Wednesday, 10 September 2014

PARENTS 4 PLAY: Craft Ideas

We all run out of ideas sometimes and, yes, children are full of them so just spreading out some resources and letting children go wild an use their imagination should do fine, but, sometimes, everyone needs a little stimulus, so here are some idea sheets that Children's Scrapstore created for their Scrapstore warehouse that we'd like to share with you.

To download the Children's Scrapstore Idea Sheets click HERE

These ideas have come from some of the really excellent crafty blogs that are live on the web and we'd like to credit them here too (please feel to click through to them and find your own list of ideas):
Wonky Wonderful
Sheiscrafty, from BizE
Kat on
Sherri Osborn ‐ Family Crafts Guide

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

PARENTS 4 PLAY: Children and Schemas
by Claire Sands, Children's Scrapstore Play Team
Why does he keep taking the blocks and hiding them? Why is she always wrapping things in blankets? Why do our children do the things they do. This blog post explains schemas and why knowing about them can really help us to understand our children's behaviour and to provide play opportunities they'll engage with.

You can also read our other blog posts in this series:What is Play?, The Importance of Play, Barriers to play, The Play Cycle; My Sofa: Enabling Environments, Easy Rider: Risk and Play

A regular Thursday in my house, after being at work for a few days away from my two year old son, usually involves an internal battle between spending quality time with him and getting stuff done around the house. It also usually involves his external battles with me over just about everything. Putting trousers on, having nappies changed, eating breakfast and anything else related to trying to get out of the house! I think it’s his way of communicating that he just wants to be with me but as with all two year olds this doesn’t necessarily come out as sweetness and light! 

On a Thursday I am usually just about ready to drop by about 9.15am. Last Thursday I thought we’d had a break through. I was happily putting away some washing thinking to myself how remarkably well I had managed the morning; we were dressed, fed and I was actually managing to tidy up, all before 9.30am. It was during this moment of smug reflection that I became aware of the most unsettling of sounds… You know the one… Silence!

It’s that moment when you notice that it’s been a little bit too quiet up there for a little bit too long.

Could he just be quietly contemplating his book collection? No chance.

Emptying cupboards in the spare room? More likely but nope, not in there…

Oh no, the bathroom! The room of the house you least want to find your toddler ‘investigating’ - I slowly opened the door and there he was, with one of my brand new trainers perfectly lined up under the tap, poised and ready to fill it up with the next turn.

‘What are you doing?! That’s mummy’s shoe!’

‘Mummy not cross’

‘Yes I am cross, they cost a lot of money!’… Tears

What was he doing that for and why?

I probably could have dealt with that a bit better. I want him to have the freedom to roam around without me but so often he wants to explore the corners of the house that I want him to avoid! And I felt so mean for getting cross. I pondered this little interaction and the many others that have happened over the past month or so. I had made the assumption that he was trying to get my attention by filling up my shoe, but when I really thought about it, this time the signs pointed to something else:

·         He was engaged and concentrating pretty hard on what he was doing
·         He was genuinely startled when he noticed I was there
·         He got really upset when he saw how cross I was (unlike if he were filling my shoe to get my attention when he would most likely laugh hysterically at my attempts to stop him!)

Thankfully my work involves training adults to support children’s play. Sometimes this means piecing together observations and reflections in order to support children to play in a way that they choose. I spent some time thinking about this little interaction.
  • What was he actually trying to do?
  • Has he displayed this type of behaviour elsewhere?
  • Could this provide a clue?
That was when it hit me…
  • Last week he spent an hour putting toy animals in and out of a ‘den’ that he’d made by propping a small cushion up against the sofa arm.
  • He gets very upset when bath time comes to an end as he is completely obsessed with moving water from container to container. He likes to get inside things, cupboards, boxes, small gaps.
  • He loves watering the plants, but mainly the bit where you fill up the watering can, he could take or leave the actual watering bit.
  • Last week he put his Dad’s favourite beanie hat down the loo.
  • He is constantly asking ‘what’s in there mummy’.
  • He loves just colouring in the eyes of people and animals in colouring books. I thought this was a bit odd but it was all beginning to make sense…
He was showing a containment schema.

What’s a schema?

A schema is a pattern of behaviour that a child demonstrates through their play.

This can be seen through their actions, language and interactions with their environment. It’s the way that young children make sense of the world around them and can show you how they are choosing to learn about the world in that particular moment.

