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The super duper Muddy half-term guide

Science, theatre, craft and music workshops, trails and much more to help you keep kids amused this half term. Some are drop offs, some are even free. Grab your diary and get plotting.


Puddle Jumping Championships – London Wetland Centre, Barnes – Sat 11 to Sun 19 Feb

Who doesn’t love to jump in puddles. And it’s even better with there’s a bit of competition involved. It’s open to kids of all ages. BYO wellies and wet weather gear and then use your imagination to create the biggest, most exciting splash. Throw some shapes in the air for extra style! Each child will receive a sticker to celebrate their puddle jumping skills, and go into the draw to win a pair of kids’ Stonz wellies. The Puddle Jumping is free with paid admission to the centre and free to WWT members. Entry to the centre is £11.03 adults, £6.08 children (4-16), £30.92 family. Puddle jumping is on from 11.30am to12.30pm & 2.30 to 3.30pm.

London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, London, SW13 9WT.


War Horse Acting and Puppetry Workshop – Leatherhead Theatre – Fri 17 Feb

This looks flipping amazing. Performer Danny Dalton, who was on stage in War Horse for more than two years, will take you through the basic skills of puppetry. Your child will learn the process of creating a life-sized puppet, and learn how horses move and breathe. It’s on from 9.30am-3pm and costs £35. There’s a limited number of spaces, so book quickly via email or by phoning 01306 886243.

The Leatherhead Theatre, 7 Church St, Leatherhead KT22 8DN. Tel:01306 886243.


February Family Festival – The Electric Theatre, Guildford – Mon 13 to Sat 18 Feb

This is the 10th Family Festival at the Electric Theatre, and the usual array of super shows and workshops will be going on, including a two-day musical theatre workshop on Mon 13 and Tues 14 Feb (from 10am-4pm each day, cost £60); The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on Wed 15 Feb (tickets £6.50); Rhymetime and Funtime with Jenny on Thurs 16 Feb, (10am and 11am, tickets £4.50); the Pat-A-Cake Baby puppet show on Fri 17 Feb (11am & 2pm, tickets £6.50); and Mr Alexander’s Travelling Show on Sat 18 Feb (11am & 2pm, tickets £6). There’s also a screening of the fab Pixar film, Inside Out, on Thurs 16 Feb at 2pm.

The Electric Theatre, Onslow St, Guildford GU1 4SZ. Tel: 01483 444789.


Creative workshops – Watts Gallery and Artists’s Village, Compton – various days

It’s a busy week of family fun at Watts Gallery, with workshops to make animal sculptures or sew a tote bag. The Printed Tote Bag Workshop with professional artist Elizabeth Cake is on Sat 13 Feb from 10.30am-4pm, and is ideal for 11-16 year olds. Make! Crafty Creatures is with artist Anna Hennings, who will show your little ones (ages 5 and up) how to create sketches and then make the animals come to life in sculpture. It’s on Wed 17 to Fri 19 Feb, with two-hour sessions starting at 11am and 2pm. The cost is £7.50. While you’re at the village, get outside to explore the winding footpaths through woodland to discover the studios of artists G F and Mary Watts. There are four family trails to chose from, depending on age, and all are included in the admission price.

Watts Gallery and Artists’ Village, Down Lane, Compton, GU3 1DQ. Tel: 01483 810235.


So You Think You Know About Dinosaurs – Epsom Playhouse – Mon 13 Feb

Do your kids think they know about Dinosaurs?! Did dinosaurs eat their own families? Was every Tyrannosaur a fearsome carnivore? Why did Allosaurus headbutt its prey to death?  How about this for a great half-term activity as kids (and parents) can come and test your knowledge against Ben Garrod (the telly scientist in ‘Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur’). With the help of TV film footage and photos of his own palaeontological dinosaur digs, he will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about dinosaurs – and more. This is an interactive show where children get to ask questions as well as show off their own dinosaur knowledge to the audience.

Epsom Playhouse, Ashley Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5AL. Tel: 01372 724555.


Peter and the Wolf – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (Mill Studio), Guildford – Sat 18 Feb

This classic children’s story is being brought to life in the stage with puppetry. It runs for about 60 minutes, and is most suited to kids aged 5 and up. All tickets are £9, and there are showings at 11am and 2pm.

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Millbrook, Guildford, GU1 3UX. Tel: 01483 44 00 00.


Room on the Broom – Rose Theatre, Kingston – Tues 14 to Sat 18 Feb

This was my mini mudlet’s favourite book when she was a toddler, I must have read it to her every night for a year. I’m sure I’m not alone though. The classic combination of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is wonderful. So it’s no great surprise that on stage, the show has been getting top reviews. It’s a pretty safe bet for kids this half-term. The show runs for 55 minutes, without an interval, and kids can meet the cast on Wed 15 Feb in the Toy Department at Bentalls (Third Floor), in Kingston from 3-3.30pm. Tickets are £13.50, but the Rose Theatre has an offer on their children’s shows. Get tickets for £10 when you book at least three of the following shows: Room on the Broom, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Very Hungry Caterpillar; and The Scarecrows’ Wedding.

