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the trade magazine for mums & DADS!

free! Cambridgeshire march / april 2014 issue #23

spring special

WIN! Free punting tickets for the entire 2014 season!

inside the science of play • how to enjoy a family holiday!

Top Gardening

showing this month at the luxe cinema in wisbech…

A local, friendly and reliable service offering:

Hedge trimming Grass cutting General garden maintenance Planting / Pruning and more…

Alexandra Road | Wisbech | PE13 1HQ The Luxe offers a lounge area for pre and post-film drinks and nibbles and a waitress service in the auditorium whilst relaxing in the comfort of a two seater sofa or an armchair!

2 for 1 offer! get two tickets for the price of one when quoting ‘Family 2 for 1’ or present this advert with you when booking!

Call 07768 578093 or 01945 429737

Family tickets £22, children under 13 £6 Adults £7 Box Office: 01945 588808

Contents & Competitions

Dear Reader, I always think that spring is the prettiest of months after the long, dull days of winter. Leo Tolstoy wrote, ‘spring is the time of plans and projects’ – so to help you plan the Easter holidays we have an issue packed full of events in Cambridgeshire over the Easter holidays. There’s also places in Cambridgeshire offering Easter camps and workshops to help provide safe, secure childcare and opportunities for children to learn a new skill and make new friends. Our competition this month is to win one of Scudamores new season tickets – you’ll be able to regularly take your friends and family punting along the beautiful College Backs or for a great picnic location you could head up to Grantchester Meadows . In the next issue we have a summer camp pre-view and party feature so please get in touch if you have a summer camp, party or event that you would like mentioned.

Happy Easter

What’s in this issue? 4 News & Views 6 What’s On Great days out and events to keep you and your family occupied over the Easter holidays. Correction: Families would like to take this opportunity to apologies for a printing error in the Nursery listings in the January/February issue, The Histon Early Years Centre is in fact rated outstanding rather than satisfactory as printed. The Histon Early Years Sure Start Centre offers integrated universal services for families with children up to the age of 5 and aims to provide a positive setting, where children and their families are happy, secure and feel valued. The setting has consistently been awarded with ofsted ratings of no less than Outstanding.

8 How to have a proper holiday when you are parents Everything changes when you have children, and nothing more than your annual holiday. But there are still ways to feel as though you’ve had a break.

10 T he Science of Play


Competition time! Punting Season Tickets – Win! New Punt whenever you want! cudamores have launched new Season Tickets for 2014 with a view to adding true value for Cambridgeshire residents. The aim is to allow locals to fully enjoy the River Cam without breaking the bank. Season Tickets entitle you to one self-hire session a day, seven days a week. This means that if you wanted, you could go punting every day between March and September. Each hire session can be as short as an hour or as long as all day, leaving you with plenty of time to master the art of punting. If you aren’t quite a professional punter you’ll be reassured to hear that their expert chauffeurs are always happy to give pointers and guidance to those with less experience. In addition to this, you can choose to try out one of the kayaks, Canadian canoes or rowboats instead of punting for the day. Should you wish to punt more than once this year then you’ll already be saving money by getting your hands on a ticket (Newton - £150), for the best deal of all, grab yourself a shared ticket with your friend (Pepys - £180) and either you or your friend will be able to hire a boat from us every day of the season.

Last months competition winner was Isabel Gibbs from Fen Ditton


HOW TO ENTER What is the name of the shared ticket a) Pepys or b) Newton? Enter by submitting your answer online by the 4th April at

Families Cambridgeshire is part of the Families group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under license.. We take every care preparing the magazine, but the publishers and distributers cant be held responsible for the claims of advertisers, the accuracy of the contents nor for any correspondences.

15,000 copies of Families Cambridgeshire available through schools, nurseries, hospitals, clubs and classes, selected shops and restaurants. If you would like copies for your establishment please let us know.

Don’t miss a copy! Receive Families Cambridgeshire by post for just £9.30 for 6 issues (1 year) or £18 for 12 issues (2 years). Call or email for a subscription form.

Cover image: © Benjamin Wetherall 2014 BenjaminWetherallPhotography Twitter: @bpwphotography 07730 536 164

Dr David Whitbread, senior Lecturer in the Psychology of Education, Cambridge University shares his views on what constitutes effective play in support of National Science and Engineering week.

13 H  ow to learn the times tables The first of a three part series of ‘How to guides’, Starting with learning the times tables.

