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Education New Year, New You Clubs & Classes Issue 33 January/February 2024

January/February 2024

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Editor Rebecca Carr editor@familieskent.co.uk 07789 882467

Happy New Year from all of us here at Families! We wish you health and happiness in 2024.

Sales Amanda Biggs amanda@familiespublishing.co.uk 07835 848066

Book now to be included in our March/April issue. Book by 2 February. Would you like FREE magazines for your school, nursery, café, shop, club or class - just ask and we’ll deliver them to you. Sep/Oct competition winners

Congratulations to all our winners. You can find a list at www.bit.ly/SO23recipients

In this issue 4. 6. 8. 9. 10. 12. 13. 14. 16.

Clubs & classes Education Early years Health New Year, New You Interview Work What’s On Family festivals

If your goal is to work towards a healthier family this year, then remember, there’s twelve months ahead and lots of time to put your plans into action. We have a healthy idea for you to introduce to your family for each new month of 2024 in our New Year, New You feature. January and February can be dull and gloomy months to get through with the excitement of Christmas over and spring still many weeks away. So cheer the family up by planning something to look forward to later in the year. If fun for you is heading to a festival, check out our top choices in this issue. Despite the inevitable bad weather to come, we all know that our kids still need to get outside. But what happens if you don’t have rainy day gear? In this issue, we talk to CBeebies presenter, Gemma Hunt, about her role as the ambassador of The Waterproof and Wellies Project which plans to give every primary school in the UK ten sets of waterproof and wellies so all children can have fun outdoors. Finally, we have National Geographic Science Kit bundles to giveaway and a family ticket to Camp Bestival! Apply inside. By doing so, you’ll also ensure you receive our digital magazine with lots more content and goodies on offer.


Editor, Families Kent

© Families Kent 2024. Families is a registered trademark of LCMB Ltd, Remenham House, Regatta Place, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5TD. The contents of this magazine are fully protected by copyright and none of the editorial or photographic matter may be reproduced in any form without prior consent of Families Print Ltd. Every care is taken in the preparation of this magazine but Families Print Ltd, its distributors, franchisees and LCMB Ltd cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents, or any consequences thereof.

Waterproof and Wellies The Outdoor Guide Foundation was set up with the simple aim of making the outdoors accessible to all - and that starts with children. Nearly one third of primary school children in the UK come from families that are living below the poverty line. This means there is little money for household essentials, let alone for buying suitable clothing for outdoor play. That’s where The Waterproof and Wellies Project comes in. Over the next five years, it aims to donate at least ten waterproof suits and wellies to every state primary school in the country - all twenty thousand of them. Why? Because time outside is vital and there’s a startling statistic that suggests prisoners get more time outside in an average week than a child of primary school age. Waterproof and Wellies has already donated kits to more than three hundred schools. With the support of local families and businesses, the project can do much more.

To find out more and support the project, visit www.theoutdoorguidefoundation.org

January/February 2024

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Alternative sports for your child to try By Andrew Campbell Whether your child is bored with the usual options or simply not interested in the conventional after-school and weekend sport activities, you might be able to entice them to get active, develop a new interest and meet other like-minded kids by considering one of these more left-field sports. Archery can captivate children’s interest with its blend of focus, precision and historical allure. It provides a sense of accomplishment as kids master the art of hitting targets with arrows. The sport encourages discipline, patience and fine motor skills, promoting mental and physical development. Archery also instils confidence, teamwork and respect for safety. Soft archery is now available as a safe and fun way to introduce the sport to young ones.

Cheerleading is growing in popularity as an alternative sport with over eighty nine thousand involved at recreational, competitive and elite level. Requiring a unique combination of gymnastics, dance and acrobatic stunts, it fosters physical fitness, teamwork, discipline and confidence. Competitions and events are held regularly at venues across the country and you are likely to find a club not too far away.

More info and local clubs at www.startarchery.co.uk

More info at www.ukca.org.uk

Padel tennis is an enticing sport for children due to its accessibility and engaging nature. It’s usually played in doubles on a smaller court enclosed by mesh or glass walls, making it easy for kids to keep the ball in play. Padel combines elements of tennis and squash, emphasising hand-eye co-ordination, strategy and teamwork. Its social and active aspects make it a fun and appealing sport for children. More info and local clubs at www.lta.org.uk

Disc golf appeals to children due to its simplicity and accessibility. With just a frisbee, kids can enjoy outdoor fun, exercise and social interaction. It offers a sense of achievement, skill development and the opportunity to play in beautiful natural settings. Disc golf is inclusive, allowing kids of all ages and abilities to participate, making it an attractive and cost-effective choice. More info and local courses at www.discgolfuk.uk

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Street dancing is a freestyle dance form that emerged from urban culture and is great for a child who loves to get down and boogie but is not attracted to traditional dance styles. Whilst fantastic for encouraging self-expression, creativity and self-confidence, it also promotes physical fitness and flexibility while teaching rhythm and coordination. A local dance school is sure to offer classes or you will find a dedicated street dance school nearby.

Fencing is ideal for children who struggle with team sports. Combining physical activity with mental strategy and discipline, it also promotes agility, balance and co-ordination, all while teaching focus and quick decision-making. Fencing enhances self-confidence and sportsmanship through oneon-one combat. It’s safe and emphasises protective gear and rules. Additionally, the sport encourages a sense of chivalry and respect, offering valuable life lessons alongside the physical benefits. Local clubs at www.britishfencing.com

Parkour (or Freerunning) harnesses kids’ instinctive love of jumping and throwing themselves around. It enhances strength, agility and spatial awareness, instilling self-confidence. It’s an athletic discipline which focusses on moving through urban environments using acrobatic techniques like vaulting, climbing and jumping. But it’s also popular at indoor settings such as leisure centres, gym clubs and trampoline parks.

Futsal is an exciting, fastpaced form of football. It’s played in a smaller, confined space, making it easier for kids to get involved and actively participate. The emphasis on ball control, quick passing and teamwork help develop soccer skills while encouraging social interaction. Futsal’s reduced physical demand and emphasis on fun make it an attractive choice, fostering a love for the sport from an early age.

