Families Birmingham November/December 21 Digital

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Birmingham

IN THIS ISSUE

Where is Santa? Christmas Gift Guide Family Life

November/December 2021

Familiesonline.co.uk

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2 November/December

14/10/2021 12:18

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CONTENTS

In this issue

Welcome

4 9 11 12 17 18

It’s time to start planning for Christmas! We have everything you need right here, from fun-to-make Christmas decorations and teachers’ gifts to Christmas recipes, games, gifts, songs, audiobooks and ideas to keep the kids busy on Christmas Eve.

Education Tween Clubs, Classes & Activities Christmas Part 1 Early Years Ladder Challenge downloadable 19 Health 20 Family Life 22 Christmas Part 2 26 Christmas Animal Encounters 27 What’s On

Get in touch Families Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield magazine is part of Families Print Ltd, a franchise company. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. Families is a registered trademark of LCMB Ltd, Remenham House, Regatta Place, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5TD. The contents of Families Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield are fully protected by copyright and none of the editorial or photographic matter may be reproduced in any form without prior consent of Families Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield magazine. Every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine, but Families Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield magazine, our distributors, the franchise company, Families Print Ltd and Lifecycle Marketing cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents, or any consequence thereof.

I U G Q I N Z X X F P J Y O U L N B T A X Q N L M B F C Q L X I C E F I S H I N G E D I V H N E A N Q S J B I J A W N A S U W S N O W F L A K E T G Z N N S T N D U Y F I A D F G X O V U K Z O E R F A L D B E C W E Z E Y O W H E G N W Z I Z

In our Education section, find out how to manage the stresses sometimes associated with homework and tips for encouraging your child to become an independent learner. Do you have a child with a challenge to undertake? Download the Ladder Challenge from this issue to take it step by step. Finally, we have some great treats for you in our Christmas Gift Giveaway. Don’t forget to apply! And sign up at familiesmag.co.uk/go to receive every issue of this magazine free to your inbox.

Suzanne Editor, Families Birmingham

Festive Fun Word search There are lots of fun and exciting things to see and do on a trip to Santa’s Lapland, can you help us find them all in this word search? Santa, Reindeer, Snowflake, Elves, Husky, Snowmobile, Ice Fishing, Sleigh, Snow Hockey

H M S M G Z G M E I Z S Z M B O N L S A N T A O Q N K T B G C K E K T G C P M B K D A H R K T I Y E L V E S P I Y E L W E X G O Q U M Y A X Z L X E Z Y S H A K S A E F U S J E I R R O E H I H O C P B C K J H G

Imagine seeing all these in person in snowy Lapland, to find out more visit SantasLapland.com DOWNLOAD WORD SEARCH

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DOWNLOAD MORE ACTIVITIES

November/December 3


EDUCATION

Finding the right tutor for your child By Kate Hilpern Here’s some ideas of where to start. Word of mouth. Asking around is the most effective and popular way to source good tutors. Parents whose children have just done the relevant exam, if that’s what you’re preparing for, are often the best source. Your child’s school. Talk to your child’s teachers. They may be happy to help out a little outside school or know of other people who tutor. Tutor agencies. While you are not getting a tutor recommended to you by someone you know, you can pick the one who seems most compatible and switch if it doesn’t work out. Website agencies. Parents can interview or chat with as many potential tutors as they like before agreeing to start tutoring. Be aware, however, that there may be little support if things go wrong. What questions should you ask a prospective tutor? What is your educational background? Particularly in the subject they are teaching. How much tutoring experience do you have? Are they fully up to date with the current curriculum?

4 November/December

How will you tell if you’re suited to tutoring my child? Do they adapt to children who might be very shy or boisterous? What are your tutoring methods? Is the work all done in the session? Will there be additional homework? What is your success rate? If they tutor for specific exams, do they achieve consistently good results? What hours are you available and where do you tutor? How long do you expect the tutoring to last? Do they teach fixed blocks or until everyone agrees the child is ready to ‘go solo?’ What are your fees? Any additional costs? Terms and conditions? Are materials and textbooks included? What happens if either of you have to cancel a session? Can you provide references and DBS records? Kate Hilpern is from The Good Schools Guide, the leading impartial source of information on schools in the UK, helping parents with every aspect of choosing the best education for their children. Familiesonline.co.uk


EDUCATION

Encouraging your child to become an independent learner By Bradley Busch and Edward Watson As children get older and progress within the education system, how they manage their time and how efficiently and effectively they study independently becomes an ever-increasing premium skill. So, what does academic research tell us about how parents can help facilitate this? Let’s look at three different but related techniques.

