Community projects, competitions and reward schemes for children to join in with from home

Hands up if you’re a parent looking for ways to entertain your children at home right now?

Fortunately there are lots of groups that have been quickly set up on Facebook sharing ideas and lots of people offering activities through online channels such as YouTube – we’ve been one of the thousands of families who’ve been joining in Joe Wicks’s The Body Coach 9am workouts for example.

Whilst learning for learning’s sake is never a bad thing and there are lots of sites that have been incredibly helpful in opening up their resources to all for free for at least a limited time, if your children would like to do something that might give them a much needed sense of community, a specific purpose or tangible achievement then here are a few ideas…

Rainbows and teddy bears
One of my favourite schemes has been people decorating their windows to cheer up their neighbours or families on their one period of exercise a day to spot.  In our area its mainly rainbows with a few teddy bears added too (so children can go on a bear hunt) but there are also a variety of lists circulating that see the theme change every few days (animals, funny faces and so on) ensuring regular new craft projects for your little ones.  We used crayons, stickers, paint, balloons and stones for ours and then had a walk around our area to sample the creativity of other households and there are some fabulous creations people have shared via social media too if you want to be particularly inspired.

“Our local community are putting Teddy bears in the window for a ‘we’re going on a bear hunt’ trail for those who are walking dogs, still heading out to work etc” says blogger Sarah Anguish who writes at www.boorooandtiggertoo.com.

ele#Hometasking
When it comes to uncovering the nation’s creativity you surely can’t beat joining in with Taskmaster’s #Hometasking challenges?  Alex Horne is setting about three challenges a week and then it’s over to Greg Davies (via a horde of helpful viewing minions I’m sure) to choose his favourite attempts to complete it.  So far the challenges have been to throw an A4 piece of paper into a bin, to host a “night out” in your bathroom and to make a dancing elephant.  All tasks are obviously meant to be completed in your own home or garden with materials you already have – take a look at #hometasking on Twitter for more information and prepare for all the weird and wonderful a nation left twiddling their thumbs can provide.

Newark Book Festival Competition
With three age categories – under 10s, 11 to 15 and 16+ – this is something all the family can take part in too.

For 2020’s competition, Newark Book Festival is taking its inspiration from the little manuscript made and written by Charlotte Bronte when she was only 14 years old that sold at auction in Paris for £666,970 in November 2019.  Dated August 19th, 1830, it is no bigger than a matchbox and is packed with stories, pictures and advertisements.

MiniManuscript

Using materials they have in their own home, the festival wants its entrants to make their own little book too.  Imaginations are encouraged to “run wild” but it must be handwritten/sewed, measure no more than the size of a playing card (3.5inch x 2.5inch) and have a maximum of 10 pages including the front and back cover.

The deadline has currently been extended until mid June, entries are to be kept at home for now and the festival will announce when drop off points/postal entries are open.  Find out more here.

grasscaterpillarNational Children’s Gardening Week Competion
If your children are particularly green fingered then they might want to join in with the National Children’s Gardening Week Competition if you have some grass seed to hand.  The promotional week normally runs at the end of May but it’s website has a page of ideas for Things to do that you might want to have a look at now.  One of those ideas is to grow your own grass caterpillar and these windowsill friends are the basis for the competition that opened on March 26th and ends on April 30th, 2020.

PawprintFamilyPawprint Badges
If your little Beaver is missing his or her regular achievement badge fix then they (and their fellow scouting/guiding group members) can still work towards them at home and our group leader has even sent us a couple of suggestions and ways to record their efforts already.  However there are also online alternatives such as Pawprint Badges that are open to all.  I’ve come across these before and always meant to look into them and, guess what, now I have the time.  There are lots of different badges and challenges, I think we might start by looking at the St George’s Day badge ahead of the patron saint’s day next month.

bluepeterBlue Peter Badge
Beth Law, who writes at www.twinderelmo.co.uk, suggests trying for a badge that might provide adults with a bit of nostalgia too.  “They can try to earn a Blue Peter Badge by doing different tasks such as drawing or crafting.  Us parents can take a walk down memory lane as a Blue Peter Badge was the ultimate prize when we were kids.  A great way to get your kids motivated as they will hopefully receive the coveted badge for their efforts.” 

