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.
Whilst The Mini Malpi often restrict our travels to an under one-and-a-half hour car drive and our exotic holiday locations have so far included Woodhall Spa and Sherwood Forest, it doesn’t stop us dreaming of distant shores.
And we have friends and family who’ve proved such travels can be done taking their small children to and from places as far flung as Portugal, Thailand and New Zealand.
If you have similar itchy feet but aren’t sure where to start, then a visit to the Family Travel Show at Olympia in London on October 1st and 2nd could be the answer.
“Family holidays have evolved – a hunger for experience, a desire to educate, and the determination to share our passion for travel with the next generation is now more possible than ever,” says Katie Burgess from Escape Events.
“Here the Family Travel Show and their expert exhibitors open your eyes to what opportunities exist for exploring the world with kids in tow.
“The Family Travel Show is your chance to meet with the biggest collection of specialist family holiday providers and discover travel options that you never knew existed. Get insider information and ideas from the experts, plus save money with the amazing show offers and enjoy show features for all the family.”
Tickets to the event cost £8 in advance or £10 on the door, under 16s are free. For full details and to book tickets please visit http://www.familytravelshow.com or call 0844 209 7360. Calls cost 10p per minute.
Readers of The Mini Malpi, however, can get 2 free* tickets to The Family Travel Show 2016 when booking in advance! Just quote MINIMALPI when booking tickets online at www.familytravelshow.com or when calling 0844 209 7360.
(*£2.50 booking fee for postage and package applies. Calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras.)
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.
Have you been to Lincoln Central Library recently?
It’s not our local branch so we only pop in every now and then when we’re in the right area of the city at the right time.
But we were definitely rewarded in our latest visit when we wandered around the corner to the children’s area and discovered a castle!
Wander around the castle itself and you’ll still be looking for an adult-sized entrance as it’s designed specifically for younger readers.
(Older readers just need to be able to crouch down otherwise, as one member of the library staff who told us it was only recently installed said, “It’s really good but it can be difficult to get them back out when it’s time to go!”)
If you do make it inside you can find shelves of books, DVDs and… dressing up clothes!
And, if it does take a while for your little sister to re-emerge from the wooden fortress, there are plenty of comfy cushions and colouring activities to use whilst you wait.
Lincoln Central Library is in Free School Lane, Lincon, LN2 1EZ.