Introduce learners to effective goal setting. This must include Improving self-reflection. The more flexibility, short and long-term goals and enough challenge to maintain self-aware learners are, the more motivation. likely they are to manage potential distractions. Self-monitoring is READ MORE a skill that can be developed by encouraging children to ask themselves good questions, such as 11+ Tuition 16 years of 11+ experience ‘how can I get better?’ and ‘where do I do my best work?’ ®

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Better time management. Left to their own devices, people tend to procrastinate. Some studies have found that seventy five per cent of students consider themselves procrastinators, with fifty per cent procrastinating regularly and to a level that is considered problematic. Research suggests that most students are poor at estimating how long a task will take to complete, as they get distracted or face unexpected obstacles along the way. This is called ‘The Planning Fallacy.’ Find out more here.

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November/December 5


EDUCATION

DIY Christmas gifts for teachers Fabulously creative and low-cost presents that will excite your kids and delight their teachers.

Make Christmas brownies in a jar

Create origami bookmarks

Make a homemade candle

Make scented soap

Bake a bird feeder

Paint a Sharpie mug

Plant a succulent mini pot

Make a rice heat bag

Create a tissue paper vase

6 November/December

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EDUCATION

What homework should my child get? By Lisa Wander and Catherine Loble Here’s our rough guide. Reception. Formal homework is rarely set. However, children are likely to bring home first reading books. Listening to your child read is invaluable. Years 1 and 2. One or two literacy or numeracy tasks weekly. Children should spend no longer than thirty minutes on each task. Daily reading with your child is essential. Years 3 and 4. Most schools set two homework activities per week of up to forty five minutes each, typically, one literacy and one numeracy. Years 5 and 6. Two or three pieces of homework weekly totalling approximately two hours per week, in preparation for SATs and transition to secondary school.

Lisa and Catherine are cofounders of EmParenting, which works with schools and parents to strengthen children’s core qualities like kindness and offers insights and tools to nurture their development and wellbeing.

Top tips for homework support A quiet, designated homework area where everything they need is accessible. A regular study time. Avoid late in the day. Encourage regular breaks. Eliminate distractions. Ensure screens are off and out of reach. Start with the hardest work first. Then the rest of the work will feel easier! Praise work and effort to encourage a positive response to homework. Teach by example. Work at the same time in the same space, if possible. Accept help, when needed, from YouTube videos, websites like Khan Academy or even tutors. Familiesonline.co.uk

November/December 7


EDUCATION

Things to know about class WhatsApp groups By Claire Winter Love them or loathe them school class WhatsApp groups make it incredibly easy and quick to communicate with a community with common interests. But, as with most things, there are pros and cons! Pros Messages from other parents act as a valuable reminder of the important that keyword will appear. things you were told in emails from your child’s school but have To respond to a specific message, forgotten. hold your finger on the screen over that message and click the Sub-groups are fabulous for backwards arrow. You’ll see the organising the dialogue and message you want to respond to mean you can easily be in touch appear in the chat box and you write with individual parents or groups your reply underneath. of parents with specific shared interests. Getting overwhelmed by different chats in different groups? Decide Cons which groups are important and politely leave the rest. Expect flurries of panicked, confused and last-minute threads! Don’t use your class group like Not everybody in the class group your personal social media will always check email or previous pages and post irrelevant videos, threads. If you are getting confused photographs, memes, conspiracy yourself, always go back to the theories and articles. Or ask for official school correspondence. medical advice! This type of usage can cause tension. Tips for using WhatsApp You can also mute notifications by To find information on a clicking the profile at the top and particularly topic quickly, press selecting mute if you don’t want to the three dots in the corner of your be constantly pinged all day. screen and click ‘search.’ Type in a keyword and messages that have 8 November/December