14 Easter holiday camps, workshops and classes Just a few of the great Easter camps and workshops on offer for your kids and teens in Cambridgeshire. Editor: Lisa Exell 01945 861336 Design: David Slade

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News & views

Healthy New Year

EnergiZe is a free programme for families with children aged 7 – 11 who are above their ideal weight. Each week the families attend a 2 hour workshop including interactive games, healthy eating and physical activity. A different theme runs through each session to provide you with the skills and knowledge to ‘eat well, play better and have fun.’ EnergiZe runs for 12 weeks with follow on support for up to a year. For more information or to register for a place on EnergiZe please email energize@nhs. net or call Lisa Smith on 01480 376300

World book day

This year’s World Book Day hits the shelves on 6 March, and they need your help! Which books have changed your life? Which books thrill you, scare you, make you laugh? Which books do your children devour again and again? World Book Day is the biggest celebration of books anywhere, with millions and millions of book tokens given out, great free books for kids plus events taking place in schools, libraries and bookshops.  Don’t miss out – register online to keep up to date with the exciting Big Booky Events and to get your free books. Nominate your favourites now at

Mothering Sunday

Mother’s Day takes place on 30 March this year, so it’s time to treat your mother - or for your little ones to treat you! Perhaps you’d like a lie in and breakfast in bed, a day at the spa, afternoon tea or a trip to the theatre? Or perhaps what you’d really love is a day to spend time with your loved ones. Across the country many museums, National Trust properties and stately homes are running Mother’s Day events, so why not plan a special day with your family this March?



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Making a Splash!

Although Butlins in Skegness is known for short breaks, the seaside resort also offers day passes for families who want to go and enjoy their facilities without staying over. A day visit pass will allow you access into their new £16 million Splash Waterworld complex, which houses flumes, slides, wave pools and a range of other facilities.You can enjoy access to their free traditional fairground, see some of their famous shows and enjoy a meal at one of their many restaurants on the resort. Prices start from £12 and to book or find out more visit

Teachers’ pay could skyrocket

A new performance-related system of pay for teachers could see their salaries rise to £70,000 within 5 years of qualifying, according to a report by thinktank Policy Exchange. Under a new time-based system the best performing teachers could earn higher wages in a shorter period of time, although Policy Exchange does recommend that evaluations should be based on several measures, not just test or exam scores. ‘We want to treat teachers like professionals,’ says Jonathan Simons, head of education at Policy Exchange.  ‘Teaching is one of the most important jobs in this country.  Yet for too long we have been

running systems that seem to suggest exactly the opposite - treating teachers the same in how we recruit, train, develop, appraise and pay them, regardless of their performance.’ However Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers› union which fiercely opposes the scheme, is concerned that however hard a teacher works and however well they perform, there is no guarantee of any pay progression.  The good news is that this new Government scheme could attract more graduates to the profession, driving up the quality of teaching in schools across the country.

s Familie !

es v o L Dress your kids in designer labels Labels4Kids have expanded the range offered on their new website with the introduction of the snappy school pack. This multi-pack of labels contains snap on tags and vinyl labels giving you the advantage of vinyl waterproof labels for all your non-clothing items, two bag tags and snap on snappy tags etched with a name (and a phone number if you wish). Snappy tags have the added benefit of being removable and reusable. Other new lines include personalised luggage straps with security locks, new rainbow coloured sew on labels and sew-on labels with pre-sealed edges to stop fraying. These new lines add to the already popular range of labels available. Sign up online at to get regular updates and offers right to your inbox. You can also ‘like’ the Labels4Kids Facebook page for competitions and more offers. Get 10% discount with the code “families” at the checkout and beat the back to school rush in September.

News & views

Changes to year 6 maths SATs This year there is a change to the maths SATs papers. Previously there have been two papers – one that allows the use of a calculator and one that does not. The calculator paper of previous years tended to test how well your child could apply their maths understanding whilst the non-calculator paper has tested their ability to manipulate numbers; how numerate they are. For 2014, both papers will need to be completed without a calculator. This change will mean that children will need to be more secure at methods for solving number problems, have solid times tables knowledge and need good levels of accuracy to get the best results. Tutor My Kids provides top quality tuition by qualified teachers. For further information, please get in touch with Rachel Law for a friendly, informal discussion on 01223 858421 or through www. tutormykids.

