Issue 99 is out now
Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

15th February 2021

Mardi Gras, viking festival, how to become a fashion designer, make your own nest boxes! Plus heaps of online festivals and ideas to get you outdoors. Our new-look, weekly, home-ed and fun-focussed newsletter!

Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

15th February 2021

Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

15th February 2021

MONDAY Half Term Fun
February half-term is usually packed with fun events, but this year is obviously very different. However, there are lots of free online events perfect for marking the difference between school time and holidays.

Leicester’s Spark Festival is providing ‘vitamin D for the imagination’ with live streamed performances which include a vegetable party and Mellow Baku performing her hits for toddlers, and festival ‘funshops’ in Minecraft, musical mayhem and magical mapmaking!

The V and A Musueum is usually heaving with families at half-term. This year you can join in wherever you are, with workshops in making Persian Miniatures or creating Beatboxing and Art.

The Imagine Children’s Festival has gone virtual, with two events, Kaleidoscope, a sensory online experience for babies and DYSCO, a celebratory workshop for all ages.

What colour is the sound of a cat meowing? Explore how to create pictures from the sounds we hear in and around our home at Arnolfini’s Drawing With Sound workshop.

The National Trust has some ideas for at-home fun, including the Sounds of Nature downloadable scorecard and ‘50 Things’ activities to do close to home.

English Heritage has a few sites open for local exercising, but fun remains mostly online, with making and baking ideas, quizzes, and fun ways to explore history.

Bed down with Fran Lobo and Sarah Blanc, and their interactive storytime; Peace At Last. It’s a lovely wind-down for families and under-5s.

Experiment with drawing, play with colour, for take a photography or sketching walking tour; Derby Museum and Art Gallery’s lovely, easy-going workshops are popping up online this week.

Lockdown has meant that more people than ever have taken up stargazing. Join in with the virtual Dark Skies festivals that are now underway make a good jumping-off point. Find details here for the Cumbria festival, Northumberland North York Moors Yorkshire Dales the weekend after that – this event has a nocturnal wildlife theme! Mostly ticketed.

Discover more about stargazing as a family here and about the movement to preserve our dark skies here.

TUESDAY Mardi Gras
Today is, of course, Pancake Day, but in New Orleans, Italy and Brazil, it’s Mardi Gras! Why not jazz up the start to Lent (and perhaps half-term) with a themed party at home? We love the ideas here; make gloriously over-the-top costumes in green, purple and gold, decorate your house using streamers, and create doubloons; cardboard coins painted gold to look like treasure.

Mardi Gras is all about the food. The gaudy King Cake is actually more like a cinnamon roll, and traditionally a tiny model baby is hidden in it. Find out more about its history and cultural connotations plus a recipe here. Or make a pot of warming gumbo; find Martha Stewart’s vegan take on the dish here

WEDNESDAY National Nest Box Week
It’s National Nest Box Week! Why not take the opportunity to create your own boxes? You might get creative and paint your hand-made shelter in bright colours, or repurpose an unlikely vessel as a home for birds – we’ve seen some lovely ones made from old kettles or shaped like beach huts. It’s a great way to contribute to bird conservation, and nesting birds are a joy to watch.

THURSDAY Jorvik Viking Festival
The annual Jorvik Viking Festival is the biggest Viking Festival in Europe. Usually York would be packed with people taking part in historical reenactments, dramatic combat performances, learning to sword fight, playing Viking-style games, and enjoying evocative folk music. This year, however, it’s moved online. In Viking times a ‘thing’ was a public assembly, a gathering of leaders to solve disputes and discuss key issues from religion to politics, and this is all that but adding a whole load of fun, including live streamed Viking-themed events, storytelling and an online version of its annual Symposium. Find out more here and find more learning resources here

It’s London fashion week; watch all the latest trends fly down the runway here. Why not try creating your own designs? Or setting up your own fantasy clothes line!? Find out about life as a fashion artist here and a stylist here

The clothing industry is one of the planet’s biggest polluters, but there are those who are trying to make a difference. Find out about the work of UK charity Traid, who work with schools to promote sustainability here and browse educational resources from Fashion Revolution here. Fairtrade fortnight is later this month; find out about their work with the clothing trade here. There are more teaching resources, including some for younger children here

We are looking for real-life stories of free-range dipping for our next issue. Are you a wild swimmer? Have you recently taken up the habit, or is it something you’ve been doing since childhood? Do you go as a family or is it a way to find solo solace and rejuvenation. Do you swim in a river, a stream or the sea? We would love to hear from you. Do get in touch [email protected]

What We’re Reading This Week

Five ways to manage your wellbeing as a parent during lockdown
“Emotions easily spread through a family. If we can find moments to be calm and relaxed, these positive feelings will spread too.

Amidst the muddles, misunderstandings, fun and frustrations of present day family life, here are some suggestions about how - as a parent or carer - you can manage your own wellbeing.” Read more here

Found something inspirational to read that you’d like to share? Want to share your creations with us? Have an idea for things to do? We’d love to hear from you. Email Kate