Lots to do over summer holidays

pat. Nine-year-old Matthew Chalice and five-year-old Amelia Walker are seen through the spiderweb sculpture at Studfold Farm in Nidderdale. 090629GS9h.

pat. Nine-year-old Matthew Chalice and five-year-old Amelia Walker are seen through the spiderweb sculpture at Studfold Farm in Nidderdale. 090629GS9h.

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Now the school holidays are well and truly upon us, many of the usual clubs, playgroups, activities and classes have disbanded until September.

As much as I love my little darlings, September feels an awful long way off. Without my usual weekly structure (and without any sign of actual summer weather) I’m looking for as many activities as I can find to help keep them busy over the next few weeks.

Like a lot of people I tend to get stuck in a bit of a rut with the activities I do, so it’s been a bit of an eye-opener when I started looking to see what was going on throughout the summer hols.

I mentioned the toy library briefly last week. It is a brilliant facility run by a group of volunteer mums who run twice weekly Stay and Play sessions based at Harrogate High School. They run on a Monday and Friday from 10am until noon. They operate a toy loan scheme where families can borrow all sorts of toys and then bring them back and swap them for something else.

The Harrogate Children’s Centres are also a fantastic resource and are running throughout the summer. The centres offer various programmes from music and rhyme sessions, birth preparation classes, and grandparents drop ins as well as the usual health visitor and midwife clinics.

I would particularly recommend the stay and play sessions for the under fives which are run as a free service by the council. There are some fabulous toys for all ages and for me it makes a pleasant change for the kids to trash, erm, I mean play, in someone else’s domain rather than in my own house.

There are five different centres covering Harrogate, and others elsewhere in the county. The details of which and the full programme of events can all be found on the North Yorkshire County Council website and then searching for children’s centres.

Once again Harlow Carr Gardens has a fun-filled summer programme planned with the Great Garden Adventure. There will be weekly themes each centred on a different continent.

Every day there will be giant garden games, a plant hunter trails flag making workshop and giant musical instruments, for the individual continent workshops keep an eye on the “What’s On” listings in this newspaper.

The Hydro swimming pool is running additional fun sessions throughout the holidays every week day from 3.15pm until 4.45pm and at weekends 2.15pm until 3.45pm. Full swim timetables can be found on Harrogate Borough Council webpage by searching “holiday hotspots”.

There are plenty of activities available in the area’s numerous parks. In Conyngham Hall, Knaresborough; Valley Gardens in Harrogate and the Spa Gardens in Ripon there are bookable tennis courts, pitch and putt and crazy golf. The Valley Gardens also has the benefit of Frisbee. golf and the skate park.

If you know of any other upcoming family events in and around the area then please let me know so that I can spread the news to other mums (who like me, are probably pulling their hair out already these school holidays!). If you have a child friendly business and would like me to review your facilities for this column then also please drop me an email.

What’s on

Harlow Carr Gardens Africa Week. See www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/harlow-carr for full event programme. Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29. Mini hand drums: 11am-1pm and 2-4pm

Saturday, July 28

10am: Zumba on The Stray, plus Family Fun Day at Oatlands Stray for the Prince’s Trust. The day will consist of two adult Zumba classes and two children’s Zumba classes as well as a family fun day (free admission) with bouncy castles, a bungee race, beat the goalie, face painting, food stalls, tombola, raffle and lots more. For more details please on how to purchase tickets to the Zumba classes and the days events please visit our website www.zumbaonthestray.co.uk.

10.30am-5.30pm: Bug Hunting at Studfold. Explore, discover & learn trail. Bug hunting and craft ideas - make a crazy bug! Weather permitting. See www.studfold.com.

5.30-7pm: Family Skate Roller Disco, Ashville Sports Centre (every week).

Tuesday, July 26

2-4pm: Starbeck library. Make suncatchers, keyrings and windchimes (ages three-11, book in advance).

Wednesday, August 1

11am-4pm: Family Play Day at the Valley Gardens.