More info at www.parkour.uk

More info at www.englandfootball.com

Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It’s played on a smaller court with a low net. Pickleball is attractive to children because it’s easy to learn, offers immediate success and doesn’t require much physical strength. It fosters hand-eye co-ordination, social interaction, and physical activity. The sport’s adaptability and inclusive nature make it an appealing choice for children of various ages and skill levels. There are over two hundred and seventy pickleball courts in Britain. More info and local clubs at www.pickleballengland.org January/February 2024


Boost your child’s confidence in 2024 with a FREE Perform class The new year is a great time to start something new and Perform is offering every child a free trial class to help them shine this spring. With two brilliant new themes incorporating confidence-building fun, classes for children ages 4 to 7 will join a high-energy adventure to the Wild West while kids ages 7 to 12 will enjoy a dancefloor-filling adaptation of Snow White, in Killa Queen. Classes are packed with confidence-boosting games which focus on developing the 4 Cs - confidence, communication, coordination and concentration - using drama, dance and singing. At the end of each term, the children will take part in a showstopping final performance for family and friends so you can see the progress they’ve made! Classes are for all abilities with no previous experience required and children are welcome to join at any point in the term. Book a no-obligation FREE trial at www.perform.org.uk/try Classes are held in Ashford, Bexley, Bromley, Chislehurst, Faversham, Hempstead, Kings Hill, Maidstone, Riverhead, Sevenoaks, Ebbsfleet, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. More about Perform’s weekly classes

Hempstead: Hempstead Valley Community Centre, ME7 3PD Ages 4-7, Wednesday at 4pm & Ages 7-12, Wednesday at 5pm Kings Hill: Kings Hill Community Hall, ME19 4LG Ages 4-7, Friday at 4pm & Ages 7-12, Friday at 5pm Maidstone: St Pauls Church, ME14 2AN Ages 4-7, Friday at 4pm & Ages 7-12, Friday at 5pm

Confidence building weekly drama, dance and singing classes for 4-7s and 7-12s, designed to boost confidence, communication, concentration and co-ordination. To book a FREE class in one of the following venues, visit www.perform.org.uk/try, email enquiries@perform.org.uk or call 020 7255 9120. Ashford: St Mary’s Community Centre, TN24 9LH Ages 4-7, Tuesday at 4pm & Ages 7-12, Tuesday at 5pm

Riverhead: Riverhead Village Hall, TN13 2EL Ages 4-7, Tuesday at 4pm & Ages 7-12, Tuesday at 5pm Sevenoaks: The Parish Church of St Luke, TN13 1XT Ages 4-7, Saturday at 9.30am and 11.15am Ages 7-12, Saturday at 2pm Ebbsfleet: Castle Hill Community Centre, DA10 1AD Ages 4-7, Thursday at 4pm & Ages 7-12, Thursday at 5pm

Bexley: St John Fisher Catholic Church Hall, DA5 1AP Ages 4-7, Tuesday at 4pm & Ages 7-12, Tuesday at 5pm

Tonbridge: St John’s Church Centre, TN11 9HT Ages 4-7, Tuesday at 4pm & Ages 7-12, Tuesday at 5pm

Bromley: St John The Evangelist Church, BR1 3HJ Ages 4-7, Friday at 4pm & Ages 7-12, Friday at 5pm Chislehurst: Chislehurst Methodist Church, BR7 5LX Ages 4-7, Thursday at 4pm & Ages 7-12, Thursday at 5pm BLI Jan Advert 180x85mm copy.pdf 1 08/12/2023

Faversham: West Faversham Community Centre, ME13 7RH Ages 4-7, Friday at 4pm & Ages 7-12, Friday at 5pm


Tunbridge Wells: Christ Church Centre, TN1 1UT Ages 4-7, Saturday at 9.30am and 11.15am Ages 7-12, Saturday at 2pm










& more

January/February 2024

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Beyond the school system By Ana Fábrega It’s a fact that the traditional school system doesn’t suit everyone, yet many parents aren’t in a position to take their children out of school. The good news is that there are some fabulous learning opportunities available outside of the school system, which can be used to complement school learning. Consider these: Self-directed learning communities. Programmes like Kubrio (www.kubrio.com) bring kids together to share interests and design their own curriculums. Over one hundred classes cover coding, game design, art, writing and entrepreneurship.

Academy (www.khanacademy.org) offer amazing courses.

Forest Schools. Forest School programmes (www.forestschoolassociation.org) put kids at the centre of learning, connect them with each other and nature and challenge them to take responsibility and make meaning for themselves.

Foster a love of reading. Let kids read freely and widely. Let them skim through books and dive deep into what interests them: poems, comic books, non-fiction, magazines, cookbooks or even the same book over and over. Choice is the secret recipe for fostering a love of reading. Once they develop this, they will be able to teach themselves anything.

Team problem-solving. Synthesis School (www.synthesis. com) empowers kids to solve the world’s hardest problems. They compete in teams, debating ideas, testing tactics, communicating decisions, taking ownership and drawing out the best in each other.

Alternative schools. If you are thinking of a different school, consider alternatives such as Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia. For specific alternative schools, research Sora Schools (www.soraschools.com), Higher Ground (www.higherground. com) and Acton Academy (www.actonacademy.org).

Project-based learning. Programmes like Arduino (www.arduino.cc) cover chemistry, physics, electronics, coding and more. They ship all the components to your door, with online training and support to allow kids to learn by doing.

Microschools. Microschools are also wonderful options, like those available through Prenda (www.prenda.com) and other networks. To find a good one, look for mixed age groups, a childcentred curriculum and project-based learning.

Online STEAM classes. Many schools struggle to provide enough opportunity to explore science, tech, engineering, art and maths (STEAM subjects). Platforms like Brilliant (www.brilliant.org), Skillshare (www.skillshare.com) and Khan

Ana Lorena Fábrega is a teacher, turned edupreneur and author of The Learning Game: Teaching Kids to Think for Themselves, Embrace Challenge, and Love Learning, available from www.bookshop.org

The Lindy Effect

Lindy ideas in education

Lindy ideas refer to concepts or principles that have demonstrated resilience and longevity over time. The term ‘Lindy’ comes from the Lindy Effect, a concept introduced by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Antifragile. In essence, it says that ideas age differently from people. The longer ideas have been around, the longer they’re likely to last.

Play. Free play is our natural method of learning about the world. Since ancient times, we’ve used it to explore, experiment and build new knowledge by venturing into the unknown.

Each of the learning options explored above share common traits. Although each is unique, they all take Lindy ideas from the past and apply them to today in various ways. Lindy ideas stick around for a reason: they often work quite well and have proven themselves across generations. We should leverage wisdom from the past and adapt it for today.