There are around 41 different types of schema identified. A few of the most common ones are:

The key is to try and notice patterns across many different situations. If they just do something once, it’s probably not a schema. If you see it happening in different situations across a period of time it might well be one. In my son’s case his is around containment, so putting things inside other things and is being displayed in lots of different ways. But why is this information useful?
  • Children articulate their thinking expressively through their actions.
  • It could give me an insight into the ideas and concepts he is currently exploring.
  • It helps me to fathom out previously unfathomable behaviour!
  • It helps me support his play better and introduce resources.
Young children will explore the same concepts such as size, weight, gravity, movement, volume etc whether their schematic preference is putting things inside other things (containment), moving things around (transporting) or exploring the movement of objects and themselves (trajectory) to name a few.

Even if their behaviour seems to be focussed on one particular thing in one particular way they are still learning in a way that is relevant to them and critically, playing in a way that they choose. When we support this behaviour and follow their lead it means they are in control of their play and learning which is powerful stuff! That’s not to say it’s ok to empty Grandad’s wallet into the washing machine and pop it on a spin cycle, but if we try to understand the intention of children’s actions we can think about how we can support it in ways that are perhaps a bit more palatable.


Observing your child(ren):

Sometimes children may display a cluster of different schemas, sometimes they may not show an obvious one at all (and that’s just fine) so they are not the answer to everything! However, they can just help a little bit to understand some of the unfathomable moments of parenting. 

So next time you are scratching your head as to why your 3 year old has covered your 3 month old’s hands and feet in paint, think to yourself:
  • Is this a schema – can you think of another time they did something similar?
  • Is this so bad?
  • Can I reframe this situation so they can paint all over something, just not my precious daughter?!’

Things for you to consider:
  • Try to understand the intention of the action in order to make sense of it and support it in a way that is more acceptable to you
  • Do the benefits outweigh our annoyance/fear/frustration to just let it happen?
  • Could you step back a little, observe and reflect on what you see?
  • Be a little calmer when discovering the cat has been wrapped in cling film… again!
Could you provide any resources to support the play?
  • sheets and cushions
  • move the furniture around to make dens
  • go out with a bucket to collect stones and sticks?
  • get out the pots, pans and containers that you didn’t mind being played with.
  • save tubs from recycling for ‘collectables’.
  • Roll up lots of little balls of play dough that could be move from container to container. 
Most importantly try to follow their lead. Play a little bit when you're wanted and, who knows, some of your ideas may spark theirs and some may spark yours!

Good luck!


There are some great leaflets that have been produced for parents that help understand this topic a bit better:

PARENTS 4 PLAY: Easy Rider - Risk and Play
by Dan Rees Jones, Children's Scrapstore Play Team 
One of the most difficult decision as a parent is deciding on whether the risk is too great for our children, do we stop them from climbing up that tree or do we let them do it and risk injury for what they might learn and discover? How do we assess risk and it's benefits. This blog post from the Parents 4 Play Series will disk risk in play and how we, as parents, can deal with it and embrace the benefits of letting our children take risks.
Giving my son his first ‘real’ bike for his 4th birthday was a mixed bag. It bought a lot of memories back from my BMX childhood; the freedom riding a bike gave me, the wind blowing through my hair, the long summers riding in the back lane and going on adventures, the speed, the homemade jumps, the adrenalin, the language ‘RAD!’, the hear misses, the crashes…

Part of me was really proud and excited for him ‘mastering a skill’ that would enable a sense of freedom and independence that would put him in control of something ultimately fast and exciting and dynamic, but from the first shakey hold and wobble to the local shops, part of me knew that the ‘mastering of this process’ was going to be a journey involving successes and failures, tears and laughter.

A week or so after his birthday we had a good space of free time and some nice-ish weather to do some biking. After watching a couple of videos on YouTube we took the pedals off together and then went to the park to do some gliding down some hills.  So there I was (an image you’ve seen a 1,000 times before) a father running behind a bike on a slope, steadying the saddle and then letting go… In that moment, after letting go, standing there with clenched teeth, observing the event unfold several feelings coursed through me all in an instant…

The parental emotional rollercoaster:

Hope: Go on you can do it 
Satisfaction: As a parent for having got to that point.   
Fear: Please don’t lose control and crash, what will your mum say?
Self-doubt: Was he really ready for this?  It will be my fault if he does crash!
Anxiety: What if I have now put him off for LIFE! 
Mild Nausea: probably as a result of the above.