Going to school? Take a hike!

Towelling Poncho - £18

Bucket Sun Hat Floppy Sun Hat No-Nappy Swim Bermudas No-Nappy Cotton Swimsuits


£12 £12 £14 £14

JoJoMaman Bébé Unlocking Young Potential have got Easter covered! If you are planning on taking the family away then their swimwear and sun protection are a must to pack in the suitcase. The range is hugely popular and includes swim nappies, sun hats, ponchos and sun protection suits. For the inevitable wet days and showers, the rainwear collection will ensure you can still get out and about. With pack-away waterproofs, traditional Fisherman’s jackets and bright coloured wellies, puddles are never out of bounds. Why not pay them a visit at the new stylish JoJoMamanBébé boutique in Cambridge 7-8 Rose Garden, CB2 3LL or shop online at

Major new research into early detection of autism and ADHD is seeking babies

The world-leading ‘Babylab’ at Birkbeck, University of London, is launching a new Europewide study of the early emergence of autism and ADHD. With over £2.5 million in funding, Professor Mark Johnson and his team are now embarking upon the Studying Autism and ADHD Risk in Siblings (STAARS) project, which will map brain development from birth in order to identify the earliest signs of these lifelong social communication and attention disorders. The research will focus on infants who have older siblings with autism or ADHD as these infants are at particularly high risk for these disorders. Although parents may notice symptoms of these conditions from infancy, children are often not diagnosed until they are in nursery or school. Earlier diagnosis of these children would help make it possible to design earlier and more effective interventions that may prevent symptoms from developing, and improve the quality of life for individuals with autism/ADHD and their families. Can you and your baby help? Expenses are paid and mothers we met said they spent a very special day with their child, which they really enjoyed. To read more about the STAARS project and to take part go to

Unlocking Young Potential is a coaching practice designed specifically with young people in mind. It brings the sophistication of executive coaching to young people who are transitioning from school, college or university to the world of work. Young clients can enjoy the safe environment of the on-line Interview Lab to ‘plug & practice’ and assess their interview skills through visual playback. Self assessment is an essential part of the process and clients are encouraged to ask the question ‘Would you hire yourself?’ If not, ‘why not?’ With skilful coaching, the young client is supported through a robust interview preparation process ready to face the real thing with authenticity and confidence. In addition, workshops are available covering a range of topics specifically aligned to young people and employability. Unlocking Young potential are offering Families readers a FREE 30 minute coaching session (via phone or Skype) when purchasing an on-line interview. To book your FREE session, quote the code ‘Family30’. See website for full details of their services:

Would you hire yourself? Coaching services helping you to maximise your potential… • On-line Interview Lab • Employability Workshops • 1:1 Coaching FREE 30 minute coaching session for Families readers! See above for details.

M a rch / A pr i l 2014


Science Festival

Mon 10 to Sun 23 March

where? University of Cambridge What’s new in space? Why do coincidences happen? Can science make cyclists go faster? Why do cats make us sneeze? These are just a few of the many intriguing questions being explored at this year’s Cambridge Science Festival. Celebrating its 20th appearance this year, the Science Festival hosts over 250 thought-provoking talks, films, debates and hands-on events for everyone. Bookings are now open at: or phone: 01223 766766.

W hat’s Olan ces

p Things to do, e had… to go, fun to b … for k ids of a

ll ages!

The Plant Pattern Hunt Mon 10 - Sun 23 March

where? Cambridge University Botanic Garden how much? Standard Garden admission for adults, accompanied children free. Self-led family trail. Can you discover all of the plant patterns hidden in the Botanic Garden? Pick up an explorer trail from the Garden ticket office and take a trip around the plant kingdom, collecting patterns as you go. Suitable for all ages. 01223 336265

Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play

Easter Egg Hunt – Bunny Land

where? Key Theatre Peterborough.

where? Shepreth Wildlife Park

Tue 15 - Wed 16 April

how much? £38 family ticket Everyone’s favourite brother and sister, Charlie and Lola, from the hit TV series and books are brought to life through puppetry, live action and music. Will Charlie ever manage to get Lola to bed, even though she is not sleepy? With Dancing Dogs and thirsty Tigers, Charlie has a lot on his plate! Box office: 01733 207 239

Peppa Pigs’ Big Splash Wed 12 – Thur 13 March where? Kings Lynn Corn Exchange

how much? Tickets from £13.50 Fresh from the success of Peppa Pig’s Party and Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt comes Peppa’s brand new show Peppa Pig’s Big Splash with super cute puppets and brilliant sing-a-long songs.




