A monsterously good time with Monstersaurus

monstersaurus2“Monty LOVES inventing,
BUT things don’t always work…”

Claire Freedman and Ben Cort’s characterful tale Monstersaurus (Simon and Schuster, £5.99) has long been a favourite in our house so when I saw there was a stage show adaptation by Big Wooden Horse and it was coming to Terry O’Toole Theatre it was definitely a date to go into the diary and The Mini Malpi were delighted to be a guest of the North Hykeham theatre for the 3pm show on Saturday.

With a set that was bedecked with everything a young inventor could want – magnifying glass, specimen bottles, a bubble machine, instruction books and, of course, an inventing machine – it was interesting to see how the theatre company would adapt and expand on its fun source material.

monstersaurus3Lively puppets, energetic songs and dances (in case you’re wondering, Monstersaurus rhymes with chorus) and disgusting ingredients supplied by some audience participation saw us introduced to Monty’s mum, an expanded timeline, a language all “swampy, green and wobbly” Bogablob’s own, a comprehensive back story covering Dust Monster’s origins (but not the title character’s due to a “sensitive family history”), a diamond geezer version of the main monster that’s sure to have changed a few parental storytime renditions following the show and a glimpse into the best friends’ future travel adventures.

I was in proud, smug-mummy mode to start with as my four-year -old son chose to sit on his own on the front benches the theatre put out for children’s shows for the first time.  He’s not great at sitting still but the show had him riveted, if not to the actual seat, to a defined space around it.

monstersaurus4And it was lovely to be able to watch from above his very physical reactions to what was happening on stage, bouncing up and down with excitement along with Monty’s enthusiasm, laughing at and pointing to things that caught his attention, turning round on one occasion to highlight to us his enjoyment and concentration (“Luke-y watching”) and jumping to the floor behind the bench and back over as each monster was explosively introduced (note to self: must move the sofas away from the wall so there’s space to hide behind them when he’s old enough to be introduced to Doctor Who!)

Advertised for age 3+, my 22-month-old daughter was also fully engaged with the show, joining in the clapping at all appropriate times, both as applause and along with the beat of the songs.

Of course, as with all smug-mummy moments, they only last for a certain length of time.  But this time, my son’s quickly unravelling behaviour was for the sweetest of reasons – and quite an appropriate one too.  “Monty cheered, I’VE MADE A FRIEND… A MEGA MONSTER ONE!” near the end of the book and Luke too found a friend in the (very non-monstrous) five-year-old he was sat next to and whose family member we were sat near to as well.

monstersaurus5It’s so lovely how children can just make friends so instantly and, whilst not necessarily obvious at first glance, they were still very focused on events unfolding on the stage, adorably copying the actions of Monty and Monstersaurus between them as they flew off on an adventure.   But, as the new friends’ enjoyment and reenactments became increasingly spirited, we were also quite relieved when the actors took their final bows and we were all able to leave on a high with no calming intervention required (just).

With the book’s final line reading “What fun did they get up to? YOU’LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE…” all we need now is Claire Freedman to pen the sequel and hope that Big Wooden Horse would bring their further adventures to life on stage too as we’d certainly be doing our “Saturday dance” and booking seats (along with the space around them!)

Missed Monstersaurus at the TOTT?  Click here for further tour dates elsewhere.

More children’s theatre coming up at the Terry O’Toole Theatre includes:
Granny’s Game by Rhubarb Theatre, November 19th
Lily and the Little Snow Bear by Blunderbus, December 17th

 

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Soaking up the joy of Sponge

What does a sponge inspire you to do?

Something as exciting as the washing-up?  To take a bath?  Clean down your cupboards?

When Turned On Its Head looked at a sponge, they saw the inspiration for their latest participatory dance show for mini ones.

The company’s purpose is “to engage audiences and their families in a journey of discovery and imagination” and yellow, blue and pink sponges, along with a few plastic flexi buckets, provided the squashy launch pads into dream-like worlds where flying, dancing, raining sponges, tall bendy legs, alien creatures and squishy, spinning haute couture were essential elements to the young audience’s experience at the Lincoln Drill Hall today.

“Children are like sponges. They absorb all your strength and leave you limp, but give them a squeeze and you get everything back”

The Mini Malpi watched and joined in the afternoon performance of the show that’s set to a 1970s soundtrack and “is about all things spongy: a child’s ability to soak things up like a sponge, a nice piece of cake or the squashy, squishy texture that fascinates children and adults alike”.

The babies to four year olds, as well as their accompanying adults, were captivated by the show’s sensory wonderment, giggling from the outset and needing little encouragement to join in.  Particular highlights for my mini ones were to fill a bucket up with sponges and tip them over your head, going for a well-cushioned spinning flight in a bucket, building towers of sponge to knock down and generally being able to throw the springy absorbers around under disco lights with gleeful reckless abandon.

