A round-up of events to keep the kids entertained this half term
Can it really be another holiday again? Having only just got over Easter we are wondering if there is a disruption in the space-time continuum that is messing with our perception of the flow of time - or are we just really tired? Either way, it's time to get noting down a few fun ideas to keep the kids entertained. We've had a look around what Manchester has to offer and have picked out our favourites - concentrating as ever on the free and the cheap, with a few treats thrown in for good measure.
You might have already seen our guide to the best Platinum Jubilee events around Manchester and while some of those are also great for kids, we've boosted up a few family-friendly options here too. In the same mood, while we've picked out what we think are the best exhibitions and cultural events directed at younger people, tweens and teens may also really enjoy events from our regular monthly round-up of cultural events around Manchester. This photography exhibition, for example, will be a hit with kids with a passion for nature, animals and the environment; so don't forget to have a look at our June things to do list when it comes out for more ideas, which at the rate things are going is any moment now.
Read on for a list of the top things to do with the family in and around Manchester this half-term holiday.
ComedySportz for Tots| Waterside Arts | 28 May
A show aimed at kids aged six and under from the team behind ComedySportz. Each show promises plenty of big laughs for little kids and a great opportunity to let their imaginations run wild. There will be plenty of silly songs, stories and games and lots of opportunities for kids (and parents) to get involved, give suggestions and take part in the action.
Make Your Own Armband | National Football Museum | Saturday 28 May – Sunday 12 June
In June 2021, England captain Harry Kane wore a rainbow armband to show the team's support for LGBTQ+ communities, the armband is now on display at the start of the Match Gallery. Kids can decorate their own white fabric armbands to show support for causes they think are important too. The activity is entirely free and will be running between 11am and 2pm in the Pitch Gallery
Party in the Square | Stanley Square Sale | Saturday 4 June
Long bank holiday plus kids off school equals all sorts of chaos. Time to get out of the house and join other families celebrating the Platinum jubilee. Stanley Square is throwing a free street party and everyone is invited - expect live music, a brass band, DJs and kid's activities. Starts at 1pm until late.
Crafty Crowns | Elizabeth Gaskell House | 29 May - 5 June
Elizabeth Gaskell House is a time capsule from the last era of a long-reigning queen, so it seems appropriate to indulge in a bit of Victoriana and create your own splendid bit of headgear. The Cranford the Cat trail is also available. Note that the house is only open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays (last entry 3pm). Under 16s are free with a paying adult.
Sunday Funday: A Royal Celebration | Central Library | Sunday 5 June
Enjoy a free, fun-packed afternoon to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Expect art and craft family workshops with artists Caroline Coates and Simone Frater-Russell throughout the afternoon and a family film screening starting at 1pm (plus popcorn of course). Channel retro jubilee style with some classic face painting.
Power of the Super Bees | RHS Bridgewater | Saturday 28 May – Sunday 20 July
Rediscover the friendly little pollinator behind Manchester's famous symbol. The first weekend of the hols features an art installation we really like the look of - each hive hides a unique, unexpected interior world. Plus throughout the next fortnight there will be planting and craft activities, honey tasting and bee salaries at various times. The Superbee discovery trail is a self-led trail open every day which encourages kids to think about the role bees play in our ecosystem. All activities are included with garden admission. Free to RHS members and children under 5.
Mog's Remarkable Adventures| Dunham Massey | Saturday 28 May – Sunday 5 June
More outdoors fun, this time with one of Judith Kerr's most beloved creations. Step into the world of Mog and follow the trail around Dunham Massey’s park and gardens as you balance, leap and fly like Mog. The trail is free with entry (free to National Trust Members).
May half term | Museum of Science and Industry | Saturday 28 May – Sunday 5 June
The Museum of Science and Industry takes inspo from Manchester's proud history of transport innovation by inviting kids to design and make their own moving machines, putting creations to the test and see how fast and far they go. Explainers bring exhibits to life and activities are available for younger children, such as storytime with an interactive reading of You Can’t Take an Elephant on A Bus by Patricia Cleveland-Peck. Free but book ahead.
Space Tortoises | Z-Arts | 30 May - 1 June
We've picked out these fun-filled workshops from Z-arts’ resident artists which explore David Litchfield and Ross Montgomery’s heart-warming tale about bravery, kindness, and welcoming strangers, but you could equally go to a performance of Handa's Surprise, enjoy the magical Fairy Tales exhibition or go to one of the many art, dance, drama and media clubs (for Bright Sparks members), as the Z-Arts venue, as always, has a wonderful array of family events. There is an autism-friendly session on 30 May.
Shadow Girl - Origins | Central Library | Wednesday 1 June
Feeling invisible and alone, Sabrina hastily forms a plan to escape with her newfound companion, Alf. Together they venture out into the world to discover what it means to be brave. This original production from Proud and Loud Arts is Makaton friendly and there alternative showings at Beswick Library and Gorse Hill studios if you can't make this one. Free but book ahead.
Read next: Top things to do in and around Manchester: May 2022
Read again: A modest show - food and art festival comes to Manchester
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