Sun 30 March

where? Cambridge Guildhall

how much? £9 Adults, U16 £6.50, Family Ticket £26 Puppet show Tomten is adapted from Viktor Rydberg’s poem about an ancient gnome who watches over the people and animals of a remote Swedish farmstead. No-one has ever seen Tomten, but sometimes you can see his footprints in the snow. That’s how you know he is real. 01223 357851

The Muppets: Most Wanted & Rio 2 march & April

where? The Luxe Cinema – Wisbech how much? Family tickets from £22. Quote ‘Family 2 for1’ to get two tickets for the price of one when booking The Muppets: Most Wanted or Rio 2. Visit the Luxe cinema in Wisbech with comfy sofas and armchairs, waiter service and a bar for the adults; it really is home from homewhat could be better on a cold winter’s day! 01945 588808

throughout April - normal opening hours

Sat 15 March 7pm

how much? £15, under 18’s £7.50 ‘A boys only concert’ No less than 60 highly-trained boy choristers from Chelmsford, Ely and St. Edmundsbury Cathedrals will be ‘Mixing their Music’ in a performance of the muchloved pop style cantata Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo plus mainstream choral music. Box Office 01353 660349

how much? Normal admission prices apply starting from £10.90 per person Visit Shepreth wildlife park for their annual Easter egg hunt.

The Gruffalo comes to the deep dark wood

Mixing their Music where? Ely Cathedral

sat 29 March - mon 1 April

The Just So Stories Sat 19 March

where? Angles Theatre, Wisbech how much? £8 per person Four of Rudyard Kipling’s bestloved tales are brought to life in a hugely entertaining and enchanting manner. Four talented actors create fantastical creatures and worlds to bring the stories to you in a fantastical magical way. 01945 474447

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where? High lodge Thetford forest To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the ever-green tale there will be themed activity trails, giant wooden Gruffalo sculptures and a big birthday forest picnic. Enter into a deep dark wood to celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary with characters from the world-famous picture books, join Mouse on his adventure and explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale through activity trails at High Lodge. highlodge

Families Fun Easter Trail

Scarecrow Building

The Wizard of Oz

Cadbury Easter Trail

where? Ferry Meadows Country Park, Peterborough

where? Ferry Meadows Country Park

where? The Cresset Theatre Peterborough

where? Wicken Fen

Fri 4 - Tues 22 April

how much? 50p Collect a trail sheet from the visitor centre and hunt for clues on a walk around Ferry Meadows. Return to the visitor centre to collect your prize. 01733 234193

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Thur 10 April

how much? Free Build a traditional scarecrow. Frames, stuffing and clothes will be provided, however, if you wish to take along some unwanted clothes to dress your scarecrow that is fine! A prize will be given for the best dressed scarecrow 01733 234193

Tues 15 April, 2pm & 6pm

Fri 18 – Mon 21 April, 10.30-4.30pm

how much? £13.50 U16s £12.50 Join Dorothy Gale as she befriends Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion on their quest to thwart the Wicked Witch of the West. With a little help from Glinda the Good Fairy and the almighty Wizard of Oz, good is sure to conquer evil. 01733 265705

how much? £1.95 per child A real family favourite - search the fen for hidden clues and solve the puzzle to claim your delicious Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize. Booking Essential 0844 249 1895

Easter Trail

Sat 19 - Mon 21 April, 12-4pm

where? Peckover House & Garden

Sat 5, Mon 14, Tues 15 & Sat 19 April,

how much? £1.50 per child A special children’s trail for Easter, with a Cadbury chocolate egg prize! 01945 583463

where? Various Peterborough Libraries how much? £3 per child Head along to your local library for a scrumdiddlyumptious time! Take part in the Golden Ticket Treasure Hunt, help de-juice Violet Beuregarde and try your hand at crafting an enormous lollipop from different materials to take home. Suitable for ages 6-11 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 01733 864280

Roman Invasion!