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TWEEN

Tween sleep habits By Chris Skeat

It’s just as hard for tweens to get a good night’s sleep, as it is for their parents! Pre-teen/teen experts at wearetwixt offer tips on healthy sleep habits for this age group. Children ages 10 to 12 years should get between nine hours fifteen minutes and nine hours forty five minutes of sleep a night (NHS). But, at puberty (on average, between 10-12 for girls and 12-16 for boys), children’s natural sleep patterns may start shifting. Sleep is essential for forming and maintaining pathways in the brain that facilitate learning and create new memories but research shows we’re now having two hours less sleep a night than in the 1960s. A key reason? The blue light from digital screens suppresses the body’s sleep hormone, melatonin, which helps us drift off. Banish the blue-light According to a BBC survey, fifty seven per cent of the UK’s children sleep with their mobile phones by their bed and forty two percent of children always keep their phones with them, never turning them off. But a pre-bedtime screen time cutoff and no access to technology in the bedroom is crucial for a good night’s sleep. Switch off before bedtime Fifteen to twenty minutes before Familiesonline.co.uk

bed the first week, building to sixty or ninety minutes. How can bedtime routines and bedroom set ups also improve tween sleep? READ MORE

Enter our Christmas Gift Giveaway! T&Cs apply Young Drivers Driving Experience

Silverstone Lap of Lights Experience

Brave Girls’ Book Club

Storytime magazine subscription

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November/December 9


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10 November/December

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CLUBS & CLASSES

Clubs, Classes and Activities

Kidslingo French

Rugbytots

Fun French classes for Learn catching, children with music, passing & kicking skills. games, drama and Ages 2–7. Staffordshire stories! Email. & Sutton Coldfield Tel: 07931 786 041. areas. Email for details.

S4 Swim

Dubarrie School of School holiday courses Dance

Pyjama Drama

Imaginative play classes for children filled with songs and drama. Email. Tel: 07776 837908

Masquerade Musical Theatre

designed to boost your child’s swimming development.

Ballet, Tap and Jazz age 2½+. Yardley & Solihull Tel: 0121 448 0055.

Youth Theatre Group, Age 5+. Sheldon Tel: 0121 722 3761.

Solihull Young Dancers

Little Kickers

BilinguaSing

Ballet and Tap Lessons. Classes from age 2½. Tel: Kate on 07722 732678. Familiesonline.co.uk

Football classes for 18 months-7yrs.

Spanish/French songfilled sensory classes for babies, toddlers and young children. Tel: 07539 863024 November/December 11


CHRISTMAS

Great Christmas gifts for kids Check out our Families gift guide for ideas that will inspire and excite your child - many without lots of packaging!

Brave Girls’ Book Club subscription box

Storytime magazine subscription

Baked In Junior Baking Club subscription box

Diverse stories & powerful protagonists. Ages 7-12. £17 per month.

For story-loving kids! Ages 4-11. From £38.99.

Child-friendly recipes for mini-bakers. Ages 5-11. From £7.50 per month.

Young Driver driving lessons

Scamp & Dude superpower PJs

So Slime DIY Ice Cream Factory

SnapWatch

Waboba Moon Ball

Get behind the wheel for a memorable driving experience. Ages 4+.

Snaps around the wrist and stays. Interactive, easy to use. Ages 5-12. £9.99 + p&p. 12 November/December

PJs with Superpower Button! Boosts and comforts when most needed. From £28.

Pops and bounces to 100ft! Ages 5+.

Create three squishy slime ice creams - fluffy, icee and scented. Ages 6+. £20.

Wildflower kit

Three bamboo pots ready to plant. Six hundred seeds to attract bees! £20. Familiesonline.co.uk


CHRISTMAS

Christmas gift ideas for adults Eco-friendly, no-clutter and truly memory-making. Check out the Families guide to gift experiences for parents.

Silhouette sitting with Charles Burns Virtual sitting with the famous silhouettist of Royals/celebs. From £45.

