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EE FR Thames Valley West

May/June 2011 Issue 53


Party Fun! 31/3/11


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B U I L D C O N F I D E N C E • B O O S T C O N C E N T R AT I O N • M A K E N E W F R I E N D S • H AV E F U N

FREE Drama Class Watch your child’s self-esteem soar with Perform’s unique drama, dance and singing classes. Our weekly workshops will work wonders for their confidence, concentration and social skills as well as giving them the best fun they’ll have all week. Book your child’s FREE class today. Call 0845 400 1283 or visit

0845 400 1283

Families has lots of exciting activities to keep your children fit, healthy and on the move

Are you musical, with a desire to teach babies & young children?


Monkey Music is looking for a dynamic teacher to join our team in the Reading & Wokingham area. You will need a strong singing voice and a sound musical background. You must be a car owner & in excellent health. For further information, please call: 01635 868584 or Email:



with mummy or daddy session FREE in Wokingham Call Liz on 07759 812016

MUSIC WITH MUMMY A fun introduction to music in small, friendly classes designed for children from birth to 3 yrs

0-1 yr JOLLY BABIES 1-3 yrs MUSIC WITH MUMMY For classes in Wokingham & Woodley call Clare O’Shea on 0118 903 4808 or visit For classes in Bracknell call Clare Klesel on 01344 451988 or visit


Thames Valley West

Bracknell & Thatcham • Non-swimmers & Improvers from 3 1/2 years • Snorkelling & Diving • Advanced & Club level swimmers • 6 children per class • Teachers CRB checked • Term & Holiday courses available

( local rate ) │


inthisissue ISSUE 53 • MAY/JUN 2011

Visit us now at www.

4 News & Views 8 Solar energy

How to make money from the sun

9 Fun to Bake

Herby Cheese Muffins

10 School News

Creating School gardens, School open days

14 Home Education

Is it right for you and your child?

16 Party Special

Party directory, plus lots of party ideas

25 What’s On

Events for all the family

30 Reader Offers

‘Kids go free’ to LEGOLAND, Reading Climbing Centre and INTECH

31 Family Theatre

To advertise: Tel: 0118 954 6893

Contact us:

Designed by: Graphic Resolutions 01438 871600

Next issue: July/August - Summer Activities Booking Deadline – 1 June

Visit us now at www.

Editor’s Letter

We’ve got our party hats on this issue to bring you all you need to throw the perfect birthday extravaganza for your child. There are tips and advice on keeping your sanity and ideas, for all budgets, to excite even the most jaded little ‘party animals’. And of course there’s our annual directory starting on page 18, full of all the party people you could possibly want! Solar panels seem to be popping up on roofs all over our area, encouraged by the financial incentives being offered by a new government-based scheme designed to ‘green up’ our energy production. Find out more about making money from the sun on page 8. And to help in these days of austerity we’ve got a whole page of money-saving offers, with ‘child goes free’ vouchers for the new Reading Climbing Centre, LEGOLAND Windsor and INTECH, the family science centre. Enjoy the sunshine and see you at the end of June for our Summer special. Karen and Jane Competition Winners from March/April issue Nirvana Spa pamper evening: Stephanie Bendall Paultons Park tickets: Charlotte Smith, Tracy Catlin, Abigail Manson, Janice Spiers

Our front cover photograph is courtesy of

Jo Jingles is Here! Fun Music, Singing & Movement Classes for children aged 3 months to 5 years Develop your child’s • Social Skills • Confidence • Co-ordination • Language • Listening Skills • Imagination

For details on classes in: Winkfield Row, Forest Park & Bracknell Call Jackie on 01344 484473

Henley-on-Thames, Twyford, Windsor, Maidenhead & Burnham Call Andreas on 05603 258601

Thames Valley West


News & Views Visit online at

Making French fun We all know how much easier it is to pick up a foreign language at a young age. So, if you want your children chattering away like natives on your summer holidays in France, why not enroll them at Alouette French Club? Children aged 3 to 6 are taught in a relaxed atmosphere using a wide variety of fun activities such as French songs and typical French games. Starting young will really give them a head start with their linguistic skills, as well as enriching their overall mental development. Accompanying adults can join in and practice their French too, so you’ll be fighting over who orders those baguettes at the boulangerie. Sessions are held Tuesdays from 4.20pm-5pm and Saturdays from 11am-11.40am at St Paul’s Parish Rooms, Reading Road, Wokingham, RG41 1EH. Each session costs only £5,

payable half-termly, and the first session is free! For more information, please call Liz on 07759 812 016 or email

Natural Beauty at Monkton Barn Elite Childcare Agency specialise in recruiting and placement of Nannies and Babysitters for families across Berkshire and South Oxfordshire. • Nannies (full and part-time) • Babysitters • Mobile Creches • Au-Pairs

0118 901 8747

Wendy Aldiss is well known for her beautiful portraits of children and families shot on location, or in the gardens and grounds of her farmhouse just outside Marlow. With stunning views of the Chiltern Hills it’s a perfect setting for her portraits and now Wendy is delighted to have a converted barn next to her home for her studio ‘Monkton

Barn Galleries’. It’s calm, homely interior makes for relaxing photo shoots, and the huge windows allow her to produce her lovely natural light portraits. She often combines the studio with outside shots for variety too. There’s a swing and trampoline as well as chickens and cows to amuse children. On the third Thursday of every month, Wendy runs a mother and baby portrait morning. Visit for more details. Monkton Barn Galleries is also available for events. It’s a wonderful party venue, offering 1200 square feet, ample parking and easy access, so perfect for wedding receptions and private parties, with or without her award winning photography. To find out more please visit Wendy can be contacted on 01494 523 162 or 07768 980 604.

Avoid the money trap Women are being shown how to avoid the money trap by two experts keen to prevent women becoming unhappy statistics. “So many women find talking about money uncomfortable and therefore avoid the subject – only to find later in life that they are left in a poor financial state either through relationship break-up, partner dying or not being adequately rewarded for the work that they do. The statistics prove that too many women have to rely on hand-outs, low wages or meagre pensions,” said Lynda Cant, pictured right, of in-a Coaching. She has devised practical evening events with personal wealth management specialist Louise Houghton to be held at the Wellington Arms Hotel at Stratfield Turgis (A33), Hook, Reading. Events costing only £49 include light refreshments and will be held regularly from May 18 until November 16.  To find out more email Lynda Cant at or telephone 01256 345 585. Bookings can be made online at


Thames Valley West


News & Views A‘maze’ing Cliveden Just opened at Cliveden in Taplow is a spectacular new maze inspired by one created for Lord Astor back in 1894. The original disappeared many years ago but in 2005 the designs for it were discovered in the National Trust archives. This prompted the NT to embark on the mammoth task of recreating the lost maze, a job which has taken their gardeners two years and 1,100 six foot high yew trees to complete. The finished maze has over 500 metres of paths and covers a third of an acre, making it the same size and scale as the world famous attraction at Hampton Court. For more information visit cliveden or call 01628 605 069.

Blast Off to a Star Studded Galaxy This term, local Perform children will not just be having fun acting, singing and dancing each week, they’ll be exploring Outer Space. Rocketing into a star-studded galaxy, the junior astronauts will travel to meet the Sparkly Spaceman, learn the Zero Gravity Groove and even meet the Man in the Moon! What’s more, they’ll enjoy themselves so much that they won’t notice how much they are improving their communication, concentration and co-ordination skills at the same time. Any interested 4-8 year old can try out the classes by attending a Free Trial Session. Classes Run on Wednesdays in Warfield, Fridays in Crowthorne and Saturdays in Reading and Wokingham. Call 0845 400 1283 to find out more.

Are you a single dad? The Kids and Me is a new adventure holiday company for single parent families, in particular single dads and their kids. From dog-sledding in the Arctic Circle to following war-time freedom trails across the Pyrenees, the company offers real-life adventures that will appeal to both dads and mums and their children. The Kids and Me focuses on a voyage of discovery together, leaving lasting memories that money just can’t buy. Founder Richard Gould, himself a single dad, launched his business when he had to adapt from seeing his children every day to just in the holiday time and weekends – he wanted to make sure his time with the kids counted. “I have always loved the outdoors and, post divorce, found that doing activities together were a great way to connect with my children. You have a laugh whilst learning new skills and there is always something to talk about at the end of the day.” Choose from an Alpine Challenge in the Alps in August or an Island Escape in Corfu in July, plus many more. Holidays are organised in small groups, staying in fully catered lodges where friendships will be made and sustained. Visit to find out more.

Conveyancing Solicitor I have my office based at home. I deal with all types of Conveyancing; sale, purchase, remortgage, etc. I choose to have a small practice where I handle everything myself. I offer a personal touch with flexible contact hours. Clients feel at ease coming to my office where children can play with the toys. Call me, Rachael Matthews, on

01494 758573

or email:

Call me for a quote or visit our website and use our online quote facility. Visit now at www. for the latest news

Thames Valley West


News & Views More room at the inn Family rooms in hotels can be hard to find if you have three or more children. Now help is at hand with, a really useful website for finding larger family rooms – mainly in independent hotels. The founder is a mother of three, who started the site after suffering years of frustration trying to find just this type of room. At you can find family rooms, suites and self-contained accommodation both in the UK and abroad, perfect for a one-night stopover or a full-blown summer holiday.

Buddies on the net

Do you feel ready for change? Is something still holding you back? Hypnotherapy can help with stress, anxiety, confidence, phobias, giving up smoking, weight-loss and many other areas. For more information about what’s involved and to book a Free Initial Consultation call Catherine Evans Dip Hyp CS 07811 907911

A new online resource has been set up for parents of special needs children: uk provides hundreds of practical tips and simple yet ingenious solutions to everyday issues encountered by parents, carers, teachers and therapists working with learning disability. From brushing teeth to managing challenging behaviour, Netbuddy lists over 850 practical tips and suggestions from people with first-hand experience of special needs, with the tip count growing daily as more people contribute. “The idea for Netbuddy came about when my son was small,” says Deborah Gundle, director of www. and mother of a son with profound learning disabilities. “I spent so much time and energy solving day-to-day problems which I felt sure other people had overcome before me. Then one day it came to me – I should start writing down my ideas for other people to use, and encourage them to share their own.” The tips on the site are organised into easy-to-find sections – from everyday stuff such as sleeping and eating, to health and hygiene, managing behaviour and tips with help and support. “People can come to Netbuddy for practical suggestions, they can talk to other people on the interactive forum and they can share their own ‘eureka moments’ within a community that understands and appreciates the hard work that has gone into those successes.”

Do two Princesses make the ideal family? Located on a beautiful, rural setting, Jubilee Day Nursery offers outstanding childcare to children aged 3 mths to 5 yrs. At Jubilee Day Nursery we believe children learn best through play and being given regular access to outdoor play facilities enhances children’s learning experiences. Jubilee Day Nursery has designed and developed a stunning outdoor environment to ensure all the principals of the Early Years Foundation Stage are encompassed.

0118 9701600 Paddock View, Rectory Road, Padworth Common, RG7 4JD


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Family life may be easier if you have two girls. That is the conclusion of a recent study examining the lives of families with different combinations of children, both male and female. Of all the variations, two girls make for the most harmonious family life but, by contrast, doubling the number of daughters is likely to lead to a whole world of drama, the report found. Mums and dads with four girls turned out to be the least happy with family life overall. To read the full story and find out how your own family combination fared visit


News & Views mums (and dads) in business...

Baby & Children’s Market UK The idea for Baby & Children’s Market UK came to husband-and-wife team Leanne and Steve Taylor in January 2010 following the birth of their son. They soon discovered how quickly babies develop and grow out of their clothes, toys and accessories and were inspired to create their Reading-based business. “We couldn’t afford to spend thousands on brand new baby items and began to see a real value in recycling,” they explained. “We felt that other mums and dads, like us, would want to save money and reduce waste at the same time. Our business provides parents with a great opportunity to buy and sell quality pre-loved baby and children’s goods at bargain prices all under one roof. We also offer other local businesses an opportunity to showcase and sell their unique baby and children’s products and services at each event. “We feel the Baby & Children’s Markets are meeting a real need among families, especially during these tough economic times; and growing concerns about sustainability makes them even more relevant.” Markets are located across Berkshire and the couple have recently expanded into other counties due to their popularity. To find out more or to book a stall at one of their events, visit or contact the Taylors on 07881 641 614.

Profitable children’s entertainment business for sale Go-Kart Party, a well established and successful children’s entertainment franchise, is reluctantly for sale. Covering the RG area with a population of around 340,000, the business has been running since 2007 and provides fun filled go-karting parties for boys and girls aged 4-10, as well as being a main attraction at school fetes, carnivals, shopping centres, fetes, fun days and many other events. A Go-Kart party is a fantastic idea for any children’s party, giving them a memorable and fun experience. The go

karts, with no fumes or noise, can be run in or outdoors all year round and are not dependant on the weather! Working from home, with few overhead costs this unique franchise is well known in the area and has established links with 15 venues. With flexible hours to suit you, this lucrative business can be run part time or can be expanded to full time. The business is being sold with any future bookings for £34,950. For more information please call Kally on 0118 972 3876.

MERL celebrates its 60th birthday This year the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading is enjoying its diamond anniversary and to celebrate has a packed schedule of events. Fans of The Archers will enjoy the special exhibition being held in partnership with the BBC, which looks at how the radio serial and the Museum have reflected changes in the countryside since they were both founded in 1951. The museum has several related family events starting at half term, with their biggest event of the year, the MERL Village Fete on 4 June. Have a look at our What’s On guide for event details. 87x60:Layout 1 02/12/2010 07:23 Page 1 Visit now at www. for the latest news

Thames Valley West


Green Energy

How the sun can pay your electricity bills Since April 2010 a government scheme to encourage solar panel installation means that families can actually make money producing electricity from solar panels. Solar panels have been popping up on UK roofs for the last 30 years. Environmentally conscious people, aware of the need to stop using fossil fuels (ie coal), have been keen to use this free, alternative source of electricity. There have even been grants to cover a portion of the installation costs. The phrase ‘microgeneration of electricity’ refers to electricity produced on your own roof top. The good news is that for every unit of electricity you make from your solar panels, the government will currently pay you 43.3p. What’s more, this is paid to you even when you use the electricity at home! The introduction of the ‘feed-in tariff’ in April 2010 has made this green technology a profitable investment. This unit rate of 43.3p will be paid for a guaranteed period of twenty-five years from installation and is index-linked to inflation. But these rates won’t last for ever: they are due to fall for installations completed after March 2012.

Cost and benefits An average household typically uses about 3,300 kWh (units) a year. At

Solar myth busters

13p per unit this costs ÂŁ429. A typical installation for a family house costs around ÂŁ9,000 and will provide approximately 2,000 units (or kWh) of electricity each year, giving you an income of over ÂŁ800 plus about ÂŁ200 savings on your electricity bill. Larger systems provide even greater returns due to the efficiencies of scale. The feed-in tariff is a tax-free payment. Furthermore the value of the property is likely to increase because of the built-in income stream.

