Some of the best bonding experiences you can have with your children come from making things at home, mixing and decorating cakes, collecting leaves and creating a collage or putting down newspaper and getting out the poster paints. But, there are times when you simply can’t face clearing up the mess afterwards. That’s why incorporating a creative session into a day out or a holiday can be so much fun for everyone. Here are just a few of the best workshops taking place this spring and summer around the UK.
Make your own
While it can sometimes be tricky to enthuse children about helping you in the kitchen, signing up for a cookery course together can instil them with a love of cooking along with giving them the confidence to create their own dishes. Jamie Oliver has a clutch of cookery schools across the country. At Jamie’s two London and one Brighton school, there is a an option, for 12 to 16-year-olds, to make pizza dough from scratch before rolling it out, topping it and putting it into the wood-fire oven to eat at the lesson. Or for younger children, you could join the Focaccia-making course, learning to knead and prove the bread before topping it and taking it home with you. Jamie’s Ministry of Food in the grounds of Alnwick Garden is a good option for those living or holidaying in the north as you could combine a family cookery session with a trip to the child-friendly gardens with their ride-on tractors and fountains.
Where the art is
On a rainy day, nothing beats getting out the paint pots and creating a mini masterpiece. But rather than staying at home, many of the country’s top art galleries hold workshops where you can create your own works of art in the shadow of some of the world’s greatest masterpieces. London’s National Portrait Gallery has a series of portrait workshops in the pipeline, including creating a shadow portrait of your family or you can make animated characters of yourselves. Or try Gateshead’s Shipley Art Gallery where sessions include kite-making workshops.
Good clean fun
Wales’ Margam Country Park has some 850 acres of parkland, ancient monuments and wildlife havens to explore. Throughout the year, the park has a packed calendar of events and the Easter holidays are no exception. Activity sessions include making soap socks to fit in your soap so you can tie it to the tap or to use up all those little pieces of soap that you would usually throw out. Or you could join in the Easter Monday Family Fun Day, taking part in circus workshops and stocking up on materials to take home in the craft and gift fair. Parkdean’s Trecco Bay caravan park is just a 15-minute drive away so you could combine a day out at the country park with a holiday exploring the beautiful coastline at Porthcawl, keeping any crafty bits and bobs you buy for any rainy days in the caravan.
One of Northumberland’s most unique holiday sites, Pot a Doodle Do, offers the chance to combine a stay in a wigwam with a day of crafting. You can try your hand at painting personalised ceramics, creating a mosaic or glass painting before lighting your campfire for an al fresco dinner, then bedding down for the night in a wooden wigwam. It usually takes a couple of days for your artwork to be ready to take home, so it’s an excuse to enjoy a longer holiday, taking in some of the sights of the breathtaking Northumberland coastline.
A glass act
One of the world’s best glass-making centres, the National Glass Centre in Sunderland showcases incredible creations and you can watch some of the most talented craftsmen and women in the industry giving glass blowing demonstrations. But, there’s also plenty of hands-on entertainment. Drop-in activities include creating an Easter-themed masterpiece, glass painting or creating a butterfly mobile. Sunderland sits near some of the North East’s breathtaking stretches of beach, so you could combine a city trip with some bucket-and-spade fun. For little train fans, The Pullman lodge, with its centrepiece of three original Pullman carriages from the Orient Express, makes for an unusual accommodation option.
Whichever activity you choose with your little ones, you’ll be able to enjoy some quality time together, making something which will adorn your mantelpiece or wall for years to come.