Children’s University
ChildrensUniversityAnother scheme I’ve been meaning to look into for a while is the Children’s University, a national charity that is administrated through lots of local hubs.  Children’s University “believe in limitless learning beyond the classroom” and many of your children’s normal extracurricular activities could count towards their graduation but, of course, like most other providers in current times they have launched a special Covid-19 page with lots of suggestions for home and online activities.  I’ve already been in touch with our local corodinator and, whilst for obvious reasons she can’t send us out our passports yet, she’s happy for the minis to start completing activities and us to record their completion codes and colours so we’ll “be well on the way to collecting 30 stamps to graduate” when everyone can return to their offices.

Blogger Challenges
As well as giving lots of helpful suggestions, bloggers themselves are stepping into the breach and coming up with their own challenges too.

Blissful Domestication‘s Kerry Dawson says “I’m running an online craft challenge for kids.  Mainly in a Facebook group but you can also sign up on my blog for emails and a checklist. Originally it was an open ended challenge but I’m running a mini version of it over the next 12 weeks as I complete it with my own kids.”  Click on her blog post 50 Crafts to try before you’re 10! and find the original post with its Coronavirus update where you can sign up to her emails or join the Facebook group.

Louise Jemma, who writes at Thimble and Twig, is running an outdoor Doorstep Nature challenge in a Facebook group with a friend.  Every day in April in their Wildling Explorers Facebook group they’ll be sharing how each of their nature-inspired ideas work.  Click here to find out more.

Do you know of any other schemes or competitions little ones on their extended Coronavirus breaks could take part in?  Let us know in the comments below or email me at hello@theminimalpi.co.uk and I’ll add them to this list and you can be safe in the knowledge that lots of parents will be saying a big thank you to you for sharing!  

Familiar faces are swinging into city theatre this Easter

*EDIT: CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS – PLEASE SEE THE THEATRE’S WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CONTINUING UPDATES*

The New Theatre Royal Lincoln’s Easter pantomime is returning with The Jungle Book, running from Monday, April 13th to Sunday 19th and the audiences of the venue’s last two Easter pantomimes, The Wizard of Oz (2019) and Alice in Wonderland (2018) will be pleased to see some familiar faces.

The Jungle Book - Press Image

Not only will Chris Johnson star in this year’s production as the Monkey King and Kaa but this year CBBC’s Chris will also be credited for writing the script.

When asked about coming back to Lincoln and writing the show, Chris said, “I’m delighted to re-join the wonderful NTR Presents team once again for what’s guaranteed to be a swinging time in the jungle.  Lincoln holds a very special place in my heart so getting to write and perform another show here is an absolute joy!”

Chris Johnson - The Jungle BookChris will be joined by Michelle Morris who will get her wicked claws out as Shere Khan. Best known for her TV appearances in The Knock, Doctor Who, and Endeavour, Michelle’s theatre credits span more than two decades, including The Wicked Witch in last year’s Easter pantomime The Wizard of Oz, and Fairy Stardust in New Theatre Royal’s latest Christmas pantomime, Robin Hood.

Lincoln’s local lad, Chris Hayes, is back too.  After leaving audiences in stitches as Mama Munch in the The Wizard of Oz and Friar Tuck in Robin Hood, Chris returns as the loveable Baloo Bear.

Last year’s Scarecrow Jonny Weston and The Win Women Georgia Hayes-Cowley return as Bagheera and Raksha, Mowgli’s wolf mum.

Michelle Morris - The Jungle BookThe city theatre is also very excited to introduce local young talent, Kyla Hurdley and Ruby Grayson, who will share the role of Mowgli.

Packed with high energy dance routines, popular songs and a witty script, this family-favourite story will see the theatre’s artistic director, Natalie Hayes-Cowley, produce and direct the show: Who said pantomimes are just for Christmas?” she asks.  “This will be our seventh in-house pantomime since we took over the theatre in 2016 and our Easter pantomimes are becoming increasingly popular amongst our patrons.”

“Panto brings all generations of families together and it’s rewarding to see so many people joining in, laughing and booing (at the baddies, of course), then leaving with huge smiles on their faces.  I can’t wait for everyone to see The Jungle Book, it’s going to be another brilliant show!”

A relaxed performance will be held on Thursday, April 16th, at 2.30pm.  Tickets start from £19.50 (adults) and £11 (child).  Call 01522 519999 or visit New Theatre Royal Lincoln to book.