How do I find a good supplier? The best way to find a reliable company to install your panels is by visiting the website of the organisation that certifies microgeneration suppliers at www.

and click on the ‘Consumer’ button. Put in your postcode to find your local companies. All these certified companies can use the initials MCS after their name.

What happens next? An initial meeting normally takes about one hour to discuss all the homeowner’s queries and to measure and assess the intended location for the panels. From the quotation to the installation can be as little as three weeks. The installation process is relatively simple, with the majority of the work being done on the roof and in the loft space. A team of specialist engineers can complete a typical installation in one day. One cable is run from the ‘inverter’ (which converts the electricity to the normal domestic supply of 230v) in the loft to the main consumer unit (fuse box) within the property.

• Solar panels do not require a due south facing roof to generate power. A west-facing roof can generate 80% of the power of a due south-facing roof. • The panels will generate power all year-round, including overcast winter days. Obviously the system will be most productive during periods of bright sunshine. • The installation of a roofmounted photovoltaic system does not normally require planning permission for domestic properties. The exceptions to this are for listed properties, national parks, etc. • Landlords can receive the feed-in tariff from installations on rental properties. • If you are considering the installation of solar panels, it would be wise to look for a company that is registered on the MCS scheme and with REAL (for added customer support). These registers have been set up to maintain consistency and quality in this growing industry.

Do you like fashion and design? Are you outgoing and looking for a new challenge?


Do you want to decide your own working hours?

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Come work with me&i!

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Sue Ryder Care is a charity registered in England and Wales (1052076) and in Scotland (SC039578). Š Sue Ryder. December 2010.


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Fun to Bake

Herby cheese muffins Here is a herby muffin recipe that uses parsley, oregano, and thyme. The muffins are irresistible and best eaten the day they’re made, although they will last for a couple of days if you keep them in a tin. You will need: 280 g (10 oz) plain flour 1 tbsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 tsp mustard powder 125 g (4 ½ oz) mature Cheddar cheese, grated 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme freshly ground black pepper 2 eggs 200 ml (7 fl oz) semiskimmed milk 75 g (2½ oz) butter, melted

Grow your own These empty fruit juice cartons make pretty containers for growing your own herbs. Use a pencil to make a drainage hole in the bottom of each carton before securing them together with large paper clips. Add a few stones for drainage and fill with general-purpose compost. Sprinkle a few herb seeds in each, cover with a thin layer of compost and water well. Leave in a sunny spot and don’t let the soil dry out.

YES, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL! Successful ‘Business Mum’ is seeking 5 working partners to work part-time from home, alongside & without compromising family commitments or current career. If you have a supervisory, managerial, sales, healthcare, marketing, recruitment or a self-employed background, or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle. Please call JAYNE DAVEY 01491 671293

Oregano Thyme Parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF/Gas 5). Line a muffin tin with 10 paper muffin cases. Then sieve the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. 2. Add the mustard, three quarters of the cheese, and the parsley, oregano and thyme. Season with black pepper and mix everything together. 3. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, and melted butter, and pour over the dry ingredients. 4. Stir the mixture until everything is just combined. Your batter should be quite lumpy. 5. Spoon the batter into the muffin cases, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Bake for 20–25 minutes until risen and firm. For Basil and Tomato Muffins simply follow the main recipe, but swap the herbs for 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, and stir in 75 g (2½ oz) chopped sun-dried tomatoes. This recipe and herb growing idea were taken from RHS How Does My Garden Grow, a practical guide that gets children growing plants and then doing something creative with the produce. It’s educational and bucket-loads of fun! Published by DK, priced £9.99 and available at all good bookshops and

Helping You Look and Feel Your Best An extensive range of treatments to help busy mums look and feel their best: Facials n Manicures n Pedicures n Acrylic/gel nails Spray tanning n Waxing n Electrolysis Anti-ageing n Anti-cellulite n Body wraps Pregnancy/new mother n Make-up Pamper days n Anti-stress massage Aromatherapy n Hot stone therapy Life coaching n Reflexology n Reiki Acupuncture n Nutrition n Hypnotherapy

To find out more, call: 0118 934 0355 or visit: 55 High Street, Twyford, Berkshire, RG10 9AJ

families ad_new.indd 1 Moreusrecipes Visit now atatwww.

We also offer a range of grooming and relaxation treatments for men and treatments for teenagers. Please contact us for details.

05/02/2010 09:09 PAGE 9 Thames Valley West


Open Morning: Friday 6th May 2011 9am – 11am

ewery nths 10 NNursge 3 moept 20


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Come and see why families choose Waverley

Join our parents at our next Open Day and see why they chose Waverley to nurture and educate their children.

CROSFIELDS SCHOOL Co-educational Independent Day Preparatory School for children aged 3-13 ‘The Family School of Choice’

OPEN MORNING Tuesday 17th May 2011


9:15am -11:30am with Headmaster’s address at 9:30am

3 months to 11 years



PEN DAY Saturday 21 May 2011, 10am - 1pm O (Alternatively please contact us to organise a time that suits you) CALL Any time during the school day on 0118 973 1121 MAIL CLICK ADDRESS Waverley Way, Finchampstead, RG40 4YD


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Crosfields is a family school where every child can develop his or her individual talents in a lively, stimulating and caring environment

Please contact 0118 9871810 / Shinfield Road, Reading, RG2 9BL MAY/JUNE 2011


School gardens: an outdoor classroom oasis Abridged from the book 'How to plant a School Garden', published by Timber Press

A school garden can be many things – a place of study, an opportunity for new experiences, an outdoor classroom or an oasis of calm. The old adage “getting your hands in the dirt” is literally what kids do in a garden and once they are engaged in this simple act, worlds are opened up. How to plant a school garden A school garden can be planted anywhere – at the edge of the playground, behind the climbing frame or around the football goal. Once you’ve chosen your spot, it’s probably an idea to throw all notions of aesthetic perfection away - rows of carrots will be imperfect, wheelbarrows will tip up and dirt will fly everywhere. Don’t forget to get the children involved: they can draw or describe what would be their perfect school garden – would it be a place to play or read, with fruit to pick? In addition to wanting a frog pond and plants for butterflies, they may ask to include a rocket launching pad, a pasture for horses and a swimming pool! Get them to paint signs for the garden and label the beds; the more kid-centered your garden is, the more they will be enthusiastic and excited. Whatever you do, don’t be stopped by lack of knowledge – within a group of parents and teachers there will be someone with a basic understanding of horticulture or gardening and if there are any landscape architects lurking out there, get them involved!

Layout When you’re deciding on the theme and structure of your garden, don’t forget to include a seating area where a class can gather. Seats can be made of inexpensive straw bales (which can then be used the following year to mulch the flower beds) or tree rounds (find a variety that doesn’t exude sap). Try asking a local tree care

service for these. For moveable seating go for stackable plastic stools. Include a shade structure or rain shelter in your design. This can be permanent or removable like a mini-marquee. A centrally located table is a great place for children to do seed saving, cutting, or drawing and observing with hand-held lenses. It should be large enough that a class can gather around. If you have an electrical store nearby, the large wooden spools used to wrap electrical wire can be set on end and work as excellent (and free!) tables. Take the time to design your garden with clearly laid out paths - around beds, up a slope and to the tool shed. Go on a walk of the site and get a sense of how you move through the space. Well-defined beds (where plants grow) and paths (where feet go) will go a long way to reduce trampling!

Products that should not be used in a school garden…. • Pressure treated wood, which contains chemicals unsuitable for food crops and for children to touch. • Plastic lumber made with wood fibre, which can be from pressure-treated wood and will eventually break down in the soil. • Train ties because of their creosote content. • Old tires and products made from recycled tires as they may leach contaminants into the soil. • Most plywood, which contains adhesives known to be carcinogenic in high concentrations. • Recycled wood, if you don’t know the origin. • Old bricks with paint on them to avoid possible lead contamination. • Topsoil that used to be around the base of old buildings that might have been painted with lead, or near busy roads with lead-heavy exhaust settling nearby.

More education news at

Planting beds Containers - many school gardens begin as container gardens, a great way to pilot a project. Planter boxes shouldn’t be more than three feet wide so smaller kids can reach the middle of the box. Make sure boxes have a sturdy bottom and drainage holes. One difficulty with container gardens is that the plants are dependent upon their human caretakers for food and water and if they dry out or have insufficient nutrients in the soil they will die. Recycled plastic pots, livestock water troughs or terra cotta pots can be used as containers. Raised beds – an advantage to raised beds is that they delineate garden space and help children understand the difference between planted and un-planted space. Build raised beds about 18–24 inches high and with a width of not more than three feet. If you are building raised beds on the ground, the bed needs no bottom. This allows you to plant deep-rooted plants and ensures proper drainage. Raised beds built from wood are expensive to build but you can use wattle (tubular netting filled with straw) which can be laid on the ground in any shape and backfilled with soil for planting. It has to be replaced every few years but is inexpensive. Urbanite, or chunks of broken up concrete can also be used and is considered a green building material. In-ground planting gives a rural, farm-field feeling and requires few resources. Best in a larger garden. School gardens are a great way on which to build community and a fantastic means of encouraging your children to learn and for parents to get involved. They are springing up everywhere - good luck with yours! Readers can order ‘How to Grow a School Garden’ for the special price of £12.99 (rrp £17.99), plus free p&p in the UK mainland. To order, contact Timber Press: 020 7372 1703, quoting offer code FM411. Offer ends 31 August 2011.

Thames Valley West


Education Radley College is an independent boarding school for boys aged 13 to 18. The Foundation Award at 11+, 13+ and 16+ are for boys currently in state education with academic potential and interest in music, art, drama or sport.


11+, 13+ & 16+

The award provides financial support of up to 100% of full fees for two initial years at preparatory school and then for a further five years at Radley. Entry is through assessment in English and Maths on 3 December 2011. Applications close on 1 November 2011. Sample papers are on the website.

Head Boy’s view of life at St. Edward’s St. Edward’s is a good school and has been a great experience for me. In the classroom, I know that the teachers will always help me when I am stuck; it is also good to see my friends getting the same support. My teachers expect me to work hard in preparation for Common Entrance exams, they want me to do my best. I have respect for my teachers; they treat me and all the boys in the school with respect. As Head Boy I have become a better leader. The school puts a lot of trust in me, which has made me more confident in myself and my ability.

I would tell anyone thinking of sending their son to St. Edward’s to definitely do it. Everyone helps you become a confident allrounder. There are opportunities to do well academically, in sport, drama and music. I am really glad my parents sent me here.

Hemdean House School For details: The Registrar, Radley College, Abingdon OX14 2HR Tel: 01235 543174

Reaching over


Independent Schools and Nurseries

To advertise call 0118 954 6893 or email

Hemdean House School was established in 1859 and offers children a continuous education from 2½-16 years for girls and from 2½-11 years for boys. Nursery children have their own dedicated accommodation in The Lodge. The happy, family atmosphere of the school is unique,

Waverley School and Nursery Any successful organisation should be very clear about what it believes in and Waverley School is no exception. That which Waverley School believes in can be summarised in three sentences.

The first belief is that the school should be able to cater for and provide a quality education tailored to the individual. The second is that a real education must offer a broad and


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giving pupils a sense of belonging; and the school has always had a strong tradition of nurturing the individual. Results at all levels are higher than national averages. A breadth of extra-curricular activities such as music lessons, ballet, L.A.M.D.A. sports activities, sewing and cookery clubs complement and enhance academic studies. Visitors are always welcome to view the school at work. If you are unable to make the open evening on Tuesday 24 May, contact the Headmistress’ secretary on 0118 947 2590 to arrange an alternative appointment.

varied curriculum encompassing the basics of Maths, Science and English and so much more. The third is that the school believes that a traditional expectation of good manners and respect encapsulated in the simple message of being kind is critical to the development of every child. All of this is carried through in small classes and a school with a strong family ethos with dedicated staff and superb facilities. Waverley has excellent examination results and is in the top tier of independent schools but real schools are about more than just exam results. Please come and see for yourself on 21 May between 10am and 1pm, ring 0118 973 1121 to arrange to visit or look at the website at



BearwoodFamMag_April(87x85)_BearwoodFamMag_April(87x85) 31/03/201

Open Days - Independent schools Bracknell and Ascot Licensed Victuallers’ School, Ascot (co-ed day & boarding, 4-18 yrs) 01344 882 770 Saturday tours 21 May, 9.45am-12noon. Open mornings Thu 5 May, Tue 7 Jun 9.30am-12noon. Please telephone the Registrar to reserve a place. Meadowbrook Montessori School, Bracknell (co-ed, 5-12yrs) 01344 890 869 Open Day Sat 21 May, 10.30am. The Marist Preparatory School, Ascot (girls only, 2½-11yrs) 01344 626 137 Open Day Sat 11 June, 10am-4pm. The Marist Senior School, Ascot (girls only, 11-18yrs) 01344 624 291 Open Morning Wed 29 June, 10am-12noon. Our Lady’s Preparatory School and Day Nursery, Crowthorne (co-ed 3mths-11yrs) 01344 773 394 Please call the school to arrange a visit.

Oxfordshire Cranford House, near Wallingford  (girls 3-16yrs & boys 3-7yrs) 01491 651 218   Private Tours and Open Mornings are available throughout the year, please contact school for details. Dragon School, Oxford (co-ed day 4-8yrs, co-ed day & boarding school 8-13yrs) 01865 315 405 Please contact school for Open Days. Shiplake College, Shiplake (day & boarding school, boys only 11–18yrs, girls sixth form) 0118 940 2455 Open Day Sat 14 May, 10am for a 10.30am start. The Oratory School, Woodcote (Catholic day & boarding school 1118yrs) 01491 683 500 enquiries@ Open Day Sat 7 May, 9.30am-12noon.   The Oratory Preparatory School, Goring Heath (co-ed day & boarding school, 3-13 yrs) 0118 984 4511 Open Door Morning Fri 20 May, 10am–12.30pm.

Reading The Abbey School, Reading (girls only, 3-18yrs) 0118 987 2256 registrar@ Open Day Junior School and Early Years: Wed 11 May, 9.15-11am Caversham Preparatory School, Caversham (co-ed day school, 3-11yrs) 0118 947 8684 Please contact school to arrange visit

Queen Anne’s School, Caversham (day & boarding, girls only, 11-18yrs) 0118 918 7333 Open Morning Sat 7 May, 9.30am-12.30pm. Taster days Tue 24 May & Thu 23 June, 8am–4.30pm. Boarding taster weekend 11-12 June. Contact school to reserve your place.