WSET Level 1 Award in Wines

Give the gift of wine knowledge! Highlyregarded award, perfect for beginners.

Box 42 Uncharted Love Island box Tropical fun. Themed activities & Spotify playlist. From £31.99 per mth.

Books that Matter Silverstone driving Bloom & Wild book box experience letterbox flowers Thought-provoking and inspiring novel, plus feminist and bookish gifts. From £17 per mth.

Epsom Bakehouse bread making Learn to bake, online classes. Baguettes to brioche. From £19.99.

Familiesonline.co.uk

Huge range of letterbox bouquets delivered monthly for your giftee to curate.

Get behind the wheel of a single-seater race car or top of the range supercar. From £189.

Flying lesson

Fender Play guitar lessons

Learn how to pilot an aircraft in two amazing thirty minute lessons.

Legendary guitar brand with online platform. Easy-to-follow lessons.

November/December 13


CHRISTMAS

Christmas audiobooks for the family Grab some blankets and mugs of hot chocolate and curl up to listen to these fabulous Christmas tales.

A Christmas Carol

Mog’s Christmas

A Season of Gifts

Enid Blyton’s Christmas Stories

A Boy Called Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Ages 6+ (2 hours & 44 minutes).

Ages 2+ (8 minutes).

Ages 9+ (3 hours & 50 minutes).

Ages 7+ (4 hours & 42 minutes).

Ages 9+ (4 hours & 26 minutes).

Ages 3+ (12 minutes).

Tumtum and Nutmeg’s Christmas Adventure

Mrs Claus and the Christmas Adventure

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Ages 3+ (1 hour & 26 minutes).

14 November/December

Ages 4+ (1 hour & 9 minutes).

Ages 8+ (1 hour & 26 minutes). Familiesonline.co.uk


CHRISTMAS

Keeping kids busy on Christmas Eve Daytime

Evening

Bake some Christmas goodies. Make gingerbread, shortbread cookies or cakes for everyone to enjoy. Make handmade decorations. Allow the kids to decorate their bedrooms with bunting or paper chains and make some lastminute items for the tree. Feed the birds. Hang edible treats or a feeder in the garden so birds can have a Christmas dinner too. Go ice-skating. Nothing more festive than visiting a local popup ice rink! Attend a nativity service. Local churches often welcome all to their yearly, special celebration.

Do a local Christmas light tour. Get some fresh air and check out the neighbourhood decorations. Snuggle up. Have a pizza dinner, watch a film or read a Christmas story. Go carol singing. Wrap up warm and treat neighbours to your angelic voices - keeping a safe distance, of course. Enjoy a Christmas Eve box. Great for relieving restlessness, if the budget allows. Source a board game or jigsaw from a charity shop and add new PJs, a Christmas decoration, mug, activity book and healthy snacks. Don’t forget to leave a snack out for Santa and his reindeers!

Make wildlife-friendly reindeer food! Make a great snack to help Santa’s reindeers keep going on Christmas Eve. It’s good for other wildlife too! Check out this great reindeer food recipe from the RSPCA. READ MORE Familiesonline.co.uk

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November/December 15


CHRISTMAS

Best family Christmas recipes For the best fun cooking and eating!

Kid-friendly fruit mince pies

Gingerbread men

Strawberry Santa pancakes

Snowman marshmallow pops

White Christmas crackles

Peanut butter cookie dough reindeers

Snowman pizza

Easy family Christmas nut roast

Cheese stars

16 November/December

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EARLY YEARS

Improving your little one’s speech and language post-pandemic By Joanne Jones Masks, social distancing, no parenting clubs or classes and no visitors to the house...that was the theme of the pandemic. Consequently, children have had less experience of full faces, watched fewer mouths and played fewer turn-taking games such as ‘I smile, you smile’ with strangers. Babies and toddlers acquire many of the skills involved in learning to talk from copying and reading facial expressions and copying mouth movements. So, post-pandemic, many parents report that their children are struggling to learn language or to use the words they already know in conversation.

together. • Your child is not using ‘learned phrases’ to communicate. • Your child is not chewing or only eating a limited diet and words are not being used. If any of the above signs ring true for you, firstly, talk to your Health Visitor and ask about a referral to Speech Therapy.