Why do I want my child to take risks?

Lance Armstrong                                


"You can't get anywhere unless you're willing to take a risk.”

We’ve all heard it because the saying dates back to Chaucer (c. 1374)

On this initial occasion however, everything went smoothly, resulting in a slightly more confident child and very proud parent feeling relieved but happy that it went well, willing to go on that roller coaster again.  Watching my son take these risks is essentially different from taking risks myself, namely because I have no control over them. This lack of control created these emotions and feelings above.

As a playworker and trainer, I often talk about the comfort zones when it comes to understanding and supporting children taking risks within their play. Although this is widely used as a business model for developing innovation and coping with change, I feel that this model also helps us to understand our emotions whilst supporting risk taking in play.

Here Jeff Culley, president of Healthcare Management Solutions, summarises:

Most people live in their comfort zones, doing what feels familiar. While this is comfortable, no real learning or creativity takes place. When people move into their discomfort zones, they use their courage and begin to act on new possibilities. It is here that exploration and learning begins to take place.  Being aware of our actions, thoughts and feelings outside of our comfort zone helps us to identify our opportunities for learning, growing and changing. Just as it becomes a habit to operate inside of our comfort zone, we can also make a conscious habit to expand our comfort zone.

Over the next few months as my son ‘mastered’ cycling I was seemingly entering a discomfort zone, but this gradually lessened as both of our confidences grew to accommodate the new skill set. Now we regular enjoy mountain biking for hours around the trails in the woods. Those early anxieties a distant memory.
Now… what’s the next challenge?!

Things you can consider:
Think back to your childhood and all the risks you took…
·         How risky were they?
·         What did taking that risk enable you to do afterwards?
·         How did you feel before and afterwards?
·         Did you learn anything from taking that risk?

Observing your child(ren):
·     How do you react when your child takes a risk? Consider our blog post ‘The Importance of Play’ and think about what the possible benefits of that taking that risk could be?
·    Your still not comfortable, that’s understandable, so what could you do to build up to this risky play that your child wants to engage in? Are there smaller steps you can take?

Risky Play Prepares Kids for Life, the Guardian:
What a pile of autumn leaves tells us about risk, Rethinking Childhood - Tim Gill:

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

PARENTS 4 PLAY: New Play Session in Old Market, Bristol

Connecting with families through play in Old Market, Bristol - come along and discover it for yourselves. If you live locally, it's a great way to connect with your community. Contact Arts West Side if you'd like to come to the next session. Every Wednesday until 20th August.

The sessions run from 10.30am to 12.30pm in the creative room upstairs in Arts West Side, Old Market. The room is ideal as it indeed just that. A lovely white room, a blank canvas for children to get stuck in and have fun. 

Parents 4 Play have the pleasure of working with Sarah Bentley from Trinity Community Arts using their community venue on Old Market Arts West Side. Sarah had an idea of running creative play sessions from Arts West Side after a successful pilot session she ran a few months back. Parents 4 Play jumped at the chance to support Sarah and we are collaborating on a series of six community creative play sessions for under fives that started last Wednesday (16th July). One of the ideas for the sessions is to empower volunteers and parents to be able to run something similar for themselves, so each session there will be open information about how we run it including costs and resource allocation.

We split the session into sections with a loose structure starting with story time and moving through to completely unstructured loose-parts play. The story provides stimulus for the play. It was a lovely session and parents and children were smiling, playing and enjoying the relaxed environment.

Sarah brought along three books and allowed the children to choose the story to start the session. We huddled comfortably on blankets and cushions on the floor. The children picked, unanimously, The Gruffalo's Child. Sarah read the book animatedly and got all the children making noises and guessing what happens next, who the animal was etc. The children were excited and really engaged. 

Next we cleared the floor and provided resources for children to make a magical forest. Spreading ourselves across the room parents and children started drawing and sticking to create a magical array of fantasy trees with leaves, tissue paper and colouring pens. The forest wasn't complete without the Gruffalo and his child so everyone collaborated on making them.

Next was snack time and we sat around together nibbling on fruit and bread sticks with juice and water. It was relaxed and calm and the children helped themselves to what they wanted and politely asked for more if they wanted a little bit extra.