The teacher as facilitator. Throughout history, the best educators acted as wise guides. Rather than conveying knowledge, they facilitated questions and dialogue until students arrived at their own understanding. It was a collaborative model of truth-seeking.

Although most traditional schools today do not follow Lindy ideas, there are an increasing number of alternative schools and educational programmes that do things differently. These can help parents of children for whom traditional education is not working to replace or supplement it with learning experiences that are grounded in Lindy ideas and updated for today.

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Learning by doing. Hunter-gatherers of the past let kids learn survival skills through practice. They played with bows, spears and cooking tools and participated in the work of the tribe.

The Socratic method. For hundreds of years, teachers used the method of the Greek philosopher Socrates. Instead of lecturing, they asked penetrating questions to help students use reasoning to develop their own beliefs. One-room schoolhouses. Historically, kids attended one-room schoolhouses (or ‘microschools’ today) where they learned in small, mixed aged groups. Older kids taught younger kids, younger kids learned from older ones. January/February 2024


What to expect from ICT at primary school By Zuzu Jordan When managed well, technology can transform learning into an engaging and interactive experience. Yet technology now develops and changes so fast that parents may find it difficult to keep up with what their children are learning. Schools are constantly reviewing their ICT (Information Communication Technology) practice and policies in light of the forever evolving technological world. Additionally, the Covid home schooling experience made schools, parents and carers evaluate both the available tools and what children need in order to access learning, whatever the situation. At primary school, parents can expect their children to be taught ‘computer science’ in ICT lessons including coding, algorithms and writing programmes to improve the world around us. They will be encouraged to use technology and logical reasoning purposefully. The range of devices and software used to achieve this will vary from school to school. For instance, there are a number of free online games which help children learn to code such as www.studio.code.org and www.scratch.mit.edu With ICT integrated across the whole curriculum, children will be using some form of technology in most subjects. This may include using tablets, laptops, cameras and the internet. Teachers use SMART boards allowing children to directly interact with devices in lots of different ways. Students will use technology for research and presenting information. Schools buy software to help teach some of the curriculum; for instance, Duolingo to support modern foreign language lessons. Some standard tests are even administered online such as the multiplication check in Year 4. Schools and parents have a dual role in teaching children to be responsible users of communication and information platforms. Children learn about the benefits and uses of these platforms but the inherent risks involved in online activity is what receives most attention during ICT lessons. The online world is hard to control and monitor and can be very daunting for parents. All schools should hold an Online Safety Agreement Policy which outlines their plans to safeguard children online. This may tie in with their anti-bullying and child protection policies. Part of these policies involves families agreeing to clear expectations and boundaries. In schools,

pupils are explicitly taught to use technology safely and report any unacceptable behaviour. They are taught about privacy, protecting their online identity and knowing where and how to report anything disrespectful. In addition, teachers discuss the importance of critical thinking when children obtain information from the internet. Meanwhile, at home, we are now surrounded by multiple devices to monitor including phones, tablets, smart TVs, smartphones and speakers. Games consoles are increasingly connecting people to the online world too, with children as young as age 2 able to work these devices independently. It’s a great idea to devise your own family online safety agreement such as this one from Childnet (www.childnet.com) at www.bit.ly/OnlineFamilyAgreement It’s also important to set clear time limits on devices, check parental controls on websites and consider the location of the devices in your home. One thing that children fear the most is having devices taken away so encourage transparent communication between you and an atmosphere where they feel comfortable to tell you about anything that worries them. Other useful links for parents include NSPCC at www.bit.ly/ NSPCCOS and Think U Know (www.thinkuknow.co.uk). Zuzu Jordan is a Mastery for Maths specialist who has taught primary aged children for sixteen years and is interested in early years and home learning. For free homework and home learning resources, find the Facebook page Edumateuk.

Homework tech tool kit

FREE websites or apps

Online English dictionary and thesaurus; YouTube (vetted by parents) for education videos to help clear up misconceptions and consolidate learning; Timers help kids improve their awareness of time constraints; Cameras can evidence homework or present information differently; Word processing software; Calculator. Tip: Schools increasingly set homework using apps and websites with unique logins and passwords for pupils. Download and bookmark the app/website and save the password.

As a teacher and parent I highly recommend the following: White Rose Education 1 minute maths (www.bit.ly/1minute maths) is great for practising the four mathematical operations. BBC Touch Typing dance mat teaches touch typing in steps essential for navigating a keyboard. Topmarks (www.topmarks.co.uk) has many interactive games for lots of subjects. Handy if you want visual representation in maths. BBC Bitesize - you can’t go wrong! It covers so many aspects of learning and is up to date.

January/February 2024

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What makes a good pre-school or nursery? By Justina Gapper When choosing a nursery or pre-school, most parents base their decision on a combination of personal recommendation, the vibe of the setting, how much they like the staff and the setting’s Ofsted report and rating. But what are the other features that contribute to the success of a nursery or pre-school setting? What really makes the difference between your child having a great experience, rather than just an acceptable one? Here are some things to take note of when you are visiting potential nurseries for your child. Staff team Recruiting the right staff and ensuring they work closely as a team is crucial to the success of a nursery setting. Look out for the way staff interact with each other. Are they supporting each other, anticipating issues and problems and each other’s needs, as well as those of the children? Look out for nursery managers who are present in the main part of the nursery, as opposed to spending all their time sitting in an office. When they are working alongside their staff, they can steer the ship and also offer support at particularly busy times of the day.

the same, so settings should, where possible, be flexible enough to adjust their procedures to suit each child. Good nurseries provide daily feedback to parents, send weekly emails and use social media to show the nursery in action. Parents should expect to receive regular updates from their child’s key worker and be kept informed of their child’s progress and what is happening more generally at the nursery. Look out for nurseries and pre-schools that help parents understand and support at home what their children have been learning at the setting. For instance, use of Home-Link Books which suggest small, achievable, fun activities that parents can do with their children at home.


Structure, routine and safety

Communication between nursery key workers and parents is a number one priority. Can you see evidence of nursery staff working closely with parents to help new children settle? Settling a child into nursery or pre-school can be a stressful and anxious experience for both parent and child. Not all children are

To feel safe, children need routine, so it is important that staff are able to maintain this. Parents also need complete peace of mind that their child is safe at the setting and may want to check whether the nursery has installed CCTV and telecoms on its entrances to ensure secure access.

