Pumpkin picking, terrifying trails and a petrifying prison…

Halloween events 2019

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Halloween2018With mini number two following her brother through the school doors for the first time and mini number three starting a couple of sessions at nursery a week, I’m finding the start of the new academic year even more difficult this year – so I’m fast forwarding in my mind to half term and Halloween fun.

If you’re looking for some fearful family fun take a look at the list below and see if anything might appeal to your mini monsters.

As always – some events need advance booking, there are only so many pumpkins in a pumpkin patch and, of course, all live (and undead) events are subject to change so be sure to click on the links to check the details and phone/book before travelling.

Do you know of an event we’ve missed?  Tell us about it in the comments or email us at hello@theminimalpi.co.uk and don’t forget to keep checking back in case we’ve found more.

PYO Pumpkins/Pumpkin Patches
Bell’s Gardening Outlet, near Boston
Doddington Hall, near Lincoln
Maxeys Farm Shop, Kirklington
Waddingworth PYO Pumpkins, Woodhall Spa

October 11:
Spalding Pumpkin Festival
Spalding town centre

October 19-27:
Spooky Prison
Lincoln Castle

October 19-31:
Scarecrow Competition Display
Gatehouse Lawn, Doddington Hall, near Lincoln

October 19 – November 3:
Thoresby trail of wizardry, witchcraft, sorcery and spells
Thoresby Hall, near Ollerton

October 21:
Mystery Magic Workshop
Age 4-12
Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe

October 21-27:
Halloween Half Term
Tattershall Castle

October 21-31:
Halloween at the Den
William’s Den, near Hull

October 22:
Pumpkin Carving
Hartsholme Park, near Lincoln

October 22:
Room on the Broom Storytelling
Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe

October 23:
Haunted Halloween Drama Day
Age 5-11.  The Back Garden Drama Company
Waddington Village Hall

October 23:
Lion Learners at Halloween
Halloween themed animal handling activities
Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe

October 24-28:
Halloween Trail
Hartsholme Park, near Lincoln

October 25 and November 1:
Spectacular Spellbooks
Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe

October 26:
The Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween Grotto
Hildred’s Shopping Centre, Skegness

October 26:
Pumpkin Festival
Bluebell Wood Goats and Farm Shop, Nettleham

October 26-27:
Halloween Weekend
Bowthorpe Park Farm, near Bourne

October 27:
Normanby Hall-oween Spooktacular
Annual pass holder only event
Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe

October 27:
Halloween Special
Lincolnshire Wolds Railway, Ludborough

October 31:
Nocton Pumpkin Trail 2019
Nocton

October 31:
Barton Ghost Walk
Start Baysgarth House Museum, Barton

November 1:
Family Halloween Disco Party
Swineshead Village Hall

November 1:
Halloween Party
Leo’s Play Centre, Newark

Are your children having a drama-filled summer?

Summer 2019 family-friendly theatre shows in Lincoln

Theatres are traditionally quite quiet during the summer period when mini audience members are often expressing their dramatic sides on location during their family holidays but this year the city’s arts centres still have a few options for those craving a cultural fix.

LoudmouthAt the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) it’s young people themselves that are ensuring theatre-goers will be entertained.  The centre’s resident youth theatre groups, Shout and Loudmouth, are premiering two new plays written, produced and performed by some of Lincoln’s emerging young artists.  The double bill sees Shout Youth Theatre presenting Phases, “a light-hearted play that explores grief and seeing the world through another’s eyes”.  And Loudmouth Youth Theatre’s performance is On a Roll: The Land of Bogmile, a “role play spoof that celebrates friendship and imagination”.
Saturday, July 27th, 7pm, tickets £5.
Visit www.lpac.co.uk

sammark.jpgIt’s celebrity duo Sam and Mark that will be entertaining a youthful audience at Lincoln Drill Hall.  As seen on CBBC’s Big Friday Wind-Up and Copycats, the pair are taking to the road with a brand new live show this summer including a stop-off at the Free School Lane venue.  The BAFTA award-winning duo are promising “an unmissable hour of entertainment jam packed with sketches, jokes and games in a show full of fun and laughs for all the family.
Saturday, August 10th, 2.30pm, tickets £12.50.
Visit www.lincolndrillhall.com

ElmerTheatre2Over on Clasketgate at the New Theatre Royal its even minier audience members that are being catered for with Elmer The Patchwork Elephant Show stomping the boards.  From the creators of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, the production is based on David McKee’s colourful book series that is celebrating its 30th birthday this year.  “A celebration of individuality and the power of laughter”, the show features 21 puppets, is aimed at age 1+ and has a running time of 45 minutes.
Friday, August 23rd, 1.30pm and 3.30pm, tickets £13 (£11).
Visit www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk
The theatre also has a summer programme of family films including titles such as How to Train Your Dragon 2, Mary Poppins Returns and Wreck It Ralph 2. 