Sat 19 april – Mon 21 April 10am-5pm

where? Flag Fen Archaeology Park how much? £7 adults, £5 concs, £18 families Enjoy an action-packed day out as we transport you back 2,000 years to meet the Romans. See exciting fights between gladiators, and learn about life in Roman Britain. Family craft activities, hourly presentations, dig for artefacts and more! 01733 313 414

Robin Hood

Sat 26 – Sun 27 april

Aliens Love Underpants

Tuesday 29th -Wednesday 30th April where? Kings Lynn Corn Exchange

Pond dipping

Tues 8 &15 April 10.30am-2:30pm

where? Wicken Fen

how much? Tickets £2.50 Enjoy a 30 minute pond dipping session searching for creatures from the deep, followed by a minibeast hunt. For children aged 3+. Booking essential 0844 249 1895

Build a Den on the fen

Wed 9 April 10.30am or 2pm where? Wicken Fen

how much? Tickets £4.75 Build little dens for minibeasts and big dens for kids, plus games & challenges inspired by sticks. For children aged 3-10 years. Booking essential 0844 249 1895

how much? Tickets from £12.50 per person This zany and hilarious tale based on the bestselling children’s book is wonderfully brought to life on stage for the very first time.

where? Kings Lynn Corn Exchange

how much? From £8.75 per person A fun-filled family pantomime from this multi-award winning Inclusive Theatre Company. The Lavender Hill Mob Theatre Company present their version of Robin Hood.

Tom’s Midnight Garden

Tues 22 – Sat 2 6April

where? Cambridge Arts Theatre

how much? Adults: £17.50 Children: £12.50 Is it possible to travel back in time? Tom has always believed it cannot be done, but when the grandfather clock in the hallway chimes thirteen times, Tom is transported to a secret garden from the past. Here he meets Hatty and together these two new friends enjoy fantastic adventures in a magical wonderland. But with each new journey through time, strange things begin to happen – and Tom must solve the mystery of the midnight garden! 01223 503333

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Families Feature

How to have a proper holiday when you are parents Everything changes when you have children, and nothing more than your annual holiday. But there are still ways to feel as though you’ve had a break, says mother-of-four Joanna Moorhead

t’s still got the same name, but once you’ve got children your fortnight in the sun isn’t really a holiday any more. Not a holiday as you once knew it, anyway. Gone are the days when you could laze around a pool all day, with no bigger decision than how early in the day to have your first beer; gone, too, the days when you could party through the night and stay in bed until 11am if you wanted. No: once you have kids, what a holiday actually means is more work than usual, with a different backdrop. Why more? Well, there are new hazards to negotiate, especially if your children are tiny (windows they could fall out of, swimming pools they could fall into, the need to be on constant watch for different dangers). And, unlike at home, you don’t have your usual safety nets in place to make things easier: no childminder, no friends round the corner, no teenage babysitter down the street, no playgroup. What’s a time-starved couple, who still like the idea that a holiday might deliver them some time together a deux, some time alone to ruminate and read, and the occasional




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opportunity to try out watersports or the spa, to do? The good news is, there are ways round the difficulties. The caveat is, none of them are problem-free. Solution #1: Take the grandparents The pros: They’re free! Grandparents pay their own way on holiday (well, most do) – and some are even going to treat you quite a bit while you’re away. I’m joking, of course: grandparents are a cost-cutting way of making your holiday more like a holiday; but the main advantage of them is they genuinely love your children, and they’re going to enjoy being with them, and vice versa. The cons: Not everyone has a great relationship with their parents or parentsin-law. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether you’d have holidayed with them before you had kids. If the answer is absolutely not, maybe think again. Solution #2: Have a shared holiday with another family The pros: You can’t get out as much once you’ve got kids, so taking friends means

you’ve got built-in entertainment. If you’re self-catering, you’ll find you can get a better deal on a luxurious big property – your money goes further, in other words. And, of course, the big advantage is that your kids will have friends too. The cons: You thought you knew your friends but believe me – you’re going to know them a whole lot better once you’ve holidayed with them. And you might not like everything about them. In fact you’re almost guaranteed to have the odd quibble – and maybe an all-out row (especially over children and how you deal with them). Are you sure your friendship can stand it? Solution #3: Take a paid childcarer The pros: You’re paying, so you get to call the shots. You want a few free hours every afternoon, or two nights out in the week – you’ll get them. Your childcarer, unlike friends or grandparents, has taken this on as a job, and is likely to have experience and ideas up her sleeve about how to keep your kids occupied. The cons: It’s going to be expensive – you’ll have to pay for your carer’s flights, living expenses, and a salary (or pocket money if you’re taking an au pair). A paid carer means you’ll have a ‘stranger’ on holiday with you. It might be hard to get family time away from the carer, especially as she won’t know anyone where you’re going and might not want to explore the resort on her own.