Big smiles and eager exploration confirmed a delightful time was had by all at the arts centre, and, of course, we have many sponges at home too which we may never look at quite the same again…

Other shows for little ones coming up at the Lincoln Drill Hall include:
Hubbub – a Musical Adventure, for age 5+, October 16th & 17th
Mavis Sparkle, for age 4+, November 6th

 

Lots of fun at the Fun Palace Weekend

funpalace2016“Part of a worldwide campaign and celebration of culture by, for and with the whole community,” Lincoln Fun Palace Weekend is taking place in and around the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) on Saturday, October 1st and Sunday, October 2nd.

The “free, community event with arts and science activities” is “ideal for families, children and young people” and there’s certainly a wide range of activities on offer.

Today, the Mini Malpi enjoyed LEGO building, face painting, graffiti art, the Anti-Gravity Box, crazy golf (this was charged for), drumming, Zest Theatre’s Boy Meets Girl and much more!

And tomorrow visitors to the arts centre based on the University of Lincoln campus can enjoy it all again too!

Visit http://lpac.co.uk/event/fun-palace-weekend/ and http://funpalaces.co.uk/ for more details.

It’s Halloween season!

Hauntingly good events for 2016

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Passion2Dance have a whole week of Halloween fun planned!

The Malpi household is a little bit keen on Halloween.

With mummy and daddy’s wedding taking place on October 31st some years back, their zeal for the ghoulish date definitely seems to have been passed on to the next generation if the recent excited giggling in the supermarket’s seasonal aisle followed by the enthusiastic trying on of masks and insistence on trying out the novelty decorations was anything to go by.

Fortunately we’re not the only ones who like dressing up at this time of year and here are just some of the events you and your mini monsters can take part in this year.  Some need advance booking so be sure to click on the links to check the details.

Dates throughout October:

Happy Halloween, Darmons Funhouse, Sleaford

October 22nd, 23rd & 26th to 30th:

noon-4pm: Rats, Bats & Cats Trail, Southwell Workhouse

October 22 to October 30:

Halloween Maize Maze, Uncle Henry’s, Grayingham, Gainsborough
Pumpkin Festival, Pink Pig Farm, Holme Hall, near Scunthorpe

October 22 to October 31:

10am-3pm: Hallowe’en Half Term, Belton House
10am-3pm: PYO Pumpkins, Doddington Hall
10am-3pm: Schools Scarecrow Competition, Doddington Hall
noon-3pm: Halloween Trail, Hartsholme Country Park, Lincoln

Sunday, October 23:

11am: Sunday Storytime – Winnie the Witch, Waterstone’s, High Street, Lincoln

Monday, October 24:

9.45am and 11.15am: Pumpkin Party, Music with Mummy, Washingborough Methodist Church
1pm-2.30pm: Fangtastic! St Giles Children’s Centre, Lincoln

October 24 to October 29:

10am-4pm: Kitchen Garden Spooky Trail, Doddington Hall
11am-4pm: Hallowe’en Half Term, Tattershall Castle

October 24 to October 31:

Half Term Halloween Family Fun: Rand Farm Park, Rand, Market Rasen

Tuesday, October 25:

10am-11am: Play-Doh Spooky Family Fun, The Creation Station, The Venue, Navenby
1pm-2.30pm: Mask Making, Hartsholme Country Park, Lincoln

October 25 to October 31:

Halloween Fun Week, Passion2Dance, Farrier Road, Lincoln

Wednesday, October 26:

noon-4pm: Rats, Bats & Cats Craft Day, Southwell Workhouse

October 26 and October 28:

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October 26 to October 29:

5.30pm, 7pm and 8.30pm: Spooky Walks… Doddington Witch Trials, Doddington Hall

Thursday, October 27:

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9.45am and 11.15am: Pumpkin Party, Music with Mummy, St Andrew’s Centre, Saxilby
10am-4.30pm: Haunted House: A Halloween Spectacular, The Back Garden Drama Company, Waddington Village Hall.  Age 4-12.
1pm & 2.30pm: Halloween Story Walk, Easton Walled Gardens, near Grantham
1pm-2.30pm: Pumpkin Carving, Hartsholme Country Park, Lincoln
1.30pm-2.30pm: The Gruffalo Halloween Event, Welton Children’s Centre
2pm-3pm: Jack O Lantern Jar Workshop, South Hykeham Village Hall. Age 4+.
3pm-8pm: Halloween Fun, Boston Town Team, Boston Market Place

Friday, October 28:

9.30am-11.30am: Parent & Toddler’s Spooky Fun, St Giles Children’s Centre, Lincoln
10am-noon & 1pm-4pm: Friday Family Fun Club’s Homemade Halloween Make, Gainsborough Old Hall
10.30am-2.30pm: Halloween Colouring Competition, Bransby Horses, Bransby, Lincoln
1pm-2.30pm: Fangtastic! Lincoln North Children’s Centre, Ermine, Lincoln
5.30pm-7.30pm: Halloween Disco, SK8Z, Gainsborough

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Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29:

Halloween at Woodside, Woodside Wildlife Park, Newball, near Langworth, Lincoln
Sincil Street’s Day of the Dead, Cornhill Quarter, Lincoln
Spooky Halloween Weekend
: Tattershall Farm Park

October 28th to October 31st:

Spook-tacular, The Humber Bridge Country Hotel, Barton upon Humber

Saturday, October 29:

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Halloween Party, Marshall’s Yard, Gainsborough
10am-3pm: Spooky Saturday, The Showroom, Tritton Road, Lincoln
noon-5pm: Spookymon, Boultham Park, Lincoln
5pm-7pm: Halloween Party, Wacky Warehouse, Lincoln
5pm-7pm: Fancy Dress Halloween Party, The Cherry Tree, Cherry Willingham
5pm-9pm: Halloween with Kiddyscastles, Pavilion Bar Saxilby
5.30pm-7.30pm: Halloween Party, Lincoln Dance Company, Branston Village Hall
5.30pm-7.30pm, Halloween Family Party, Pink Pig Farm, Holme Hall, near Scunthorpe
6.30pm-8pm: Mayhem Halloween Party, Ignite Elim Church, Moorland Community Centre, Lincoln.

Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30:

10am-4pm: Victorian Days of Fear, Lincoln Castle
Halloween Ghost Bus Tour, Lincoln

Sunday, October 30:

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10am: Hotel Transylvania, Kinema in the Woods, Woodhall Spa
10am-2pm: Halloween Photography Mini Sessions, A. Rowan Photo, Hartsholme Country Park, Skellingthorpe Road, Lincoln
10am-4pm: A Spooky, Ghostastic Halloween Craft & Gift Fair, Subeams Fairs and Events, Westgate Academy School, Lincoln
11am: Sunday Storytime – Room on the Broom, Waterstones, High Street, Lincoln
11am-4pm: Halloween at Terrifying Temple Bruer Tower, Temple Bruer, LN5 0DG
11am-4pm: Hallowe’en Spooktacular, Tattershall Castle
2pm-5pm: Children’s Halloween Party, Brant Road Social Club, Lincoln
2pm-6pm: Halloween Family Event, The Little Pottery Studio, Bracebridge Heath, Lincoln
4.30pm-6pm: Manor Ghost Tour, Healing Manor, Stallingborough Road, Grimsby

Monday, October 31:

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10am-2pm: Halloween Fun Day, Bransby Horses, Bransby, Lincoln
1.30pm-2.30pm: Halloween Sling Swing, Yarborough Leisure Centre, Lincoln
7.30pm: Barton Ghost Walk, Baysgarth Museum, Barton upon Humber

Have I missed your event?  Email me at hello@theminimalpi.co.uk  

Lincolnshire Day – October 1st, 2016

lincolnshireflagLincolnshire – the county of big skies, the eponymous sausage, home of the Red Arrows and a varied landscape that encompasses city, town, village and hamlet, coast and countryside and an Area of Outstanding Beauty – it’s no wonder it has its own annual celebratory day.

Lincolnshire Day (#LincolnshireDay) is celebrated every year on October 1st, the anniversary of the Lincolnshire Rising, a revolt by Catholics against the establishment of the Church of England by Henry VIII in 1536.

And tonight it was the subject of the weekly Twitter hashtag hour #LincsHour and there was no shortage of events planned for the day available for TheMiniMalpi to retweet.

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Several tweeters mentioned that Lincoln Cathedral will be marking the occasion by offering free entry to visitors, @LincsHour herself pointed us in the direction of Belton House’s Autumn Fair and Lincolnshire County Council’s webpage Celebrate culture on Lincolnshire Day! was also linked to, highlighting events at Lincoln Castle and its Heritage Skills Centre, Gainsborough Old Hall, Ellis Mill and the Museum of Lincolnshire Life.

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The Lincolnshire Echo’s list of 16 things to do this Lincolnshire Day includes a walk through the Wolds, a book signing at Lindum Books in Bailgate, Lincoln, a festival of food and music at Swallowbeck Methodist Church and the launch of a new display at Cranwell Aviation Heritage Centre sharing RAF Cranwell’s history as a training school.