The shows must go on…

*EDIT: WELL ACTUALLY IT TURNS OUT THERE ARE OCCASSIONS WHEN THE SHOW DOESN’T GO ON AND ONE OF THOSE TIMES IS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC – ALL SHOWS FROM MONDAY, MARCH 16TH ARE CANCELLED OR POSTPONED.  PLEASE SEE EACH THEATRE’S WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CONTINUING UPDATES*

 

Panto season may be finally over in Lincoln’s city centre venues (oh yes it is…) but there are still plenty of entertaining reasons coming up to keep families visiting our theatres:

 

Lincoln Drill Hall

NaughtyFoxSaturday, February 1st:
The Naughty Fox
There are craft workshops supporting this production.

Sunday, February 16th:
Wolf

Wednesday, February 19th:
Diddy Disco

Thursday, February 20th:
Henry Moon & The Greasy Spoon

Saturday, March 28th:
LittleRedThe Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel

Saturday, April 4th:
Little Red Riding Hood

Tuesday, April 14th:
The Unexpected Adventures of Darwin the Chimp
There is a puppet workshop supporting this production. 

Wednesday, April 15th:
Diddy Disco

 

Lincoln Performing Arts Centre

oddsocks.jpgThursday, February 20th:
Sid’s Time to Play

Thursday, April 9th:
Andy and the Odd Socks

Sunday, May 24th:
Horrible Histories: The Worst of Barmy Britain

Friday, May 29th:
Milkshake Live!  Milkshake Monkey’s Musical

 

 

Zog1New Theatre Royal Lincoln

February 23rd:
Exciting Science

March 23rd and 24th:
Zog

April 13th-19th:
The Jungle Book

May 31st:
Rapunzel

 

Are you looking forward to taking your mini ones to the theatre this season?  Let us know your recommendations in the comments below…

Ready, Steady, Yeti! ignites imaginations

YetiHow many festive theatre goers can say they’ve seen a show featuring a sly, upper class, anthropomorphized furry toy dog who is a master of disguise this Christmas?

Thanks to being guests of the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre for the morning performance of Ready, Steady, Yeti! on Saturday, the minis can count themselves among the elite few who have not only been introduced to the cunning canine Colonel Snitterby but have rapped along with him too.

An ode to the wonders of youthful imagination, Ready, Steady, Yeti! follows a young sister and brother as they go on a Himalayan adventure to search for the Abominable Snowman.  Racing against the Colonel to find the legendary creature first, they sail through frozen seas, traverse treacherous terrain and make it to the top of ice-capped mountains without ever leaving their bedroom and making sure they are most definitely home in time for tea.

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The warm-hearted story, supported by original songs and an inventive set, contrasts the ocassional cold heartedness of competitiveness with the fun and success that can be found in teamwork and friendship, revels in wordplay and celebrates creativity.

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All three minis’ imaginations were thoroughly captured by the tale of the hunt for the mysterious not-so-monstrous monster and were even inspired to stage their own performance on the LPAC foyer’s mini platform after the show.  Willow proved that she had been listening during Yeti! when it was stated that all good stories begin with “Once upon a time”.

Taking on board the message that not everything has to be a race is clearly a work in progress however, loudly and proudly proclaiming herself the winner of getting back to the car first on the way home.

If you want to learn how to do the Explorers’ Salute and discover if a Yeti’s favourite food really is spaghetti then you can catch Ready, Steady, Yeti! at the Lincoln theatre until January 5th.  Find out more at www.lpac.co.uk 

Enter a wondrous wintery world but beware of the witch

LionA story that starts with a world trapped in a perpetual winter where the arrival of Father Christmas heralds the return of hope to the land is a perfect choice for a seasonal show.

The minis were guests of the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) on Thursday for the press showing of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe following the adventures of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy as they stepped through the wardrobe’s wooden doors into Narnia.

Dark both in storyline and lighting design, the theatre’s production of C S Lewis’s allegorical tale earned the older recommended age suggestion the LPAC’s winter show normally advertises even more so than in previous years (with younger audiences catered for in the centre’s studio theatre production, this year Ready, Steady, Yeti!).

L W W

The production firmly found its footing when the children were treading the snowy  otherworldly realm and the dramatic scenes made use of the company’s trademark strength of its ensemble work.

The War Horse-esque, of the forest with knowledge older than time, depiction of Aslan, the transformative staging and the delightful light relief in Mr and Mrs Beaver contrasting with big murderous scenes featuring discordant music and the towering evil queen all combined to evoke the childhood imagination that was captured by Narnia when first reading the books.

