So we’re nearly halfway through the Summer holidays now, anybody a bit scared to check the bank balance…or is that just me? If you are searching for ways to have fun filled days out without splashing the cash then look no further, here I’ve compiled some of the best FREE days out that our city has to offer! They won’t cost you a penny, nada, zilch, zero, absolutely nowt!
Pick your local Park
This summer sees our city parks come to life with free events from story trails to wild play. This fun is 100% free so spring into summer by joining in with these fab projects in the park! Here’s my pick of the range of activities available:
Magic Monday, Wild Wednesday and Fantastic Friday’s
For the Magic Mondays, Wild Wednesdays and Fantastic Fridays children’s summer holiday events this year Stoke-on-Trent City Council Parks have teamed up with Stoke 100 reads.
The events are inspired by some of the titles voted as the Stoke 100 reads. Can you read all of the 17 books the events are based on? It’s a great excuse to keep up with reading over the holidays and there will be special cards available which will be stamped each time you complete a book. I don’t know about you, but my boys absolutely love anything where they can get something stamped!
Last year we went along to one of the Fantastic Friday events, this one was based on Michael Rosen’s ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ which is running again this year on Friday 23rd August.
Take along your own bear, (we ended up taking a rabbit – don’t ask!) pack some snacks and a drink and set off to find the bears that are hidden around the park.
Make a special den/home for your bear before heading back to for a teddy bears picnic.
All events are completely free but do need to be booked beforehand. For full details check the event listings on the Facebook page here.
Local and Live
Have you got a mini Mozart, or a tiny toe tapper? Or perhaps you just fancy a Sunday afternoon spending some much needed down time as a family sat together in the sunshine?
Head down to Hanley park and check out the Local and Live performances in the newly renovated bandstand. Don’t forget to take your picnic blanket/chairs, to really chill out and enjoy the music from local artists and bands.
Performances will take place every Sunday (weather permitting) from 1.30pm. Picnics are welcome.
Keep an eye on the Hanley Park Facebook page for details of the artists who will be appearing!
Pop up and Play
These multi-sports and activity workshops for children aged between 5 and 12 AND their family members are taking place in parks across the city.
Delivered by ParkLives session leaders, they include fun activities such as Kwik Cricket, Dodge Ball, Football and other family friendly park games to bring a wide range of free activities to your local park. I’m sure you’ll find something that’ll keep your kiddiwinks smiling. It’s a fantastic way to socialise (for us parents too) – so bring your friends or make some new ones! All ages and abilities are welcome.
You can register on the day or book your place online at www.parklives.com
Show some Love for your Library
In an [almost] seamless link we will stay in the park for our first library event because The Little Library Van is back out on a tour around local parks. Get ready for songs, rhymes, and of course some fabulous stories.
Every year The Reading Agency in partnership with libraries run the Summer reading challenge during the school holidays. This year’s Summer reading challenge is the big Space Chase to celebrate and recognise the 50 year anniversary of the moon landing.
So, what are you waiting for? Pop into your local library, sign up and start reading with your littles and collect stickers, games and other goodies. If you visit your library 3 times and read 6 books then you’ll get an extra special certificate and a medal!
There are also various other weird and wonderful (some continuing the space theme) workshops happening in our city libraries from space discos to mad science, with a bit of circusology thrown in for good measure.
See the full list of events here.
We have already pencilled in a space disco, circusology and a creative flamingo clay workshop…we can’t wait! The sessions are running across different libraries at different times so it’s easy to find a workshop that fits in with your schedule.
All events are free, but tickets MUST be booked in advance. Please contact your local library directly to book tickets for all events. You must also be a member of Stoke-on-Trent Libraries to book your tickets – have your library card handy as you will be asked to provide your number when booking. If you are not yet a member, you can join for free.
All activities are suitable for children aged 4 – 11 years. Children under 8 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
Make the most of your Museums.
Throughout the month The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery are hosting a number of activities and shows.
Some charge a small fee (£1.50 – £3.00) to participate but look lots of fun. However, as this post is all about the freebies I will focus on those.
Watch the Birdie
Monday 12 August
An old fashioned photographer from the silent movie era dresses up and poses volunteers for portraits on a vintage paper moon…
With a musical accompaniment of gypsy jazz, find yourself under the keen eye of a world class comedy portrait photographer. This man of few words uses mainly gesture and eye movements to demonstrate to his sitters what to do-with ridiculous and hilarious results.
Are We Alien?
Saturday 17 August
Meet two alien visitors who have come to earth on a research trip. They are fascinated by how humans interact and react to each other. Using humour, physical theatre and improvised games they aim to make friends and prompt the question Are We Alien? 11am
Sugar, Spice and all things nice…
This sounds too good to be true, afterall who doesn’t love sweets and chocolate?
Visit the our confectionary garden with giant candy canes and lollipops, featuring a display of toffee, sweets and chocolate packaging from the last century.
We’re definitely planning a visit to this exhibit, James will love it! Perfect for those greyer days, the museum has lots on offer for all age groups.
For a full list of events and exhibitions click here.
Over in Newcastle-under-Lyme The Brampton Museum has Out of This World Stories, Rhymes and Activities
Every Wednesday 2-3pm during the holidays.
Join our friends from Home Start in our gallery and explore outer space! Stories, rhymes, craft activities, moon landings, astronauts, visits from outer space…who knows what adventures you will discover in this FREE family afternoon activity!
And, if the weather is behaving there’s also the park, playground and sandpit to explore.
So, I think you’ll agree that’s there’s plenty going on in the next few weeks to keep both your little ones AND your bank balance happy.
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Share your personal experiences and tell us your story by tagging your social posts with #mystokestory when visiting our cultural destinations.
All images are my own unless otherwise credited.