Open Day

Reading Blue Coat School, Sonning (day, boys 11-18yrs, girls 16-18yrs) 0118 944 1005 Open Morning Sat 7 May from 9.30am St Edwards School, Reading (boys only, 4-13 yrs) 0118 957 4342 Open Mornings Fri 6 May, 9-11am. St Joseph’s Convent School, Reading (co-ed 3-18yrs) 0118 966 1000 Open Morning: College, Preparatory and Sixth Form Tue 10 May, 9.15am–12.15pm

South of Reading The Cedars School, Aldermaston (co-ed day, 4-11yrs) 0118 971 4251 Open Morning Fri 13 May, Wed 8 Jun & Thu 23 Jun, 9.30am-12noon. Crosfields School, Shinfield (co-ed day prep, 3-13yrs) 0118 987 1810 Open Morning Tue 17 May, 9.15-11.30am, with Head’s Address at 9.30am.

Sat 14th May Please call to confirm your attendance

Nursery • Pre-Prep • Prep • Senior • Sixth Form Independent day / boarding co-education from 0-18 0118 974 8300

‘OUTSTANDING’ Ofsted, December 2010

St Neot’s Preparatory School, Eversley (co-ed day & weekly boarding school, 3 mths-13 yrs) 0118 973 2118 Open Morning Fri 13 May, 9.15am–12noon. Wellington College (co-ed day & boarding school, 13-18yrs) 01344 444 000 Open Day Sat 11 June (Please register in advance).

West Berkshire Bradfield College, Bradfield (co-ed boarding school, 13-18yrs) 0118 964 4510 Tours most Saturday mornings during term time, by appointment only.

Church Road, Aldermaston, Reading RG7 4LR Tel: 0118 971 4251 email: The Cedars is a small Independent School for boys and girls from 4 to 11 years

OPEN MORNINGS: 9.30 - 12 noon on 13th May, 8th June and 23rd June

Wokingham Bearwood College, Wokingham (coed day nursery, prep & senior school, 3mths-18yrs, boarders accepted 11-18 yrs) 0118 974 8300 Open Morning Sat 14 May, 10am-12noon. Holme Grange School, Wokingham, (co-ed day school, 3-13yrs) 0118 978 1566 Open Morning Fri 13 May, 9.30am-12noon.

White House Preparatory School Independent Day School with Nursery For ages 21/2 to 11 • • • • • • • •

Excellent academic results Small classes guaranteed Confident and articulate children Children achieve their personal best Caring, happy and supportive environment Breakfast and after school clubs Affordable education; bursaries available Co-educational through to Year 2

Dolphin School, Hurst, Reading (co-ed 3-13yrs) 0118 934 1277 Open Morning Fri 13 May, 10.30am12noon with Head’s welcome at 10.45am.

Luckley Oakfield School, Wokingham (girls only day & boarding, 11-18yrs) 0118 978 4175 Open Morning Wed 4 May, 9.30am-12noon

Hemdean House School, Caversham (co-ed infant & junior, girls only 11-18yrs) 0118 947 2590 Open Evening Tue 24 May, 6-8pm.

Waverley School & Nursery, Wokingham, (co-ed, 3mths-11yrs) 0118 973 1121 Open Morning Sat 21 May, 10am-1pm.

OPEN MORNINGS 9.30am – noon

Leighton Park School, Reading (co-ed day & boarding, 11-18yrs) 0118 987 9608 Open Days Tue 17 May & Tue 14 Jun, 10.15am. Please call school to register in advance.

White House Preparatory School, Wokingham (flexible nursery, school to Year 6) 0118 978 5151 Open Morning Thu 9 June from 9.30am.

w t 0118 978 5151 e

Thursday 9th June 2011 • Saturday 8th Oct 2011 Wednesday 12th Oct 2011

White House Preparatory School, Finchampstead Road, Wokingham, RG40 3HD

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Thames Valley West



Home Sch

You name it We label it!

Lunchboxes • Water Bottles Books • Uniforms • Footwear

T: 01635 298326

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For classes of pure MADness, join MAD Academy Call Trish on 0118 977 0050

Earley, Woodley, Caversham, Tilehurst, Calcot, Burghfield, Purley & Arborfield

Call Vicki on 0118 973 4507

Wokingham, Finchampstead, Crowthorne, Bracknell, Sandhurst, Hook, Camberley & Yateley Birthday

Call Emma on 0118 979 2695 Maidenhead, Marlow, Henley & Charvil

Parties too!

Movement • rhythms • songs • instruments • games Music And Dance and a whole lot of fun!


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With all the talk of catchment areas, failing schools, academies and free schools, many parents don’t realise that there is another alternative – teaching your child yourself at home. Could this be for you? By Amanda Dean



Page 1 any parents are surprised to learn that

whilst education is compulsory, school is not. The law states that you have to provide your school-age children with ‘an efficient and full-time education’ but that education does not have to involve attending a school. You, as a parent, are entitled to educate your child in the way you deem fit. Home education is perfectly legal in all parts of the UK and you don’t need to be a teacher, have any particular qualifications or any special equipment – you don’t even need to follow the National Curriculum. Although there is no definitive data available, the government estimates that anywhere from 50,000 to 150,000 UK children are currently taught at home. Parents may take the decision to home educate for any number of reasons, the most common being: distance or access to their local school; dissatisfaction with the system; bullying; philosophical or ideological views; and religious or cultural beliefs. Many children with special educational needs are also successfully home educated, although if your child is statemented and is currently attending a special school you will have to be able to demonstrate that you can provide for their needs. Home education is obviously a big commitment and responsibility and not a decision to be taken lightly. The main consideration, of course, is whether it is in the best interests of your child. You should also bear in mind the costs – for many families it means one partner giving up full-time employment (although many do manage to successfully combine home education with parttime work, or working from home). It is unlikely you will receive any financial or educational support, so budget for a computer, books, stationery, educational visits and exams, as well as extra-curricular activities. There are no rules or regulations about how or what you need to teach your child. You don’t have

Learning outside the classroom at Heroes Flexi School

to have a fixed routine or do a particular number of hours a week. Some parents follow a set timetable similar to traditional schools, whilst others simply let their children explore and be led by their interests and curiosity. The internet provides a wealth of information and ideas for subject and lesson planning, for example the BBC learning and National Curriculum websites are useful resources. Parents do not need to register or obtain approval from their local authority to educate their children at home. If your child has not yet been enrolled in school, you don’t need to advise anybody of your intention to home educate. If your son or daughter is already attending school then you need to give the Head Teacher written notice of your intention to withdraw them. Your Local Authority’s legal duty is concerned

Heroes Flexi School Dawn Dingwall set up Heroes back in 2004 whilst home-educating her two, now grownup, children. “The one thing that I found really missing for them was consistency with meeting friends,” explains Dawn “which is why I set up Heroes. It is a place for young people who are being home-educated to go, where they can have some independence from their family and get involved in educational workshops with their friends. Children come from all over to attend.” A full time-table is run with activities such as animal care workshops, sports, wallclimbing, archery, cooking, debating, discussion, woodwork, drama, art and crafts, history, horse whispering and much more. Heroes has proved so popular it now opens 5 days a week, and another centre is opening in Hertfordshire.


only with children who don’t appear to be receiving a suitable education. Some do ask that you register with them and accept a home visit. Others may ask you to provide evidence that your child is receiving a suitable education at home. How you provide this evidence is up to you – it could be through a written report, a meeting (with or without your child), samples of work, or a home visit. There are a number of national support organisations for home educators such as Education Otherwise who offer advice, monthly newsletters, and lists of local home educators and their interests. Online Home Education Forums bring together home educating families to provide mutual support and advice. Grassroots home education support groups are also becoming increasingly common and in the Thames Valley West area there are, for example, two local Yahoo Groups (Berkshire and Oxfordshire Home Educators), who provide support and arrange trips and get-togethers. If you find the thought of full-time home education too daunting, it may be possible to arrange flexi-schooling (a combination of home

and school education) at your local school. Oxford Montessori School, for example, offers ‘Home School Partnerships’ or ‘Part Home Education’, providing workshops for home educated students and classes in subjects that are more difficult to teach at home such as Art, Science and Design & Technology. The Thames Valley area also boasts one of the UK’s only dedicated flexi-schools (the Heroes Centre in Twyford), which provides home educated children with a regular drop-in facility, as well as offering a flexi-schooling option. See box below left for more details. So, whilst it isn’t for everyone, if you feel the traditional school system doesn’t suit your child, home education or flexi-schooling does offer a viable and increasingly popular alternative. There is plenty of support available and the red tape is not nearly as daunting as one might expect. It is also worth remembering that, as your children’s needs change at different ages and stages, if you do choose to home educate or flexi-school, your child can always return to full-time schooling at a later date.

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Heroes School



For more information visit: BBC Learning The National Curriculum Education Otherwise Home Education Forums Berkshire Yahoo Group http://uk.groups. Other Local Yahoo Groups Oxfordshire Yahoo Group Heroes Centre

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Give them a party they won’t forget! We specialise in Birthday Parties

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What to put in the party bags? Who to invite? What theme to have? Where to have it? And just how badly can it go wrong? Organising your children’s parties can seem far from fun, but it needn’t be that way, says Kate Nicolle. Business is for Sale.

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It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to… T

he word party fills the extroverts among us with a flurry of excitement and anticipation. Now put the word ‘children’s’ in front of it and it’s a whole different ball game. I have a fond memory of my son’s first birthday. I was so delighted to have made it through my first year of parenthood fairly unscathed – my son was cuddly and all smiles, and my husband and I were still speaking. I had managed to decorate the garden with bunting, fill it with friends and family and rustle up some cupcakes and bubbly. All in all, I really enjoyed celebrating our first year of family life and when I look back at the photos they capture the moments beautifully. Fast forward a couple of years and the party photos show a different story. Things become a great deal more complicated, the stress levels get ramped up a few notches and there’s little you can do about it, unless you make yourself superunpopular with your child and ban parties. It becomes one of those bittersweet experiences. You have to grapple with so many things…

Party bags (whose bloomin’ idea were they, I’d like a word with them) what do you put in them? Then there’s the horrible scenario of trying to stop yourself from wanting to cause physical harm to the child that demands you give them their party bag that minute, or the equally grim moment when your own child empties one in front of the host, complaining about the disappointing content. Excruciating... Food, do you go for the e-number-rich, highsugar menu which, let’s face it, is what parties are all about. First you have to go and buy it all, then you have to watch the children shun the homemade sandwiches that you’ve carefully prepared and stuff themselves with cheesy puffs and party rings. And then witness them tear the place apart like a herd of Tasmanian devils with fireworks up their bottoms.  To invite or not to invite is the worst bit. It goes without saying your child will want to invite all the badly behaved children that you don’t really like. And of course you will always upset someone by not inviting them and feel horribly uncomfortable when they invite your child to their party.

Should parents stay or go? You then have to decide if you’re going to invite parents to stay or just let them drop their children off. Of course getting to the ‘drop and scarper’ stage is great when you can do that and go for a quiet coffee. It is, however, not so fabulous when it’s your child’s party and you then have to police the ‘fireworks up the bottom’ behaviour. When you consider the above it makes you wonder why you agree to throw a party… ever. But there is a very simple reason – well two actually, the second being lots of presents. The first is how excited your child will be for weeks beforehand just thinking about it. The look on their little faces when all their friends are there making a fuss of them, sitting at the head of the party table, delighted to have reached their next birthday is priceless. You may rather run down the high street naked than have to host a child’s party more than once, but your child will genuinely love you for it. Having acknowledged the challenges a child’s party brings here comes the helpful bit…how to survive the experience without calling a therapist. Be firm. You are in charge! Always get the children to sit on the floor, legs crossed when you need to calm things down, it’s the best way to get their attention. Explain to the children what the timetable for the party is, managing expectation is key. Make clear the behaviour you’re expecting from them and be positive, i.e. ‘if we all do as we’re asked, we will all have a lovely time’. Don’t be over ambitious. A child’s party doesn’t need to go on all afternoon, two hours is plenty of time. Also be realistic about how many children to invite. If you invite too many your nerves will be shredded and less confident children will find the whole atmosphere very intimidating. Ask for parent’s contact numbers if they aren't staying at the party. Two hours can be a long time for a child who is upset and wants to go home. Take a spare pair of pants and jeans, there’s always one little one that is having such a wonderful time they forget to go to the loo. You can always ask parents to take their child to the toilet when they arrive so you are not going back and forth to the loo. MAY/JUNE 2011


From left to right: Top from £10 (part of 2 pack) by F&F and Leggings from £3 by Cherokee. Playsuit from £9 by Cherokee. T-shirt from £7 and Jeans from £10 by Cherokee. Dress from £12 by F&F. Top and Leggings set from £10 by F&F.

Ditch the party bags. Send them home with a little paper bag of flower bulbs to plant at home. Cheap, easy and much better than a load of plastic rubbish. Or strike a deal with your local book shop to bulk buy at a discount a little book for each child. I couldn’t write this article without mentioning the shy child at parties. Introverted, shy children can really struggle with going to parties. In the early days, if your child wants to stand by the door, holding onto your leg watching the mayhem from afar, please let them. If you can, try to resist extracting them from you and attempting to get them to sit

with the other children in front of Mr Magoo. Just because they’re not in the thick of it doesn’t mean they’re not enjoying things. They will eventually warm up to joining in but in their own time, trying to push them into it is embarrassing for them and rarely has any positive effect. Brace yourselves, make the best of it and savour the look on your child’s face when the chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ begins. Have fun. Kate works as a parenting consultant at Kidology and troubleshoots all manner of parenting issues during workshops or private consultations. Email at kate@ or call for a free chat on 0784 6400498.

5 Top Party Ideas! For movie buffs. Turn your living room into a very exclusive picture house. Send out ‘cinema ticket’ invites and arrange chairs or cushions in rows in front of the TV. Get hold of a DVD of the latest blockbuster, supply popcorn, then dim the lights and enjoy. And don’t forget the icecream break in the middle. A Mad Hatter’s tea party Perfect for little ones, hold it in the garden and ask everyone to wear a funny hat. Make a party tea with miniature cakes and sandwiches and give everyone a cup and saucer, plastic where necessary. Use pretty teapots to pour squash, juice or even tea! Fed up of musical bumps? How about doughnut-eating competitions – thread ring doughnuts onto string/a washing line at the correct height and eat without using your hands; chocolate-eating competitions – using only a knife and fork; and the Mummy game – teams use loo-roll to wrap a child to create the best-wrapped Egyptian Mummy. For really little ones, put some bubble wrap down and ask them to jump on it, the first to burst all the bubbles is the winner, a great way to get rid of some energy! A sleepover in the garden. So much more fun than in a boring bedroom. Pitch the biggest tent (or tents) you can find and ask guests to bring a sleeping bag. Enjoy a picnic and games followed by latenight stories and cocoa with marshmallows.

