Check this page for the latest news, blog, offers, competitions, seasonal tips, funny videos and useful articles for families in Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool, Wirral, Wrexham & Flintshire.
Take advantage of some great family-friendly offers and family discounts and win some wonderful prizes for your family.
Whether you’ve forgotten the pancake recipe on pancake day or you need suggestions for Halloween party games, there’s always some inspiration here. Plus the odd joke, funny video or whatever else takes our fancy!
Wondering what to do this half term? We’ve picked out seven of the best events for you and your family to enjoy this school holiday.
Did you know that when you research “planning a children’s party” online one of the initial responses is a 37 point checklist? Follow that with hundreds of “tip” pages, themed Pinterest boards, ads, even apps!
Have you got time to plan a kids’ party in that detail? No? Thought not! Let’s stop fuelling the madness, take a deep breath and focus on a shinier, sharper top 5 ultimate party planner to do list:
Mums deserve a treat this Mother’s Day. But it’s even better when it’s free! Here are some great places offering free entry for mums this Mother’s Day 26th March 2017.
Mums Go Free at Ness Gardens!
Happy Mothers Day!
Free entry to the Gardens for all mums!
Off Pitch, a fifty strong choir made up of singers from across the Wirral will be performing in the visitor centre from 12-3pm.
Plus, Mother’s Day this year takes place the same day as our annual Spring Plant Hunters Fair.
Visit Trentham Gardens free on Mother’s Day.
Must be accompanied by a paying visitor.
Keep the kids entertained in the adventure playground with it’s assault course, zip wire and swings. Lose yourself (or the kids!) in the Hornbeam hedge maze – use the special talking pipes to shout for help if you get lost. Find the fifteen fairies dotted around the gardens.
Free Entry all Weekend at Gulliver’s World Theme Park, Warrington
Have lots of family fun at Gulliver’s World Theme Park. Mums can go free on both 25th and 26th March 2017.
Must be accompanied by a paying adult.
Free Entry at The World of Beatrix Potter
Mums go free (when accompanied by child age 16 or under) on Mother’s Day.
In the Tea Room we will be serving a special Mother’s day mini Afternoon Tea of yummy treats which comes with a glass of prosecco for just £10.95.
For 100s of ideas for other places to go, see your local listings:
There are lots of great activities taking place this half term. Here are six highlights:
North West Puddle Jumping Competition at Martin Mere
11th – Sunday 19th February 2017
Dress up warm, get your wellies on and get outside to jump into our puddles to win prizes. This year WWT’s new children’s character, Dusty Duck is joining in the fun and helping kids create the biggest, craziest splash possible.
Puddles will be set up for you to practice in with the competition starting at 2pm. It is 50p to enter and every contestant will receive a ‘splashtastic’ sticker to acknowledge their puddle jumping skills.
Half Term = Snow Fun
Chill Factore is the perfect destination for families looking for a good day out. All age ranges are catered for in the Snow Park including toddlers who have their own play area in Mini Moose Land. Fun is the objective with our Downhill Donuts, the Luge Slip ‘n’ Slide and Sledge ‘O’ Mania plus in Mini Moose Land take a spin on the carousel, a gentle slide down the mini sliding track and build with the soft play toys. We see lots of mums doing the old favourite too – creating snow angels.
WayWord Festival in Cheshire
20th – 24th February 2017
Five fun-filled days with authors, illustrators, gamers, drummers, comedians, dancers, yogis, coders, mathematicians, builders, upcyclers, storytellers and more!
Half-term Family Fun at Erddig
18th – 26th February 2017
Erddig’s natural play area is perfect for den building, creating wild art and balancing on logs.
Different daily activities including meeting the horses to exploring nature with our rangers.
The Narnia Experience at St George’s Hall, Liverpool
10th – 25th February 2017
Kids will love this interactive experience from “In Another Place”. Step through a wardrobe of fur coats into Narnia! Meet all your favourite characters from the classic tale including Mr Tumnus.
Will you be brave enough to meet the White Witch?
The Boy Who Fell Into a Book
February 22nd-26th 2017
The Forum Studio Theatre, Chester
This play will catch the imagination of the whole family during the half term holiday and is suitable for ages 7+
For many more events taking place this half term plus 100s of ideas for places to go see your local listings:
It may be cold out there but it’s time to get the kids outside for some fresh air. Wrap up warm and take your children for family walk this winter. To make it more appealing, we’ve put together some some great suggestions for family friendly walks and places to go outdoors in Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool, Wirral, Flintshire & Wrexham.