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Play n’ Grow Childcare Play ‘n Grow Childcare offers a range of childcare options for ages 0 to 11. They offer nursery care at the Angel Centre (ages 0-5) and a Holiday Club for ages 2-11 at Bishop Chavasse. For more information email Sarah at playngrowchildcare@gmail.com

50 weeks 8am to 6pm


Qualified & experienced staff

Ages 0-11yrs Nursery, Creche and Holiday Clu b

Thinking ahead to school Nobody wants to rush children or parents towards school and nursery should be viewed as an experience that is important in its own right and not simply about preparing little ones for school transition. Having said this, it is useful to understand what kind of process and support system a nursery has in place for transitioning children to school. For instance, does the setting provide provide transition reports for schools? These are generally, based on several areas of learning and give teachers a detailed account of the child that will be joining them. Is a child’s Reception teacher invited to visit them at the setting before they start school? It’s clearly very valuable for little ones to meet their school teacher for the first time in a relaxed and familiar environment. Primary teachers say it is social, emotional and self-care skills and a desire to learn that are important when children start school. Ask the nurseries you are visiting to explain how they go about nurturing these skills.

www.playngrowchildcare.co.uk 8 Families Kent

January/February 2024


Ultra-processed foods: the dangers and alternatives By Charlotte Stirling-Reed

There has been a lot in the press recently about UPFs (ultra processed foods), especially related to what we feed our children. In an ideal world, most babies, toddlers and young children would eat meals cooked from scratch at home as the standard. This allows them to get used to fresh food and ingredients and a variety of tastes and flavours that are typical of your family meals. It also means that you know exactly what’s going into your young children’s bodies and how the dishes are made. In this way, it’s easier for you to have more control over the everyday diets of your children. However, on the other side of the coin, parenting is HARD and sometimes preparing freshly cooked meals for young children, up to three times a day, just isn’t achievable. That’s okay. It’s very much to be expected in our busy society and with more of us both working and raising children. There really is nothing wrong with having the odd packaged snack, fruit pouch or pack of baby biscuits, so try not to get sucked into the ‘giving young children UPFs is terrible’ idea. However, what you should know is that offering them as regular options can be problematic because they: Don’t represent the balanced options necessary for snacks and meals; Are often high in sugar and/or calories but with little extra nutrients such as iron, protein, iodine or zinc, for example; Are often not very satiating so don’t sufficiently fill little ones at mealtimes, either leaving them hungry or eating more than what should be a ‘portion’; Are often overly sweet to encourage little ones to accept them readily and want more. However, this doesn’t help babies and toddlers to explore and accept a wider variety of tastes; Sometimes have added, unnecessary ingredients such as sugar, salt, fillers and oils that aren’t needed and that you wouldn’t add when home cooking; Sometimes have been made using high heat treatments to create longer shelf lives. This may reduce the vitamin and mineral content. What are the alternatives to UPFs? Firstly, think about UPFs as ‘every now and then’ foods for young children, where possible. Make big batches of meals and snacks at home to portion freeze for weeks ahead.

Use fridge-raid meals. These are meals where you look in the fridge and make mini picnics out of all the foods that need using up. This both reduces prep time and food waste at the same time. I do this at least twice a week. Don’t be afraid of using pre-prepared options when you need the convenience, even if they are sweeter or have a little added salt. Team them up with extras which add more nutrients to the eating occasion. For example, if you’re offering crisps, add a tangerine and some hummus to dip them in. If you’re offering a baby pouch, try decanting the pouch, mashing in some lentils and spreading it on a piece of toast to create more of a meal. Evaluating foods Check the ingredients. Many items that are syrups, juice concentrates or end in ‘ose’ contain free sugars, which we want kids to be getting less of in their diets. Taste it yourself. See if you recognise the flavours, find it super chewy or notice anything strange about the food. Check the portion sizes. Products with serving suggestions eg ‘great for older toddler served with some veggies’ can be helpful and show that a brand is trying to help consumers get the balance right. Charlotte is working in association with Stokke and their iconic Tripp Trapp chair (www.stokke.com), the chair that grows with the child. Her new book, How to Feed Your Family is out now. You can also find helpful downloadable resources for family feeding on her website at www.srnutrition.co.uk/ factsheets

Get involved in Children’s Mental Health Week

From 5 to 11 February, families across the UK are encouraged to take part in Children’s Mental Health Week organised by charity Place2Be. This year’s theme is My Voice Matters. My Voice Matters is about encouraging young people to use their voices, share what matters to them and encourage those around them to hear their voices. Evidence shows that empowering children and young people can have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing. For example, children and young people who feel that their voices are heard - and that what they say makes a difference - have higher levels of self-efficacy and self-esteem. Find FREE resources for parents and carers and more information at www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk January/February 2024

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Twelve months to It’s the New Year! This is the perfect time for a reboot designed for the whole family. Get started February Grow more veg & herbs

January Eat less meat Veganuary takes place every January. Having started in the UK in 2014, it now has global traction. If going vegan is a step too far for your family, how about Meatless Mondays? Even reducing red meat by a small amount can improve heart health. Try a half-and-half approach; instead of using just minced beef in recipes, replace half with beans, lentils or mushrooms. It increases the amount of fibre in your diet.

It might be looking a little bare out there but the frostbitten days of winter are coming to an end. What better time to visit the garden centre, shake out the gardening gloves and push some seeds into the soil. Assigning individual pots to the kids might encourage them to get more involved in growing their own veggies and herbs - and eating them!

March Bake healthier snacks

April Take up a sport together Biscuits and cakes are often the easiest snacks to reach for after school. With forward planning though, we can all do a little better. Homemade snacks don’t have to look or taste too different from shop-bought ones; by just by adding less refined white flour and more fibre you can improve gut health over the course of a year. For biscuits, try a bit less flour and a few more oats. With cakes and traybakes, using wholewheat flour is a great way to introduce more fibre, antioxidants and protein, along with tonnes of important nutrients like B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc.

Finding an active challenge you can enjoy as a family, can be loads of fun and healthy. But finding something that works for every age is tricky. Ice skating and golf can be good levellers and appealing to older children. If nothing else comes to mind, swimming or cycling usually work for most; it’s all-round physical exercise and always seems to have an immediate and positive effect on appetite and sleep.

June Go dancing!

