
Taking the children to the park doesn’t cost anything and by taking part in activities like football, rounders, cricket and relay races they’ll keep fit and get plenty of fresh air too. Throughout August at parks including Emsley Recreation Ground; Holden Park; Peel Park; Burley Grange Park; Victoria Park, Keighley, Cullingworth Recreation Ground; Greenwood Park; Knowles Recreation Ground; Wrose Recreation Ground; Bowling Park; and West Park there are plenty of children’s games on offer, free of charge. For more information visit bradforddistrictparks.org.
Swimming pools also offer fun family activities and junior admissions are just £1 at Bingley Pool on Wednesday, August 27. Passport To Leisure cards will be issued free if you complete an application form and have proof of eligibility. There are plenty of other sporting activities available, from football to the pentathlon. Visit bradford.gov.uk for more details.