Magical Adventure Parties! For ages 3-7 With magic, adventure and excitement! Murder Mystery Parties! For ages 9 and above Come in costume and find out Whodunnit! Performance Parties! For age 7 and above Come and rehearse your favourite musical or show and give a performance with REAL MICROPHONES!

Contact Ruthie Summers on: 01494 539809 / 07810 200889

Parties budget Visit us on nowa at

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A Friendly Mobile Farm For Your School, Home, Fete, Party ! 01628 821145 / 07721 422554 E-mail:

Non-stop party directory

Perform Parties 0845 400 1283

Families has got all the ingredients you need to cook up the perfect party. We’ve ideas to suit all ages and budgets whether your child wants to walk on water, pat a pony or learn to juggle. If you still can’t find what you need then visit Our online party directory includes all the party people we couldn’t fit into the magazine - over twice as many - from bath bomb parties to creepy crawlies. And please mention Families when calling!

Party animals Animal Dramatics. Home of the famous film and TV

animals. Parties can include pony rides, animal petting, face painting, meeting their new baby animals including baby piglet, bottle feeding the lambs and more from £250. Parties offered at their training centre or other suitable venue. 07831 409457,

Basil & Crew bring a mobile farm to your home or

school, including miniature ponies, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks, chickens, sheep and goats for pet handling, feeding and grooming. 01628 821 145/07721 422 554

Bucklebury Farm Park has a Silver party package for £8.50 per child including entrance to the farm park, free entry for 1 adult per 6 children, tractor ride, 2 hours use of private party area and squash. Gold package at £13.50 per child also includes party food boxes, birthday gift and a bucket of animal feed. Optional extras: face painting, entertainer, puppet show and balloon modelling. 0118 971 4002,


Thames Valley West

Farms2ewe can provide a mobile farm to visit your

party with a selection of tiny chicks, goats, sheep, miniature ponies, ducks, guinea pigs and many other animals for children to cuddle and groom, can also include face painting. 01635 579 878/07780 654 348,

Lands End Equestrian Centre can provide party ponies and a variety of coaches to make sure you arrive at your party location in real style. You could be Cinderella, a princess or even a cowboy with a Western pony. If you prefer, the ponies can just mingle with your guests. They can even have their manes and tails coloured to suit your theme. 0118 934 1367/ 07885 257 900, Odds Farm Park Parties include everything except the

cake & the kids. Farm entry, hire of a fully decorated party room, invitations, animal masks and fun badges, party food and party bags, plus a free family ticket for the birthday child. £15.95 per child (one free adult per paying child). 01628 520188,


Parties Party venues Active Tots, soft play barn, just off the A33 and just for 0-3’s, offers a Mini Party at £7.50 per child and an Active Party at £9.50 per child. Exclusive barn use costs £265 for up to 20 children. Optional extras include messy play and pass the parcel. 01256 880 220,

California Dreaming Café in California Country Park, with its paddling pool and playground, has a decorated party area for tea and games at £4.75 per head. They also do an Ice Cream party for £5.50 a child. 0118 973 5519,

The Club at Mapledurham, near Caversham, has a 2 hr party for 3-8 yrs with singing, dancing, games and party tea; or a dance or craft party (first hour activity followed by party tea). Prices vary depending on food, games and party bag options. Available to non-members. 0118 946 3353

Eddie Catz Newbury offer fun parties starting at £11.99 and £9 for Toddler parties with use of the all play equipment and sports pitch and your own party host. Also available are Princess parties for 4-6 yrs, Mini Makeover and Spa parties for 7-12 yrs and Laser Tag parties for which you have exclusive use of the venue transformed with disco lights and music. All parties include food, drinks, emailable invitations and party bags. Extras include face painting, cakes, adult platters and balloons. 0845 201 1268,

The Hexagon, Reading often has excellent shows for children and you can book a party buffet tea at a decorated party table in the foyer before or afterwards for £5 a child. 0118 937 2011

Jakes Playworld in Sandhurst have a variety of party packages for children up to 11 yrs with time on the playframe, traditional party games and time in the farm. Party food included. Prices start from £9.95 per child. 01252 871 007,

Krazy Klub in Thatcham offers Kids Parties with a session on the play equipment followed by time in the party area for £10.95 (£9.95 weekdays). Toddler Parties are £9.95 (£8.95 weekdays). Parties include a hot meal, drinks, balloons, invitations and goody bags. Available at extra cost are face painting, cookie making, party games and exclusive hire. 01635 867 555, Krazy Play Days Play and Party Centre in Tilehurst offers party packages from £10 per child to include 1 hour and 15 minutes play followed by 45 minutes in a themed party room. Included in the price are invites, party bags and thank you notes. 0118 942 6171,

P a r t y ! P a r t y !

Fun Fair Party Bouncy castles, roundabouts, swingboats, candy floss and more 07836 605032

Poz Magic Show

Magic, games, prizes, balloon modelling, puppets, disco suited to your childs age 07836 605032

Farms2ewe Mobile Farm For educational visits and fantastic farm parties, please call 01635 579878 or 07780654348

The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell holds parties for 5-12 yrs which involve a welcome from Eric, the centre’s owl, an ‘explainer’ accompanying the children around the Hands-on Science and Nature Exhibition, a present for the birthday child and invitations. £7.20 a child (self-catering), £12.35 (hot meal) and £11.70 (cold meal). 01344 354400, Lush run parties for 8-12 children in their Oracle, Reading store. Receive pamper treatments, learn about skincare, play traditional games and get messy. Charge is a £10 gift voucher for each child to be spent at the party. Food and drink treats, game prizes and sample goody bag included. Suitable for 8-15yrs. 0118 957 6766 Mad House Play and Party World, in Reading, offers Play parties for £11.45 a child (£10.45 weekdays), birthday child goes free, with 80 mins on the play equipment and 40 mins in party room; Traditional games parties for £13.95 (£12.95); Toddler parties for £9.45 (school hours only). Included is a hot or cold meal in a themed party room, a host, invitations and party bags. Also Private Hires from £345 and evening X-Blaster laser parties from £149 for 10 children (no food), £169 (with food). 0118 975 5455, Monkey Mates, in Wokingham, include 75 mins on the Playframes followed by tea in a themed party room for £8.95 per child, party bags extra. Sole hire for 2 hrs costs £250, including party tea, for up to 20 children, extras 12.50 per head; or £300 (bring your own tea) for up to 75. 0118 989 2111, The Regal Picturehouse, in Henley, has Saturday morning Kids’ Club with tickets for members and accompanying adults for £1 (£3 for 3D films). Non member tickets are £3/£5. Hire an area of the bar after any film for £40 per hour. Bring your own food or order a take-away pizza. Or hire a screen and choose your own film. 01491 414 080, Showcase Cinemas Showcase Cinemas, Loddon Bridge run Reelkool Parties for £10.50/3D £13.50 per child, includes popcorn, ice-cream, drink and party room. 0118 978 8766, Wendy Aldiss has a beautiful barn, near Marlow, available to hire for events such as birthdays and christenings. Monkton Barn Galleries is available for exclusive use, with or without her award winning photography. 01494 523 162/07768 980 604 Whoosh in Bracknell Sport & Leisure Centre offers a variety of parties (Monkey Fun, Pirate, Jewellery, Disco, Fairy and Gingerbread) from £9.80 including food, time in the play centre and a host. Also do Laser Tag parties for 8-14 year olds and sole hire parties for up to 50 children from £280. 01344 868 383,

Music, dance and drama parties Artemis Studios can provide qualified dance and drama tutors to come to your venue. They are flexible, offering a variety of dance and drama activities which can be themed if required. Face painting available. 01344 429 403,

Berzerk Productions provide highly motivational drama parties for ages 5+. A choice of creative or fun versions, with a small production at the end. All you need to make your party hassle free. Now also providing drama parties at The Mad House. 07976 652 742, Dancercise organises themed parties for children at a venue of your choice. Costs from £8 per child for a 2 hour party, including party bags and prizes. High School Musical, Pirates and Princesses, Street Dance Disco Party, Ballet Party and much more. 07743 398 844, Dramatica’s Fantastic Drama Parties for all ages. 3+yrs: Magical Adventure parties from pirates to fairies, princesses to space explorers or make up your own, complete with magic and lots of great games. 7+yrs: star in a Performance Party WITH REAL MICROPHONES - Hairspray, Mamma Mia, Grease, We Will Rock You or choose your own. 9+yrs: find out ‘WHODUNNIT’ at a Murder Mystery party. 07810 200 889/01494 539 809,

Jo Jingles Parties provide musical fun for ages 1-5 yrs and can be tailored to include your child’s favourite songs and instruments as well as bubbles and a parachute. Even the invitations are included. Henley, Twyford, Windsor & Maidenhead 05603 258601, www. Winkfield Row, Forest Park & Bracknell 01344 484 473, MAD Academy run high energy music and dance parties for children aged from 1-6 yrs. One hour parties include lots of singing, dancing, musical instruments, games, parachute play and exciting props such as pom poms and lots more with fully trained instructors. Reading and surrounding area, including Burghfield and Arborfield 0118 977 0050, Wokingham, Bracknell, Finchampstead,

Yateley and Sandhurst area 0118 973 4507, Maidenhead, Twyford and Henley area 0118 979 2695,

Perform Parties are high energy combining drama, dance and singing with fun games, stories and improvisations. Party leaders arrive with colourful costumes, props and music to create a fantasy land with themes for all ages from 1-12yrs, including Fairies & Elves, Mermaids and Pirates, Peppa Pig, Superheroes, Musical Madness, Mamma Mia and Dance Fantastic. 0845 400 1283, Popstar Parties offer the ultimate party experience for all budding Popstars with choreographed dance routines, music, lights, games, pom poms, blow up guitars, bubble machine and complimentary Popstar Invitations. Parties include Popstar, Street Dance, Mamma Mia, Hannah Montana, High School Musical & Grease or a combination to suit you. Email: 01753 538 525, Sima’s Action Kids parties for the under 6’s with singing, dance, active party games, action stories and action rhymes; Sima’s Dance parties for the under 11’s with funky dance routines, silly dances, limbo dancing and singing and dance games; Sima’s Disco-Bop & Karaoke parties for 8-11 yrs with disco lights, karaoke machine and screen. Face painting available. 07956 993 439,

Spotlights Dance Parties can be held at your home or venue for ages 3+yrs. Children are taught dance routines to music or can have a themed dance party. 0118 979 5044,

StageAbility have a choice of High School Musical, Hannah Montana, Pop Party or Mamma Mia dance parties. Their dance coaches will come to your venue with music and choreography, games and competitions and deliver a fun-packed two hour session, ending with a show for parents. £120 for up to 20 children. 0118 901 9495.

Children’s Themed Parties

Themed Character Entertainers Themed Party Events Themed Party Crafts & Mascots Simply the best party fun! Phone: 01252 682500/676204 Freephone: 0800 2 343460

FDA approved, nonallergenic materials. Experienced, friendly & reliable service. 07505 104 376

Animal Petting Parties and Pony Parties From Animal Dramatics - Home of the famous film and TV animals Animals brought to your home, school or private party or party in their shed

07831 409457

Finduslots more parties at Visit now at www.

Thames Valley West


Parties Sporty and activity parties

Mini Diva Princess & Mini Makeover Parties!


Playframe • Toddler Area Sports Pitch • Video Games Birthday Parties • Café • Free WiFi Monkey Music, Dinky Dance, Little Kickers, Tatty & Baby Bumpkin Yoga, Baby Sensory, and Playball weekday classes!

NEWBURY Northway House York Road Newbury RG14 7NF

Laser Tag Parties!

(ex Fantasy World)

Tel. 0845 2011268


Thames Valley West

2Wild - to be indoors! offer 2½ hrs of fun, games and learning in the beautiful woods around Goring Heath; parties which can be themed around Wilderness Survival, a Scouting Mission, Nature Hunt, Girls go Wild or even an overnight camp. Hot dogs cooked over a real campfire at the end of all parties. Prices from £275 for up to 16 children, aged 5-14 yrs. 0118 326 8322, AcademySport Leisure Centre in South Reading offers parties with use of a party area for games and (your own) food. Pool Inflatables Party for 8-14yrs, £120 for 30 children. Tots Play Party for under 5’s with bouncy castle and soft play, £50 for 20 children. Sporty Party for 5+yrs, £50. Pick and Mix Party with bouncy castle, sports and games, £60. Bouncy castle Party for 5+yrs, £50 for 1 castle, £70 for 2. 0118 937 0270, The Big Apple in Wokingham holds LaserQuest parties which include 2 games and drinks for £9.95 each (£11.95 with food); Bowling parties with an hour of play in the bowling alley for £8.95 (£10.95 with food); and Mega parties with a game of Laserquest, an hour of bowling and food for £12.95. 0118 978 4147, Bulmershe Gymnastics Club in Woodley provides gym-based party games supervised by qualified coaches in a purpose-built facility. Fun for all ages with use of all gym equipment including trampoline, sponge pit, a bouncy castle and parachute games. Room available for own tea and games. 0118 926 7196, bulmershebirthday Bulmershe Leisure Centre in Woodley offer weekend pool parties with exclusive pool use and either Splash Time for 5-8 yrs (accompanied by an adult) or Monster Fun Inflatable for 8–13 yrs. Celebration tea room also available. Please contact Reception for full T&C’s, availability & prices. 0118 926 8733, Carnival Pool in Wokingham holds parties on Saturdays with an hour in a sectioned off area of the pool and a host organising games for £99.50 for 10 children. The crèche is available for your own tea at a cost of £20. Sole use of the pool for one hour is £180, £240 with inflatables. 0118 977 0007 Central Swimming Pool in Reading has packages offering the use of various combinations of its pools, slides and diving. There is also an option to use the Zorbs which are giant balls for walking on water. A party food area is available for your own food. 0118 937 5070 Coral Reef in Bracknell holds swimming parties for £10 per child, including food. Also Water Walkerz parties with exclusive use of pool for 8+yrs at £15 per head with food available at extra charge. 01344 862 525, Cotswold Sports Centre in Tilehurst offers a Bouncy castle and games party and a Sporty party for 7-12 yrs. £83/£76 with West Berks card, for up to 15 children, extra children £3/£2.75 each. Includes 90 mins of activity with a co-ordinator and 30 mins for your own food. 0118 941 4690

Edgbarrow Sports Centre in

Crowthorne has Bouncy castle and soft play parties (1-5 yrs) and Trampolining, Multi sports or Football parties (5+yrs) for £81.75 (combine with a large bouncy castle or trampoline for £114.90). Includes 1 hour’s activity plus 45 mins for party tea which is provided at extra cost. 01344 776 211