ShauntheSheepThe Terry O’Toole Theatre in North Hykeham is also featuring family-friendly drama on the silver screen over the summer but with a twist.  The unique setting of the venue means it has teamed up with the leisure centre it’s housed in and is offering  visitors Family Film & Swim deals.  After watching movies such as Mary Poppins Returns, Christopher Robin and Shaun the Sheep Movie, film-goers can then enjoy a swim at the One NK centre swimming pool – perfect for cooling down your mini one’s temperatures during this very hot weather too.
August 3rd, 17th, 31st and September 7th, 10am film/12.30pm swim, tickets – film £3.50/swim £2.50 when booked with film ticket.  £2 discount for a family (4) ticket.
Visit www.terryotooletheatre.org.uk 

Celebrity performers will create “warmth and laughter” for panto season.

The New Theatre Royal in Lincoln has announced some of the stars of this year’s pantomime this week.

Running from December 3rd, 2019, to January 5th, 2020, the production of Robin Hood will welcome both familiar faces and new celebrities to its Clasketgate stage.

Barney Harwood - Press AnnouncementBarney Harwood returns to the city as the brave hero Robin Hood.  Last year’s Huntsman in Snow White, the winner of a Children’s BAFTA for Best Presenter will be wielding a bow and arrow this time.

Chris Johnson - Press AnnouncementAlso back by popular demand is Chris Johnson who will play Will Scarlet.  CBBC’s “Yonko” has been a regular in both Christmas and Easter pantomimes at the New Theatre Royal since Cinderella in 2017.  Speaking about returning to Lincoln Chris says, “The thought of once again spending my festive season at the New Theatre Royal makes me a very merry man indeed! In fact, I’m all aquiver!”

Melinda Messenger - Press AnnouncementModel and presenter Melinda Messenger is heading the list of new celebrities due to tread the boards.  Performing the role of Fairy Stardust, Messenger says, “Panto is such a great Christmas theatre tradition that the whole family can enjoy, I really love the warmth and laughter it brings to everybody and can’t wait to work with Natalie and the team at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln”.

Zoe Hedge - Press AnnouncementRounding up the star casting is Zoe Hedge as Maid Marian.  Zoe appeared on The Voice UK (2017) as one half of the duo Capital B, who were chosen to be on Sir Tom Jones’s team.

The theatre’s visitors can expect this Christmas season to be full of laughs, boos and audience participation for all the family to enjoy.  Artistic director Natalie Hayes-Cowley says, “Robin Hood will be filled with high energy dance routines, outstanding vocalists, comedy and, of course, added surprises in the script for those stand out wow moments.  Perfect entertainment for all the family this festive season.”

There will be a signed performance on January 3rd at 6pm and a relaxed performance on December 7th at 11am.

Tickets start from £16.50 and can be booked via the box office on 01522 519999 or online at www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk 

Lincolnshire is positively prehistoric!

Stomp and roar your way through the 2019 summer holidays

Lincoln is taking its tagline “Steeped in history” seriously this summer as it’s inviting its visitors to travel back even further in time than usual to when dinosaurs roamed the earth.  Whilst the Natural History Museum’s exhibition will be housed at The Collection in the city, the museum is not the only county venue hoping to give families a roar-some experience…   

DinosaurEncounterDinosaur Encounter
The Collection, Danes Terrace, Lincoln
Saturday, July 13 – Sunday, September 8
Come face-to-face with your favourite dinosaurs in this exhibition from London’s Natural History Museum.  The animatronic dinosaurs feature a roaring, snorting T-Rex, lifelike models and fossil replicas.  The exhibition is supported by a trail and events including craft activities and fossil handling.  Relaxed sessions also available.
Adults £7.50, Concession £6.50, Children (age 5-16) £5, 4 and under free, Family £20.

dinosaurpawprints.jpgDinosaur Footprints
Lincoln City Centre
If you are headed to the exhibition at the museum then look out for some giant footprints to lead the way there.  Laid by Lincoln BIG, the dino-footprints will lead visitors from across the city centre to The Collection in Danes Terrace.

DinosaurIfIHadDinosaur Galore – Sunday Storytime
Waterstones, 297a High Street, Lincoln
Sunday, July 28, 10.15am-11am
The bookseller will be reading dinosaur stories galore. From new books to old favourites and some even containing underpants!  Fun for ages 3 to 7 years though any age welcome.  Held on the middle floor in Cafe W.
Free.