Once the children were suitably nourished, we cleared the snacks and spread out a variety of loose-part sourced from Children's Scrapstore including tubes, foam, caps and buckets, boxes and dressing up, lego and balls. Children were then allowed to play without any structure, freely chosen, until the end of the session. It was lovely to see one family relaxing on cushions trying on different outfits, another family building a tower with cardboard tubes and putting balls inside it and then, with great pleasure, knocking it down. A lego hotel was built by children and two of the volunteers and the room looked like chaos, perfect chaos. Chaos that reminded each person there that fun had been had.

We finished the session with a sing-song and thanked everyone who had come along. Hopefully we'll see you next time.

Resources used in the session were:

3 reading books sourced from home
Blankets and cushions sourced from home and Children's Scrapstore
Sheets of thick Cardboard (Artrageous)
Felt pens (Artrageous)
Glue and scissors (Artrageous)
Tissue paper (Artrageous)
Fake leaves (Artrageous)
Pipe cleaners/art straws (Artrageous)
A trolley of scrap from Children's Scrapstore
Lego and Dressing up (Parents 4 Play equipment sourced from Children's Scrapstore)
Fruit, bread sticks and squash

We asked parents why they had come along and answers ranged from needing to experience messy play without having the mess at home all the time, wanting a change of scenery, the social aspect of group sessions and wanting their children to have a variety of play opportunities that were low cost or free.

We talked about what we mean by play: Visit our P4P blog post called 'What is Play?'
It was a great place to chat with other parents about what support we need as parents because of massive changes in lifestyle compared to our parents.

Please do come along or follow this blog for updates on how the sessions are going and please read our other posts regarding play:

The importance of play
Barriers to play
The Play Cycle
Enabling Environments


Thursday, 10 July 2014

PARENTS 4 PLAY: Family events in Bristol and Bath this Summer!


Woah! Check out all these family activities! All at amazing and inspiring locations around Bristol and Bath. Pack your sunscreen and a waterproof (you never when the British weather will turn) and go and have some fun! Scroll down to see a huge list of events by us and our partners  and catch up on our blog posts here:

Find us on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook

Don't forget to schedule in a good amount of free time to just play, no objectives, no end goal, just see where the play takes you. Oh and add in some wild time too:

Scroll down the list to events from the following Parents 4 Play campaign partners (you can click on their title and go through to their website too):

Download our Harbourside Play Trail HERE or pick it up from the Arnolfini

Find us on Corn Street at Making Sundays Special
Children's Scrapstore Open Day
Wednesday 6th August, 10am to 6pm
For one day anyone can access our scrap warehouse and get 20% off in Artrageous!

The Arnolfini is open all year round for you to visit and is very family-friendly. They also have a programme of events called 'We Are Family' for you to come in and enjoy activities as a family.

An interactive play project that aims to open up Leigh Woods for more sustained and varied use by children and their families.
Assemble will occupy the site with a series of three hands-on, collaborative workshop weekends:
Saturday 19 July, 3pm, Artist Talk – Leigh Wood
Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 August, 10am - 5pm, Follow-your-nose Play
Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 September, 10am - 5pm, Tree Play
Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 October, 10am - 4pm, Mud Play - come prepared to get messy!
This event is part of The Promise.
We Are Family: The Promise 
Saturday 26 July 2014, 13:00 to 17:00
Join our learning team on the last Saturday of every month to explore Arnolfini’s exhibitions and events through exciting and engaging activities for families to do together.
Family Film Screening 
Saturday 30 August 2014, 11:00 to 13:00
As part of our family programme of events, join us for a special film screening just for families. Each screening will introduce you to a different theme or idea taken from our exhibitions or events.
We Are Family: The Fantastic Floating Ballast Seed Garden 
Saturday 30 August 2014, 13:00 to 17:00
£7/£5 concs, £3 for under 12s (free for under 3s) - Book
Join our learning team as we explore the fantastic world of the Floating Ballast Seed Garden with a day full of plant activities and a trip along the river to visit the garden.

The cemetery is open daily between 9am to 5pm where the whole family can explore the site and enjoy the natural and wild environment to be found there. A family friendly attraction, you'll find plenty of activities for the whole family from stomping stories to craft workshops.

A list of their event are here - click on the link above to go through to their website for more details and how to book if necessary.