Elite Soccer School run football parties

for £45 per hour at a venue of your choice or can organise a venue for you. Party consists of fun football games and competitions ending in a mini world cup tournament. The birthday child also receives a trophy. They also provide sports parties which include cricket, basketball, hockey and much more! Bouncy castles and mega slides also available for hire. 07769 701 209,

Go-Kart Party offer mobile Go-Kart parties for 4-10 yr olds who drive battery operated karts around an inflatable mini Grand Prix circuit. The karts are easy to drive with trained operators on hand to help. Award ceremony held at end. Party can be set up indoors or outdoors. 0118 972 3876, Henley Leisure Centre offer a variety of

party options, including Sports parties, Trampoline parties and Pool parties. They can also provide catering for your party. Call to discuss the options and your requirements. 01491 577 909,

Highdown Sports Centre in Emmer

Green has swimming parties, Sundays only, for £50 with an hour’s use of the pool. A party area is provided for 45 mins for an additional £15. You must provide your own food. 0118 937 5095

Horseshoe Lake Activity Centre, Sandhurst offers various activities for 8+yrs which can be combined, including stand up paddling, pedalos, archery, low ropes obstacle course, volleyball, open canoeing and dinghy sailing. Prices vary, but a standard two-hour party (sit-on-top kayak & raft build) for 12 costs £180 including use of their facilities for a BBQ. 01252 871 808, Hollywood Bowl in Bracknell offers party

packages for £6.95 per child including one game of bowling, meal and drink, present for birthday child and assistance of a ‘party buddy’ who entertains with face painting etc. 01344 867 700,

John Nike Leisuresport Complex in

Bracknell offers an Ice Skating party for 5+yrs (lesson followed by ½ hour free skating) for £14.95 a child. The Ski and Snowboard Centre offer an hour’s Skiing lesson for 8+yrs (£14.95 each); a Sno-tubing party for 6+yrs (£15.95 each); or a Snowboarding party for 10+yrs (£18.50 each). All parties include a meal. 01344 789 000,

Leighton Park offer parties every Sunday throughout the year. Prices from £7 per head for an hour’s party followed by an hour’s use of a room for your party food. Activities include archery, circus skills, kayaking, laser quest, multi sports, swimming and water challenge. 0118 987 9538, Little Bikers UK, motorbike lessons/group bookings for a unique and action-packed party. Based near Reading, suitable for 5-10 yrs. 07879 552 000,


Parties Rugbytots offer an hour’s session of rugby fun at your chosen venue with a small prize for all children and a present for the birthday child. Suitable for ages 2-7 years. 0845 313 3255,

Sandhurst Sports Centre has Bouncy castle and soft play parties (1-5 yrs) and Trampolining, Multi sports or Football parties (5+yrs) for £81.75 (combine with a large bouncy castle or trampoline for £114.90). Includes 1 hour’s activity plus 45 mins for party tea which you provide. 01344 778 836 Star Hotshots’ qualified PE teachers run sports parties for children aged 5-11 yrs. Themes include The World Cup, Olympics, Superstars, Formula 1 and Disco Dance. Parties are run in sports centres, schools, village halls and back gardens. 0845 301 0450,

St Crispins Leisure Centre in

Big on Bouncing, see Party Suppliers

Wokingham offers parties in conjunction with Premier Sport at £125 for up to 25 children. Choice of Football, Multi-sports, a single sport, Street Dance, Gymnastics, Bouncy castle or Trampolining. Food not provided. 0118 979 1066

Thames Valley Gymnastics Club in Little Kickers run fun football parties with a warm up, ball games, skills training and penalty shoot outs. A trophy is included for the birthday child and medals for all. Suitable for children from 2 yrs to rising 7 yr olds. Reading, Wokingham and Winnersh 0118 926 8114 and Henley, Marlow, Maidenhead and Stokenchurch 01628 526 584,

Loddon Valley Leisure Centre in Lower Earley has a Little Squirts party (3-6 yrs) with party games and bouncy castle; Pirates party (5+yrs) with a variety of pirate games and fancy dress; High School Musical party (5+yrs); Football Frenzy party (6+yrs); Multi-Sports party (6+yrs); Splash party (8+yrs) with pool inflatable and games; and a Pod party (8+yrs) in the youth interactive gym with dance mats, Nintendo wii etc. All parties cost £9.20 per child including cold buffet. 0118 931 2066

Meadway Leisure Centre in Tilehurst offers a Swimming party for up to 45 children for £75 (£60 if food area not required); an Activity party with sports and games for 6-10 yrs at £70; My First Disco party for 8-12 yrs at £65; and a Tots Time party for the under 5’at £60. A party food area is provided for you to bring your own food. 0118 937 5060 Pinewood Gymnastics Club in Crowthorne runs gym parties for up to 20 children aged 5-10 yrs. Use of the

fully facilitated gym, soft play area, trampoline and sponge pit and a coach organising games for 1 hour. Room available for your own tea. £150/£135 for members. 01344 773 237,

Playball will entertain 2-7 yr olds by playing various sports games appropriate to the age of the guests. All sports equipment is provided, you just provide the venue. 01344 772 245/07765 713 318 Pulse 8 Health & Fitness Club in Sindlesham have a Multi Activity party (5-8 yrs) with a choice of games and activities; a Fun and Bounce party (4-8 yrs) with bouncy castle and organised games; and a Bouncy Castle party (18mths-6 yrs). Cost £190, members £160. Also a Toddler party for 1-3yrs for £130/£100. 0118 989 7580, www.

Reading Bowl in Calcot holds Bowling parties for 6-14 yrs for £7.50 per child (£8 weekends and bank holidays) before 6pm. Includes one game, meal and drink and 2 free game vouchers. An additional game costs £1 per child. 0118 930 4296,

Reading Climbing Centre offer parties with 1½ hours climbing with a professional instructor followed by party food at the Picnic café. 0118 975 6298,

Reading Football Club run parties

with one hour’s coaching in the Academy Training Centre followed by a tour of Madejski Stadium. Costs £250 for up to 16 children. Birthday child receives a goody bag. 0118 968 1460.

Reading TaeKwonDo Academy Hire an

instructor to run a taster session at your party teaching basic defence moves. Session includes a warm up with stretching, games and controlled kicks using target pads. £75 for a 45 minute session for up to 25 children. 01344 777 522 / 07766 125735, email

Rivermead Leisure Complex in

Reading has Swimming parties for £90 for up to 30 children or £100 with waves included. Also available are Soft Play parties at £75 for 20 children, Laser Tag parties for 16 children at £90 and The Zone parties at £95 with activities including climbing wall for up to 30 children. Food can be provided from £3.35 per head. 0118 901 5000,

The Royal County of Berkshire Club

in Bracknell holds parties for 3+yrs. They can organise traditional games, themed parties, swimming and sports parties, bouncy castle and other options. Birthday tea, balloons and invitations included. Entertainers at additional cost. Parents have free use of Club facilities during the party. 01344 382 331,

Sonning Common can be hired with beams, soft shapes, rockers, the trampoline and a sponge pit with qualified assistant in attendance. Parties last 1 hr 45 mins and include use of a room for your own party food and games. Cost £120 for up to 24 children. 0118 972 4401

Theale Green Recreation Centre offers a Bop n Bounce party with a bouncy castle, face painting and disco; a Sports Mish Mash; a Party Game Special with bouncy castle, face painting and games; a Pick n Mix party, choose 3 activities; a Tots Time party with bouncy castle, face painting, pop up fun; and a Games Roundabout party with bouncy castle and team games. 0118 932 3725

Willink Leisure Centre in Burghfield Common offers a Bounce and Play party (under 6’s) for £75.90/£69 with West Berks card; a Birthday Bash party (6+yrs) with a choice of activities including football, quick cricket and parachute games for £70.40/£64; and a Swimming party (8+yrs) for £75.90/£69 for up to 30 children. The foyer can be hired for your party tea at £10 for an hour. 0118 983 4845

Woodford Leisure Centre in Woodley offers Themed parties (fairy tale, pirate, super heroes and jungle) for 6+yrs, a Bouncy castle party with games for 4-7 yrs and a Sporty party for 6+yrs. A party room is available, decorated with balloons, banners and table covering, for your tea. 0118 921 6969

Active and Creative Parties for Boys and Girls Toddlers to Teens, Flower Fairies to Moshy Monsters All inclusive, high quality, themed parties with a home from home feel. We do it all.

Venue, Entertainment, Food... NO STRESS, NO MESS! Henley Rd, Caversham, RG46LJ

Find lots more parties at

Thames Valley West


Parties Party suppliers Children’s Party Planners

• Bear Making Parties • Fabric Painting Parties • Theme Parties Visit our website for current prices. or call us on 07764 849828 or e-mail:

Big on Bouncing hires bouncy castles, slides, Go Karts, Body Zorbs, Sumo suits, soft play for adults and children to be used indoors and outdoors all year round. 01628 410 736 or 07926 751243,

Bounce Krazee hire out bouncy castles, slides, soft play, ball ponds, assault courses, human demolition, pole jousts, bungee runs, gladiator duels, Sumo suits, penalty shootout, candy floss, popcorn machines and more. 01494 464 902, The Lend and Play Toy Library, next to the

Sima’s parties are structured, energetic, fun & set to music Sima’s Action Kids parties for under 6’s Sima’s Dance parties for under 11’s Sima’s Disco-bop & karaoke parties for under 11’s

Call Sima on 07956 993 439

Parties and Wildday Adventures Fun, educational events for children in woodland above the Thames - private parties with games & cooking on an open fire - unique year 6 leavers’ parties - school holiday wilddays for children 5+ - tailor-made overnight camps - hire our camp site for a group of families/friends

0118 326 8322 •


Cinderella/Princess ponies & coach for birthdays Have ponies mingling with your guests Ponies manes and tails coloured to suit your theme Western ponies also supplied for the boys We'll travel to your venue 0118 934 1367/07885 257900

Ambleside Centre in Woodley, hires out a large selection of toys suitable for parties at very reasonable prices including an inflatable ball pond; a ride-on rollercoaster suitable for 2-3 yrs; Mansion Maze, a collection of tunnels and tents; a giant Connect-4; ride-on toys and circus skills equipment. 0118 377 6429,

Little Cherry have a wonderful range of eco-friendly

party supplies, including hand-made cotton party bags, affordable wooden toys and biodegradable tableware. 01784 470 570,

LPL Bouncy Castles have bouncy castles of various

sizes for all ages, indoors or outdoors, large inflatable

Little Cherry slides, Sumo suits, ball pits, penalty shoot out and assault course. 07767 630 559,

Opal Passions provide children’s party balloons,

themed and character balloons and balloon decorations for all events. Free local delivery and set up. 01753 532 940/07876 195 600,,

Party Pieces, based in West Berkshire, offers a vast range of products including themed tableware, boxes, balloons, decorations, party activities and games, party bags and presents, dressing up outfits and special occasion products. 01635 201 844,

Entertainers & party organisers Alan Mac specialises in entertaining 3-7 yr olds with a

Punch & Judy and magic show and lots of participation particularly from the birthday child. Balloon animals can be made up before the party starts. 0118 933 3044,

Childrens Entertainments offer anything from a half hour magic show to a full party/event with teddy bears picnics, funfair themed parties and much more. 07836 605 032, Children’s Themed Parties offer a wide range of

themed party options. Entertainers arrive in character and organise themed games and activities. Also run Themed Event Parties including Army Boot Camp, Animal Madness, Make Me a Princess, Jedi Academy, Pop Star Party and lots more. Can plan your own theme too. 0800 234 3460, www.

Circus Scene provide circus skills workshops and

entertainment for all ages. Magicians, children’s entertainers, puppet shows, clowns, jugglers and lots more to make your party, fete or fun day go with a swing.. 0118 976 1702,

Crafty Chef Parties, see Cooking parties

Fred in the Shed can put on 8 different magic shows, balloons, puppets, games, a snow machine, light and bubble discos and sports parties. Most popular package is Fred’s Painless Birthday Party - 2 hours of fun and games and comedy magic. For older children he has a Disco Illusion Show. 0118 931 0981, Miss Sparkles - Dance Party Entertainer. Invite your

friends to a dazzling Miss Sparkles dance party and impress the parents with an end of party performance! Suitable for 5+yrs. 07841 864 586,

A wide range of Bouncy Castles, Slides, Soft Play, Go Karts and Sumo Suits for hire 364 days a year! For Indoor and Outdoor use.

Elite Childcare Parties

Elite Childcare Agency can provide professional party

planners to organise and run a traditional children’s party for you. Suitable for 3-9 year olds, all parties include games such as pass the parcel, treasure hunts and much more. Also included are invitations, prizes, party bags and balloons. Suitable for children aged 3-9 years, parties can be run at your home or chosen venue. 0118 901 8747, 01628 410736/07926 751243


Thames Valley West

Face Painting By Sarah Maie, all ages, parties & events, FDA approved, non-allergenic materials, experienced, friendly & reliable service  07505 104 376,

Pop-in Parties offers quality children’s parties at affordable rates at your home or venue. Choice of bear making, craft, fabric and themed parties, eg dinosaur, princess and pirate parties. 07764 849 828, Princess and Pirates Parties offer themed party

packages for girls and boys of 3-8 yrs with face painting, balloon modelling, arts and crafts, parachute and party games. Also High School Musical parties for 5-9 yrs with hair, make-up, nails, craft activity and dance routine. 0118 973 6179 or 07788 148 789

The Real Party Company organises parties for 1-13

yrs which include everything - food, entertainment, party bags and cake - at The Orchard Day Nursery in Caversham, with its large gardens and purpose-built facilities. Parties available include Disco, Art and Craft, Moshy Monsters, Fairy Garden, Nerf Wars, Natural Pamper and Mini Olympics – or create your very own bespoke event. 07736 180 004,


Parties Arts, crafts and cooking parties with prices from £11 per child. 0796 8581791, email

Kiln Café in Henley organises pottery

painting parties at their premises or will come to you. They have a wide range of plates, mugs, animals, fairies, piggy banks etc. £5 per child plus the cost of the pottery item. Food provided at additional cost or bring your own. 01491 414 254,

Kitchen Capers offer cooking parties suitable for 4-16 yr olds, who learn to measure, mix and cook their own party dishes and play a range of food themed games and quizzes. Menus tailored to child’s age. Parties include invites, all ingredients and party bags. DIY cooking party kits also available. 07917 412 896,

Creation Station Arty Parties

Pizza Express offer pizza-making Kids Parties for £9.95 per head, which includes a pizza, side salad, dessert and drink. Party times can be restricted so check with individual restaurants. Reading (Oracle) 0118 957 4411, Reading 0118 939 1920: Henley 01491 411 448, Wokingham 0118 977 0826

Arty Giraffe Pottery painting and

decopatch parties for 8-15 children at the Arty Giraffe in Oxford Rd, Reading. For 5+yrs, £10 plus per child. 0118 941 8683,

beadylicious parties are for girls aged 6+yrs. Guests will make two pieces of jewellery fully instructed and supervised using beautiful glass and semi-precious beads with sterling silver charms. Prices £15-17 per guest. 01491 572 030,

Pottery Pals at Holme Grange Craft Village in Wokingham has two themed party rooms, Castle Room and Fairy Room, where guests can paint their own ceramic pieces for £5 per child plus the cost of the pieces chosen. You can bring your own food. 0118 979 4006,

At Build-a-bear Workshop in The Oracle in Reading, each child chooses a bear, stuffs it and takes it home. A party leader keeps the children entertained and extras include outfits and accessories. Prices start from £9 a guest. 0118 957 6817,

Silver By Design run parties in their


Crafty Caterpillar is an online store

selling affordable art and craft supplies for children. Stickers, party bags, craft kits, modelling clay, art supplies and lots more. Host your own party with their party packs full of activities.

