05 March 2015

10 ways to entertain the kids this Easter weekend

Easter is fast approaching, promising four glorious days off work and a feast of chocolate. Not always a happy mix. If you’re already wondering how to keep sugar-filled children amused from Good Friday to Easter Monday, here’s a basket-load of ideas to help you make the most of the bank holiday.

Go on an Easter egg hunt

Exploring local landmarks has never been such a tasty proposition. Over the Easter weekend 300 National Trust properties across the UK are hosting Cadbury ‘eggsplorer’ trails around their grounds and gardens. As well as donning wellies and following the clues to yummy chocolate eggs, kids can get their faces painted and play giant Snakes and Ladders1. It costs £2 per trail, plus the usual admissions price.

Have an afternoon at the movies

A fantastic, feel-good, family film is always a favourite, especially when bad weather looms. Fortunately DreamWork’s Animation’s new 3D movie ‘Home’ hits cinemas the week before Easter. It is the story of a loveable alien that lands on Earth and ends up on the run, aided by an adventurous girl on a quest of her own. Heart-warming as a hot-cross bun.

Nationwide has teamed up with DreamWorks Animation’s HOME for some fantastic Home-related prizes, including free family cinema passes, and a holiday for four in Orlando, to visit the Kennedy Space Centre. Log into the Simply Rewards website for more details.

Have a go at making hot-cross buns

Learning how to bake these Easter beauties keeps kids entertained, fills the house with amazing smells and creates a whole heap of delicious treats. Try this simple hot-cross bun recipe from Jamie Oliver, or if you want more hands-on tuition head to one of the many food festivals opening in the UK over the weekend2. At Broadstairs Food Festival in Kent you’ll find kids’ workshops in bread making, and admission is free.

Find fossils on the foreshore

Not all finds need be chocolatey - searching the coast for the remains of creatures from millions of years ago is an amazing way to spend a day. From Whitby in North Yorkshire to the Isle of Wight, Britain’s shores are littered with fossils3, and in many spots experts run guided hunts. At Lyme Regis there are guided fossil walks every morning over the Easter weekend. They cost £11 for adults and £6 for kids.

Take the plunge with an outdoor swim

The long weekend will see spots like the Serpentine in Hyde Park fill-up with people celebrating spring with a wild swim, but for more adrenalin-fuelled family fun you could give freshwater coasteering in Cornwall a go. There are zip wires, huge swings and lots of ingenious ways to get wet at Adrenalin Quarry near Liskeard. A family pass will get you and the kids in for £52.50.

Get hands-on with dinosaurs

As if jaw-dropping exhibits about life on earth weren’t enough to excite young minds, the Natural History Museum in London is also holding special events over Easter – like its maritime puppet show ‘Tales From The Deep’ and a ‘Dino Scene Investigation’ where kids get to handle some of the museum’s fossils and excavate a dinosaur skull. Both are free, as is entry, but you will need to book.

Watch a Punch and Judy show

Even in the age of iPads, a flashback to some classic seaside puppetry is guaranteed to keep children engrossed. Expect the usual crocodiles, strings of sausages, hapless policemen and Punch and Judy themselves causing a ruckus at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire; its Victorian Fairground will also feature a helter skelter, carousel and swing boats. It’s £13.50 for adults, £6.60 per child, and £36 for a family of four.

Build a den in the woods

Muddy hands, piles of leaves, wild time in the fresh air – there are few things more fun than learning how to fashion your own home in the trees. Children can find their inner ape up and down the country with National Trust running den-building workshops at many of its properties, as well as more urban woody spaces like Morden Hall Park in South London.

Blow and paint an egg

Get the newspaper down and the paint pots out and the kids will be busy for hours turning that egg into something worthy of Fabergé. And it’s easy to get an empty shell - just make a hole at either end of an egg, pierce the yolk and blow the contents out into a bowl4. Then the little ones can paint away and you can award prizes for the best. Oh, and make omelettes for lunch.

Try some kitchen-table experiments

A little DIY science can be fun, pretty educational and it doesn’t require any special ingredients other than stuff you can find in the kitchen cupboards. All you need to create a volcano that spews molten lava is some modelling clay, washing up liquid and bicarbonate of soda. Or – to keep it seasonal – you could have a go at creating ‘rubber’ eggs by sitting them in vinegar for three days. The shells’ hardness will dissolve, creating a strange illusion for someone on Easter morning.

DreamWorks HOME © 2015 DreamWorks Animation L.L.C. All Rights Reserved.

1 Families
2 The Festival Calendar
3 UK Fossils Network
4 WikiHow

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