May Tackle anxiety At this time of year, school tests and exams can pile on extra pressure. Meditating regularly, even for a few minutes a day, can make a difference and there are lots of meditation apps designed for children, as well as adults. More effective than yoga, meditation is proven to reduce the reactivity of the brain in response to stress and a Harvard-based study in 2011 demonstrated that you can even reduce the size of the amygdala (the bit of the brain associated with the stress response) when you meditate for a longer period of time. 10 Families Kent

The days are long and the sunset casts a rosy glow… well hopefully! The festival season has arrived and it’s time to embrace the midsummer madness and go dancing. The health benefits of dance are impressive; cardio, weight-loss, strength, agility and balance are just the start. To top it all off, dancing brings joy and is a natural form of stress relief. Throw in some choreography and you’ve even got a workout for your memory too.

January/February 2024


a healthier family with our step-by-step guide and let every month take you closer to a happier, healthier, family life. August Drink more water

July Tech-free weekends Or, more realistically, just one day! As it gets brighter and sunnier, it’s much easier to come up with tempting outdoor alternatives and any reduction in screentime is likely to improve sleep and mental health. Consider device-free times or designated tech-free zones at home. Are you keeping to your own weekly or daily limits? Revisit the rules, especially with older kids and discuss what a healthy balance looks like. Visual timers help some children keep screentime under control.

Yawn, we know this, yet we are probably still not drinking enough. Let’s just recap how essential it is for our health. The blood is ninety percent water so good hydration basically effects every single organ and cell in the body, from heart to brain to skin. How about trying a different strategy for each family member? For one child, a new water bottle. For another…. deploying the dark art of parental bribery. For yourself, water infused with lemon instead of a coffee.

September Enrol in a new class

October The vitamin refresh It’s a new academic year and there is no need to limit the anticipation and thrill of a new start to just the children in the family! There’s also no need to spend a penny. Start by visiting your local council website to find out about free short adult education courses. Or you could check out the online learning platform backed by The Open University called Future Learn (www.futurelearn.com). Most of their courses are also free.

Perhaps you’ve dished out vitamin C to head off colds, tried some probiotics for gut health or have been taking Omega 3 to improve focus? The chances are you probably have some unfinished bottles lying around in a cupboard somewhere. October is a good time to sort through what you already have and set your priorities for the winter ahead. The NHS recommends all children under age 6 (who are not being fed formula) should have vitamins A, C and D as daily supplements. Vitamin D is particularly important as winter approaches, as we get less sunshine.

November Switch to sugar alternatives

December Family cooking day Adding more spices to our diets benefits us by replacing sweetness with flavour. Other sugar alternatives, like agave or stevia, convert to glucose more slowly, helping improve our energy and health over time. Date sugar is made from dehydrated dates, retaining more of the fibre and vitamins than standard refined sugar. Monk fruit is a natural sweetener made from a south east asian fruit. It’s increasingly available in health food shops and is many times sweeter than sugar, yet it has no calories or effect on blood sugar. January/February 2024

Help! It’s nearly Christmas again! This year, it might be a good idea to get some meals in the freezer before the holidays start and relatives descend. Dedicate a day to cooking as a family and let each member choose a healthy recipe. It’s great for teamwork and even better if you discover some new family favourites. Younger members can get to work on healthier versions of seasonal staples like mince pies or gingerbread men.

Families Kent 11


Helping children embrace the great outdoors Gemma Hunt, children’s storyteller and long-time presenter of CBeebies show Swashbuckle, tells Families about her role as ambassador for The Waterproof and Wellies Project for The Outdoor Guide Foundation (www.theoutdoorguidefoundation.org) and why she’s passionate about getting kids and families outside. Tell us about The Waterproof and Wellies Project?

To motivate our daughter, we turn outside time into an adventure or give ourselves a purpose. Like going out to collect leaves or feathers for an art project or going on a litter pick.

We’re looking to raise £6m to provide ten sets of waterproof jackets, trousers and wellies to the twenty thousand state primary schools in the UK. Unfortunately around thirty percent of children do not own their own wellies. So having these sets in schools enables them to play outside in all weathers without ruining their shoes!

If we take her bike or scooter that usually stops the moans about her legs aching if we’ve walked too far! What advice would you give to families whose access to green spaces is limited?

Why do you feel particularly passionate about this project?

Make the most of the outdoor spaces you do have access to. Take outdoor games if there is no play area. If it’s rainy, put your waterproofs on and take a flask of hot chocolate and a big umbrella!

I long for children to enjoy the physical, mental and spiritual value of getting outdoors more. It’s so good for their appreciation of our great British countryside, wildlife and nature. I love to see my daughter play outside, climbing trees, investigating flowers and spotting insects, coming back with flushed cheeks and grubby knees! On occasion, we’ve ruined clothing or footwear as we haven’t had the right gear with us BUT we’ve been able to replace them. This isn’t possible for all families so to have the right outerwear to enjoy time outside together is essential. How do you think children’s experience of outdoor time today compares to yours as a child? I don’t think we get outside as much as we used to – there are so many inside distractions. It used to be a treat to run around outside, play games and let off steam. Now children seem to view it more as a punishment as they’d often prefer to stay indoors connected to electronics and Wi-Fi.

What has The Waterproof and Wellies Project achieved so far? Of course, we had more freedom to roam safely and I understand why we may not be so willing for our children to go out alone now but that is all the more reason to try and do so as a family. How much time do you spend outside with your family? Honestly, not as much as we should. We do walk to school or play in the garden every day and we like to take our daughter out on her bike. Luckily we live near the coast and great country parks like Betteshanger Park near Deal in Kent where we can walk, cycle and scoot. There’s also a great play area there and the most delicious café (I recommend the sweetcorn fritter burgers!).