Crafty Chefs offer a variety of cooking

parties in your own home. They set everything up, entertain during the party whilst the children make their own meal, and afterwards clean up the mess. Options include a cooking party, a shorter cake and cookie decorating party, a sleepover party, a chocolate party and, for older children, a dinner party. Email: lisa@craftychefs.,

Creation Station Arty Parties allow your children to enjoy fun creative activities, without any stress or mess for you. Children, aged 1-11, are inspired to create at least two original art pieces to take home and their art parties all include painting, modelling, making, sculpting, crafting, plus music and dancing are provided too! 0845 303 9448, iFashionDesign Parties give party

goers the opportunity to design and create their own fashion items and stage their own fashion show. Suitable for 8-14 yrs, these fun and interactive parties

i-Prints, based at Holme Grange Craft

Village near Wokingham, offer parties with a difference. Children get to try their hand at professional t-shirt printing and take home the finished items. Bring your own food and enjoy music and a relaxed party atmosphere. Suitable for 7-13 yrs,

South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell offers artist-led children’s parties in specialist studios in Printmaking, Ceramics and Jewellery. £140 for a 1½ hour party to include all materials. For more details phone the Visual Arts Officer on 01344 416 232, Please check prices and details when booking and mention that you saw them in Families.



are held in the home or a venue of your choice, with all materials and equipment provided to make a bag, top or jewellery, plus lots of ideas and examples to inspire. Party leaders, games, competitions, invitations and party bags are all included. 07980 706574,

studios at Holme Grange Craft Village, near Wokingham, at which children make beautiful items to take home. Choose between a Clock Making Party for ages 6+; a Pure Silver Party for ages 9+, making a solid sliver pendant; or a Princess or Bedazzled Party for ages 6+, making a variety of beaded jewellery. Prices from £15 per child. 01189 799507,


Our lucky winner will enjoy a fun-filled Rugbytots party, for up to 12 children aged 2-7, worth £96. Their party package includes a one hour Rugbytots session,with the emphasis on fun games that will appeal to all children, not just regular ”Rugbytots“, party Invitations, present for the birthday child, and small prizes for all children taking part. All you will need to do is book and pay for your own venue, ensuring it is suitable for the number of children. Further children can be added, at a cost of £8 a child. If you are not a lucky winner and would like to find out more about Rugbytots just visit or call 0845 313 3255. To enter the Rugbytots competition just visit today. Closing date June 10.

Find lots more parties at

Thames Valley West


Party Fun Going For Gold Every active 5 to 11 year old wants an action packed party and Star Hotshots can provide them with an unforgettable birthday experience. Sporty children can choose from a World Cup, a Superstars or an Olympic Party; or for dancing divas how about a Disco Dance or Cheer Leading Party? Run by qualified PE teachers, a Hotshots party is all about having lots of fun with your friends. Here is what a couple of parents had to say: “My son and all his friends had a great time. Star Hotshots were great controlling 20 very excited 5 year olds! Thank you very much and I will be recommending you to all my friends.” “Everyone commented on what a wonderful time they had and many of the boys said it was the best party they had been to.” For more details please visit or call 0845 301 0450.

A Party to Treasure After a Silver By Design party your guests will all go home with a beautiful item that they have hand crafted themselves. Choose from a Clock-making Party; a Princess or Bedazzled Party, making pretty pieces of jewellery from beads; or, for something really special, how about a Pure Silver Party which offers party-goers the chance to craft their own solid silver pendant? All parties are held at Silver By Design’s well-equipped studios at Holme Grange Craft Village, near Wokingham, and are perfect for crafty children. 0118 979 9507,

A modern take on the traditional party If you’re looking to throw a ‘proper’ party, with games just like the ones you played when you were little, then why not give Elite Childcare Agency a ring? Their professional party planners specialise in organising traditional parties for children aged 3 to 9 years. You’ll get to play all the old favourites – pass the parcel, musical statues, treasure hunts – and much, much more. The Elite party service will take the hassle out of throwing a party, leaving you free to enjoy all the fun at your home or chosen venue. They’ll even send out the invitations for you and chase up the replies! Call 0118 901 8747 or visit www. to find out more.

Scale the Heights Reading Climbing Centre is the area’s newest attraction; it offers exciting and unusual activities that will keep your youngsters and their friends talking for weeks! They provide group birthday parties for children and adults, consisting of an hour and a half’s climbing with a professional instructor followed by optional party food at the Picnic cafe. Parties start from as little as £90 for a party of 6 people. The activities don’t stop there, they also offer family taster sessions, after school clubs and adult beginner courses. For more details visit or call on 0118 975 6298.

The Real Party Company

This new partnership between Caversham-based Orchard Day Nursery and theatre artist Lizzie Monaghan offers creative parties which include absolutely everything - the venue, food, entertainment, party bags and cake. The nursery provides the perfect setting for the unique parties on offer, with its ½ acre of landscaped gardens, play equipment and purpose-built facilities. Choose from a wide variety of pre-designed parties, suitable for children from 1 to 13 years, including Disco, Art and Craft, Moshy Monsters, Fairy Garden, Nerf Wars, Toddlers and Tiddlers, Cooking, Cowboys and Indians, Natural Pamper and Mini Olympics – or create your very own bespoke event. Included will be lots of little touches and attention to detail that will make the experience magical. Call Lizzie on 07736 180 004 or visit

A Night at the Museum For a sleepover with a real difference how about spending the night at the Science Museum in London? Science Night is ideal for a party extravaganza with a scientific twist for children aged 8-11 years and accompanying adults. The evening is packed with hands-on workshops and a science show, and ends with a camp-out among the Museum’s amazing exhibits. Breakfast and an IMAX 3D show are also included – but with up to 470 campers don’t expect much sleep! The cost is £45 per person and you need to book well in advance as these nights are extremely popular. Visit sciencenight for more details or ring 0207 942 4777 to book.


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Thames Valley West


What’s On

Diary Dates by Claire Frew

DiaryDates We take great care in compiling these listings but please always check details before setting out.

May Throughout May and June – READING STEADY GO! – LIFE THROUGH THE EYES OF A 1960s MOD at Reading Museum, 0118 937 3400, Bringing to life 1960s Mod culture through Reading-based memorabilia, such as scooters, clothing, posters, flyers and a 1960s jukebox. Free admission. From Easter – ROYAL WINDSOR WHEEL at Alexandra Gardens Windsor, 020 8241 9818, The Royal Windsor Wheel returns, offering panoramic views 50 metres into the sky above Windsor. Open 10am-10pm. From 1 May – 60 YEARS OF THE ARCHERS AND MERL: 1951-2011 at Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading, Redlands Rd, Reading, 0118 378 8660, In 1951 the first national episode of The Archers was broadcast. Millions still tune in today. MERL was founded in the same year. This new exhibition celebrates both radio serial and Museum, charting changes to farming and the countryside witnessed by both over the last 60 years. From beginning May – SHEEP RACING at Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Green, 01628 520 188, Every weekend and holidays. Plus farm animals, playgrounds, bottle feeding lambs (until end May), hay bale playbarn, adventure maze, trailer rides and much more, including a new indoor sandpit and new games to enjoy in the little playbarn. 30 April-2 May - LIVE CRAFTS & THAMES VALLEY FESTIVAL OF FOOD at Mapledurham House, Mapledurham, Reading, 01895 820202, Family day with craftsmen and artists, craft make’n take area, cookery shows, woodland chorus, food tastings, live music,

papermaking workshops, Polly Parrots Roadshow and more plus visit the Elizabethan house and working mill (additional charges). 10am-5pm. Tickets £5.50 (£4.50 in advance), child 8-16yrs £1.50 (£1), family £12.50 (£10). 2 May – DAWN CHORUS at Dinton Pastures, Hurst, 0118 934 2016 Join the local RSPB on International Dawn Chorus Day for a stroll during the most energetic time of the day for birds. Bring binoculars, sturdy shoes and warm/ waterproof clothes. Meet 5am. £1. Accompanied children free. 2 May – BARBADOS FAMILY FUN DAY at Windsor Racecourse, 01753 498 400, Fantastic racing to watch while the kids can enjoy free activities including face painting, pony rides, fire brigade demonstrations, fun and games with Jelly Kelly, plus the chance to meet special guests, Peppa and George Pig. Adult tickets from £9. Accompanied children free. Gates open 12noon, last race 5.25pm. 2 May - WOKINGHAM MAY FAYRE in Wokingham Town Centre and Elms Field Live entertainment, funfair, refreshments, stalls, new archery, bonsai growing demonstrations and more. 10am–5pm. Money raised goes to local charities. 2 May – ANNUAL CRAFTY CRAFT RACE finishing at Victoria Park, Newbury, See the home-made crafts, this year decorated with a royal wedding theme, finish their race from Hungerford along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Newbury. Enjoy the fun with amusements, rides, food outlets and a wide range of attractions to suit all ages. 7-8 May – ANIMAL FARM WEEKEND at Wellington Country Park, Riseley, Reading, 0118 9326 444, Come and get up close with the residents of the Animal Farm. A chance to meet animals, listen to interactive talks, join in petting sessions, enter competitions and much more, alongside the usual play areas. Normal admission fees apply.

Join in the fun at Reading Children’s Festival, 14 May-5 June 7-8 and 14-15 May – CAVERSHAM ARTS TRAIL at various locations around Caversham, See the work of 32 local artists in 15 different venues on this annual arts trail. 11am-5pm. 7-21 May – THE NEWBURY SPRING FESTIVAL in various locations around Newbury, A fortnight of world class music where international symphony orchestras, ensembles and soloists rub shoulders with jazz legends, world music artists and the stars of tomorrow. 8 May – FAMILY WOODLAND & BLUEBELL WALKS around Ashampstead Common Local children help lead free short walks to look at the Veteran and Ancient Trees. Work out the age of a tree, quiz sheets and a sticker hunt for younger children. 11am-4pm. Also Bespoke Bluebell walks – call to book your tailor-made guided walk. Meet at Child’s Court Farm car park, RG8 8QT. Organised by the BeWild Project. Contact Kathy on 0118 930 5336, 07775 741383 or email kathy. for more information. 8 May – BIKEATHON KIDZ 2011 at The Lookout, Bracknell, 07717 182590 Sponsored 5 mile cycle rides for children in aid of Leukemia and Lymphoma Research. £5 to enter on the day, £3 in advance. Plus BBQ, balloon release, play areas, refreshment stalls, face painting etc. 14 May – THE SUE RYDER CARE MIDNIGHT WALK at Green Park, Reading, 01491 641070, www.

10K ladies midnight walk with a party atmosphere. Sign up and walk for charity. From 14 May – THE BUBBLES AND BALLOONS SHOW at The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell, 01344 354 400, Are bubbles always round? Not in this show! See a cube-shaped bubble. Watch a balloon being pierced without making it pop. Enjoy the fun of balloon racing and much more. Fun interactive half hour shows held during weekends and holidays. £1.85 plus normal admission. 14 May - NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM at Reading Museum, The Town Hall, 0118 937 3400, A fabulous chance to stay overnight at the Museum. Includes making something crafty to take away and an after dark tour of the galleries, finishing with some spooky stories and a midnight feast. Breakfast included. For ages 7+ and accompanying adult. £20 per child, £15 per adult. Booking essential on 0118 937 3400. 14 May – MEADOW MADNESS at Christchurch Meadows, Caversham Start of the 3-week Reading Children’s Festival. The riverside setting is a perfect venue for activities, workshops and entertainment for all the family. 11am-4pm. Free event. 14-15 May – WOODLEY LIBRARY 25th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS at Woodley Library, 14 May drop in between 10am-12noon for free rhyme time and story time, plus crafts and face painting (£1 charge) and on 15 May, come to a circus workshop and learn circus skills from 1.30-3.30pm (£1, please book).

Multi-Activity Day Camps for children aged 4-14 Running in your area during the summer holidays!

Berkshire venues: Bearwood College, Wokingham LVS Ascot St. Gabriel’s School, Newbury

14 • For children aged 4- crafts & s rt • 40+ sports, a ll • Action packed and fu of variety Check our website for full details including Book individual days • dates, prices and discounts available or full weeks 01235 832222 s • FREE extended hour m) 6p – Other camps/courses on offer: (8am RAW Adventure Camps (ages 8-14), RAW Extreme (ages 11-16), Mad About Sports Coaching Weeks (ages 8-14), A Passion For... Holiday Workshops (ages 6-16)! See for details.

Discover more to do - Visit us now at www. Super Camps 87x85 Families Mag Ads.indd 10

Thames Valley West


1/4/11 11:46:26

What’s On

Tickets start from £17. Under 18s FREE. Fine Dining Packages from £115 pp (inc. admission). Group and Advance Booking Discounts available.

To book, call 0870 727 1234 or visit

03800104_BefairFAM FamiliesTVW_130x180.indd 1

23/03/2011 16:00

MERL Village Fete

Sat 4 June, 10am to 5pm • Free

• Fun for all the family!

• Games, workshops, stalls, food, crafts, morris dancers & more!

Contact us to find out more: 0118 378 8660

Don’t forget to tell advertisers you heard about them in Families To advertise call 0118 954 6893 or email

We provide a quality indoor market for parents to buy and sell pre-loved baby and children’s products. Our markets also host a selection of unique local businesses.