Craft Kids

Thursday 10 July 2014 & 17 July 2014

03:45pm - 04:45pm

Ancestry Tour
Saturday 19 July 2014
01:30pm - 03:00pm

Stomping Story - Monkey Puzzle
Tuesday 22 July 2014
03:45pm - 04:30pm

Forest School Fun Day
Thursday 24 July 2014
10:00am - 03:00pm

WW1 Stone Stories
Monday 28 July 2014

Bat Walk
Friday 01 August 2014 08:15pm - 09:45pm
Friday 29 August 2014 07:15pm - 08:45pm

Forest Forays
Monday 04 – Friday 08 August 2014
10:00am - 12:30pm

Wellie Wanders
Monday 04 – Friday 08 August 2014
01:30pm - 02:30pm

Bird Bonanza
Tuesday 19 August 2014
10:00am - 01:00pm

Tuesday 26 August 2014
Family History Foray

Crafty Kids Creativity Day
Wednesday 27 August 2014
10:00am - 03:00pm

Discover science through play and learning daily at this well known Bristol attraction. You'll also find programmed activities for their science studio and Live Lab.
More About Me
29 Apr - 07 July
Investigate the human body and discover more about yourself with hands-on activities in Live Lab!
02 Jun - 22 July, 23 July - 10 Aug, 11 – 24 Aug, 25 Aug – 01 Sept
Join the Live Science team for an interactive adventure!

Summer Night Sky Planetarium show
17 Jun - 15 Sep
Sit back and discover some of the amazing things we can see from our back gardens this Summer!

The Incredible Edible Show
05-06 July, 12-13 July, 19-20 July, 23 Jul - 31 Aug
Explore the science behind cake - from raw ingredients to fully digested in half an hour!

Flavour Lab
08 July - 29 Sep
Put your taste buds to the test as you investigate how smells and even sounds can influence your experience of food!

New exhibition - Food!
23 July
Our brand new exhibition all about food! Play with your food – Grow It, Cook It, Eat It and Love It!

Summer Kitchen
23 July - 07 Sep
Put on an apron, grab a chopping board and join us in our seasonal kitchen as we deconstruct summer treats!
Summer in the Greenhouse
23 July - 07 Sep
Things will be hotting up in our greenhouse! Drop in, get some soil under your fingernails and have a go at growing your own.

Hello Redcliffe! Community Weekend 2014
26-27 July
Our next free, family fun weekend is for visitors who live in Redcliffe, or whose children go to school in this area.

Food celebration event!
26 July
Come on down to Millennium Square between 11-3 to join in with our celebration event for the opening weekend of Food!

Our community Play Rangers work all year round in parks and open spaces across Bath after school with children aged 5 – 13 years. Open to all children and staffed by qualified playworkers. Visit our website to see when and where you’ll find them:

Download our Summer Play Leaflet HERE
Meet the Artist
Jul. 13, 2014  
Sundays 2.30-3.30pm
£5 per adult; up to 4 accompanied children free
A brief talk or demonstration followed by a hands-on workshop led by professional artists for the whole family to discover
Also on:
Sep. 07, 2014
Saturday Art Club
Jul. 19, 2014, 10.30am-12.30pm
For 5-13 year olds
A fortnightly workshop (term-time, excluding Bank Holidays) for aspiring young artists. Expand your skills and discover new techniques, exploring the Museum's permanent collection and temporary
Summer Art Camp (5 to 11)
Monday 28 July - Friday 1 August
£35 per day or £120 for four days
Also on:
Aug. 11 - 15, 2014
Aug. 26 - 29, 2014
Summer Art Camp 11 to 16
Tuesday 5 - Thursday 7 August
£35 per day
Enjoy a variety of creative activities and learn new skills; inspired by contemporary artists

The farm site is open and FREE to visit everyday from 9am to 5pm pop in and meet the animals.  Ask at the office for a bag of goat feed or a farm trail to help you explore each only 50p.


Open sessions every Wednesday
Starting 30th July, 1pm to 3pm
Boiling Wells Site, Boiling Wells Lane
Suggested donation £2 per adult and a £1 for a child and under 3s for free.   Call the farm for more details of each session.
30th July - farm visit and cooking
August 6th - play day at Boiling Wells
13th August - cameraless photography
20th August 7pm to 10pm moth watching TBC with fire and refreshments)

Stay and Play sessions
Every Wednesday, 10am to 12pm
Boiling Wells
£1 per child 0 to 5 year olds welcome, 50p for a cup of tea. 
This is a drop in session run by parent volunteers. Pop in and enjoy the beautiful green space




s, storytelling, mulled cider and apple juice and more...