Since Covid, we have donated more than three thousand sets of waterproofs and wellies to UK schools. We need more support from businesses and individuals as we’re still a way off our target and there are more than three hundred schools on the waiting list who are desperate for the gear. You can see how you can support us at The Outdoor Guide Foundation website at www.theoutdoorguidefoundation.org You’re also a writer. Tell us about your new book. My newest book is about helping children to express and deal with big feelings like anger, jealousy and frustration. I understand the power of imitative behaviour and wanted to write something that children could read (or have read to them) that would inspire them to better manage their behaviour. My favourite role model has been Jesus so I wanted to take some stories told by or about him and re-tell them from the perspective of a mixed race family like mine. My husband and daughter and my parents and I all appear in the stories. What motivated you to write it? I wanted to write a series of children’s books that represented our own mixed race family. I struggled to find good books for my daughter that depicted our family dynamic - so I wrote them! The first book is about encouraging children to be a good friend and is called See! Let’s Be A Good Friend; the newest one has five helpful short stories which explore emotions. It’s called See! Let’s Be ME and is available from www.bookshop.org

12 Families Kent

January/February 2024


Work and the single parent By Rebecca Cox Being the solo head of a family household is no easy task. Yet roughly one in four families in the UK is headed by a single parent. Whether you’re entering solo parenthood through conscious decision, following an unexpected loss, a relationship breakdown or a change in circumstances, the roadblocks to success (and happiness) remain the same. Being the carer and the provider, embodying both parents at once, means you have a lot of plates to juggle and little support. The main things to get sorted early are co-parenting plans (if relevant), childcare, legal considerations, finances and work. But how do you navigate a successful career as a single parent? Working hours The first consideration is to be practical about the times you will be able to work, with childcare top of your agenda. If you have school-age children, the hours they are at school will likely be free for work (unless you have other caring commitments). Beyond the school day, think about your extra childcare needs and possibilities for meeting them. If your children are preschoolers, childcare costs will need to be weighed against potential earnings. Flexible working Once you know the hours available to you, with and without childcare costs attached, you’ll be in a better position to navigate how you’ll manage work within those hours. If you’ve gone from a two-parent household to going it alone or you’re a solo parent by choice, you may have a pressing need for more flexibility from your employer. Working Families charity says: ‘Any employee with twenty six weeks’ service can make a statutory flexible working request.

Flexible working means changing the way you work and can include working fewer hours, working compressed hours, working from home, changing your start and finish times or entering into a job share. You should state in your request if you are making the request due to childcare or in relation to the Equality Act (e.g. disability) if you are asking for flexible working to care for a child or disabled person. You should also include details about the impact on family life if it is turned down.’ Know your rights Beyond flexible working requests, it’s important to be aware not only of your working rights but of your right to support if you need it. Working single parents should understand their right to parental leave, time off for dependants, protection from discrimination in the workplace and part-time workers’ regulations. Sometimes it is impossible to make the numbers add up, so understand your right to financial aid too. Use the online benefits calculator at www.gov.uk Rebecca Cox is co-author with Zoë Desmond of a new book How To Be A Happy Single Parent (Little Brown Book Group) which offers advice to new single parents trying to navigate the working world as the solo head of a family. It is available from www.bookshop.org



2024 is Families Kent’s 5th year in print and we are looking for a new Editor for the publication.

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The Kent edition of Families magazine is part of a successful franchise group with 30+ editions around the UK - being a ‘Families Editor’ means becoming part of a growing and supportive network and trusted name - established over 30 years ago in 1990!



• Knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the local area and What’s On for families.

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To register your interest in Families Kent magazine email editor@familieskent.co.uk half page advert Design file.indd 1 January/February 2024

11/12/2023 Families Kent16:46 13

Your family guide to

What's On Throughout Jan and Feb Trainmaster Venues across Kent www.trainmaster.co.uk Train lovers come and visit for an hour of play. Refreshments available. See online for details. Sat 6 Jan Bexley Sun 7 Jan Deal Sat 13 Ashford Sat 13 Birchington-on-Sea Mon 12 Feb Canterbury Tue 13 Feb West Malling Mon to Fri, Term Time Only Stay & Play FlipOut Ashford, TN24 8DH www.flipout.co.uk/locations/ ashford Enjoy spending time with your little ones in dedicated toddler areas. Two parents can assist free of charge. From 10am to 3pm. Under 5’s only. £7.50 for adult & one child.

perfect for individuals with additional needs. Tue 2-4pm, Sat 9-10am. All ages. £8.50. Every Wed Playground (Creative Play for Babies) Ashford Gateway Plus, TN23 1AS www.kent.gov.uk FREE weekly sessions for children aged 0-24 months in libraries and early years settings across Kent. Led by a team of brilliant artists and musicians, you and your child can share creative play. Booking is essential. Call 03000 41 31 31. Every Fri Baby Rhymetime Ashford Gateway Plus, TN23 1AS www.kent.gov.uk Popular rhymes and songs for babies, toddlers and their parents or carers. 10-10.20am.

Every Tue Stay & Play Sunshine Children’s Centre, Maidstone, ME15 6TL www.facebook.com/maidstone childrenscentres Sensory activities, outdoor play, messy play, crafts and more. 9.3011am. Ages 0-5. FREE.

Every Sat Love Your Local Market Bligh’s Meadow Shopping Centre, Sevenoaks TN13 1DA www.blighsmeadow.com Offering a range of local goods from breads to art and crafts stalls, Fun for all to explore and discover. 9am-4pm.

Every Tue & Sat Dedicated SEN Session Flipout Ashford, TN24 8DH www.flipout.co.uk/locations/ ashford A dedicated session for the SEN. The disco lights and music are turned down to create a relaxing atmosphere. Staff focus on creating a calming and attentive atmosphere,

Weekly Baby Rhymetime Libraries across Kent www.kent.gov.uk A FREE, fun and noisy way for under 3s to develop a love of language and learning. Each session lasts 20 minutes and includes the opportunity to join in with nursery rhymes and action songs.

Take part in the 2024 Big Garden Birdwatch Get your family involved in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and help monitor bird life in the UK. Simply count the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park for one hour between 26 and 28 January. Challenge your children to see who can spot the most birds. Take a bike ride to a local park or make a day trip out of it and spot birds in a new place. You can also watch Big Garden Birdwatch Live! on YouTube and Facebook to discover what birds are being spotted across the UK with live commentary, interviews and chats with special guests and wildlife experts and the chance to ask them questions. To learn about ways to attract birds to your garden and get your FREE guide, visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch 14 Families Kent

All listings correct at the time of going to print. Please check with the venue before visiting to ensure events are still going ahead and the venues are open.