Families Feature

The Science of Play By Dr David Whitebread, Senior Lecturer in the Psychology of Education, Cambridge University

Physical play a also provides r s fo crucial mean lop ve children to de al their emotion intelligence.



m a rch / a pr i l 2014

Families Feature s the Easter break comes upon us, many parents will be thinking about how to entertain their children. Dr David Whitebread at Cambridge University shares his views on what constitutes effective play and tackles some of the myths and misconceptions around the types of play children engage in today. Dr Whitebread is supporting National Science and Engineering Week, which aims to raise awareness of the important role science, has in many aspects of our lives. A whole host of scientific topics will be explored during the Week, which takes place from 14th to 23rd March. Adults and children alike can attend free events across the UK in a range of fun environments. To find out about these events and how you can take part, visit NSEWevents :


Different types of play Physical play

Most parents would recognise that physical play (such as running, climbing and gymnastics) helps a child develop their whole body and hand-eye co-ordination and is important in building strength and endurance. But it also provides a crucial means for children to develop their emotional intelligence. Encouraging children to get physical isn’t just about letting them loose outside, it’s also about creating opportunities at home. So encouraging play through things like craft activities, helps children with their fine motor skills, essential when it comes to learning to write and even playing musical instruments. Due to their absorbing nature, it has even been shown to help children develop their concentration and perseverance skills. Create an obstacle course in the garden. Create time targets and challenges (ie do the course on just one leg!). Give craft activities a purpose, for example, create posters for an Easter egg hunt or party.

Play with objects

Encouraging play through things like craft activities, helps children with their fine motor skills

with dolls and miniature figures gives children the chance to rehearse some of the scenarios they already see or might face in their future life, whether it’s expressing how to care for someone (such as their favourite doll) or tackling aggressive situations. Make a challenge to act like a member of their family, or their favourite TV character for a day. It might be their mum, Homer Simpson, or Daddy Pig!

There is some evidence that well-designed an videogames c enrich play

Touching, sorting, building and making objects encourages children to organise their thinking and helps them learn how to solve problems. Children have to pick the right strategy to complete the task, and then stay on track to complete it. Creativity comes in here, as does the use of language, as children often talk to themselves when they broach these tasks as a way of organising their thoughts. Get your children to build their own skyscraper. Arm them with different materials to build at home or in the garden.  

Symbolic play

Artistic activities such as drawing, dance, and even developing silly rhymes, gives children the opportunity to develop their language and interpretation skills as they start to decode what is going on around them. It can even make them nicer! A study in 2010 of almost 100 four year-olds found that children who take part in music making were more likely to show cooperative and helpful behaviour. Get your children to create their own music compilation for their best friend or family member. Encourage them to add their own tracks for that special touch.

Pretend play

Playing with rules

We live by rules and playing by the rules in sports, board games, card games and computer games helps children adjust to the reality that they cannot always do, say, or act how they wish to. The use of electronic and computer games by today’s children is another particular area of anxiety for parents and teachers. Too much screen time obviously prevents your child from doing the range of other activities that is beneficial to them, so keep these tech tools in your armoury, but keep time restricted on use. There is some evidence that well-designed videogames can enrich play resources for children and their families. Many parents are concerned about videogame overuse but the key is to make it interactive. So get involved! Challenge them to their favourite game in return for them participating in an activity of your choice.


1. ‘Developmental Psychology & Early Childhood Education’ (Sage, 2013). David Whitebread. Available on Amazon and at all good book shops. 2. ‘The Importance of Play’ (Report written for the Toys Industry of Europe,  March 2012). David Whitebread with Marisol Basilio, Martina Kuvalja and Mohini Verma.