Did you know that if you use Royal Mail to write to Santa, he’ll try to write back?
Get your Letter to Santa in the post with Royal Mail’s new Christmas stamps by 9th December 2016 and he’ll do his best to reply to you:
Send your letters to:
Make sure you attach a stamp and don’t forget to include your name and address!
Is your child writing a letter to Santa?
If you are wondering where to see Father Christmas this year , we’ve pulled together a list of some of the best Santa’s grottoes in Manchester, Cheshire, Liverpool, Wirral, Wrexham and Flintshire. Just take your pick of our list of local places to see Father Christmas!
Have you planned where to see fireworks yet this Bonfire Night?
We have details of dozens of local public firework displays in Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool, Wirral, Wrexham & Flintshire.
To plan your family fireworks night, visit our guide to public bonfires and firework displays 2016.
There are many family friendly Halloween fun events planned this October half term.
Whatever the weather, there will be lots of spooky children’s Halloween activities in Cheshire, Liverpool. Manchester, Wirral, Flintshire and Wrexham.
From Halloween trails to scary stories, from pumpkin picking to creepy crafts, from Halloween dressing up to ghost train rides, there’s something scary (or not so scary) for all ages …
See Kidsguide’s handy guide to Halloween events in 2016
It’s a new school year and the perfect time for your child to try something new. There are so many options they’ll be spoiled for choice. So how can your child decide what to try this September?
One useful approach is to think what they want to get out of it. Extra-curricular activities have many benefits. Think which one is most important to your child then take a look at our suggestions. More
Sometimes you just need a way to entertain the children at home without any expense, preparation or mess.
Here are some easy ideas for fun activities kids can do on a rainy day which don’t require you to spend any money or take hours planning or clearing up. Why not bookmark this page for when you hear those dreaded words “I’m bored! What can we do?” More
The Pokemon Go craze is sweeping the world. If you children haven’t played it yet, they soon will.
This article tells you what exactly Pokemon Go is and gives useful advice on the risks to your children and how you can help them enjoy playing Pokemon Go safely.
Karen Gee from Cycle Sprog shares a few of the best places in the North West to get pedalling with the kids:
Local parks – even the smallest parks usually have space for cycling. Bigger ones, such as Everton Park, have dedicated cycle routes running through them.
Old railway lines – flat and straight, disused railways are a great place for young riders to gain confidence and pick up speed. Kids will love the Chester Greenway, Wirral Way or the Fallowfield loop.
Forests – great places for all year round cycling, forests such as Delamere in Cheshire provide welcome shade on hot days.
Coastal paths – why not combine cycling with a trip to the beach? The Sefton, North Wales and Fylde coasts are all good choices for traffic free pedalling followed by sandcastle building.
Reservoirs – you don’t have to go to the coast to be able to cycle near water. At Alwen Water in North Wales you’ll really leave the crowds behind.
Mountain Bike trails – Mountain Biking is a great adventure for older kids – look out for places with forest tracks or green rated routes if you’re beginners. Llandegla in North Wales and Gisburn Forest in Lancashire are both good places to start.
Urban routes – you don’t have to leave town to have an exciting family bike ride. The Burnley Heritage Cycle Trail links up key landmarks, and the off-road section of the Manchester Airport Orbital Cycleway is perfect for plane obsessed kids.
Guided bike rides – if you’d prefer to have some company on your family ride, look out for guided bike rides which tend to be run by local cycling clubs, Go Sky Ride or local councils.
Karen Gee runs the family cycling website Cycle Sprog. Written by parents for parents, Cycle Sprog is full of practical information on how, why and where to cycle with your kids. You can also find Cycle Sprog on Facebook or follow on Twitter @CycleSprog
The summer holidays are approaching fast! It’s worth thinking about booking a summer holiday club now.
Kids summer holiday camps aren’t just for childcare, they offer your child a chance to make new friends and try out new activities. Children can continue with hobbies and sports that might otherwise get dropped over the long holiday. Plus a children’s summer course is something to look forward to which adds structure to at least one week of the holidays. And from parent’s perspective, it provides sometime when you don’t have to think of somewhere to go or battle to get your child away from a screen!
Here are a few great suggestions:
It’s exciting to have some special treats for a kids’ party but it’s even better if they are easy and fun to make so your child can be involved too.
