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Childcare boss has some ideas on educational days out for dads and their families
According to ‘experts’ last week saw the day that parents crack and get fed up with the summer holidays. It certainly can be hard to keep the kids entertained, particularly for working dads with less practice in doing so.
But help is at hand. Jackie Cambridge, Quality Care and Education Director at Kiddi Caru Childcare, looks at some top spots across the UK for fathers to take younger offspring for a day out that is fun and educational. And – don’t worry, we’ve checked – all have changing facilities accessible to dads as well as mums!
The summer holidays are well under way. If your little one attends a nursery or childminders that operates in term time only, keeping them entertained can be daunting.
There is no reason, however why their learning should stop just because they’re not in an educational setting. There are a range of educational places across the UK that offer excitement and learning in one.
Here are just four of the amazing places the UK is lucky to have, guaranteeing your little one won’t utter the words “I’m bored” after their visit.
There aren’t many museums that boast about being an exciting place for young children. Usually these places host a range of historical artefacts, priceless artwork and stuffed species. Things to be looked at but definitely not touched, an unexciting prospect for the impulsive toddler that explores exclusively with their hands.
Eureka! in Halifax however has completely altered the perception of traditional museums by creating one specifically for children, with areas tailored to visitors under five years old.
The Creativity Space inside the museum invites toddlers to engage in sensory play as well as a range of science-related arts and crafts activities.
Those that are a little more active with bundles of energy to burn will enjoy Desert Discovery, a desert playground with soft play shapes and mats that encourage building and play.
Young children can also walk through Boulder Mountain and discover fossils embedded into the walls. It invites them to run around and explore the desert themed space where they can stroke a coyote, admire the light changing from day to night and come face-to-face with experiences that encourage them to use their senses.
Once the desert has been conquered, little ones can discover the Sound Garden. This magical environment features giant flowers, large scale puzzles and garden themed soft play areas. The Sound Garden gives toddlers the opportunity to listen to lullabies from around the world, teaches them about lifecycle of bees and the difference between day and night.
This is a museum unlike any other and the perfect educational day out for little ones.
The London Transport Museum is dubbed as the world’s leading museum of urban transport, it explores the city of London and how the transport system has developed over the last two centuries. There are over 450,000 items under the museum’s roof, some of which is purposefully tailored to the younger visitor.
There is the All Aboard Play Zone, a transport themed play area that allows babies and children up to the age of seven to climb and role-play amongst a real bus, mini tube train, Thames Nipper, a lost property office and a cleaning cupboard. They can play and learn at the same time.
Children can also try and complete the stamper trail, challenging themselves to collect all 13 stamps available across all levels.
There is also the interactive Future Engineers gallery, the horses on level two (watch out for their mess!) and the cozy book corner, perfect for winding down at the end of the visit before making the journey home.
Space is fascinating for everyone, so few have seen its wonders in person and the mere thought of its expanse is dizzying. So, it’s no surprise there’s a lot of little fans of our solar system. Rockets, the moon, planets and astronaut – all literally out of this world and perfect for the curious toddler.
Unlike your typical attraction that welcomes children, the National Space Centre hasn’t filled their space full of block colours and characters. Instead it offers toddlers a realistic look at space, giving them a true opportunity to learn exciting facts. However, your little one is likely to be anything but bored. There are plenty of buttons to press, flashing lights and areas to climb in.
Your little one can step inside a replica of the international space station, prep the launch or a rocket and even have a photo inside an astronaut’s suit.
They even hold Small Space Toddler Days, these are specific days for under-five’s. Parents bring their little astronauts to the National Space Centre to take part in specially organised astronaut presentations, singing and trails. There is also a show with Astronaut George which is aimed at younger children.
Any little space enthusiast would be delighted to spend the day here and learn all about our amazing solar system.
With over 90 interactive science and nature exhibitions set across an indoor and outdoor space, little ones visiting the Look Out Discovery Centre are sure to have fun and learn a lot whilst doing so.
The best of these exhibitions for under-fives are Woodland and Water and the Build It! Construction site.
The indoor stream in the Woodland and Water exhibition allows little ones to play with boats and build dams whilst being undercover. They can also presented learn some incredible facts about wildlife local to the Bracknell Forest, in which this centre is set. Prepare for them to become fascinated by the colony of busy leaf-cutter ants.
The Build It! Construction Site, is perfect for children that are obsessed with diggers and construction vehicles. Children can work together to build a house, using the rubble chute and even get a chance to drive the dumper trucks that transport giant building blocks around the site. Supervised toddlers can climb up scaffolding to tile the roof or even explore the job of an architect by drawing a house at the architects’ table.
If these exhibitions aren’t enough, there is also a giant piano and an outdoor play area that are sure to keep them occupied.
As well as there being plenty to do, there is also plenty to see. The insect enclosure is a forestry themed exhibit that’s home for many species of insects, reptiles and amphibians.
The enclosure is labelled with fun facts about each of the creatures so you can teach your little one about these fascinating creepy crawlies and friends.