Entry: £3 Adults, £1 Kids, Free for under 5's
Love Farm Members get discounted entrance

For more info on how to become a Love Farm Member contact or go to our website at

Windmill Hill City Farm provides a great array of facilities for the local community – and most of them are free to visit. The site is open seven days-a-week and all public areas are fully accessible (though some of the paths can be a bit muddy when it’s wet). The visitor centre is staffed Monday to Friday and can provide all the information you need about using the site.

Solar energy day
12th July 2014 from 12 noon to 4pm
Cost: FREE
Want to know how solar panels work?
need practical advice on saving and generating energy in your home?
Find out more about energy generation and energy saving, speak to experts about options for renewables, and look at the alternatives if you don’t have much money. There will be local installers, kids activities, stalls, displays and demos.
Make a day of it and stop for lunch at the farm, say hello to the animals and check out the solar array on the farm buildings.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
13th July 2014 from two performances - 2 to 4pm / 7 to 9pm
Entry is FREE but you need to book
As part of the Bristol Shakespeare Festival, the City Farm will be hosting The Barded Ladies, in their eccentric adaptation of A Midsummer Nights Dream. Within the vibrant environment of the school playground, in a world where dragons are slain and princesses search for true love,  this charming tale encompasses much of the joy, passion and battles experienced by a cluster of young children, and breathes life into the side-splitting silliness that lives within us all. So pick up your sword or grab your most treasured toy, for what lies ahead will be an adventure like no other!
This is an outdoor performance and is suitable for children and adults.

RSPB at the farm
15th August 2014 from 11am to 3pm
FREE: drop-in session
The RSPB will be at the farm, with a variety of outdoor activities including: bird and butterfly ‘fun facts’ trail, Nature Detectives and guided wildlife walks on the hour. Come along and discover how many species of wildlife and birds are at the farm.

Young Farmers
6th September 2014 from 9am - 11am
Date: 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th September
 Age: 8-12 year olds
Cost: £30 for all four sessions
Young Farmers is a term-time opportunity for children to help us regularly in the farmyard and get to know all the animals. Children will be working alongside our farmers, feeding, grooming, handling and getting to know the farmyard animals. We currently have pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and geese and we need lots of help on a Saturday morning!
These sessions provide a great introduction to animal care, an awareness of food production and where food comes from, along with a fun team atmosphere.

Farm Explorers
When: week commencing 28th July from 9am to 3:30pm
Age: 6-9 years
Cost: £25 per session
Our week-long Farm Explorers holiday playscheme is a great chance for your children to spend time outdoors using all of the City Farm’s resources. Our experienced playworkers will take children on adventures and nature trails around the farm and show them how to look after the farm animals.
Places are limited so please do book early.

Grow-It Eat-It
When: Wednesday afternoons throughout the summer holidays from 1.30pm to 3.30pm
Age: 6-9 years
Cost: £10 per session
Give your children an early love of growing and eating their own vegetables. Gardening sessions will involve planning, growing, watering, picking and tasting vegetables in a fun environment and are fully supervised by experienced staff.

Circus Uncertainty
When: Thursdays throughout the summer holidays (24th July to 28th August) from 11am to 3pm
All ages welcome
Free drop-in
Try out different circus skills with Circus Uncertainty and have lots of fun.  Learn to juggle, do some stilt walking and even try out some acrobatics. All abilities welcome.


Tiny Trowels
Fun gardening for families and pre-school.
Ages 2.5 to 5 years
Start date 7th July from 10 to 11am or from 11.15 to 12.15
Cost £14 for 4 weekly hour-long sessions
We’re pleased to announce that we are now taking bookings for another four weeks of this very popular activity, starting 7th July.

Parent and Toddlers Group – 10am to 11.45am
Sessions take place in the John James room where there is a variety of indoor activities on offer for children aged 0 to 5 years including painting, puzzles, messy play and much more!


Farm Adventurers – 9.15am to 12.15pm
Children hopping on logsA unique, all-year-round opportunity for your children to experience nature play, including forest school, farming and growing and for parents to access courses and workshops at the City Farm. Find out more

WEDNESDAYS (during term time
Open-access play sessions – 3pm to 5.30pm
Bristol Youth Links and Learning Partnership West, in partnership with Bristol City Council, are currently running after-school free open-access play sessions for children and young people aged 8—13 years (under 8s are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult). You can download their poster for more information.