Pretend play can have a serious side too. Dressing up, playing m a rch / a pr i l 2014

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Families Learning

Children should master their times tables up to 12x12 by the age of nine

How to learn the times tables… earning the times tables is an important skill that is the foundation for all maths. With an extensive maths curriculum, and the latest stipulation being that children should master their tables up to 12x12 by the age of nine, teachers need parents help in getting children to learn the basic facts. Finding a pain-free method of learning times tables is not easy, but these tips and techniques should help you make major progress.


all listed on

Further ways to help them memorise Your aim now is to recite memorized facts quickly and in any order. If your child is a visual learner, purchase or make flashcards. Write the problem, like 4 x 9, on the front, and the answer, 36, on the back. Buy or create a times table poster and display key facts. Times tables raps and music CDs are great for an auditory learner. Chant the times tables as Start with explaining the concept multiples 0, 5, 10, 15, etc. and also as sentences If your child understands that multiplication is 1×5=5, 2×5=10, etc. Say difficult times tables in repeated addition, they will have an easier time a funny voice, a squeak or a whisper. Use helpful learning them. Using objects such as crayons, rhymes to remember really tricky ones, e.g. 8 x 8 illustrate a simple times table such as 3 X 2. Make = 64 becomes “He ate and he ate and he sticks two groups of three crayons, then count in the door, eight times eight is the crayons. Continue until they sixty-four”. understand that multiplication is For a kinaesthetic approach, it is important just adding a series of numbers, add actions. Children can for your child 6 x 4 means 6 added together clap, stamp or jump on the to have a secure 4 times (6 + 6 + 6 + 6). difficult fact. Play ‘Knock, the of dge wle kno Create a number line from 0 Knock’ –knock your fists h wit les times tab to 100. Show them the pattern twice on the floor, then put all instant rec to working out each multiple, i.e. out the number of fingers of a the three times table answers are times tables. The winner is the first every third number. End by encouraging to say the answer. them to write out the times tables on paper, using addition, up to 12. great Games to help reinforce the multiplication facts Show them the tricks of the trade After your child has a basic knowledge of the Now they need to start learning the facts, rather tables, games will help instil the recollection of than by counting. Learn the tricks of the trade correct facts quickly. Multiplication Bingo, Hoo first, e.g. any number times by 10 is the number Ha!, Know Your Times Tables and Math Whiz are with a zero on the end, e.g. 10 x 5 = 50. They are great board games.

There are a whole host of multiplication computer games –,,,,, and computer apps such as Squeebles, Ghost Blasters, Multiple Wipeout. Another idea is to print off worksheets from or Enchanted Learning, Keep it fun Hallelujah! Your continued energy and enthusiasm is very important – go at their pace and always praise their efforts. Aim to reward your children with every bit of progress made; it doesn’t have to be material things, just a bit of fun together. Take breaks often, relax, give lots of ‘high fives’, and real compliments. And keep it up! After memorising times tables, it can be all too easy to forget them! Don’t give up too soon. It can take six or seven weeks until the facts are truly automatic. Practice quick-fire drilling. There are numbers everywhere, so multiply the digits in number plates or in recipes. Print out a times table square and keep a record of the tables your child knows well, so you know which ones you need to focus on. Whichever method you choose, there is never a truly pain-free answer because real fluency requires real practice over weeks and months. That said, it is important for your child to have a secure knowledge of the times tables with instant recall - their future maths skills depend on it. So take the challenge, make it happen, and enjoy it! M a rch / A pr i l 2014

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Easter Clubs & Classes Listings

keep them busy this easter! Easter day camps provide safe and secure childcare and also offer opportunities for children to learn a new skill and make new friends. Some camps offer early-bird discounts or reductions when you enrol more than one child and most camps now accept childcare vouchers. Here are just a few of the camps and workshops in Cambridgeshire this Easter. Keep an eye out for our next issue with a summer camp pre-view.

Stagecoach: Superheroes for ages 4-6 year olds Coleridge Campus, Cambridge 7th -11th April Days are 9:45 - 2:00pm Price £120 and sibling price £90 A fun packed five day course for all children aged between 4 and 6 years old. Teachers will work towards a performance of work on the final afternoon with lights and costumes. Children will sing, dance and act for the whole week, learn new skills, make friends and grow in confidence. The high student teacher ratio means that every child is able to reach their potential. For details of other Stagecoach Easter workshops in Peterborough, Huntingdon, Saffron Walden and Newmarket visit www. and mention FAMILIES when booking.