Here are five fun ideas for kids’ party snacks that are easy enough for small children to help prepare:
Chocolate sprinkle bread sticks
Half-dip mini breadsticks in melted chocolate then decorate with a selection of sprinkles. Tip – stand them in a mug to dry.
Mini pizza biscuits
Place round cheesy biscuits on a baking tray. Spread a very little tomato puree on each biscuit, then sprinkle with grated cheese and a little dried herbs. Heat in the oven till the cheese has started to melt – only takes a few minutes so watch carefully!
Marshmallow funny faces
Use a food colouring pen to draw silly faces on multi-coloured marshmallows. Keep the designs simple – use emoticons for inspiration!
Traffic light fruit kebabs
Thread pieces of strawberry, pineapple and kiwi fruit onto small (not too sharp) skewers
Personalised popcorn cups
Let each child at the party decorate a paper cup. Fill with popcorn. Tip – pop the corn yourself – it’s cheaper and much more fun.
The best thing about the school holidays is the freedom from routine. Deliciously slow starts in the morning and not having to rush off to swimming lessons straight from school. But the idea of filling six or seven weeks with “fun” can be a bit daunting. And what if you have to go to work while the kids are off school? This is where summer camps and school holiday clubs really come into their own. More
April Fool’s Day tricks for children.
Hide a strip of bubblewrap between the toilet seat & the bowl so when your victim sits down it goes pop!
Carry an empty mug really carefully with both hands as if it’s over-full. When you get close to your victim pretend to trip so they think they are about to be soaked.
Dissolve some More
Kids love growing their own veg!
We aren’t all blessed with spinach loving angels but almost all kids enjoy growing veggies themselves. And once they have grown their own vegetables they are more likely to eat them and they’ll have learned a bit about where food comes from. Plus you’ll be confident about the lack of pesticides on their food and justifiably smug about the lack of food miles!
What do you need for your kids to grow vegetables? More
These pancakes are really tasty but just happen to also be healthy plus gluten and dairy free! Perfect if you have a child who can’t have wheat or lactose but doesn’t want to miss out on pancake day! These simple pancakes are suitable for vegans as well. And they’re so yummy that everyone else in the family will love them too.
The recipe is very easy and takes about 10 mins. They keep very well in the fridge so you could make these pancakes the day before for a quick & healthy breakfast.
150ml almond milk*
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
pinch of salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp sunflower oil
maple syrup to serve
Grind the oats in a food processor to make flour. Mix with the baking powder, salt & cinnamon.
In a blender or food processor, blend the banana almond milk and vanilla. Stir into the flour mixture.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and tip in a ladleful of the pancake mixture. Cook on a medium heat till golden underneath then flip over and cook for a further minute. These are thicker than normal pancakes so work best if they’re not too big.
Drizzle with maple syrup. Yum, yum!
Serve with handful of berries for a treat!
*You can use normal cow’s milk and plain flour if you prefer and don’t have allergies.
You might also like: Pancake recipe & 7 best easy pancake toppings for kids
There are lots of great activities taking place this half term. Here are five of the best: More
9th February 2016
The UK Safer Internet Centre coordinates many organisations to promote the safe, positive and responsible use of digital technology for children and young people.
To find out how to take part plus lots of useful resources, visit their web page.
19 practical tips to encourage young and older kids to love reading and to love books.
Even very young babies love playing with books, being cuddled and having stories read to them.
Keep it fun
Don’t be embarrassed to act out the story or use silly voices and actions. Stop before your child gets bored.
Engage your child with the story
Let them finish the lines, turn the pages, ask and answer questions.
Set an example
Make time to read yourself. Let your child see that you read whether it’s books, newspapers or magazines.
Have books in the house
Keep lots of books in the child’s bedroom and downstairs. O.K. new books can be expensive but you can get them for pennies secondhand at charity shops, school fairs etc.
Join the library
Get your child their own library card (it’s free). Make it a habit to go to the library regularly. Find out if your library holds a weekly story time for young children or “rhythm and rhyme times” for babies and toddlers.
Let your child choose what to read
Don’t insist on educational books. Let them have free reign. Foster their enthusiasm.
Don’t forget non-fiction
Kids often like non-fiction. Your child might prefer books about horses or space. Think about their interests and hobbies – a book on sport or “how to look after a guinea pig” is still a book.