Weekly Storytime Libraries across Kent www.kent.gov.uk Listening to stories is a great way to develop and encourage young children to read books. Come and join one of our storytime sessions for 3 to 4 year olds - it’s great fun! Weekly Playground Creative Play Libraries across Kent www.kent.gov.uk Playground is an exciting programme of creative play sessions for young children and their families across Kent. Led by a brilliant team of artists and musicians, young children and their families can share Baby Playground (0 to 18 months) and Family Playground (under 5 years). Sat 3 Feb Firefly Sport Kids Driving Experience Bluewater Shopping Centre, Greenhithe, DA9 9ST www.trackdays.co.uk The Firefly Young Driver Experience is designed to offer children between the ages of 4-10 the chance to enjoy a driving session learning some of the basic skills such as steering, braking, and speed control in a real (but miniture) car. Wed 7 to Thu 29 Feb Snowdrops Walk Hever Castle, Edenbridge, TN8 7NG www.hevercastle.co.uk A walk in the gardens at this time will provide a welcome boost to flagging winter spirits. Wrap up warm and enjoy a self-led tour of the snowdrops. During your stroll you will also be able to learn interesting facts about snowdrops. Included with admission. Sat 10 to Sun 18 Feb Half Term Trail: ‘The Scotney Story Book’ Scotney Castle, Tunbridge Wells, TN3 8JN www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ scotneycastle Once upon a time, there was a beautiful garden with an old ruined castle at its centre, and one day some story book characters decided to pay a visit... Pick up a trail sheet from Visitor Entrance and see if you can work out which traditional storybook and fairy tale characters are hiding in the garden. Complete

the sheet, solve the puzzle to uncover the final character, and claim a small reward from the shop. 10am-4pm. Sat 10, Sun 11 & Sat 17, Sun 18 Feb Spring into the Museum The Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens, Birchington, CT7 0BH www.powell-cottonmuseum.org Join Powell-Cotton for their first open weekends of the season, packed full of fun activities and a green man tree garden trail for the whole family to enjoy. 11am-3pm. Sat 10 to Sun 18 Feb Eco Week Hever Castle, Edenbridge, TN8 7NG www.hevercastle.co.uk This February half term, Hever want to educate and inspire future generations to be more sustainable and encourage the community to take part in this Eco Week event to demonstrate their support for our planet. During the week, you will be able to take part in a fun activity and discover more about what Hever Castle does to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. Sat 10 to Sun 18 Feb Half Term History Makers Dover Castle, CT16 1HU www.english-heritage.org.uk Join characters from the past for historical hijinks and hands on shenanigans at Dover Castle this half term. Step back in time to the medieval period through exciting stories and interactive activities! 10am-4pm. Book online, save 10%. Tue 14 to Thu 16 Feb Half Term Make It Maidstone Museums, ME14 1LH www.museum.maidstone.gov.uk Three days of Folklore themed Make It! sessions for children. Linked to the Animal Guising and the Kentish Hooden Horse exhibition. Three sessions per day. £3 per child. Booking required. Ages 4-11. Sat 17 Feb Comedy Club 4 Kids! The Alexander Centre, Faversham, ME13 8NZ www.thealex.org.uk It’s a comedy club, right, but for kids. Also, any adults who enjoy a swear-free hour with the circuit’s best stand-ups and sketch acts. Non-patronising. 2pm.

January/February 2024

WHAT’S ON The Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone, ME14 1PL Box office: 01622 758611 www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/ Hazlitt-Theatre

The Powell-Cotton Museum

Tue 13 Feb The Three Little Pigs Join the three pigs as they excitedly leave the family sty in search of new adventures! Will they make a pig’s ear out of it, or will they raise the roof? It’ll take brains, bravery and curly-tails to build bridges and forge friendships with each other and those they meet along the way. Ages 3-7.

CHILDREN’S THEATRE Ashford Theatre Society Christchurch Community Hall, TN23 7XB Box Office: 01233 280310 www.ashfordtheatre.com Fri 19 to Sat 27 Jan Sleeping Beauty Written, built and cast in Ashford, this much loved annual Pantomime, Sleeping Beauty is a magical show for all the family, promising to bring more magic, more laughs and more fun than ever before and you’re invited to join in the fun! Assembly Hall Theatre Tunbridge Wells TN1 2LU Box Office: 01892 530613 www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk Sat 20 & Sun 21 Jan The Gruffalo’s Child Follow the Gruffalo’s Child on her adventurous mission in Tall Stories’ enchanting adaptation of the much-loved picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Ages 3+. EM Forster Theatre Tonbridge School, TN9 1JP Box Office: 01732 304241 www.emftheatre.com Sat 10 Feb Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants Presented by Music in the Round with original music by children’s Composer-in-Residence, Paul Rissmann, this piece features instruments including strings, woodwind, and horn, presented together with story-telling and projected illustrations from the best-selling children’s book by Giles Andreae and Korky Paul. Ages 3-7. Malthouse Theatre, Canterbury, CT2 7JA Box office: 01227 287234 www.malthousetheatre.co.uk Mon 12 Feb The Magic Word Let’s All Dance Ballet Company is delighted to present this gorgeous ballet for family audiences. With magical dancers, stunning costumes, crystal clear storytelling and lots of humour, this is a heart-warming tale for all ages! 1pm, 3pm. Orchard West Theatre Dartford DA1 1BX Box Office: 0343 310 0033 www.orchardtheatre.co.uk Thu 25 & Fri 26 Jan Cirque - The Greatest Show Welcome to Cirque: The Greatest Show, the award-winning, smashJanuary/February 2024

hit circus musical that is fun for all the family. Enjoy a truly wondrous journey as a monochrome life, bursts joyously into kaleidoscopic colour. An all-star cast, the very best of musical theatre, mesmerising aerialists and circus stars, a charming tale with an astonishing twist. Ages 3+. Sun 11 Feb Fireman Sam – The Great Camping Adventure Brand New for 2024. Norman wants to go on an adventure to impress his friends, so when two famous animal explorers arrive in Pontypandy, he decides to follow them into the mountains. But when Norman discovers a rare red squirrel, one of the explorers decides to take the glory for themselves, leaving Norman stranded in a cave. Now it’s up to Fireman Sam to save the day and ensure everyone is safe on their camping adventure! Sun 18 Feb Science Museum - The Live Stage Show This year, join London’s worldrenowned Science Museum as they bring you this brand-new stage production aimed at igniting your curiosity, fuelling your imagination and inspiring you in new and exciting ways. 1.30pm. The Alexander Centre Faversham, ME13 8NZ Box Office: 01795 591691 www.thealex.org.uk Sat 3 Feb Mischief & Mystery in Moomin Valley Based on the much-loved Moominland novels by Tove Jansson, this gentle heart-warming show tells the story of a year in Moominvalley. Each section of the story has an interactive element; audience members have a snowball fight, toast marshmallows around a fire and go sea-swimming. 2pm. The Central Theatre Chatham, ME4 4AS Box Office: 01634 338338 www.medwayticketslive.co.uk Sun 11 Feb Dinosaur Adventure Live: Trouble on Volcano Island Join the brave Rangers for another action-packed dinosaur adventure in the all new and exciting show: Trouble on Volcano Island. Meet the incredible Triceratops, the cheeky Spinosaurus, cute baby dinos and the gigantic T-Rex, follow in their huge footprints and journey across the island. This amazing, immersive and interactive show is guaranteed to be an unforgettable adventure. 2pm, 4.30pm. All ages.