DinosaurHuntDinosaur Hunt
Boultham Park, Lincoln
August 7 and 8, 10am-3pm
There are 11 dinosaurs loose around the park – track them down for a roar-some prize.  Pick up a dinosaur hunt sheet from the Access Lincoln marquee near the cafe on the day.
Free.

DinoSlimeDino Slime Making Workshops
The Little Pottery Studio, The Lawn, Lincoln
July 28, August 3, 10, 31

The Little Pottery Studio is taking things as far back as the primordial soup with slime workshops – make DIY slime, pick your colour and dinosaur and take it home in a dinosaur egg.  Paint your own dinosaur foot activity available throughout the summer too.
Booking essential.  £10 per person.
Also:
Make Your Own Dinosaur – Ceramic Workshop, Monday, July 29th, 10am-11am, age 8+, £12
Make Your Own 3D Dinosaur Egg – Ceramic Workshop, Monday, July 29th, 11.30am-12.30pm, age 8+, £12

DinosaurJurassicJurassic Farm Park
Rand Farm Park, near Market Rasen
August 24 – September 3
Meet Pete the Dinosaur, dig for fossils and, during the Bank Holiday Weekend, build your own dinosaur.
Entry from £8.95 to £41.80.  2019 Summer passes available for £15 per person.

DinosaurBirthdayDino’s Birthday Party Week
Springfields Outlet Shopping & Leisure, Spalding
July 29 – August 4, noon and 2pm
Dino will dance his way on to the Festival Gardens stage twice daily to teach his audience some party tricks and attempt to bake a cake.  Fancy dress competition at every show.
Free.

Are you heading into the primeval past with your mini ones this summer?  Share your dinosaur selfies with us on Facebook or Twitter.

An elephant, a Froojamaflip and SuperKitty

Newark Book Festival 2019

Hands up those who had lots of fun at the annual Newark Book Festival last weekend – we certainly did!  And we’ve been heads down with hands busy turning pages ever since re-reading our new addition to the mini’s home library, SuperKitty by Hannah Whitty and Paula Bowles.

With Luke and Daddy at Beavers camp for the weekend it was just us girls that took the bus and train to the Nottinghamshire town to enjoy lots of literary activities.

On Saturday, there was hula hooping, singing, Maisy Mouse meeting and ear-wearing, SuperKitty storytelling, drawing, mask making and face painting.

On Sunday, there was an elephant!  And there was a person made out of fruit and vegetables!  There was painting, octopus crown making, a ball pool, sand pits, a hot air balloon trail, Paddington Bear craft and, of course most important of all, there was ice cream to finish the weekend off with.

As well as a boost to her desire to be able to read all the words herself, Willow also came away from the festival talking excitedly about vegetables thanks to Fred and his friend Froojamaflip.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped us get the pushchair on and off trains and up and down steps in Newark and to all the lovely festival volunteers who helped this very directionally-challenged mummy.

Next year’s festival dates are July 10th-12th, 2020. 

Do you know a mini crocodile fan?

A few days after finding out Willow will be in Ladybird class in September we found out that Luke will be in Crocodiles when he moves up a year.  So now I have added green paint to our craft shop haul of all things red and black.

CrocodilesPegsWhen considering crafting crocodiles my first thoughts are to start collecting egg boxes but, for Kerry from Blissful Domestication, it’s wooden pegs, green pipe cleaners and googly eyes that make her shopping list in order to make her Peg and Pipe Cleaner Crocodiles – and the peg’s action make the completed reptiles eminently snappable!

Having bought several new ladybird books for Willow, Luke was quick to insist he should also receive some appropriate new reading material.  We already had I Love Crocodiles: First facts and pictures by Steve Parker and Steve Roberts as well as stories such as Open Very Carefully: A book with bite by Nick Bromley and Nicola O’Byrne and Alan’s Big Scary Teeth by Jarvis.  We’ve had Roald Dahl’s Enormous Crocodile recommended to us several times and the titles we’ve chosen to add CrocodilesDentistto our home library so far are Could a Crocodile Play Basketball? and other questions by Aleksei Bitskoff and Camilla de la Bedoyere and The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino.

Another title featuring the scaly creature that Jane from Hodge Podge Days recommends is The Crocodile and the Dentist by Taro Gomi.  Describing it as “a lovely, easy to read story with lots of repetition” Jane found it “full of simple humour and empathy” as both titular characters learn to be brave and face their fears.

CrocodilesSealifeFor Rainy Day Mum’s Cerys it’s all about finding more life-sized versions of the animal, whether it be wooden sculptures in Rendlesham Forest when on Scavenger Hunts with Toddlers or similarly tame ones that provide a safe photo opportunity at Colchester Zoo (World Animal Day Blog Hop).  But the highlight of their visit to Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary saw her son finally came face to face with one of the centre’s three very alive crocodiles, “luckily through a sheet of glass”.