Let your child use e-readers or reading apps if that’s what they prefer. Look for games connected to their favourite stories – there are some good ones on the World Book Day website
Combine reading with other activities
Extend the fun of reading with dressing up, acting out scenes, craft activities & drawing. Pretend your living room is a Hogwarts’ commonroom.
Reward the reluctant reader
None of us were ever going to bribe our kids right? Doesn’t work out like that though does it? Praise them for their efforts. Try using reward charts. Look out for your library’s summer reading scheme. (If all else fails use sweets/Playstation time – sshhh!)
Carry a book with you
Make a habit of keeping a book in your bag to pull out when your child is bored.
Make visiting a bookshop into a treat
Encourage relatives to buy book tokens or use home made “book tokens” as rewards. Then take a trip to a good bookshop. They tend to be very child-friendly these days with colourful displays, reading corners, cushions and toys. Allow your child to take as long as they like to look round the shop and let them choose whichever book takes their fancy.
Look out for book signings
Older kids love meeting celebrities and that includes their favourite author.
Encourage – don’t force!
Don’t force an unwilling child to read. You’ll make matters worse. If they really don’t want to read, look for reading alternatives: reading games, apps etc.
Subscribe to a magazine
Magazines count too. A reluctant book reader might still love the excitement of a football magazine plopping onto the doormat.
Listen to audio books
At home, in the car, on a smartphone or iPod. Libraries lend audio books too.
Let your child read to you
Don’t always take the lead. Even if your toddler can’t read yet and is making the story up, listen enthusiastically. Let your child read to you, to Grandma, to younger siblings, to the dog, to their toys …
Read, read, read, read, read!
Make time for reading to your child and read often – not just at bed time.
Please take a moment to read…
Dreams for Children is a new registered charity created to provide seriously ill children in Merseyside with unforgettable experiences, whilst also providing support to their families.
If you would like to join us in helping these local children and families, please contact us, like our page or make a donation.
Dreams for Children is the legacy of Catherine Strickland.
There’s lots of family friendly Halloween fun planned this October half term.
You can’t always rely on the weather in October but you can rely on lots of fun spooky children’s Halloween activities in Cheshire, Liverpool. Manchester, Wirral, Flintshire and Wrexham.
From pumpkin picking to creepy crafts, from Halloween trails to scary stories, from ghost train rides to Halloween dressing up, there’s something scary (or not so scary) for all ages …
See Kidsguide’s handy guide to Halloween
The new term is starting so now is a great time to think about enrolling your child in a new club. But why bother, they already do lots at school don’t they? Or maybe your child is still very little and you don’t see the point. In fact, a well-run after school club or pre-school class can really enrich your child’s life in many ways.
For a start it’s not school or home. The atmosphere and culture will be different. Being introduced to another way of doing things will help them develop flexibility and cope with new situations later in life. More
From 1 October 2015, it’s illegal to smoke in a vehicle with anyone under 18. The law applies in England and Wales. More
A picnic can be a great way to entertain the children cheaply, and get some fresh air at the same time. It all sounds easy enough but if you don’t do a little basic planning, it can all go horribly wrong – no one wants burnt noses, insect bites or cold, wet toddlers. To make sure your family picnic is one for the scrapbook rather than the scrapheap, we’ve put together a quick checklist.
1. Check the weather forecast – don’t be put off if the weather isn’t perfect, just make sure you have the right clothes/umbrella/windbreak.
2. Choose somewhere with built-in entertainment – a sandy beach, a stream to throw pebbles in or a nearby playground would all do nicely.
3. Take sunscreen. Put some on before you go and take more with you for topping up. Don’t forget the sunhat!
4. Take lots of water – if it’s hot you’ll need it and it’s more thirst-quenching than juice.
5. Protect yourself against the wee beasties (insects not children) – invest in insect repellent and after-sting soother.
6. If your child suffers from hay fever, don’t forget the antihistamines.
7. Take simple finger food everyone likes and which travels well – mini sausages, grapes, cheese cubes, cucumber wedges, bread sticks, plain biscuits (not melty chocolate). Fresh air makes you hungry so take lots but keep items small – cut sandwiches into quarters so it doesn’t matter if one or two get dropped in the sand.
8. Take a change of clothes – if there’s a way to get wet and muddy, kids will find it!
9. Leave the electronics at home. Instead pack a ball or a game to play with but don’t forget to take something for quiet time too – maybe a book or some colouring.
