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Family friendly days out

  • InCrafty Kids, Family friendly days out, Seasonal events

    FREE half term activities at IKEA Coventry

    Are you looking for some half term activities to keep the kids busy?

    You might remember just before Christmas that IKEA announced some pretty epic free breakfast with Santa events. Well, they’ve gone and done it again.

    IKEA is putting on free half term activities that the kids will love.

    Free half term events at IKEA Coventry

    We all know how horrific a shopping trip with kids can be. Whether it’s the supermarket or post office, children get bored, fiddle with things they shouldn’t or you end up carrying them out after a meltdown over nothing.

    A trip to IKEA can be better as it’s almost like an adventure playground already and they really cater for the kids, but there’s still a chance it can all go a bit Pete Tong. Even with the offer of meatballs and hot dogs.

    Over February half term however, IKEA is going that step further again. The stores are offering children the chance to take part in some free activities to make the shopping experience a whole lot better!

    Kids can pick up a treasure hunt sheet for the chance to win 1 of 5 hampers. There are spray bottle craft sessions where they can make their own piece of art using washi tapes, arts and crafts supplies. And of course, don’t forget, there’s also the free SMÅLAND crèche for children over 3 years old.

    IKEA treasure hunt

    Pick up a copy of the treasure hunt and enter for the chance to win 1 of 5 IKEA hampers,

    IKEA Children’s Craft: Spray bottle art

    Using spray bottles, washi tapes, arts and crafts supplies and a pinch of your creativity, you’ll be able to make your own piece of art.

    What you need to know:

    Treasure hunt:

    • Pick up a copy of the treasure hunt from Meet and Greet on level 6
    • Once completed put your sheet in the post box at the back of Checkouts on level 3 for a chance to win one of our five hampers
    • Running from 15th February 2020 – 1st March 2020
    •

    Children’s Craft: Spray bottle art:

    • Using IKEA spray bottles, washi tapes, arts and crafts supplies and a pinch of your creativity, you’ll be able to make your own piece of art. Once completed, you can take your creation home for free.
    • The workshop is suitable for children aged 4+
    • Places are FREE but you can only book one workshop per IKEA Family member
    • Your places will only be held for 10 minutes after your booked time slot to allow for enough time to run the workshop
    • Last day of registration is Sunday, 16 Feb
    • Running from 15th February 2020 – 1st March 2020
    • Book at

    SMÅLAND crèche:

    In addition, remember that IKEA also offers plenty of child-friendly places to grab food, lots of toilets and baby changing facilities, and toys around the stores too.

    Find out what’s happening at IKEA Coventry or find your nearest IKEA store holding these half term events.

  • InKids workshops, Libraries

    Free activities for under 5s -Warwickshire Libraries

    Find free activities for kids

    It may have been a few years since you’ve visited, but if you have kids then libraries are an absolute must!

    Warwickshire is full of amazing libraries with weekly events especially for the kids. Whether it’s stories, nursery rhymes, coding or Lego that they are into, there’s something for all ages.

    So if you are looking for what’s on for children in Warwickshire, your nearest library is definitely a good place to look.

    Freebies from Warwickshire Libraries

    Apart from tonnes of books for all ages and interests, events for children are typically free, or at least very cheap. We all know how keeping the kids busy can start to add up! Even better, weekly classes tend to run during term-time, but some groups and special events also run throughout school holidays.

    Above all, you don’t need to be a member of a library to take part either. If you do want to join a library for your children up however, that’s also free too.

    Once they are members, there are a whole load of resources for children. Children can borrow up to ten books at one time, CDs, audio books, games and DVDs for instance. They can also request and reserve books for free, and keep them for out longer than adults.

    Free weekly activities for under 5s

    As big fans of the weekly activities at our local library, we therefore wanted to help you find your nearest.

    Here’s our handy guide for you to find your nearest libraries, events for under 5s, and how to join up.

    • BABY RHYME TIME – Songs and rhymes for newborn and young babies with their parents and carers. Therefore, ideal for babies not yet moving around.
    • RHYME TIME – Songs and rhymes for 0 to 2-year-olds and parents and carers. In other words, toddlers.
    • STORY STOMP – Fun for 2 to 4-year-olds and their parents and carers, following on from Rhyme Time.


