We all know that entertaining a toddler can be expensive, especially during half term. After over hearing a conversation between two parents who were discussing the lack of ‘purse friendly’ activities available for Toddlers in my local area, I thought, right I will find at least 2 possibly 3 and then blog about them. Challenge accepted. Not that they knew I was listening! Oops.
This was going to be harder than I thought. Like most parents I turned to google. No joy. It seems that those activities which often cost less or better nothing appear not to be well advertised.
I really did have to put my thinking cap on. On Nanny’s advice I picked up a local newspaper and it didn’t disappoint. Stoke on Trent or the ‘Potteries’ as we are known by so many is steeped in local history so what better place to take Lil G to … A Museum!
Visiting The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery is free. Perfect. There was a really good mix of child friendly areas, Lil G particularly enjoyed the Natural History section. We picked up an ‘Animal finder’ leaflet and a pencil which prompted Lil G to look for certain animals. Ticking them off as we went.
It wasn’t long before Lil G went off exploring on his own, shouting back to tell me what he had found next. I stopped when I heard ‘Wooowwww’ … ‘mummy look, it’s a plane’. He really enjoyed listening to Nanny telling him all about the World War II Spitfire.
Making our way to the exit, we stumbled across the Secret Garden – a sensory oasis with plants and fungi to smell and touch. Best of all he found the ‘Bing bang bong’ musical instrument, it was great fun, apparently you can hear the noise (or should I say music) created all around the museum.
http://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/visit/pmag/ or on twitter @StokeMuseums and facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Potteries-Museum-Art-Gallery/109466415737788?fref=ts
Are we guilty of complicating what a toddler deems as a fun thing to do? There needs to be a balance. Trips to theme parks, farms and dare I say it Soft Play Centres (a swear word in the Hargreaves house) often have hefty admission charges.
To make it more fun I asked Lil G’s best friend to join us on our next adventure. Fun for him, adult conversation for me. Actually this is when our ‘Sleepover’ master plan was devised so all in all it was a success! (look back at my ‘Date night’ blog).
Whilst at the museum I came across a leaflet for another local museum, Gladstone Pottery Museum. They hold a ‘Toddler Thursday’ session which was only £1 per child (normal admission applies if you want to visit the rest of the museum). Lasting 1 hour, Toddler Thursdays are run by the museums’ award winning Education Service and are open to children accompanied by parents, grandparents and carers. This week’s session had a theme of the Hare & the Tortoise.
After listening to the BEST storyteller EVER the children went on a hunt for animals hidden in the Tile Gallery. During the craft session the children made tortoises out of clay to take home. The session came to a close with free play and songs where the children were able to take part by selecting pictures representing a song out of a mystery box.
http://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/visit/gpm/ or on twitter @StokeMuseums and of course facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gladstone-Pottery-Museum/133522920021308?fref=ts
There is only one place to be with a toddler in Stoke on Trent, especially when the sun is shining. Trentham Gardens! With dedicated play areas for babies, toddlers and juniors and of course the stunning Italian Gardens, there really is no better setting to have fun and to tire out your toddler! (That’s the aim right?)
Lil G’s favourite things to do are… run around the adventure playground and maze, visit the sensory garden, bare foot walk, a ride on the steam train (additional cost) and of course a run through the gardens. It is possible to spend no additional money other than admission, as there is so much to do and see. Simple, take a picnic & blanket and of course a football, hey presto.
Under 5’s are free (normal admission applies to adults), it is worth noting that it is possible to spend the whole day here, therefore worth the admission charge. We’re often here each weekend just for the playground as it really is superb, so we purchased an annual pass, such great value and highly recommended for all year round visits.
http://www.trentham.co.uk/ or on twitter @TrenthamGardens
Challenge accepted, Challenge complete. 3 individual activities all ranging from £0 – £10 (based on 1 parent accompanying a child).
*Please note all activities were paid for by myself, I have reviewed the attractions mentioned with no benefit to me or my family