Thursday 9 August 2018

Playtime at the Whitworth Art Gallery This Summer

We only get five weeks off for the summer holidays in Stockport (and two weeks at WHIT to compensate) so the summer holidays don't feel too long. With a two-week holiday planned and Ebony spending a week at a holiday club, we really only have two weeks to fill. One of those weeks was the very first week, and I decided I didn't want to waste a second of it.

I had decided we should pop in to see Laurie in Manchester, so I looked for somewhere to have a day out in the city centre. Last holidays, we went to the People's History Museum (amazing) and the Football Museum (Ebony has not stopped talking about the football training she did there... best 35 minutes of her life). We quite often go to Manchester Art Gallery because it's not far from Laurie's work and they usually have good activities on for the kids. But the kid's studio is at the top of the stairs and there is no door so I would spend the whole visit just trying to stop Ember hurling herself down the stairs. One-year-olds are no fun. So, I was looking for somewhere different to visit. 

After a bit of online research, I decided to take them to the Whitworth Art Gallery. Located on Oxford Road, it's a little further than we usually like to venture, but the summer activities sounded really good so I figured it would be worth it. We've only ever been once before when Ebony was a toddler and I remember being really impressed. 

It's a half hour walk from Manchester Piccadilly to the art gallery but I much prefer to walk than faff around with city centre buses. There are huge painted bees scattered across Manchester at the moment as part of the Bee In The City Trail, so we decided to try and find a few of these on the way. I hoped this would stop Ebony moaning about the walk. I downloaded the Bee In The Cit app which cost £1.99 and we ticked off all of the bees we found. By the end of the day, we have found 16 bees which Ebony was pleased with. And, as hoped, the search for the bees distracted her from the walk. In fact, she kept making us go the long way just so she could find more bees. 

We had a little picnic in Whitworth Park before heading into the gallery. As part of their summer holiday activities this year they are running Playtime. Essentially, it was a collection of toys, games and activities scattered around the art gallery to keep little ones entertained. With a four and a half year age gap, it's not always easy to find activities that work for both kids, but this was perfect. First up, we found a picnic basket of assorted shapes on a rug. Ebony made some patterns while Ember tried to eat the shapes, so everybody was happy. 

Through in the next time, there was a baby area set up. Ember borrowed a few of the toys from the baby area and had the time of her life hurling herself onto the cushions, banging sticks together and banging a drum. Meanwhile, Ebony was playing (I think) Minecraft on a computer with the help of a member of staff. Once Ember had terrified all of the babies in the baby area, we went down to the sandpit. The sandpit was huge and the sand was clean (hooray!) and there were lots of toys for the kids to play with. They had pipes and jugs and colanders. It was pretty busy when we were there but there was still plenty of room for all the kids to have fun. 

Once they'd had enough of the sand (which took quite a while), we headed out to the lawn games. It was a lovely sunny day and there were picnic blankets set up on the grass. They had huge wooden dominoes and Jenga and other games set up. There were families and friends sitting around playing games in the sun. My two found a huge connect four and busied themselves with that. 

I'd spotted some easels set up inside so I wanted to swing by and have a look at them before we left. They had plenty of blank paper and pencils ready so the kids could make a few sketches of their own. Ebony drew a bee (obviously) and Ember drew her entire family (represented by just a few squiggles) and then spent ten minutes running up and down a ramp while screaming (she has not yet got the hang of appropriate art gallery etiquette). 

We were probably there for an hour and a half and the kids enjoyed every minute of it. I think Ebony could happily have spent longer there but you have to rush when your toddler sister is running rampage around art. The Playtime activities were great and I would definitely recommend paying a visit to the Whitworth gallery this summer if you're in the area. 

Playtime runs 11 am - 3 pm every day until the 31 August 2018. You can find out more on the Whitworth Art Gallery's website.

fb com


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...