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…
“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.
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.
Lincolnshire – 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.
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.
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.
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”.
South 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.
“If 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.
The 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.
If 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.
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.
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.
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.”
I know I’ve complained about the weather a lot recently but I’ve also been very grateful for the last beautiful couple of Sundays.
During term time Sundays are usually our only family day without scheduled activities so it’s nice to be able to get out and explore.
We headed to the coast for the last day of the SO Festival in Skegness on July 3rd. We watched circus acts and dance shows and listened to live music all as part of the outdoor arts festival but definitely the hit of the day had to be Pif-Paf Theatre’s Flycycle and Submercycle.
Luke was lucky enough to have a ride in the Submercycle – first being introduced to maps of the proposed route and getting dressed for the occasion whilst waiting his turn in the Departure Lounge and then belting up for his “underwater” trip up and down the street with Captain Calypso at the helm before being set back down with us and a beaming smile.
The following Sunday we took advantage of both the sun and a family ticket we won in a Christmas raffle to visit Doddington Hall and Gardens. The Elizabethan mansion is also home to a lovely farm shop, interiors store and clothing store and we started our visit with a stop at the Giant Store bike shop.
Thanks to store assistant Katie we finally managed to buy a cycle helmet to fit Willow. (Our minis are definitely mini – Willow is 19 months old but wears predominantly 9-12 month clothing at the moment).
Preparing for their Brave, Bold and Strong sculpture exhibition (July 30-September 11), we were greeted by an impressive dragon on the front lawn which they enjoyed running through.
Inside the hall the tent room was definitely a hit:
And outside in the gardens there were puddles and pillars to play with and sheep sculptures to “feed” and swirly ones to curl up by and emulate.
We finished the afternoon with a stop off at Blackmoor Farm for a spot of strawberry picking. We managed to get a few red ones among the enthusiastically picked green ones and – after we finally managed to get them to stop -we picked up some cream on the way home to go with them.