Our markets are located in Woodley, Newbury, Reading and across the Thames Valley. Dates & locations can be found in the ‘What’s On’ section of this magazine or by contacting us at: • 07881 641614


Thames Valley West


What’s On

What’s On at Half-Term 28-30 May – TEDDY BEAR DAYS at Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Chinnor, 01494 437 355, www. Each child carrying a teddy bear will travel free when accompanied by a fare paying adult. Plus children’s entertainers and face painters. No need to book. 28 May–5 June – HALF TERM ACTIVITES at Dinton Pastures Country Park, Hurst and California Country Park, Nine Mile Road, Finchampstead Various activities are expected to run. Call the Wokingham Countryside Service on 01189 34 2016 or visit www.wokingham. for more details. Get Growing with the National Trust 14-15 May – READING CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR at Rivermead Leisure Complex, Reading, A variety of art, by both established and up-and-coming artists, to view and buy from £40 upwards.10am-6pm (5pm on Sunday). Admission £6, children under 12 free. Jelly will be running hands-on workshops for children. 15 May – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Centre, The Racecourse, Newbury, Sale of quality preloved and new goods for boys & girls from birth to 6 yrs. 9.3011.30am. Adults £1 entry. 21 May – RAILWAY OPEN DAY at Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Chinnor, 01494 437 355, Come and see behind the scenes and find out how the signals work and how the trains operate. Get a free ride on a train. 10am-4pm. 21 May – GRAND OPENING EVENT at Paices Wood Country Parkland, Nr Aldermaston, RG7 4PQ Free demonstrations and activities for all the family, 10am-4pm, including woodland treasure hunt, pond dipping, den building, and much more. Also archery, bouncy castle and assault course. Contact Kathy on 0118 930 5336, 07775 741383 or email uk for more information. 21 May – CREATIVE WRITING SESSION at Reading Central Library, For children 8-13yrs. 12noon-4pm. Free, no need to book. 21 May – KIDMORE END SCHOOL SPRING FAIR & VILLAGE DAY in the grounds of Kidmore End Primary School Activities including a giant slide, bouncy castle, lots of stalls, football shoot out, coconut shy, roundabouts, food and drink, live band, swings and facepainting. 2-5pm. Adults £2 entry, children free. Every Saturday from 21 May–13 Aug – WHACKY SCRAP RACES at Denefield School, Long Lane, Tilehurst Free 8 week family fun activity where teams take part in small-scale design and build family challenges. Teams will be tasked with making a working submarine, along with other art & craft activities such as a floating 3-D landscape, team flags and clay characters. 10.30am-12noon. Details and book with Sue Hale on 0118 972 8978. 22 May – READING DANCE SHOWCASE at Rivermead Leisure

Complex, Reading, showcase More than 30 styles of dance will be showcased by local dance groups. Plus taster classes for all ages – a great chance to try something new. 10am-6pm. 22 May – EMMER GREEN PRE-SCHOOL SPRING FAYRE at Emmer Green Youth & Community Centre, Grove Rd, Emmer Green, Fun for all the family with face painting, kids tombola, refreshments, hook-a-duck, bouncy castle and much more. 2-4pm. 22 May – ANNUAL SPRING CAR BOOT SALE at The Hill Primary School, Peppard Rd, Caversham, RG4 8TU 9am–12noon. Sellers from 8am. Cars £5, Vans/Trailers £10. Entrance £1, children free. Refreshments available. 25-30 May – GET GROWING at Basildon Park, near Pangbourne, Discover your green fingers through a range of different activities at the property. Children can enjoy the trail around the garden and various craft activities while adults chat with the gardening team. At 11.30am each day join the gardener for a tour of the grounds, 26 May - Seed Giveaway & Plant Sale - a range of plants and cuttings and pick up some free seeds plus get advice from the garden team, 28-30 May - 2pm each day children can join the gardening team, to help them plant a range of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Open 10am-5pm. Normal admission charges apply. 25 May – HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? at Greys Court, near Henley, Workshop for little green fingers to help children learn more about what makes plants grow. 10am-12noon. £5 per child. Must be accompanied by an adult. Booking essential on 0844 2491895 28 May – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at The Barn, Goosecroft Lane, off Beech Road, Purley, Sale of quality preloved and new goods for boys & girls from birth to 6 yrs. 2-4pm. Adults £1 entry.

28 May–12 June – COUNTRYSIDE 2011 at various locations, Visit the website for an online directory including activities and events happening all over Berkshire and other counties in the south east to help you enjoy the countryside, including horseriding, bug safaris, walks, trails, gardening and more. Some special offers available on the website too. 29 May–5 June – HALF TERM ACTIVITIES at Wellington Country Park, 0118 932 6444, 29-30 May – Solent Dog Display team and Welly Dog show – watch the dog display and enter your pooch in various competitions; 31 May– 3 June Nature Week – a week full of different outdoor activities including Den building and Bug hunting; 4-5 June Hi Tech Wild Trek - the Hi Tech Wild Trek trailer visits with the chance to look at creepy crawlies up close. 29 May – PADDINGTON BEAR VISITS at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton near Aylesbury, 01296 655 720, Paddington Bear will be greeting railway visitors all day, plus refreshments and plenty of room for picnics and games. The miniature railway will be providing train rides on its kilometre track. No need to book. Plus annual bus rally on 30 May. 30 May - READING COMMUNITY CARNIVAL at Prospect Park, Liebenrood Rd, Reading Live music, entertainment, stalls, food and fun for all ages plus the Carnival procession through the streets of West Reading at lunchtime. From 12 noon. 30 May – CAR BOOT SALE at St Crispin’s School, London Rd, Wokingham Come and pick up a bargain. Proceeds to St Crispin’s PTA. 9am-12noon. Set up from 8am. Buyers £2 entrance before 9am, 50p after 9am. Sellers – cars £7, vans £9. No need to book.

30 May and 1 June – OPEN DAY AND CHILDREN’S WOLF WALK at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, Butlers Farm, Beenham, Reading, 0118 9713 330, 31 May Open day at the trust - see the wolves, plus nature trail, children’s activities, birds of prey, pond dipping, bouncy castle and more, adults £7, children £5, under 3s free, 11am-5pm; and 1 June Children’s Wolf walk - 11am-1pm, ages 6+, £13, book in advance. 31 May–1 June – HALF TERM ACTIVITIES at Reading Museum, 0118 937 3400, 31 May Retro 60s toys – for families, ages 5+, hour sessions starting at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2.15pm (drop in, £2); 31 May Victorian Schoolroom Experience - a 45-minute experience for adults and children over 5 in the unique Victorian classroom (drop in at 11am, 1.15pm and 2.30pm, £1, spaces limited); 1 June – Make and Take: 60s Superhero Masks – drop in free activities for families between 10am-12noon and 1-3pm. Please come early for popular drop in activities to avoid disappointment. Also activity cart available throughout holidays with free, drop in art and craft activities for all ages. 31 May-2 June – CHILDREN’S WORKSHOPS at South Hill Park, Bracknell, 01344 484123, www. 31 May & 2 June Art Factory – have fun using clay, collage, drawing and sculpture, 10am-12noon, ages 6-12, £15.50 a session/members £13.50; 31 May Book Binding for Children – create a colourful Japanese-style book using a needle and thread to stitch paper, 1.30-3.30pm, ages 7-11, £15.50 /members £13.50. Book in advance for all workshops. 31 May-3 June – FREE CRAFT ACTIVITIES at Reading Libraries, www. 31 May Summer Flowers at Southcote Library, 2.30-3pm, 6-10yrs, must book and Tissue Paper Flowers at Tilehurst Library, 3-4pm. 2 June Royal Crowns at Caversham Library, 2.15-3.15pm, for 3-8yrs and Clown Faces at Palmer Park Library, 10-11am, for 5+yrs, must book. 3 June Beads & Bookmarks at Whitley Library, 10.30-11.30am, up to 9yrs, must book and Decorated Pots at Battle Library, 2-3pm, 6-9yrs, must book 31 May-3 June – HALF-TERM ACTIVITIES at The River and Rowing Museum, Henley, 01491 415 605, 31 May Sew, Sew, Sew Your Boat – practise a variety of simple stitches and sew a little fabric boat, with inspiration from the museum’s exhibitions (10.30am -12.30pm, ages 7-11, £8.50, book in advance); (Cont. over page)

Dogs on Display at Wellington Country Park, 29-30 May

28-31 May – THE HENLEY ARTS TRAIL in various venues, 01189 34 1683 Come and see over 150 artists showcasing and selling their work, from jewellery to painting, textiles, ceramics, glass and much more at venues across the local area. Some venues will be holding demonstrations, workshops and offer refreshments. Pick up a unique gift or just enjoy looking at art. Various opening times – see website for details.

Discover more things to do -

Thames Valley West


What’s On

What’s On at Half-Term (Continued) the REME Museum of Technology, Arborfield, 0118 976 3375, Come and try the Mini Assault Course; crawl under the cam netting and survive the ‘water’ feature. Bring a change of clothes! Ages 5-12, just turn up between 11am-3.30pm. Free with entry.

1 June Caterpillar Cashpoint – visit the Wildlife Walk and find out about caterpillars, then make a caterpillar piggy bank (10.30am-12.30pm, ages 4-11, £8.50, book in advance); 2 June Mr Toad’s Jolly Big Arty Party – take part in an art extravaganza with lots of activities on a Wind in the Willows theme, including painting, printing, collage and modeling (free with admission, drop in between 10.30am-4pm); 3 & 17 June Guided Tour of Ratty’s Refuge – 30 minute tours of Ratty’s Refuge garden and Mill Meadows with Henley Wildlife Group at 11.30am, designed for adults but children welcome, booking recommended, free with admission. 31 May–3 June – HALF TERM ACTIVITIES at Wokingham Libraries, All Wokingham libraries will have treasure trails and pirate activity sheets as part of National Families week. Plus drop in Pirate Crafts for £1 at Twyford Library on 31 May 10.30-11.30am, Spencers Wood Library 31 May 3-4pm, Wargrave Library 1 June 11am12 noon, Wokingham Library 2 June 10.3011.30am, Lower Earley Library 2 June 2.303.30pm, Woodley Library 3 June 11am-12 noon and Winnersh Library 3 June 2.303.30pm. And Family Pirate Shindig come dressed as a pirate and join in with stories, songs and crafts, for families with children of all ages. Free but please book. Woodley Library 2 June 10.30-11.30am and Maiden Erlegh Library 3 June 2-3pm. 31 May–3 June – FAMILY HALF TERM ACTIVITIES at The Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Rd, Reading, 0118 378 8660, 31 May Bread and Butter – grind corn and make dough to take home and bake (10am-12noon, 1.30-3.30pm, ages 2+,

1-4 June – HALF TERM FAMILY ACTIVITES at the Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham, 01635 874 381, 1 June Recycled Arts Workshop: Raggedy Hedgehogs – make art out of fabric scraps, drop in workshops for families, £1.50, 11am-4.30pm; and 2 June Pond Dipping – free 45 minute sessions starting at 11am, 12am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm. Plus 4 June – Reptile Safari at Wokefield Common – a ranger-led walk to show you how work on the common has improved habitats for newts, grass snakes and invertebrates (10am-12noon, £3.50 per person, booking essential).

Corn Dollies at MERL, 3 June £3, please book); 1 June Beautiful Bags make your own print block using 1950s designs to inspire your creation and then paint a tote bag (1 hour workshops at various times, ages 5+, £3, please book); 2 June Pressing Prints – learn how to use a printing press and make beautiful prints from nature (1 hour workshops at various times, ages 4+, £2, please book); 3 June Corn Dollies - see some of the beautiful corn dollies in the collection and be inspired to make your own ‘countryman’s favour’ out of art straws ((1 hour workshops at 10am, 11.15am, 12.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm, ages 6+, £2, drop in); 31 May–3 June Ambridge in a Box - be inspired by The Archers exhibition and museum displays to make your own 3D village in a box, colour it in and take it home (drop in 10am-12noon, ages 3+, £1); 31 May-3 June Weaving the Archers – help the museum make its own woven eco Archers landscape using strips of recycled fabric and plastic bags (drop in 1-3pm, ages 3+, free).


Make your own dough at MERL, 31 May

1 June – SPRING HALF TERM TRAIL at Cliveden, Find the clues to claim your prize on this family fun trail. £2 per child. 10.30am-4pm. Normal admission charges apply. 1-3 June – MINI ASSAULT COURSE at

Jubilee Jets Holiday Club

• • • • • • • • •

Thames Valley West

4 June – MERL VILLAGE FETE at The Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, Reading, 0118 378 8660, Part of The Archers and MERL 60th anniversary celebrations, the MERL village fete will be a very special event for families and anyone who’s ever listened to The Archers! Fun activities, crafts, stalls, morris dancers and more. Vintage and modern tractors. Hog roast and beer tent. Special guests from The Archers! Check the MERL website for details. 10am-5pm, free. 5 June – STEAM AND DIESEL GALA at Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Chinnor, 01494 437 355, All available steam and diesel locomotives will be in operation throughout the day. Free Bus Service between Princes Risborough Station and Chinnor.

Feeding lambs Biking in the woods Cooking Circus workshops Henna tattoos Trampolining Games and races Quad bikes Or just hanging out with friends

School Holiday Fun!

Paddock View, Rectory Rd, Padworth Common, Berks, RG7 4JD


3 June - TOWN CENTRE DAY at Reading Town Centre Children’s games, free crafts, shows, freebies, rides and activities around the town centre. 11am–4pm. Free event.

9 June – BARNADO’S TODDLE at The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell Sponsored half-mile walk for under 5s, with the theme of animals. 1pm. Free entry. Details at 10-12 June – BEALE PARK BOAT SHOW at Beale Park, nr Pangbourne, 0118 976 7498, Boats to try and buy, free river trips (subject to availability), boating displays, a demonstration by Newfoundland Dogs, arts and crafts, specialist food produce, live music, beer tent, dancing displays and children’s activities.10am-6pm (5pm Sun). 11 June – WOODLEY CARNIVAL at the Memorial Ground, Woodley, 51st annual carnival. Procession of floats on a wedding theme, followed by numerous stalls and activities for all. New activities include Team Mad Mountainbike Stunt Show and Miller’s Ark Animals, alongside Circus Scene circus activities for families, Pelham Funfair and much more. The day ends with your chance to take a picnic and listen to three tribute bands before a firework finale. Adult £7, children £4, family ticket £15. 11 June - LEAGUE OF FRIENDS OF ROYAL BERKSHIRE HOSPITAL SUMMER FETE at Victoria Recreation Ground, Armour Rd, Tilehurst Stalls, entertainment including rock choir, dance and tai chi demonstration, inflatables, an auction and refreshments. 12noon-4pm. 11-12 June – RETURN OF THE FABULOUS FIFTIES at Basildon Park, near Pangbourne, Rewind the clock to experience the 1950s in full swing at Basildon Park. The whole family can discover the fashion, food and music of the era, including 1950s kitchen, cars and jive dancing. Free entry for those in 1950s fancy dress. 10am-5pm.

Set in fantastic countryside location

Jubilee Jets is open every school holiday from 8:00 – 18:00 for children aged 4½ to 11 years. Full and half day sessions available. Supervised by a fun team of qualified staff Jubilee Jets is a great out-door adventure holiday club where the best childhood memories are made.