    Rhyme Time 0-2 years
    Lillington Library 10.30-11am

    Story Stomp 2-4 years
    Warwick Library 9.30-10am
    Rugby Library 11-11.30am


    Rhyme Time 0-2 years
    Atherstone Library 10-10.30am, 11-11.30am
    Shipston Library 10.45- 11.15am
    Bedworth Library 11-11.30am
    Coleshill Library 11-11.30am
    Polesworth Library 11-11.30am
    Southam Library 11-11.30am
    Stratford-upon-Avon Library 11-11.30am

    Story Stomp 2-4 years
    Bedworth Library 10-10.30am
    Kenilworth Library 10-10.30am
    Leamington Spa Library 10-11am


    Baby Rhyme Time (non-walkers)
    Stratford-upon-Avon 11-11.30am

    Rhyme Time 0-2 years
    Rugby Library 9.30-10am, 11am-11.30am
    Stockingford Library 10-11am
    Alcester Library 10.30-11am
    Kenilworth Library 11-11.30am
    Wolston Library 2.30-3pm

    Story Stomp 2-4 years
    Atherstone Library 10-10.30am
    Wellesbourne Library 11-11.30am


    Rhyme Time 0-2 years
    Warwick Library 9-10am, 11-11.30am
    Nuneaton Library 11- 11.30am

    Story Stomp 2-4 years
    Nuneaton Library 9.45-10.15am
    Polesworth Library 10-10.30am
    Lillington Library 10.30-11am
    Shipston Library 11.30am-12 noon


    Baby Rhyme Time (non-walkers)
    Atherstone Library 10-10.30am

    Rhyme Time 0-2 years
    Wellesbourne Library 10-10.30am
    Leamington Spa Library 10.30-11am
    Whitnash Library 11.15-11.45am

    Story Stomp 2-4 years
    Alcester Library 10.30-11am
    Coleshill Library 11-11.30am
    Southam Library 11-11.30am
    Stratford upon Avon Library 11-11.30am

    There are also events for older children including Chatterbooks (8-11yr), Lego Club, Code Club (9-11yr) and Book Magic.

    In addition, you can enjoy one-off events at Warwickshire Libraries.

    Find your nearest library.

    Free library activities in Warwickshire

    Find out more about Warwickshire Libraries.

  • InFamily friendly days out, Resources

    Family planner: a year of family memories – FREE download

    The new year and new decade has arrived.

    Your social media feeds will be full of 10 Year Challenge posts. Some of which will make you feel really old.

    And if that’s not enough to remind you of your age, if you remember the turn of the century, you’ll be trying to work out where the last 20 years have gone.

    It’s a fact of life that as we get older, time seems to tick by faster and faster each year.

    Throw children into the mix, and you’ll feel as though it’s been five minutes since last New Year’s Day.

    Happy New Year 2020

    The reason? As modern parents, we feel pulled in every direction to keep everyone happy.

    Organising and caring for kids is a full time job in itself. Anything on top of that explains why the weeks just disappear. Not to mention parent guilt and trying to cram family time in too.

    Don’t worry though, we have the answer.

    Make memories that last a lifetime

    Family days out and adventures with the children are, for most parents, what weekends and holidays are about.

    Exploring new places or activities and making memories are what help to shape a child’s upbringing. It goes without saying therefore, that family times are what they that they will remember the most.

    They are often what we forget to do though, and can be expensive.

    Well, perhaps not.

    Planning made easy

    The key to winning at any kind of parenting task is to break it down.

    Things don’t seem quite so daunting if you’re taking baby steps and get a loose plan together.

    So how do you fancy some help in planning your year?

    This is something I came up with when expecting my second child. I was so worried that in the blur of newborn days, my eldest who was 3 at the time, would miss out on the fun times we’d always shared together. It’s also easy to forget your own name as a new parent, so planning to go to new places is often virtually impossible.

    12-month memory planner

    I created a 12-month planner of 3-4 manageable things to look forward to each month and ticked them off as we went.

    Each month might include visiting a new park or attraction, learning a new craft, an annual tradition, an experiment, or simply just coming up with a fun new idea. For example, go for a picnic, have a tea party, do a treasure hunt, or make a pom pom creature.

    The best part is that they were things to do with the kids that were easy and could be adapted to suit the budget.

    In planning your year you:

    • Alleviate your own worries about forgetting to focus on spending quality time together
    • Create a lovely plan of new activities that the kids will love to tick off
    • Won’t be having to think up ideas for family time last minute
    • Produce a lasting keepsake of the year you had together, so there will be no confusion in what you’ve been up to

    This will be our 3rd year of planning our family times, and I can honestly say that having my planner printed and hanging on the fridge door is a lifesaver.

    So here’s the thing… I’m sharing my planner with you this year.

    Simply sign up below to receive a 2020 planner that you can use to plan your family time.

    Year long family plan for 2020

    Warwickshire Kids logo


    Sign up to receive your free 2020 memory making planner download!

