Thursday, 10 May 2012

All Apologies

 'Tyred' at Eureka!

 I have been very lax in updating this blog for the past few weeks for a myriad of reasons - mainly though, I'd started to feel like I'd done everything there was to do on a Friday with Samuel so felt very uninspired to write.

However, I've noticed a change in him over the past week or so; he seems to have suddenly, overnight, become a little boy - no longer a baby. So I'm feeling inspired again and ready to start exploring the world again.

A quick update then. Since I last posted we have attended two Friday birthday parties (both very different in scale and location, both very fun), visited MOSI again a few times for Experitots, been on holiday to a rainy Scarborough and visited Eureka! in Halifax with his Grandparents. All in all we've had a lovely time together.

Tomorrow brings something new for Samuel - a visit to The Bridgewater Hall to see The Casablanca Steps performing a free lunchtime concert. The Casablanca Steps are a 4 piece band who perform music from and influenced by the 1920's and 30's - I'm hoping Samuel will pick up a few Charleston steps!

Monday, 19 March 2012

What Shall We Do Today?

Last Friday, Samuel and I had no plans at all so we decided to just head into Manchester and see what happened. The first thing to happen was that Samuel was sick all down himself on the train, ruining his coat, all his clothes, his footmuff and the straps of his buggy. Following a quick change and a wipe down, he was back into his buggy, happy as Larry. A side note, if you're on a train and see a mum on her own trying to clean up a squirmy toddler, don't just move to the other end of the carriage, try offering some help...

Anyway. Once we arrived in Manchester, after a quick visit to Primark for a spare set of clothes to replace the spare set Samuel was now wearing, we went to Manchester Art Gallery for a play in the Clore Interactive Gallery. We borrowed a sensory bag from the information desk which contained lots of different textured items for Samuel to explore. True to form, he picked up a rubber ball and wandered around the gallery holding it.

After we'd been to the Gallery we headed to the Virgin Money Lounge so that Samuel could have a sleep and I could have a coffee in peace. The staff there are very welcoming and are happy for the two of us to just come along and use their facilities - and the great thing is, everything is free if you are a Virgin Money customer!

Refreshed, the two of us went to MOSI for a run around the Experiment gallery where Samuel played in the soft play area and had a good look around at all the flashing lights.

On the way home, he was sick again... poor Samuel :(

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Mini Art Club

On Friday Samuel and I tried the Mini Art Club at Manchester Art Gallery. From their website:

We...head up to galleries to explore and look for things related to the topic of the session - this could be autumn leaves, contrasting colours or faces. It's then back down to studio to explore materials and get messy. There are lots of materials to choose from and we encourage everyone to use their imagination to create something special and unique to them.

I had initially thought that he wouldn't be old enough to appreciate it as he struggled to concentrate at Creation Station recently, however I needn't have worried as it was a lot less structured in that there was plenty of space to walk around and play.

The theme for this week was Loops and Lace. First, we went up to the Craft and Design gallery where we were asked to look for the lace bowls; Samuel preferred however to just wander around exploring every corner. Unlike normal galleries this wasn't a problem as there were plenty of tactile objects that children are encouraged to interact with as well as string and lace cuttings scattered all over the floor for them to pick up and play with.

After we'd had a good look around we moved back downstairs and into the first Education space where there were rolling pins, clay, more lace cuttings and string and trays of white paint with rollers, brushes, black paper and acetate laid out on child sized benches. We were encouraged to make prints with the lace and string and also to use them to make imprints on the clay. The room was a great size for a child like Samuel who likes to be on the move as he was able to move around and explore all the areas with no restrictions.

The second Education space had most of the lights turned out and there were overhead projectors and light boxes laid out around the outside of the room. There was also lots of silver material and string making a type of maze in the middle and hula hoops for them to play with. The children were encouraged to put the string and lace onto the projectors, creating interesting shadows on the walls.


It was a messy session but great fun, we will definitely be visiting again!

As we were meeting Samuel's daddy when he finished work we decided to pass the time at MOSI in the afternoon, there were no specific sessions on for Samuel to attend but we just played in the soft play area and had a look around the Experiment gallery. We love MOSI, the soft play is great and I'm looking forward to Samuel being big enough to interact with the exhibits fully. For now though, there are plenty of flashing lights and moving objects to keep him entertained!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Treasure Baskets

On Friday 2nd March Samuel and I tried out the Treasure Baskets session at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.