The Marlow Theatre The Friars, Canterbury CT1 2AS Box Office: 01227 787787 www.marlowetheatre.com

from this perfect pair, plus one or two surprises along the way. 1.30pm & 3.30pm. Sun 17 Feb Children’s Showtime Get ready for an amazing half term magic show, featuring some of Kent’s top family entertainers. A show suitable for the whole family, with magic, balloons, puppets, games and so much more. Guaranteed to keep you laughing all the way through. 2pm.

Don’t forget to sign up for our digital magazine for more interactive content at familiesmagazine.co.uk/go

Tue 6 to Sun 11 Feb The Wizard of Oz Direct from The London Palladium, the sensational new production of one of the world’s most beloved musicals comes to Southampton. Starring The Vivienne as The Wicked Witch of The West. Join Dorothy, Toto, and friends on an unforgettable adventure down the yellow brick road to the merry old land of Oz. Ages 6+. Wed 14 Feb Ministry of Science Live Join the presenters as they dive deep into the world of science and look at how science shapes the modern world we live in with a few loud bangs along the way! Expect 20ft liquid nitrogen clouds, exploding oxygen and hydrogen balloons, fire tornados, hydrogen, bottle rockets, ignited methane and even a self-built hovercraft! 11am & 2.30pm. The Stag Theatre Sevenoaks TN13 1ZZ Box Office: 01732 450175 www.stagsevenoaks.co.uk Sun 11 Feb Silly Billy’s Sunday Funday The legendary Silly Billy (aka Ant Payne), and Sevenoaks’ favourite panto dame (Jamie Alexander Wilson) will be back on stage at The Stag, for one day only! In an hour long show suitable for all the family, Sevenoaks Panto fans can look forward to all the hilarious happenings you’ve come to expect



EASTER ISSUE W BOOK NO Next issue: March/April 2024 Booking deadline: 2 February Copy deadline: 8 February Easter Holidays & Days Out, Education, Holiday Clubs & Classes, Parenting and much more! Distribution: Ashford, Faversham, Canterbury, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Maidstone and Margate. If you would like copies for your school, club or class - just ask!

WIN a family ticket to Camp Bestival!


One lucky family has the chance to score a family ticket to Camp Bestival. This four-day safe, fun, magical and adventurous festival for kids of all ages, takes place during the summer holidays in both Dorset and Shropshire. Multi award-winning and designed specifically for families, enjoy hundreds of activities from bushcraft, circus schools, sports and immersive theatre to incredible live acts and DJs, family raves, circus spectaculars, wellness, award-winning street food and cabaret. www.campbestival.net Apply at familiesmag.co.uk/go T&Cs: www.bit.ly/cmpbest

Families Kent 15


Top family-friendly festivals for 2024 Time to plan ahead! The UK has loads of family-friendly festivals happening this year and, from music and comedy to food and drink, there’s really something for all ages. Some festivals offer plenty of activities for little ones to enjoy, as well as great music line-ups, whilst others are dedicated solely to family entertainment and activities. Here is our selection of some of the stand-out festivals with dates to help you plan.

Gone Wild Festival Powderham Castle, Exeter 22-24 August and Holkham Hall, Norfolk 8-11 August

Celebrating the great outdoors with fabulous music alongside family-friendly, outdoor activities for all ages. Where else can you push your mum down a 50m mud slide, learn new survival skills then dance the night away? Activities include kayaking, Nerf battles, circus workshops, high ropes, tree-climbing, adventure art and more. www.gonewildfestival.com

Just So Rode Hall, Cheshire 16-18 August This weekend-long camping festival aims to help families make memories together in the great outdoors whilst enjoying the very best music, theatre, circus, storytelling and much more. Child-friendly loos, baby change facilities, breastfeeding tent and even a bath time tent, offer families practical assistance, while attractions include an exhaustive range of activities and workshops for kids. www.justsofestival.org.uk

Victorious Festival Southsea, Portsmouth 23-25 August

Set on the stunning Southsea seafront, this festival not only features some of the biggest names of the UK music scene during its three day run, but it also has a great comedy line-up with some big names. A newly expanded Kids’ Arena offers face painting, zip wires, skate sessions and family activities, all of which are free. www.victoriousfestival.co.uk

Gloworm Festival Holme Pierpoint Country Park, Nottinghamshire 16-18 August

Festival of Sport Venue and dates to be confirmed Festival of Sport is the ultimate family sports festival, with entertainment, camping, competitions and coaching from world-class sporting legends for kids ages 5 to 17. Sports on offer range from hockey, rugby, netball, cricket and football to kayaking, golf, trampolining, lacrosse, boxing, skateboarding and climbing. www.festivalofsportuk.com

Standon Calling Standon Lordship, Hertfordshire 25-28 July

An independent boutique music and arts festival with big acts and emerging talent which features a whole area dedicated to entertaining babies, kids and teenagers during the daytime. It also offers on-site baby sitting for evenings, a swimming pool and dedicated family campsites only ten minutes from the car park. www.standon-calling.com

Aimed at children ages 0 to 13, expect music, activities and arts all geared towards different age-groups. From well-known children’s artists and headline acts, through to a funfair, farmyard, facilities for families, meet-and-greets with their heroes and places to play, every corner of this festival is an incredible adventure for all ages. www.glowormfestival.co.uk

Deer Shed Festival Baldersby Park, North Yorkshire 26-29 July

Deer Shed is a three-day wonderland of music, arts, science and sport, set in beautiful North Yorkshire parkland. Choose from forest bathing, a circus masterclass, soft play, robotics, forensics, cinema and baby massage - there’s plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained. www.deershedfestival.com

16 Families Kent

Camp Bestival Lulworth Castle Dorset 25-28 July and Weston Park Shropshire 15-18 August

This award-winning festival is known for its diverse line up of musical acts and its wide range of family-friendly activities and entertainment. In addition to music, the festival offers a variety of other attractions, such as comedy performances, theatre, circus acts, workshops and interactive art installations. Some areas are specifically geared towards children’s activities. www.campbestival.net January/February 2024

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