POSH Fun days Peterborough United Foundation’s football courses: Neale Wade sports centre, March & Hampton football club, Peterborough All days are 10am -3pm Non members £15 for 1 day, £25 for 2 days and £30 for 3 days. Peterborough United Foundation is offering courses for boys and girls aged between 4 and 12 years. All courses will be delivered by FA and UEFA qualified coaches who will put on a variety of fun-based football activities. Players will also get the chance to meet the first team stars who will visit for one day at each venue to sign autographs and pose for photos. To book please call 01733 341628 and quote FAMILIES for a 10% discount

Super Camps at The Perse offers a fulfilling school holiday activity experience that combines wonderful outdoor pitches and courts with state-of-the-art indoor amenities. Over the Easter holidays there are two different types of camp offered so there is bound to be something that will inspire your child. The Perse Prep School Super camps Multi-Activity Easter 7th April to 11th April which offers a combination of sports and arts and crafts for all children or the The Perse Prep School a passion for Arts & Crafts Easter 7th April – 11th April. The NEW 2014 Arts and Crafts: ‘Crossover Crafting’ programme will take children on a creative journey, looking at traditional methods while keeping up with the latest trends in the Art world. ‘Crossover crafting’ between different types of media will ensure even the most experienced children will get to try something new. For more details or to book call 01235 832222 or visit


Grafham Water Centre Discovery Club - Huntingdon Days are 8:30am-5:30pm Prices from £40 per day- multi day discounts available! Grafham Water Centre multi-activity Discovery Club is for young people aged 8 upwards who want to try new activities or develop existing skills, meet new friends of a similar age and most importantly have fun! Go for either 1,2,3,4 or 5 days. You will learn skills in water activities such as sailing, canoeing and windsurfing and also land based skills such as archery, climbing and high ropes. A healthy lunch is provided. If you buy one place you get one place half price if you take a friend or a sibling. Please quote FAMILIES when booking. Call 01480 810521




m a rch / a pr i l 2014

Super Camps: The Perse school Cambridge Days are 9am-5pm with extended care available Prices from £42 per day Perfectly located for families needing school holiday childcare in Cambridge,


Barracudas activity day camps: Hichingbrooke School Huntingdon Days are from 8:30am-5:30pm 7th-17th April Prices from £35 per day Barracudas offers multi-activity day camps for children aged between 4½ to 16 years. They have been running activity day camps for 22 years now, and have an experienced team who make sure your children always have a brilliant time. Your holiday childcare is covered with activity holidays that are Ofsted registered, giving parents peace of mind, whilst ensuring maximum FUN for kids! A wide range of activities are on offer including football, archery, trampoline, motor sports, lab rats fun science, video making, inflatable assault courses, criss cross zorbing and much, much more! For more details or to book call 0845 123 5299 or visit


Easter holiday camps and workshops Explore Learning Free maths and English activities - 15th April Explore Learning centres provide maths, English and 11+ tuition to 5-14 year olds of all abilities. Explore fits easily around family life; the centres are open 7 days a week, with children able to attend up to twice a week on a drop-in basis. On the 15th April Explore will be hosting a Community Open Day! There will be free interactive maths and literacy workshops for 5 - 14 year olds across all the Explore Learning centres. Spaces are limited so call your local centre to reserve your place. Call your local centre to book a free trial, or visit


KYT Easter Drama Workshop Key Theatre Peterborough Mon 7- Thurs 10 April, 9.30am – 4.30pm daily (Presentation at 3.45pm on Thursday in the Key Studio). Cost £90.00 Discover new ways to tell bedtime stories using music, clowning, dance, storytelling and physical theatre, in this exciting four-day workshop run by professional workshop leaders. Perform devised and scripted work, and make the set for the


Kings Camps: The Leys School Cambridge Days are 9am - 4pm Prices start from £147 per week. Quote code FAMC before the 31st March for a 10% discount. Kings Multi-Active brings together the very best elements of sports and holiday clubs. The programme is run at venues across the UK throughout the Easter and summer breaks. It is suitable for children of all abilities who want to enjoy an active lifestyle and healthy living. For our smallest members, Multi-Active


final show using recycled materials. For more details call the box office:

is a chance to try lots of new activities, including arts and crafts, parachute games, swimming and football. Juniors enjoy longer 45 minute sessions that help them learn and progress in a variety of different sports, as well as taking part in team building games. Every day ends with awards and certificates of achievement and there’s always a few surprises! On Fridays, we invite parents to join us with The Kings Experience, which normally takes place at 3pm and is not to be missed! For more details call 0114 263 2160 or visit 01733 207 239 or Book online:

Families Cambridgeshire March April 2014  

The trade magazine for Mums & Dads.

Families Cambridgeshire March April 2014  

The trade magazine for Mums & Dads.