What is your favourite fact about the many-toothed creature?  Let us know in the comments below.

Crafts and activities for your little ladybirds

It’s that time of year again when we already start to think about the start of the new academic year that September will bring with it even before we’ve had the chance to start the July that will say goodbye to this one.  It will be a big one in the Malpi household as Willow will be joining her older brother at school for the first time and she’s just found out that she will be in the ladybird class.  Cue all things red and black spotted being celebrated in our house and who better to ask for suggestions around the coccinellidae subject than fellow bloggers…?

The striking colours and pattern of the most well known of their species lends itself eminently to craft projects – add red and black paint to a few children’s craft box staples such as paper plates, toilet paper tubes and eggboxes and the greenfly in your back garden will soon be thinking the leaves are greener on the other side of the fence.

LadybirdInspirationEditAngela, who writes at The Inspiration Edit, and Wendy, from Daisies and Pie, just use card and LadybirdPaperLooppaper for their creations.  Angela includes a downloadable template as part of her Easy Preschool Ladybug Craft and Wendy includes a quick video demonstration of her Paper Loop Ladybug Craft.

ladybirdnumbersAnother blogger offering a free printable as part of their suggested activity is Louise from Messy Little Monster.  Download her printable number leaves, add 10 red bottle tops and a black sharpie pen and you can recreate her Learn to Count Ladybird Craft and send your children on a number hunt.   And, if your messy monster is too mini to take part in the hunt quite yet, you could try out Louise’s Ladybird Baby Footprint Keepsake instead.

LadybirdPlateBlissful Domestication’s Kerry shows us How to Make a Paper Plate Ladybird utilising a split pin and Being Mrs C’s Penny’s How to make a simple paper plate ladybird which uses the back of the plate for its domed effect was inspired by a re-reading of Lucy Ladybird by Sharon King-Chai.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hadn’t heard of King-Chai’s story of a ladybird in search of her spots before but have now ordered one along with another book I’ve come across thanks to writing this post – Tales from Nature: Ladybird.  Laura, of Laura’s Lovely Blog, reviews it in her Beautiful Board Book for Babies article where she praises it for showing “how ladybirds camouflage from birds and how it hatches its eggs… It’s great for young children and babies with the colourful, bold and engaging pages.”

LadybirdPosterOne book my minis are definitely familiar with, however, is Julia Donaldson’s What the Ladybird Heard and so are Crafts on Sea‘s Kate’s children.  Her posts include a What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday Paper Plate Craft that includes a secret message hidden under her wings and a What the Ladybird Heard Wanted Poster.  Younger siblings can also create their own minibeast makes using Kate’s (cotton bud) Q-Tip Ladybird Craft for Toddlers.

In Our Spring Activities, The Queen of Collage’s Helena tells us “We’ve recreated the farm that the ladybird in What the Ladybird Heard lived on, viewed the Bad Tempered Ladybird on Youtube which would be great to introduce time”.

LadybirdReelIf Donaldson’s quiet hero captures your mini readers’ imaginations then check out Jenny’s reviews of the sequels on her blog The Gingerbread HouseWhat the Ladybird Heard Next sees crafty robbers Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len out of jail and heading back to the farm with another cunning plan to cause trouble and What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday finds the thieves in London planning to steal a monkey from the zoo and use it to pinch the Queen’s crown.  Jenny also uses some painted ladybird and bee stone counters in her How to make a simple cable reel blackboard noughts and crosses game.

LadybirdGemFor more rock painting inspiration take a look at Gem’s Painting Rocks and Pebbles on Childsplay ABC which also includes bumble bees and her son’s smiley faces.

Gem also pointed me towards the lovely A guide to British ladybirds – in pictures article by Beatrice Sayers in 2013 on the Guardian website.  “The UK Ladybird Survey has found 26 species that are readily recognisable as ladybirds.  Here are some of the common ones, the colourful ones – and alien invaders”.

Ladybird12

If all of those ideas aren’t enough to keep us going over the summer holidays and fill her bridger scrapbook then we might head over to read Rainy Day Mum’s suggestions.  Cerys’s Ladybird Crafts and Activities include buttons, egg boxes and fingerpainting as part of projects making sun catchers and pegs and she even outlines What to plant to encourage ladybugs to make sure your little ones have real examples of the beetles to compare their creations to.

LadybirdFlowerPotPerhaps you could even start some of the plants off in an appropriately attired flower pot as Jane from Hodge Podge Days has designed in Crafts: Make Your Own Ladybird Flower Pot.

What a lovely way to finish #30DaysWild too!