Here are the key signs to look out for that might mean your young child would benefit from some extra Waiting times may be lengthy but help: there are things you can do to help • Your baby/toddler is not babbling your child make progress in the meantime. and making a variety of sounds. • Your baby/toddler is not watching You are your child’s best teacher your face when you talk. and you can make up for their limited earlier experiences. • Your baby/toddler is not developing their play abilities to Implement some of the following include a variety of skills. ideas. • Your child is not using some words by 18 months old. READ MORE • Your two year old is not combining two or more words Familiesonline.co.uk

November/December 17


The Ladder Challenge Help your child take on a difficult challenge – one step at a time! Download this activity and instructions to get started.

The Ladder Challenge Taking on a difficult challenge – one step at a time Instructions for use We face new challenges every day, and some can seem so big that we want to run in the opposite direction to avoid them! The best thing to do to make a challenge less scary is to break it down into steps so you can build up the confidence to tackle it. Look at the ladder on the next page to see how a big challenge can be broken down into simple steps. Now use the empty ladder and write the thing you find most challenging at the top. Next, think about what smaller steps you can take to reach your goal and write them on each step – ask your grownup to help if you like. Building up your confidence with each step will equip you with the positive mindset needed to tackle any challenge. The Ladder Challenge is an activity for children taken from The Happy Workbook: The Feel Good Activity Book by Imogen Harrison, published by Summersdale.

Final rehearsal the night before

Practise in front of your family

Sing song loudly on s way to sc the ho in the car ol Practise front of yoin grown-upur

Read alou on your owd n

DOWNLOAD FOR YOUR KIDS HERE!

18 November/December

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Become weight neutral! It’s all too easy to talk about food and weight with and in front of our children in a way that may foster unhelpful attitudes towards body image and nutrition. Do you use either of the comments below or similar? Download our chart for some suggestions for alternative ways of thinking and speaking which may help foster more nurturing, mindful, conscious and intuitive eating habits and skills.

I can’t eat dessert because I’m on a diet.

Cakes and chocolate are bad for you.

Say This Nothing!

Swap these often used for others phrases Instead of Th is

Any comment about your ow child’s weight. n or another adu lt/ I wish I was ligh any thing that ter/heavier, had more muscl good bodies. rejects yours es…or or their body. Being overwe ight is unheal All bodies are thy. different and worth looking after. We have to los e weight to get I love moving happy. my body in new healthy and be and different ways. I nee d to exercise I’m not hungry more so I can for dessert rig eat treats. ht now. I can’t eat des sert because Are you hungry I’m on a diet. in your head or in your tummy ? You can only hav dinner. (Overr e dessert if you eat up all idin of moralising goo g hunger and fullness cue your s and d/bad/treat/hea guilt/virtue cyc lthy reinforces We can enjoy le). a cakes and cho and carrots and colate and pep pers grapes and app Cakes and cho le and banana colate are bad s… for you. Did you know veggies can hel bodies do am azing things? p our brains and You must eat up your veggie s because the good for you. y are I’m hungry! a burger sounds nice today. I’m going to be Let ’s get outsid bad and have a burger for lun e for some fre sh air. ch. We need to go We’re not hav for a walk to bur ing n some calorie and yoghurt ins cake right now, we’re hav s. ing fruit We’re tead. not having cak e for snack, bec healthy. ause it’s not Our bodies are am azing! They’re change shape designed to many times as I wish I cou older. we grow up and get be big and ld lose the baby weight; boy s should strong! Isn’t it wonde rfu kinds of faces l to have 7.5+ billion differe and bodies on nt Isn’t so-and-so the planet? (appearance really pretty, handsome, stro pra good/bad/bet ise reinforces stereotypes ng (to someone ter/worse)? and who has change d weight) However well How are you? inte will always hav ntioned… ‘weight change e praising an eat unknown impact , we cou praise’ ld ing condition or sim disorder, an underlying be health ply equating wo rth with body size. Nothing!