Rose Theatre, 24-26 High Street, Kingston, KT1 1HL. Tel: 020 8174 0090.


Kids workshops – The Lightbox, Woking – various times from 13 to 19 Feb

There are two free drop-in workshops at The Lightbox this half-term. On Wed 15 Feb (1.30-4pm) kids can make funky faces using paper sculpture techniques, and on Fri 17 Feb (1.30-4pm) its badge making, where kids can make colour 3D winter badges. Both are suitable for kids aged four and up. The book-ahead workshops are on Tues 14 Feb and Thurs 16 Feb (both 1.30-30pm). On Tues it’s Fun with Clay, where kids aged 4-8 years will make and decorate a container, and on Thurs is Plaster Sculpture for the older kids (8-11 years) can make abstract sculptures using Plaster of Paris. Both cost £6.50

The Lightbox, Chobham Road, Woking GU21 4AA. Tel: 01483 737800.


Children’s Wellie Walk – Leeds Castle, Maidstone  – Sat 11, Sun 12, Thurs 16 & Fri 17 Feb

Sling aside those stilettos, grab your wellies, and get the kids out in the fresh air. Have lots of splashy fun in the gorgeous surrounds of Leeds Castle this holiday, as the kids hunt down items on their eye-spy sheet. Get to the kids to spot Moorhens, Black Swans and other wildlife while jumping in a few puddles along the way and getting a little muddy! Also taking place at Leeds Castle this hols is Birds, Bugs & Beasts – a visit from the UK’s number one animal handling company ‘Zoolab’ with an assortment of creepy crawlies and wriggly reptiles. For the Wellie Walk, meet at the Ticket Office at the Main Entrance at 11.30am. Birds, Bugs & Beasts is included in admission price.

Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 1PL. Tel: 01622 765400.


The Lego Batman Movie – at cinemas across Surrey – from Fri 10 Feb

Long awaited (at least in the Muddy household) the little brick superhero comes to a cinema near you. More than just an extended promo for two huge brands (though do expect requests for Batman’s new Scuttler ship – a snip at just £84.99), it’s irreverent, self-satirising and apparently hilarious, even for adults. I’ll able to tell you after the weekend.


Brighton Science Festival – various locations – Sat 1 1 to Sun 19 Feb

BSF-2016-by-Doodling-Jim copy

If you’re planning a trip to Brighton this half-term, it’s worth knowing about Brighton’s cracking science festival. It’s well worth browsing the full line up but highlights include Dr Death and the Medi-Evil Medicine Show – a gore-filled panto exploring old-fashioned ‘cures’ for diseases; a CSI whodunnit workshop using real forensic techniques; a chance to make slime and bath bombs in the Art Lab, a beach clean with a discussion on sea science and an all-day Pocket Science fair drop in and a chance to build a motorised monster or a basic synthesiser. Prices are various but reasonable. Some events sell out early so it’s best to book.


Knights and Princesses, 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield, 13 – 17 Feb 

Another one that’s a bit further afield, but certainly worth considering if Knights and Princesses are you thing… and you fancy a big day out: head to Hastings. Hands on medieval fun and tips on everything from curtsies to combat are promised at this children’s ‘academy.’ The event runs 10.00am to 5pm daily. It’s £6 for kids, £10.10 for adults or £26.20 for a family ticket and the price includes both entry to the site and the activities.


We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – The Hawth, Crawley – Wed 22 to Sat 25 Feb

If you’ve got children of a pre- or infant school age, you will know this gorgeous, award-winning book written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. The play adaption of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt comes to Crawley on the back of a West-End and International tour. Watch actors wade through the gigantic swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud in pursuit of a bear. Tickets are £12.50. It will also be at Eastbourne in April.

The Hawth, Hawth Ave, Crawley RH10 6YZ. Tel: 01293 553636.


Wembley Stadium Tour – London – 13 – 17 Feb

KIDS GO FREE: I’ve done this tour with a footie-mad friend visiting from overseas and it’s good fun, with a chance to nosey in the England changing room (no half-dressed players though) and to jog through the tunnel to the pitch. This February half-term, one child aged 5 – 15 years per paying adult goes free on 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 February if you book using the promo code NSM001.  Adult tickets are £20.


Adventures in Moominland – Southbank Centre, London – until 23 Apr


You’ve gotta love the Moomins and over the hols you and yours can check out this new exhibition and take a wondrous journey through Moominland. Clamber through forests, huddle in caves or set sail on the high seas to try and find the Moomin family. Tickets cost from £13.50.


Fire! Fire! Museum of  London, until 17 April 


This interactive Great Fire of London exhibition brings history lessons to life. Step into Pudding Lane and see what conditions were like for ordinary Londoners in the 17th century. Walk into the bakery where the fire started and see how the flames spread across the city. Play archaeologist and identify real objects melted by the flames. Hear personal stories of the people affected by the disaster. There’s even a restored 17th century fire engine on display. Tickets cost from £8 for adults if booked in advance, £4 for 5-16s.



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