    By signing up, you are giving consent to receive emails from Warwickshire Kids.
    We promise not to spam you. You can opt out at any time.


    If you need some inspiration for what to add, here are a few ideas:

    • Go on a winter walk
    • Have a superhero tea party
    • Have a movie night
    • Make thank you cards
    • Collect leaves and make a nature picture
    • Find a new park
    • Go swimming outdoors
    • Camp in the garden
    • Make a movie with teddies
    • Put on fancy dress and take funny pictures
    • So painting and frame it
    • Go to a theme park
    • Go ice skating
    • Watch a live sports game
    • Make salt dough
    • Go to the cinema
    • Visit a relative
    • Have a day out at the seaside

    The world is quite literally your oyster. And remember, there’s nothing more demoralising than a not being able to tick anything off a list. Keep it achievable.

    We really hope that it helps you to make 2020 a year that everyone will remember.

  • InFamily friendly days out, Places to eat

    Family days out with special dietary requirements

    I recently posted in the Warwickshire Kids community to ask what people would like to see more of.

    One member said that her husband has quite strict dietary requirements for medical reasons. She explained that finding family fun where they can all eat can therefore be tricky.

    It got me thinking.

    Whether it’s wedding, kids parties or play groups, we are asked to declare any any allergies, intolerances or other special dietary requirements.

    My answer, luckily, is always ‘no’.

    For me, it’s an easy tick box exercise, and I can move on.

    For parents of kids, or themselves who do have allergies or intolerances though, it must be a nightmare.

    Food options at kids play centres

    Most places to take the kids offer food. That food however, is usual quick and easy options like sandwiches, chocolate bars, chips, burgers, jacket potatoes, pizza or cake.

    What happens then, if you have a hangry toddler (or parent) who can’t eat dairy, wheat, nuts or follows another specific diet?

    Absolute howler.

    It seems that they will always have to plan ahead and bring their own, or go without.

    Doesn’t seem fair does it?

    Meals for special dietary requirements

    Family-friendly fun with dietary requirements

    I thought I’d do some research. The following suggestions are places that are fun for the kids, but also suitable when you have special dietary requirements.

    I’ve tried to keep this list as close to Warwickshire as possible, but some may involve traveling a little further.

    Rugrats and Halfpints, Banbury
    A little way to go for a soft play, but I have it on very good authority that it serves really tasty, homemade food. I’ve also been told that they are really on top of their allergy game.

    Salcey Forest, Northampton
    Perfect for a day out with trails, play areas, picnic spots and more. It is currently running the Shaun the Sheep trail (autumn 2019). I have been told that they have lots of different options if you are following a GF/DF diet.

    Draycote Water Riverside Restaurant, Kites Harwick
    This place has a great menu, and portion sizes are really generous. They serve afternoon teas and other special events too, so may be able to accommodate more specific requests with notice.

    Play Village, Warwick
    They seem to have reduced the menu slightly since opening, but still has a good selection of the usual favourites. The same kind of meals are just way better than the usual foods you find in a kids play area. The menu also has a big list of allergens, with the corresponding key listed alongside each item.

    The Lounges, various locations
    This is a chain of restaurants and bars across this country that has a great menu and is super kid-friendly. As well as good kids options, it has games and colouring for the little ones, but more importantly, a vegan and GF menu.

    Farm shops and cafes

    You’ll need to check all of these recommendations before you go because they will vary, but farm shops with cafes tend to serve freshly-cooked menus using home-grown and organic ingredients.

    Places like this are also usually happy to substitute options if something doesn’t suit, and will often already cater for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and veggie options as well as more specific requirements if asked.

    Manor Farm – Catthorpe
    Hilltop Farm – Leamington Spa
    Malt Kiln Farm Shop – Stretton under Fosse
    Farndon Fields – Market Harborough
    Farmers Fayre – Stoneleigh
    Lower Cloptop Farm – Stratford-upon-Avon

    Where would you recommend for families who need to avoid certain ingredients?

  • InCafes, Family friendly days out, Seasonal events

    Pumpkin patches in Warwickshire for Halloween 2019


    It feels like Halloween is becoming bigger each year here in the UK.

    The shops start to fill up with fancy dress and sweeties in September, and get the kids on board early doors. Whether Halloween is your thing or not however, thanks to commercialism, the chances of ignoring its existence are low.

    My kids are no exception. They love a bit of dress-up and a carved pumpkin, and are like moths to a flame in the supermarkets.