For further information please contact: Jubilee Jets on 0118 9701 600

2 June - TEDDY BEAR’S PICNIC: READING STEADY TEDDY! at Forbury Gardens, Reading Town Centre Bring your teddy and enjoy a picnic in the garden, along with 60s crafts and games (or Reading Museum if weather bad). Free drop in event.10am-12noon & 1-3pm.

8-26 June – WARGRAVE VILLAGE FESTIVAL in Wargrave, Lots of activities on a river theme, including 11 June Wind in the Willows open air theatre at 1.30pm & 3.30pm (£3 adults, £2 children); 19 June Fun Day 10am-4pm on the Recreation Ground; 21 June Teddy Bear’s Picnic 12.30-2.30pm on Mill Green; 25 June Village Fete; 26 June Family Picnic plus lots more including live music, Shakespeare, dance, exhibitions, library events, children’s parties, 10K run and more. Book in advance for some activities and events – see website for details.

Ofsted registered

Fun summer holiday camp for children aged 4-12 years Arts & Crafts, field games, choreographed dance sessions, themed days and other exciting recreational activities to keep your child busy and entertained throughout their school break. The holiday club is open daily during all school holidays from 8am – 6pm.

Summer Club 2011 will run from Mon 25 July – Fri 2 Sept 2011 Contact Christine for more details on (01491) 414434, email: Cygnets of Henley, Valley Road School, Valley Road, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1RR


What’s On 11–12 June – BUG SAFARI at Wellington Country Park, Riseley, Reading, 0118 9326 444, Explore the woods on a Bug Safari and search for those creepy crawlies! Normal admission fees apply. 10-12 June – MAIDENHEAD CARNIVAL Activities include fairground rides in Kidwells Park on 10 & 11 June; fun and games such as bouncy castle, sumo suits and face painting at the Magnet Leisure Centre at various times each day; live entertainment on stage and concert with fireworks finale (Sat eve); and Carnival parade from 12.30pm on Sunday from Kidwells Park plus picnics and live entertainment in the park. 11-12 June – MARLOW TOWN REGATTA & FESTIVAL, Saturday is Regatta Day with river races, art and craft fair, funfair and illuminated boat procession plus fireworks in the evening; Sunday is Festival Day with dragon boat races, art and craft fair, funfair, bar and bands and an evening 60s tribute band concert and firework display. 12 June – OPEN FARM SUNDAY at various local farms, Experience a day in the life of a farm and taste the produce. Many farms will also run activities such as nature trails, tractor and trailer rides, pond dipping, farmers’ markets etc. 18 June – READING WATER FEST at Abbey Ruins, Chestnut Walk, Riverside Walk, 0118 937 2771 Celebration of the local waterways. Children’s activities, craft and charity stalls, boat parades, a boat tug of war, duck race, canoeing demonstrations plus dance and live folk music in Forbury Gardens. 11am-5pm. Free event.

Beale Park Boat Show, 10-12 June 19 June – CHARVIL FETE at Charvil Village Hall and grounds, Park Lane, Charvil Family fun on the theme of ‘Toys for all ages’. Starts off with a Teddy Bears’ picnic, followed by stalls, games and entertainment for all. 12.30-4.30pm. 19 June – FATHER’S DAY at Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Chinnor, 01494 437 355, Dads go free when accompanied by a fare paying passenger.

21 June – BARNADO’S TODDLE at Beale Park, nr Pangbourne, Sponsored half-mile walk for under 5s with an animal theme! 10.30am. Toddlers free, up to 2 adults £7 each, pay on the day. Details at 25 June – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at Bulmershe Leisure Centre, Woodley, Sale of quality preloved and new goods for boys & girls from birth to 6 yrs. 2-4pm. Adults £1 entry.

18 June – WINNERSH SUMMER FETE at Bearwood Recreation Ground Family fete with stalls, arena displays, competitions and other attractions, lots for free too! 1pm-4.30pm. Free entry. 18-26 June – BIKE WEEK, Lots of events locally incl. 26 June Reading Cycle Festival in Prospect Park, 10am-5pm. See website for more. 18-19 June – READING BABY & TODDLER SHOW at Rivermead Leisure Complex, Reading, Stalls, children’s entertainment, crèche. 11am-5pm (Sat), 10am-4.30pm (Sun). Admission £1.50 for adults.

Teddy Bears Picnic, 29 June

Discover more things to do -

25 June – ANIMAL PARADE ORGAN EVENT at Concert Hall, Reading, 0118 960 6060 A fun musical animal adventure, from the tallest to the fastest, the biggest to the nastiest. An affectionate caricature of wildlife, designed to complement Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. Includes brilliant and witty verses by Esther Eidinow for each animal. Free, drop in from 11.30am. 25-26 June – THE HURST HORSE SHOW AND COUNTY FAYRE in the centre of Hurst, Two days of show jumping events with country crafts, displays, children’s activities, bouncy castle, refreshments and more. 9am-5.30pm. Free parking. 29 June – TEDDY BEARS PICNIC at Jocks Lane Recreation Ground, Off Binfield Road, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 2BH A fun day out for pre-school children, with bouncy castles, circus workshops, pets’ corner, children’s fun and magic shows, cup and saucer ride and swing boats. Extra charge for facepainting. 11am-2pm. £2 entry, £7 for a family ticket (up to 4 people, in advance only). Under 18 months free. Tickets from local Children’s Centres, Bracknell Council Offices and Jocks Lane Recreation Ground Café, group tickets on 07740 457389 or e-mail

Nearly New Sales 8 May – BRACKNELL NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at Hilton Hotel, Ringmead, Bracknell A great selection of toys, children and baby clothes, maternity wear and equipment - all good quality at reasonable prices. 2pm-3.45pm (1.45pm for NCT members with membership card). £1 entry. Details or to sell:, 0844 243 6058 21 May – ASCOT NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at Charters Leisure Centre, Charters Rd, Sunningdale Good quality toys and books, children’s clothes and shoes, baby equipment and more including a café. 10.15-11.30am (NCT members at 10am). £1 entrance. Details on 17 June – WOODCOTE WINDMILL SALE at Woodcote Village Hall Nearly new sale of children’s toys, games, nursery equipment and clothes. 8am-2pm. To sell call 01491 681 449. If you would like details of your production or event to appear in the What’s On pages, please give us a ring on 0118 954 6893 or email us at The deadline for the July/August issue is 1 June.

Thames Valley West


Great Days Out with



Be the hero of your very own adventure and experience over 55 interactive rides and attractions at LEGOLAND Windsor as it celebrates its 15th Birthday. You can captain your own vessel, earn your own driver’s licence or get the whole family together in high energy fun at the Fire Academy. All ages will be fascinated by the LEGO® models throughout the park, carefully crafted from over 55 million bricks. From early summer, join LEGO divers on a fun fishy mission that the whole family will enjoy – a new World First ride coming to LEGOLAND. For more information visit

INTECH family Science Centre, near Winchester, is an under cover, allweather visitor attraction. There are 90 hands-on interactive science and technology exhibits, ideal for the child aged 4-12. Push, pull, turn, look, sort, learn and have fun. INTECH now has the UK’s largest Planetarium. For more information call 01962 863 791 or visit

When accompanied by one Full Paying Adult Valid until 1 September 2011

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Admit One Child Free

Not valid with any other offer. Voucher must be redeemed to obtain the discount. Only original voucher accepted. Only one child free per voucher per full paying adult. Valid for Science Centre only. Planetarium £2 per person.


READING CLIMBING CENTRE Reading Climbing Centre is the area’s newest attraction; it offers exciting activities that will keep adults, children and their friends alike talking for weeks! If you would like to try climbing for the first time, regain some lost knowledge or just have a session with the kids why not take advantage of this offer and have a taster session.

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To book or for information call 0118 975 6298 or visit www.

When accompanied by a Full Paying Adult

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Admit Two Children Free Valid until 31 August 2011

Not valid with any other offers. Voucher must be redeemed to obtain the discount Maximum session size is 6. Only original voucher accepted. Only two child free per voucher per full paying adult. FAM TVW




Family Theatre

FamilyTheatre The Hexagon

31 May-1 June – BEASTIE Children are let into a secret and given the opportunity to create their own stories and explore their surroundings with a very special new friend. A playful, active and engaging experience for small groups of children and one big surprise for adults! Tickets £6.

Queen’s Walk, Reading RG1 7UA. Box Office: 0118 960 6060, 4 June – SHOW ME CHRIS & PUI Chris and Pui, from Cbeebies, are coming to town bringing songs, rhymes and sketches for pre-school children & their families. Children can join in with their teddy, doll or character toy. Tickets £12.50, child £10.50, family £42. 9-10 July – MR BENN A new live production based on the classic TV character Mr Benn, an ordinary man who lives in an ordinary street. One day he visits a fancy dress shop and enters into a world full of adventures. A magical, musical show for everyone over 3 years. Tickets £10, groups £8.50.

South Hill Park Ringmead, Bracknell RG12 7PA. Box office: 01344 484 123, 14 May – LISTEN TO THIS! Explore the magical world of classical music, melody and sound with this family concert. for ages 3+. Before you know it, you’ll be singing and clapping along. Tickets £12, conc. £5, under 5’s £3. 31 May – THE OWL & THE PUSSYCAT Follow Owl and Pussy Cat as they set out on the high seas with only some honey, money and a runcible spoon to help them find their way through a topsy-turvy world. A nonsense adventure for 3-8 years featuring silly songs, babbling puppets and smaller than life characters. Tickets £10.50, conc. £5.50. 14-15 June – DRAW ME A BIRD A dance-music theatre piece for children about a little bird who loves the songs of a Paris street musician so much that when all the other birds fly away for the winter she stays behind. Cold, hungry and lonely, how will she survive? Tickets £10.50, conc. £5.50. 26 June – SUITCASE CIRCUS Featuring the most unlikely of performers including the world’s only acrobatic potato sack, a daredevil ski glove, an incredible dancing milkshake straw and the hypnotic tie snake Windsor Knot. A heart-warming and interactive show. Tickets £10.50, conc. £5.50.

South Street 21 South St, Reading RG1 4QU. Box Office: 0118 960 6060, 15 May – HOW THE KOALA LEARNT TO HUG Join a host of wild characters including Natascha The Witch, Karen the Koala and the Reggae Beavers for some great stories, sing along songs and games. A charming tale about the magic of family and, of course, the importance of a nice hug. Tickets £7. 10 July – NIGHT PIRATES Based on the best selling picture book, this charming show for 3-7 years returns by popular demand. Tickets £7.

Haymarket Theatre Wote St, Basingstoke RG21 7NW. Box Office: 01256 844244, 12-14 May – THE RAILWAY CHILDREN A dazzling new musical adaptation telling the adventures of Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis, who move to a house near a railway line after their father is falsely imprisoned. Danger, adventure and heroism are just along the track. Tickets

1-2 June – THE OWL & THE PUSSYCAT For details see South Hill Park entry. Tickets £8, conc. £6.

Spot the Night Pirates at South Street £15, child £10, family £40. 2-5 June – THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA Based on the famous picture book by Judith Kerr, this much loved tale of a tiger creating tea time mayhem is brought vividly to life on stage in a show packed with magic, sing-along songs and clumsy chaos. Expect to be surprised. Ages 3+. Tickets £10.

2 July - FLYAWAY KATIE A show about the power of the imagination bursting with colour, movement and surprises. Puppets of varying scales act the story, and there is an opportunity to ‘meet the puppets’ at the end of the show. Ages 2+. Tickets £8, conc. £6.

The Camberley Theatre Knoll Rd, Camberley, 01276 707600, 8 May – ROARY THE RACING CAR Roary, the number 1 little race car zooms

into town in a new live stage show. Who will win the Champion of Champions’ race and lift the trophy? Tickets £14, conc. £12. 27 May – MR BENN For details see The Hexagon. Tickets £10.

Norden Farm Altwood Rd, Maidenhead. 01628 788997, 7 May – THE OWL & THE PUSSYCAT For show details see South Hill Park entry. Tickets £6.50, family £22. 31 May – HOW THE KOALA LEARNT TO HUG For show details see South Street entry. Tickets £6.50, family £22. 1 June – A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME Short stories created by children and adapted by professional storytellers. From helpful gazelles to dragon poo, each story is brought to life with puppetry, live music, magic, and lots of joining in. Ages 3+. Tickets £6.50, family £22. 2-3 June – THE BALLOON GARDENER Danny the Wild Balloon Tamer has run out of balloons so he decides to grow some more. He encounters problem pests, wacky weather and the most amazing weeds. Ages 4+. Tickets £6.50, family £22.

The Anvil Churchill Way, Basingstoke RG21 7QR, 01256 844 244, 21-22 May – PEPPA PIG’S PARTY This TV favourite is re-created live on stage featuring true-to-life puppets. It’s Peppa Pig’s birthday so join in the fun with Peppa and George, Suzy Sheep, Danny Dog and Emily Elephant. A charming, original and imaginative show, full of brand new songs, muddy puddles and oinks. Tickets from £12.50, child £2 off. 19 June – CHRIS & PUI ROADSHOW Meet Cbeebies favourite double-act and have a giggle with them too in their fabulous new roadshow packed with fantastic songs, games and a few surprises along the way. Tickets £12, child £10.

Central Studio Queen Mary’s College, Cliddesden Road, Basingstoke, 01256 418 318, www. 14 May – THE MOLE WHO KNEW IT WAS NONE OF HIS BUSINESS A magical, musical adaptation of the popular children’s picture-book. Follow Mole’s travels as he meets a variety of outlandish and amusing characters along the way. Tickets £7.15, child £4.60. 31 May-1 June – SOPHIA AND THE SNAIL Sophia loves everything about her garden... except the snails. Sophia is really scared of snails, and what’s more there’s an enormous one hiding in the tomatoes - and he desperately needs her help. A fast and funny tale for 3-7 yrs. Tickets £5, child £4.50.

The Corn Exchange

The Owl & the Pussycat at South Hill Park, The Corn Exchange and Norden Farm


Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5BD, 01635 522 733, 15 May – PETER & THE WOLF A wonderful child’s introduction to the orchestra, with each character in the story represented by a different instrument. Family concert with Newbury Symphony Orchestra. Ages 5+. Tickets £9, conc. £6. 28 May – FISHWIFE An energetic, musical puppetry performance that captivates your imagination, adapted from a Brothers Grimm tale. Ages 3+. Tickets £8, conc. £6.

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Printed by Warners Midlands Plc. Copyright Families Thames Valley West April 2011. Families Thames Valley West is part of a group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West London. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. We take care in preparing this magazine but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of the advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequence.

Families TVW Issue 53 May - June 2011  
Families TVW Issue 53 May - June 2011  

Families Thames Valley West Magazine for May and June 2011