Healing Manor Hotel near Grimsby is holding an evening of Lincolnshire dishes in its Portman Restaurant and in Grantham celebrations will be equally delicious with the Teaspoon Tea Company offering free samples of its “Grantham tea” and the town’s market hosting a Sausage Saturday event.

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Visit Lincoln manager Emma Tatlow tweeted a link to Molly’s Guide’s Celebrate your inner Yellowbelly list which features a special Lincolnshire Day Artists’ Market, in Castle Square,  Lincoln, a Select Lincolnshire Food Festival in St Marks Shopping Centre, Lincoln and a Wolds Art Festival in Market Rasen.

And Visit Lincoln’s own website page Lincolnshire Day 2016 also includes the Lincoln Book Festival’s Local History Afternoon, the Lincoln Ghost Bus Tour, Age UK’s Lincolnshire Lunch celebration of both Older People’s Day and Lincolnshire Day in one go at their Park Street branch in Lincoln, New Theatre Royal Lincoln’s Lincolnshire Day ticket offer and (on Sunday 2nd) the first Lincoln Half Marathon.

Will you be wearing yellow on Saturday?

The Gravity Fields Festival 2016

gravityfields

Taking place from September 21st to 25th, Gravity Fields is a festival celebrating Sir Isaac Newton and it has entertainment in spades – “for big kids and little”.

bubbles-and-balloons-2South Kesteven Council’s Stephanie Foster picks the highlights of the festival’s offerings for mini scientists, “This five-day festival has more than 120 events, including a brilliant Bubbles and Balloons show for four-year-olds upwards from those clever people at Science Made Simple.  They have two separate shows with giant bubbles and whizzing balloons on Saturday, first in the morning at Stamford Arts Centre and then a 3pm event in Grantham Guildhall

 living-with-wildlifeIf your kids have never seen a hedgehog or an owl up close, Gravity Fields can thrill them thanks to naturalist Sasha Norris in her Living With Wildlife show on Saturday morning.

“There is enchanting storytelling in the Family Science Day from Mara Menzies on the tale of Isaac Newton and the apple, part of a brilliant hands-on day of discovery for families with demos and table-top activities and cool tech.

“Light, technology and dance combine in another thrilling show for people big and small alike in Body of Light (For Little Ones!). There are several shows on Friday and Saturday.”

With all this and much more – including a show called Dr Death and the Medi-Evil Medicine Show which would be a must see for us if our minis were less mini (it’s for age 7+) – there’s sure to be something to appeal to any little (or big) Newtons, Einsteins or Curies in your house.

Find out more at https://www.gravityfields.co.uk/

Quizzes, trails, crafts and more at Heritage Open Days festival

HeritageOpenDaysThe summer holidays may nearly be over but that doesn’t mean parents are not still looking for lots of ways to entertain their mini ones.

And, following a successful 23 years, Lincolnshire Heritage Open Days 2016 festival is sure to have something on offer for county explorers.

Running from September 8th to 11th, the festival is taking the theme of Natural Lincolnshire this year and will include more than 180 free events.

HeritageFaceIf the event or venue is offering “Special activities for children” then you’ll find a smiley face among the symbols in the brochure’s listings.

holbeach bunker (2)Events are predominantly organised and managed by volunteers and encompass heritage sites, buildings, towns and villages and, for the first time, all five National Trust properties will be open on at least one of the days.

Children’s activities will be on offer at Temple Bruer Knights Templar Tower, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust reserves, Gainsborough Old Hall and many more venues.

in the trees2 web ready (2)Would you like “to experience school life in a bygone age”?  Then head to Wilderspin National School Museum in Barton upon Humber (on the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm) to visit its garden playground.

Complete a children’s quiz at St Phillip’s Church, Brinkhill (Saturday and Sunday 2pm-5pm),  pit their wits against a cunning trail at Cranwell Aviation Heritage Centre (Sunday, 10.30am-3.30pm), take part in paper crafts and calligraphy in Lincoln Cathedral Library (Saturday, 10am-4pm) or enjoy a full day of family fun at Willow Tree Fen Nature Reserve in West Pinchbeck (Saturday, 10.30am-4pm) pond dipping, crafting and den building.

kings and queens web ready (2)Heritage Lincolnshire’s Cultural Events Officer Beverley Gormley says “Year after year, Lincolnshire’s Heritage Open Days prove a real winner with local people and visitors as they provide free, unique opportunities to go behind the scenes of heritage venues and discover the region’s hidden histories.

“The events are a wonderful way of bringing people together to learn about their local history, enabling our local heritage venues, nature reserves, organisations, towns and villages to develop a lasting relationship with people in the area.”

For more information visit www.heritagelincolnshire.org

And don’t forget to share your experience on social media using #LincsHODs – they’re looking forward to seeing your #LincsHODselfie!