All bodies are

With thanks to through intuit Nutriri, an organisation cre ive eating an ated by volun d movement for joy courses, teers to offer weight neutr al support, hypnotherapy 1:1 or in group s.

DOWNLOAD NOW! Familiesonline.co.uk

November/December 19


FAMILY LIFE

Living safely with a dog

Understanding under 5s

By Caroline Wilkinson

By Dr Sarah Mundy

For children, having a dog for a pet can provide so many social benefits - from having a ‘friend’ to share their worries with, to learning how to be caring and responsible. In fact, being around dogs has benefits for the whole family, with the household more likely to be physically active and suffer lower levels of stress.

One moment a young child can seem like a rational human being, the next, for no apparent reason, a little monster! How do we understand what’s going on for them?

To enjoy all the benefits, we need to ensure that children are helped to act safely around the dogs they live with. So how can we do this? READ MORE

Our ability to understand our children, think about their feelings and experiences and hold their mental states in mind is ‘predictive of their child’s attachment relationships, ability to understand and manage their feelings and social and play skills’ (Fonagy et al, 2002). READ MORE

Top tip for dog care Write a list of the daily jobs including feeding, providing water, grooming, providing social interaction, training and walking. Assign a job to each family member. It eases the load on you PLUS it gives everyone an opportunity to have a social relationship with your dog. 20 November/December

Familiesonline.co.uk


FAMILY LIFE

Overcoming racial bullying

Moving from two incomes to one

By Tamsy Ashman

By Steve Hennessy

Studies show that, recently, racial bullying has increased in schools. A poll of one thousand children aged 6 to 15 found about thirty two percent of children had heard someone be racist at school. (The Guardian, 2020). So what can we do to overcome racial bullying? READ MORE

Only Mums & Dads support parents to make the best decisions for their family during separation/divorce. Their inbox indicates that one of the most common anxieties for a couple separating is transitioning from a two-income to a single-income household. READ MORE

Travelling with children with different surnames By Emma Newman

Planning to head abroad this year? Are you are a parent with a different surname to your child? If so, you may be required to prove that you are your child’s legal guardian. So what documentation do you need to take when you travel? READ MORE Familiesonline.co.uk

November/December 21


CHRISTMAS

Make your own Christmas decorations Get the whole family in the mood for Christmas with a crafty decoration-making afternoon.

Lemon star biscuits

Button snowflake

DIY wrapping paper

Sugar charms

Christmas crackers

Glue string ball

Paper snowflake wreath

Paper Christmas tree decorations

Festive pine cone mouse

22 November/December

Familiesonline.co.uk


CHRISTMAS

Christmas song sing-along Tunes to get the whole family busting their lungs and up and dancing!

Santa Shark

Underneath the tree

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

Rudolph the RedNosed Reindeer

Last Christmas

Frosty the Snowman

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

All I Want for Christmas is You

Merry Christmas Everybody

Familiesonline.co.uk

November/December 23


CHRISTMAS

Christmas games for the family Some of the best fun at Christmas can be had playing games. Here’s our top seasonal picks.

Christmas song emoji guessing game

Christmas bingo

Outdoor Christmas scavenger hunt

Christmas charades

Christmas memory match

Christmas scent game

Candy cane fishing game

Who am I?

Pin the nose on the reindeer

24 November/December

Familiesonline.co.uk


CHRISTMAS

What can I recycle after Christmas? Christmas cards

Christmas trees

Save to make into gift tags. Cut into pieces for kids’ projects. Or recycle BUT only AFTER cutting off any glitter, ribbons, foil, plastic and other unrecyclable elements.

Cut, real Christmas trees: can be recycled and councils often have a specific collection for this. Living Christmas trees: can be replanted for use next year. Artificial Christmas trees: CANNOT be recycled. Reuse or give away.

MORE INFO

MORE INFO

Enter our Christmas Gift Giveaway!