    In general, I’ve never really gone in for this celebration, but because I enjoy being outdoors I’m all in for pumpkin patches. They seem to have caught on as the new darling of Halloween and I’m delighted!

    pumpkin patch

    Pumpkins really are the icon of Halloween. They add a great splash of colour to the season too. Even better, they are a nutritious ingredient for a whole range of comfort foods. Once you’ve carved them out therefore, you can use the flesh to make warming spiced pumpkin soup, roasted veggies, and of course, pumpkin pie. Mmm.

    Why go to a pumpkin patch?

    Why indeed!

    Reasons to head to a pumpkin patch include

    • It gets the kids outdoors
    • They will have a lot of fun finding the largest/smallest/dirtiest/funniest shaped pumpkins
    • You’ll get amazing photos of your kids set against a backdrop of hundreds of the things
    • There’s often other Halloween themed activities going on too

    Don’t expect pumpkins to be cheaper if you pick your own, however. They are typically more expensive than supermarkets.

    You’ll also need to be quick – they only stay open as long as they have stock!

    Pumpkin patches in and around Warwickshire

    Here’s a list of pumpkin patches that I’ve found around the county – many of which offer great fun for October half term.

    Malt Kiln Farm Shop, Stretton Under Fosse (Rugby)

    West Lodge Farm Park, Desborough (Kettering)

    Hatton Country World, Hatton (Warwick)

    Pumpkins R Us, Kenilworth

    Hilltop Farm Shop, Hunningham (Leamington Spa)

    Lower Clopton Farm Shop and Cafe, Stratford upon Avon

    Mini Meadows Farm, Welford (Northampton)

    Farndon Fields Farm Shop, Market Harborough

    And these few are not strictly pumpkin patches, but pumpkin themed activities:

    National Trust – Charlecote Park, Charlecote (Warwick)

    Elliott’s Field, Rugby

    Friends of Spencer Park, Coventry

    Royal Leamington Spa Town Centre, Leamington Spa

  • InMusuems and art galleries, Parks and playgrounds, Soft play centres, Swimming pools

    Top indoor fun for rainy days in Warwickshire

    It feels like the weather is playing tricks on us at the moment.

    Just as I suggest we go to the park or pop into the garden, it chucks it down. 

    When it’s horrible outside, I can be tempted to just pop the telly on, grab a blanket, pop the kettle on and let everyone just chill out for a few hours.

    Sometimes we all need a bit of downtime, so an abysmal weather forecast can be just the excuse I need.

    I know all too well however, how quickly cabin fever sets in.

    Sitting inside watching the same old Peppa Pig on repeat can drive both the adults and the kids insane. It’s no good for anyone. 

    So sometimes, no matter how torrential it is outside, I have to admit defeat and find other ways to entertain the kids on rainy days.

    Places to go on rainy days in Warwickshire 

    Here are my ideas of places to take the kids in Warwickshire on wet rainy days:

    Active kids

    View this post on Instagram

    We went over here today and the kids had a great time! The flumes are out of action but the wave machine, water slides and toddler and baby pools are all great. Parking wasn’t brilliant (on road) and changing rooms not the most modern, but I can overlook that for the amount of fun the kids had. My 2 loved it (aged almost 5y and 18m). #repost @leicester_leys ・・・ #leicesterleys #swimming #pool #swimmingpools #familyswim #leicester #leicestershire #waterslide #familyfunday #warwickshirekids #familydaysout #daysout #daysoutwithkids #familyweekend #daysoutwithkidswarwickshire #warwickshire #warwickshiremum #warwickshirefamilies #activitieswithkids #activitiesforkids #funwithkids #kids #thingstodoinwarwickshire #rainydayactivities #kidsactivities #familydaysoutinwarwickshire #thingstodoinwarwickshire #thingstodoinleicestershire #familydaysoutmidlands #familytime

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    Activities for all interests

    Warwick Play Village
    • FREE trips to the pet shop – Try Pets at Home for small pets and fish. They often run free workshops for kids to get up close and personal too.
    • Cinema – Look for movies specifically for kids for much cheaper tickets (usually on Saturday or Sunday mornings, or during school holidays). Cineworld Cinemas runs Movies for Juniors or ODEON Cinemas Odeon Kids.
    • Museums – Often free entry (but do check that first), there’s lots to explore. Check out Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Warwickshire Museum.
    • Libraries – Libraries are not what they once were. There are loads of events from rhyme times, craft clubs, LEGO clubs, film clubs or coding workshops. Our local Warwickshire Library & Information Service in Rugby has loads going on. Look on Facebook for your local library and keep an eye on the events they hold.

    Other ideas for rainy days with the kids

    That should keep you busy for a while!