You might not think that taking your kids along to a highbrow stately home seems much of a day out, but if you've not done this before, try it, see and be amazed! The UK has hundreds of palaces, castles, stately homes, gardens, country homes and parks. The National Trust, English Heritage, Historic Royal Palaces and Historic Houses Association curate hundreds of historic properties around the nation. Fine one near you and enjoy a lovely day out.
These properties usually have delightful gardens and extended parkland that young children will adore. Perhaps you'll find a deer park, or grotto's to climb or beautiful lakes to wander around? Formal gardens will provide a splendid backdrop for make believe games or simply to run around. Look out for large vegetable gardens, smell herb beds and delight at the colour of beautiful herbaceous borders.
The homes themselves might have fabulous treasures to marvel at. You will see old fashioned artifacts. Historic kitchens are great to explore as you can see old tools that are replaced by modern kitchen gadgets. Don't expect young children to spend ages looking at every detail in every room, but wander through the property at a pace they are comfortable with and when you see them take an interest in something, talk with them, describe it and tell them what it is. Discuss with older children what the differences are between these homes and your own - look around formal drawing rooms and work out how historical occupants used to pass their time without televisions or the internet!
Find a property to visit near you by visiting these websites:-
It is amazing how much children love making things out of old cardboard and boxes - they can create great buildings, instruments and who knows what else just with a few tubs and a bit of tape! Here are a few ideas if you need some inspiration to guide them:-
- Rocket: an old favourite made from a kitchen roll tube, some yogurt pots and some silver foil wrapped around it to make it shiny
- Robot: Always a good one! Make a robot by sticking all sorts of boxes together, with tubes for arms and legs. Add a face and cover with foil
- Buildings: Take a cardboard box, add some cling film squares for windows, a flap of cardboard for a door and another flat box for a lid
- Castle: Lots of different sized boxes taped together into a castle shape. Cover with brown paper and draw on some windows. Add a cardboard box door and some flags on top
- Treasures Box: Use boxes and lids to create a special treasure box for craft materials or collections of bits and pieces
- Shapes: Just make any old shape and decide what it is!
Why do modeling?
- Making models is great for learning about construction
- Craft helps to develop fine motor skills
- Craft and model making is tactile, so children get used to touching and feeling different boards, plastics and materials
- Making things grows imagination and children can choose their own design and structure thus empowering them to make decisions themselves
- Children encounter problems along the way, so this is great for thinking and problem solving
- Reusing old cardboard and materials offers a good lesson in recycling