I think he was probably a little old for the session as the aim of Treasure Baskets is to allow babies who can sit unsupported (but not yet crawl or walk) to explore baskets of found and natural objects, such as loofahs, brushes, torches, feathers and shiny material. Samuel did not want to sit and touch these objects, which surprised me as he loves textures, but instead he wanted to walk around the wide open spaces of the gallery and explore all the dark corners.

Once he'd exhausted the exploration opportunities, he did become captivated by the torches for a few minutes, and Carol, who was running the session, also fetched him a basket of musical instruments as I explained how much he loves to make a noise!

 There were not that many other babies there which was a shame but hopefully over time the session will become more popular as it was a lovely session for both babies and parents.

After the session, we went through to the cafe for lunch, I only had the soup and bread (from Barbakan in Chorlton so of course it was delicious!) due to money saving necessities but it was very filling - although I did need to order another portion of bread as Samuel decided that bread dipped in soup was a much preferable meal to his jar of Organix food!

All in all I would say it's definitely worth a visit if your baby is sitting unsupported or even crawling, but if your child is as active as mine then it's still a lovely session - just expect them to want to run around!

Monday, 27 February 2012


This week Samuel and I went to Experitots at MOSI in Manchester. We have been before but as it's only once a month it's really nice to see how Samuel has developed in the past month; what new toys he's attracted to, how fast he can get around and whether he's interested in the stories and songs. This time, all he wanted to do was make noise and walk around with a yellow plastic ball in each hand...Still, he had fun!

The Experiment! Gallery on the first floor of the main MOSI building is closed until 12pm to children over the age of 5 making it a lovely safe environment for toddlers and babies. As well as the usual soft play area and the child-focused experiments and displays, the MOSI staff cram hundreds of toys - blocks, dolls, play tents, balls, trains etc - into the space, meaning there is something different to do around every corner. For each Experitots session there is a theme - this month it was Out of This World - and for the last half hour two of MOSI's education team lead a story and song session around the theme. It's great fun!

The cafe at MOSI is fantastic with plenty of space and a huge number of highchairs. There is a kids section where they can pick 5 items for £3.95 (or just buy them seperately) and the adult menu is great too. I can't wait until next month to visit again!

Experitots runs one Friday a month (check the website for details of dates and theme) and is £3 for one child and an adult. It's advisable to email to book in advance as it fills up quickly.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Creation Station

Today Samuel and I (along with Samuel's daddy) tried out The Creation Station in Glossop. The Creation Station is a nationwide franchise of art and craft sessions for children aged 1-11. As Samuel is only 13 months I did wonder whether he would be ready for a class like this, but as it was the Valentines Day session I decided to show a little love and take him along.

The children are all given protective clothing, either full suits for the toddlers or plastic coats for the older children. The class then started with a welcome song and then some magic words and movement to open a box filled with the art materials that would be used that week.

 Once we had the materials unpacked, everyone took a seat and began to create! We made pictures of 'lovebirds' using paints, foam rollers, paintbrushes, sequins, feathers and tissue paper. We then made clay hearts which were then coated in red glitter and hung with ribbon. The children could then take these home with them. The class ended with washing of hands, and a goodbye song.

Overall I thought this was a lovely activity and one I will look forward to taking Samuel to in the future, however for now I think he may have been a little young as he mainly wanted to run around the room and explore. Having said that, he is a very active child and perhaps a child who is more willing to sit on their parents knee would get more out of the session.

You can book a class by emailing Sarah Kooper at The Glossop classes are currently 10am on a Friday at the Glossop Girl Guiding Hut on Dinting Vale.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Little Dudes

Just thought I'd share this fab website I discovered whilst exploring the things Samuel and I can do together:

Cleverly (and usefully, for me), it has a search facility that allows you to find things happening on specific days. Also you can search by age group, activity type and area. It covers most of South Manchester as well as Manchester City Centre, I've already found a few things that might prompt me to revisit my old haunts Didsbury and Chorlton. Have a look, there are some great ideas on there.