Decorations

T&Cs apply Young Drivers Driving Experience

Silverstone Lap of Lights Experience

Brave Girls’ Book Club

Storytime magazine subscription

More gifts available

APPLY HERE Magazine

Familiesonline.co.uk

Plastic, glitter or glass: CANNOT be recycled. Reuse or donate to charity shops if in good condition. Natural wreaths: compost if they have no glitter. Fairy lights: CAN be recycled at household waste recycling centres. MORE INFO November/December 25


OUT & ABOUT

Christmas Animal Encounters By @girlaboutbirmingham From Little Donkey to Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, Christmas isn’t Christmas without our furry friends! 1. Rub noses with reindeer Woods Farm is home to some majestic reindeers. While you are there, why not visit their shop, Woods Barn. I challenge you not to spend a large portion of your Crimbo budget on their exquisite decorations!

in my house (yes despite having three boys!) and so, the Christmas spectacular at Twycross Zoo has caught my eye. See the Mrs. Claus Kitchen and watch the Ice Queen Show in the North Pole Plaza. Another wild idea is Santa Safari at West Midlands Safari Park.

2. Stroke the donkey in the stable You could meet donkeys at The Old Rectory Farm, Sheldon County Park and Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary. Both places request only READ FULL ARTICLE a donation. 3. A dog is for life If you have a dog why not visit the Doggy Grotto at Planters Garden Centre, Sutton Coldfield. Would the kids love to borrow someone’s pooch? Try BorrowMyDoggy.

TM

BE PART OF THE MAGIC THIS WINTER AND JOIN US FOR THIS MUCH-LOVED CLASSIC…

06 – 09 JAN 2022

How about husky sledding? There’s UK9, Leicestershire and Mynydd Sleddog Adventures, North Wales. 4. Rockin’ robin A lovely free activity and a way to add a Christmassy element to your winter walks is to look for the muchloved robin. Top robin spots I’ve come across locally are Moseley Bog, Clowes Wood, Earlswood and Brueton Park, Solihull. 5. Zoo days We are big fans of the movie Frozen 26 November/December

0121 236 4455

birmingham-rep.co.uk Copyright © Snowman Enterprises Limited 2021. THE SNOWMAN™ is a trademark of Snowman Enterprises Limited

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The Ray by D Coa


WHAT’S ON

What’s on CHRISTMAS THEATRE

10 Dec – 3 Jan Cinderella 2021 Pantomime 20 Nov – 17 Dec The Core Theatre, Solihull Alice in Featuring Wonderland Old Rep Theatre, fabulous frocks and side-splitting Birmingham Alice goes down slapstick. An unmissable treat. the rabbit hole and enters 18 Dec – 30 Jan a strange Goldilocks and Wonderland the Three Bears adventure. Birmingham Hippodrome 7 - 24 Dec Roll up, roll up Cinderella Sutton Coldfield to see panto join the circus. A Town Hall A magical family must-see festive extravaganza. pantomime.

26 Dec – 9 Jan Stick Man: Live on Stage Town Hall, Birmingham Funny and utterly original, Stick Man is back on stage in Birmingham.

27 - 28 Nov MiniChristmas, ThinkTank Birmingham MiniBrum needs decorating for the festive season. Can your child help?

6 - 9 Jan The Snowman Birmingham Repertory Theatre A young boy’s snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve in this enchanting live show.

27 Nov - 2 Jan Christmas at Alton Towers

WHERE IS SANTA? 13 Nov - 24 Dec Christmas Grotto at Webbs, West Hagley Beautiful wintery scenes, many surprises and meet Santa in his cosy cabin. 20 Nov - 24 Dec Visit Santa in his Grotto, National Sealife Centre Birmingham A Merry ‘Fishmas’ adventure with Santa and his Elves.

Familiesonline.co.uk

See the Lightopia Seasonal Wonderland. Thurs 2 Dec A Victorian Evening, Hoar Park A jolly and seasonal evening with hog roast, free mulled wine, mince pies, hot chestnuts and more. Meet Father Christmas. 5pm. 11 & 12 Dec Father Christmas at Blakesley Activity pack, Christmas market, festive treats, and meet Santa. 17 & 19 Dec Father Christmas at Aston Hall Meet Santa in this grand old mansion. Each child will receive a small gift. November/December 27