Some, such as my five year old, may need to watch the scarier scenes from behind their mummy’s hand but many, including my seven year old and myself, will welcome the chance to immerse themselves in an alternate world where good eventually prevails, leaving its audiences looking sideways at their bedroom furniture again when they return home.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe runs until December 24th.  Visit www.lpac.co.uk to find out more.

Putting the puns and peril into pantomime

Robin Hood posterGreat vocals, a crowd-pleasing choice of rousing songs, both laugh-out-loud and pleasingly groan-inducing gags that appeal to all family members – the New Theatre Royal’s latest pantomime is sure to win over all members of its seasonal audiences this year.

Opening with a series of bread puns and a Queen medley, Robin Hood isn’t a first glance a traditional choice for a panto but the Lincoln theatre’s production based on the regional legend has all the elements fans of the annual family entertainment will expect and more.

Robin Hood - Press Image 1 (Credit Caroline Keyworth)

My four year old and I were guests of the Clasketgate venue for Wednesday evening’s show and enjoyed characterful performances, energetic dances and numerous opportunities for audience interaction.  Mummy’s favourites were Will Scarlett’s series of tree jokes and the If I Were not in Pantomime comedy song.

Robin Hood - Press Image 2 (Credit Caroline Keyworth)

The actors portrayals of their various predicaments were clearly very engaging to my four year old who was extremely invested in all the performances and almost found the mild peril of the second half’s dungeon scene too much to bear.  Fortunately our titular hero saves the day, of course, and Willow was soon up and joining in with all the celebrations of the finale.

The meet and greet after the show further made my mini star struck one exceedingly happy and I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the cast for how lovely they were with her.  It even given her the chance to meet the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham and discover that, off stage at least, he’s actually really nice.  Although she’s still convinced that “all the bad guys are on the naughty list”.

On Friday night, it was the turn of Daddy and our seven year old to join his Beavers group trip to see the show.  They not only thoroughly enjoyed the heroics and amusements of the medieval tale but the eldest mini also got to join in the fun himself being invited to take to the stage with Nurse Nora and Will Scarlett and lead the audience in a rendition of the song Robin Hood accompanied by his signature dance moves.

Does Robin Hood hit the target as a great way to start your festive season?  Oh yes it does!

Robin Hood continues at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln until January 5th.  Click here to find out more or call 01522 519999.  

Enjoy festive family fun whilst picking out presents

FandGParents will be trying all sorts of different ways to complete their Christmas shopping once again this festive season.  Alongside finding further childcare to keep them well away from the excitement of decorated and overheated stores to ordering everything online, mums and dads can also choose to attend an event that concerns itself as much with the enjoyment of its little visitors as it does with the selection of presents their grown ups have to choose from.

The Lincolnshire Food and Gift Fair is returning to the Lincolnshire Showground this month.  With more than 8,000 people expected to attend, advance tickets for the Saturday, November 30th and Sunday, December 1st event are now on sale.

Doors are open from 9am to 4pm on both days to allow customers to browse the more than 150 exhibitor stands showcasing the county’s finest foods and unique gifts but there will also be plenty of activities to keep little ones busy.

Cookery workshops hosted by 42nd East Bakehouse, a reindeer food bar, pet bandanas designing workshop with Zukie Style, Christmas pottery painting with The Little Pottery Studio, willow weaving with Lincolnshire Willow and storytelling from Lincoln Performing Arts Centre will all be waiting to help mini participants to start their festive fun.  Hobbycraft Lincoln will also be giving children a chance to make festive wrapping paper and design their own Christmas cards.

Jayne Southall, CEO at Lincolnshire Showground, said: “Preparations are well underway for the Food and Gift Fair, and we are getting ready for this year’s Fair to be the best yet! It is a fun festive event to suit all ages and tastes, including foodies, families and Christmas shoppers and is guaranteed to get everybody in the Christmas spirit.

“Visitors will be able to sample the best of Lincolnshire produce, including famous pork pies, speciality cheese, wine tasting, locally distilled gin, chocolate, fudge and much more.

“There will also be free activities for children including hands-on-crafts, Christmas storytelling and baking activities and we also have a few more surprises rolled up our sleeves!”

Tickets for the Fair can be bought at £5 each (plus postage) in advance and are £6 on the gate.  Under fives go free when accompanied by an adult.

Visit www.lincolnshireshowground.co.uk/whats-on/event/foodandgift19 for more information about #FoodandGift19 or call 01522 522900.