Fun for all the family

Well that’s our dose of sun for another couple of weeks – two days without a coat is enough for me – after all it’s only JUNE on Saturday. So it looks as if it’s going to be another “wet play” half term. I’ll pack away the picnic rug and dig out the emergency credit card…

As I have mentioned before, this house is perfectly big enough for all of us – so long as it’s not raining, Ella is at uni and all the others are at school!

Sunday evening was a perfect example – the sun was out, Ella was in Brighton for the weekend, eating candyfloss and getting queasy on the Waltzers. As we walked home Cleo, 17, asked if she could have a “few” friends round for a barbecue. Define “few” I asked, reminding her that my birthday is next month, not yesterday. “Say – 12?”

Oh all right then… and it worked perfectly because the sun was out. They all squeezed into the garden and once it got dark my friend Liz and I could draw the curtains, turn a blind eye, and reminisce about our first ciders… a great night was had by all.

But this morning we woke up to rain  – and you cannot fit one more gangly teenager into this house, never mind 12, so it’s time to vacate the premises and try to find something diverting yet cheap to entertain ourselves with. We’ve done the zoo, I’m not doing the Science Museum or the Natural History Museum in half term again as they make a bank holiday trip to IKEA look restful, so I needed inspiration.

I turned to the internet and discovered that The Telegraph has just published the Kids in Museums’ long list for the family friendly museum awards – and a lovely bunch they are too. They include the fabulous Beamish Museum in County Durham, which is less a museum and more a small town, complete with its own high street of shops, tram service and colliery. I have great memories of spending all day there when the girls were little – it really was like going back in time. Closer to home we have the lovely Geffrye Museum of the home, in the East End of London, which we may explore later in the week along with the Museum of London, which didn’t make it on to the long list but is still worth a trip.

But there are still a few places that seem to be afraid of children. They don’t let children touch anything but still, bizarrely, expect them to find a piece of pottery or a toy from the 1970s, all safely tucked away behind glass, endlessly fascinating. It doesn’t work! Ironic really, since the whole point of taking them out is to drag them away from watching things behind glass – smartphones, TV and hand-held gaming devices!

So if, like me, you are trailing round your local neighbourhood museum and want to give a little cheer for the ones that make an effort – the ones that let the kids touch the exhibits and play with the Roman coins, after all how much harm could a few sticky kids’ hands do to them? They’ve survived Nero, the Gladiators and quite possibly the Fire of London – then take a look round the Kids in Museums site.  You can also help them choose the winners by emailing Find out more about Kids in Museums and the Award at Kids in Museums.

Or why not post pictures of you and your brood or grandkids enjoying your favourite local museum on our Candis Facebook page – readers would love to learn from your experience!

Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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