EVENT AND MAKE SONAR SO GOOD Watching tiny bats flit across the sky in summer is one of life’s great joys. International Bat Weekend is on Saturday and Sunday so get out into the dusk and see, hear and find out about our leathery winged friends – download a pack here. There are events across the UK; go here to find a batwalk, quiz trail, bat night or craft workshop near you.Find out more about bat spotting here, learn how to create a bat-friendly garden here, and, if you don’t spot any real-life chiroptera, make your own cute origami version!
RECIPE A RIGHT COB ON We’ve spotted hazelnuts (AKA cobnuts or filberts) in gardens near us – the time for the sweet green nuts is here. See if you can beat the squirrels to them! Dry them and turn them into hard little sweet brown flavour bombs for the winter. Or use them in recipes now. We have recipes for Rosemary, Orange, Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Sables, Raw Chocolate Brownies and Berry and Hazelnut Cakes, while Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall transforms them into Pear and Hazelnut Salad, Honeyed Hazels and Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (all vegetarian), or try this Cobnut, Wild Mushroom and Chestnut Stir Fry (vegetarian or easily made vegan - if you don’t serve it with the suggested chicken!). Most triumphant of all, is Yotam Ottolenghi’s decadent Fruit and Cobnut Crumble Cream (vegetarian). Find out more about the hazel tree here
EVENT PAVEMENT PERFORMERS The incredible Devizes Street Festival has been condensed into one day this year, and all the acts are ‘home-brewed’ rather than the usual star-spangled international affair. Discover some of the UK’s finest circus acts, musicians, dancers and street performers in the town’s market place. Among them are all-woman acrobat troupe Mimbre, watch a bike-powered eco musical and watch the story of a sea giant who rises from the ocean in Out of the Deep Blue. All free, Monday.
DO PLAY OUT Make the most of the summer with outdoor games. We’ve got a great selection of ideas from Mission Impossible obstacle courses to prop-free pirate fantasies and group skipping. The nights are drawing in, but that shouldn’t stop the fun. Bring your flashlights and play torch tag, or torch limbo. Smaller children will enjoy I-Spy and making animal shadows, while older kids love the big team games Capture The Flag and Ghosts in the Graveyard. These activities are also perfect for when you’re camping in a group.
EVENT BANG CRASH WALLOP! Create a story-themed soundscape using sound makers from around your home. Join musician IRIDIS online and record a musical creation - you’ll get to keep it afterwards. Part of the Midlands Arts Centre’s Summer Soundscapes series. Free, but limited capacity; sign up quickly! Best for 7+
WHAT WE’RE READING Play streets are back – and not a moment too soon! Alison Stenning has been running a play street in North Shields for almost six years, as well as supporting other residents to run play streets across North Tyneside through play.meet.street. She also researches play on streets at Newcastle University. In this blog she shares the joy on her street at being able to play out again. Read it here
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING The BBC’s Ghosts is the story of a cash-strapped young couple inherit a rickety country mansion, only to find it teeming with needy ghosts. It can be tricky to find programmes that make the whole family laugh, but this more grown-up comedy from the Horrible Histories team is great to watch with older kids and teens and will make you chuckle too. Watch the whole series here