Farm Hands 8 - 11yr olds
All year
Weekend and holiday Farm Hands sessions are up and running again!
We have places available for local (Lawrence Weston, Shirehampton, Sea Mills and Avonmouth)
8 - 11yr olds who are in need of positive activities. Farm Hands help look after the animals and the gardens and contribute to the community farm in many ways. Please contact for an application form. Places are free and last for 6 months. Funded by Children in Need.

Wild Woods sessions
8 - 11yr olds 
Wed 6th, Wed 13th, Wed 20th , Wed 27th Aug
10.30am - 12.30pm
Wilds Woods free, drop in sessions for local (Lawrence Weston, Shirehampton, Seamills and Avonmouth) 8 - 11yr olds. Games, fires, cooking, crafts, fun. To join, contact: or call 0117 938 1128 or drop in to the farm to pick up a Permission Form

Funded by Children in Need.

Ancient Woodland Skills - free activity drop in day for families
Sat 12th July 11 - 3pm
Join us to discover woodland skills and crafts from throughout the ages. See crafts people at work in our Water Vole Woodland and have a go at different activities.

·         Green Woodworking
·         Using woodland plants
·         Charcoal making and drawing
·         Spinning

The day is part of the Festival of Archaeology 2014

Wildlife Sunday
Sun 27th July 12-4pm
Wildlife Sunday Join us for an family afternoon of wildlife fun and exploration. Take part in one of our ‘wild walks’, join our experts and become a Bug Hunter, try your hand at pond dipping and learn how to spot signs of water voles. (8 yrs +)

Family Fun and Bike Day with BBQ
Wed 6th Aug 1-4pm
Bring your adult or child for a FREE bike check and repairs + ++ BBQ ++ Free smoothie if you arrive on a bike or scooter! + Fun activities for families + Fun activities in the woodland with our Farm Hands project

Pin hole Cameras
Thurs 7th Aug 1-4pm
Pin Hole Cameras Work with Creative Youth Network to use a pin hole camera around the farm. Once you’ve taken a photo you can develop it in the pop-up darkroom (8 yrs+)

Woodland Fun
Fri 8th Aug 1-4pm
Woodland Fun Have a go on a woodland trapeze, make a woodland pencil (50p) and more fun activities.

Digital Photos
Wed 13th Aug 1-4pm
Come and join us to have fun taking digital photos of the farm led by Creative Youth Network. Pick up some tips for taking better pictures and maybe see your photos on our blog! Bring a digital camera or camera phone if you have one. We will have some cameras to borrow too. (8yrs+)

Growing Poems
Thurs 14th Aug 2-4pm
Join us in the woodland to make a poem panel that includes words, Images, and found and fallen objects from the beautiful surroundings of the farm.

Fun with Animation
Wed 20th Aug 2-4pm
Join in with this animation session which will allow you to create your very own animation characters, scenes and film. Led by one of Creative Youth Network professional artists, this will be a fun and unique workshop to be involved in this summer. (8yrs+)

Growing Poems
Thurs 21st Aug 2-4pm
Join us in the orchard to make a poem panel that includes words, images, and found and fallen objects from the beautiful surroundings of the farm.

Family Fun and Bike Swap Day with BBQ
Wed 27th Aug 1-4pm
Bring your adult or child for a FREE bike check and repairs ++ Bring outgrown bikes and see if you can swap for another one+ Free smoothie if you arrive on a bike or scooter! + Fun activities for families around the farm +

Friday Gardening Club
Fridays 11.00 - 12.30pm
Interested in getting involved in gardening on the farm? Come along Fridays to help with our gardens.

Farm Lunch Club
Tuesdays 12.00 - 1.30pm Dinner served at 12.30pm

Two courses and drinks £2.50. Come and enjoy some healthy food and have a look around the farm.

Farm Tots
Wednesdays 10.30 - 12.00pm
Come and help look after the animals and gardens. For parents/carers and under 5's. £1.75 or £1 if you are a member (includes juice and biscuits).


Great Big Tree Climb 
Dates: 6 dates between 24 July 2014 and 24 July 2014
Price: All Tickets £15.50
Leigh Woods
Start the school holidays in style! As a family, tick off tree climbing from your '50 things' list in style with the Great Big Tree Climbing Company at Leigh Woods

Family Den Building Workshops 
Dates: 29 July 2014, 29 July 2014 and 29 July 2014
Price: All Tickets £3.50
Leigh Woods
Come to Leigh Woods and learn to make a fantastic Den out of materials found on the Woodland floor. Our experienced instructor will teach you everything your family needs to know to make a cosy..