10. Picnic blankets make life much more comfortable and double as a “table” to keep food clean. Those ones that fold up with a little carrying handle are perfect and only cost about a fiver – a great investment.
So now you’re ready to go – have fun!
Needs some inspiration for somewhere to go? We have lots of suggestions for parks, nature reserves, woodland trails, beaches and many more great ideas in our places to go section. Just pick your area: Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool & Wirral, Wrexham & Flintshire
Talking to your child about how to stay safe from sexual abuse can be difficult. More
Manchester Airport offers support for families with children on the spectrum. You can download a free guide to using the airport. Plus they offer a wristband which entitles the family to support within the airport and grants you fast tracking through security. More
Thinking of a present to give Dad on Father’s Day can be a challenge!
Here are 10 ideas for simple gifts children can make for Dad on Father’s Day. They hardly cost anything and Dad will appreciate them much more than something bought in a shop. More
We’ve all seen those magazine-perfect photos of tables laden with hand-piped cupcakes and vegetables carved into crocodiles. And it’s always presented on expensive themed party ware, of course. Well, don’t even think about it! What your child needs is a calm, relaxed parent who hasn’t worn themselves out before the party even starts.
So, here are a few tips for keeping it simple. Your child will thank you (not literally of course!). More
You know your kids have fun playing pranks on you. How about turning the tables and playing April Fool’s Day tricks on your little darlings. More
Basic pancake recipe
110g (4 oz) plain flour sifted
2 medium eggs
280 mls (1/2 pint) milk
splash of vegetable oil
Whisk together ingredients till smooth. Pour one ladle-ful into a hot non-stick frying pan. Cook till golden both sides.
7 best quick pancake toppings kids will love:
Tuna and sweet corn
Spinach and grated cheese
Cream cheese & chopped cherry tomatoes
Lemon juice and sugar (of course!)
Chocolate spread with chopped banana or raspberries
Strawberries & vanilla ice cream
Yum yum …
You might also like: Tasty Oat and Banana Pancakes
A child’s first swimming lesson can be an exciting experience for everyone involved!
To prepare, there are a number of steps that can be taken beforehand to ensure your child feels confident before their first lesson begins.
We spoke with ASA Swimming Teacher of the Year and www.zoggs.com ‘Learn to Swim’ Ambassador Simone Benhayon , who has kindly shared her expert tips to help your little one get ready for their first swimming lesson experience. More
“Let’s get out of the house and go for a walk kids!”
“NO! We want to stay inside.”
Does this sound familiar? Well, there’s one surefire way to get unenthusiastic children out for a walk. Try geocaching with the family. More
Building a bird feeder can be quick and easy when you know how. Kids will love helping you make the feeder and will be delighted when the first little feathered friend comes to visit!
Follow this simple step-by-step guide.
What should the children get for Granny and Grandad this Christmas? Most grandparents don’t want any more possessions. And let’s face it, Christmas is expensive enough. The perfect answer is a home crafted present which Nanna and Grandpa will treasure for ever. More
Meet other parents and carers, develop your child’s social skills and 7 more reasons to give your local toddler group a go!
1. Getting out of the house
Being at home on your own with More
Lots of useful advice on what to look out for when visiting a prospective primary school. More
This is s simple but effective Halloween craft activity for your little ones.
The orange tissue paper creates a really nice glow. It makes the room look a bit amber coloured. You could add a mouth and nose using a black pen.
It’s time to go back to school already! That means it’s also time to start after school clubs and classes. Whatever your child’s personality and interests there’s something for everyone.
Here’s a few ideas to get you and your children inspired – and some are pretty original! More
The long days of summer are a fantastic opportunity to get out and enjoy a bike ride with the kids. Whether you’ve been inspired by Le Tour de France, or fancy something a bit more leisurely, the whole family can enjoy cycling together.
You’re never too young to go on a family bike ride!
If your children are too young to pedal themselves they don’t need to be left out of a family bike ride. Trailers, bike seats and More
It’s one of the most overlooked subjects: Family first aid. No one wants to think about accidents and emergencies, but you can certainly prepare for one.
Most people consider lots of time on which pram they proudly want their child to travel around in?, which is the safest baby seat, which listening monitor they need. Learning first aid, need only take a few hours and will be one of the most important skills to learn More
These party games always go down well with kids and take little preparation and almost no mess. As each game has an animal name they work equally well for boys’ parties or girls’ parties or parties with boys and girls! And, if it’s an animal themed party, it’s perfect! More