'50 Things' Barefoot Woodland Sensory Walk 
Dates: 31 July 2014 10:00am
Price: All Tickets £2
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Leigh Woods
Drop in to Leigh Woods anytime between 10am -2pm and discover the woodland like never before by taking part in a barefoot adventure.

Family Art in the Wild 
Dates: 5 August 2014 10:00am and 5 August 2014 1:00pm
Price: All Tickets £3.50
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Leigh Woods
Use all the natural materials around you to create a spectacular piece of art work. Great fun for all of the family.

'50 Things' Hold a Scary Beast and Wild Play 
Dates: 7 August 2014 10:00am
Price: No Additional charges
Leigh Woods
You will never believe what can be found in the woods today! Avon Owls will be on display for you to admire and even hold if you are lucky!

Leigh Woods Community Games 
Dates: 12 August 2014 10:00am
Price: No Additional charges
Leigh Woods
Have a go at a new sport and 50 things activities in a stunning location just a stones throw from Bristol

'50 Things' Family Night Walk and Bat Detecting 
Dates: 14 August 2014 8:30pm
Price: All Tickets £3.50
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Leigh Woods
Discover the delights of Leigh Woods when everyone else has gone home. See if you can spot the specialists of aerial acrobatics - bats!

Family Woodland Survival Day 
Dates: 19 August 2014 10:30am
Price: Adult £14, Child £12
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Leigh Woods
A fun packed day of activities to enjoy in Leigh Woods, including fire lighting, cooking on an open fire and den building. This event is suitable for 5 - 16yr olds.

Great Big Tree Climb 
Dates: 6 dates between 21 August 2014 and 21 August 2014
Price: All Tickets £15.50
Leigh Woods
As a family, tick off tree climbing from your '50 things' list in style with the Great Big Tree Climbing Company at Leigh Woods

The Three Musketeers - Outdoor Family Theatre 
Dates: 26 August 2014 1:00pm
Price: Adult £10, Child £8
Leigh Woods
Join us in the woods for an open air production of the Three Musketeers. A Swashbuckling family musical, based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas.

Owls, Bats and Stars 
Dates: 5 September 2014 7:30pm and 6 September 2014 7:30pm
Price: Adult £10, Child £7
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Leigh Woods
Come to Leigh Woods for an interesting and informative evening owl, bats and stars walk with zoologist, freelance naturalist, bird expert and all round wildlife detective Ed Drewitt.

Wonderful whitebeams 
Dates: 13 September 2014 2:00pm
Price: All Tickets £8
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Leigh Woods
Discover the secrets of our wondeful whitebeam trees on a walk around Leigh Woods with Whitebeam expert Libby Houston.

From the City to the woods walk. 
Dates: 21 September 2014 10:00am
Price: Adult £4, Child £2.50
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Leigh Woods
Leigh Woods is the largest woodland on the doorstep of Bristol. Join us for stunning views and a woodland adventure.

Fungal Foray 
Dates: 5 October 2014 10:30am
Price: All Tickets £10
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Leigh Woods
Wander round the woods whilst foraging for fungi, learn to identify mushrooms that are edible and those which are not, with our two knowledgeable experts.

Cadbury Camp Walk 
Dates: 8 October 2014 10:00am
Price: Adult £4, Child £2.50 (12 and over only)
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Leigh Woods
Join our Head Ranger Bill Morris on a two hour circular walk from Tickenham Village Hall to Cadbury Camp Iron Age hillfort.

Holiday Clubss:
All sessions run from 10am-2:30pm

Wednesday 23rd July
St. Andrews Park (meet at the central bottom entrance)
Elite Nerf Battles, Fire lighting Skills, Survival Egg Drop, Mud Modelling and Adventure Games

Thursday 24th July
St. Andrews Park (meet at the central bottom entrance)
Wild Forest Activities: Bug Hunts, Blobsters, Mini-Beast Shelters, Leaf Treasure hunt and Enviromental Games

Friday 25th July
St. Georges Park (exact location to be confirmed)
Shelter Building, Elite Nerf Battles, Survival Skills & Adventure Games

Sessions are pre-book and pre-payable and are suitable for ages 6-12.

Please bring a packed lunch and ensure that all children bring suitable clothing including extra layers and refreshments for the day.

All sessions are run by fully qualified outdoor pursuits instructors.

All staff are CRB/Dbs checked and First Aid qualified for your peace of mind.

To book contact Rowan on:
07722 996025