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EE FR Thames Valley West May/June 2012 Issue 59

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 selfemployed background, or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle. Please call Sara Bains 07795 425 626

Party Special




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Confidence, Communication and Concentration Book your FREE Drama Class today

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12 ways to create magical birthday memories memories

Step-by-step guide to Jubilee face-painting jubileefaces

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inthisissue ISSUE 59 • MAY/JUN 2012

Visit us now at www.


News & Views


Days Out

What’s New in 2012



11 Starting School 12 School News 13 School Open Days 14 Learning a Language


Party Feature

16 Party Dos and Don’ts 18 Party Directory Entertainers, venues, ideas, supplies


What’s On

Including Half Term & the Diamond Jubilee



Featherdown Farms, Penn Festival, Coral Reef, Bucklebury Farm Park

Editor’s Letter Love them or hate them birthdays come round just once a year (unless you’re the Queen of course). So make sure your child has a truly memorable day with the help of our annual Party Guide. We’ve got lots of advice to help you throw your own party, including some tips from a real life ‘fairy’ entertainer. Or, if you’d rather hand the reins over to someone else, we’ve got all the contacts you need in our Directory pages. You’ll find entertainers, venues and party ideas to suit all tastes and budgets. It’s also a time of national celebration with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at the beginning of June. Make sure you don’t miss any of the action by turning to our bumper What’s On guide - there’s so much going on it’s our biggest ever. Alongside the Jubilee beacons, fetes and parties there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy, from the Reading Children’s Festival to air and boat shows, family fun days and food festivals. Finally, if you fancy a day out with the family take a look at page 8 for what’s new at some our favourite attractions and theme parks. From scary rides to educational exhibitions, there should be something to suit. Whatever you do to celebrate the start of summer have a very, very good time! Karen and Jane

Don’t miss these great Families offers and competitions WIN £100 of family games – page 2 10% OFF Popstar Parties – page 19 Bulmershe Gym Parties reduced August rates – page 20 Second Child Goes FREE to Bucklebury Farm Park – page 26 WIN a stay at Featherdown Farms – page 30 WIN a family weekend ticket to Penn Festival – page 30 WIN tickets to Bucklebury Farm Park – page 30 WIN tickets to Coral Reef – page 30

To advertise: Tel: 0118 954 6893 Contact us: Designed by: Graphic Resolutions 01438 871600 Next issue: July/August – Summer Special Booking Deadline – 1 June

Competition Winners from March/April issue Cotswold Wildlife Park tickets: Vanessa Holburn LEGOLAND tickets: Rachael Winterbottom, Natacha Chenchery Star Hotshots Easter Camp: Elaine Rae

Call your local Stagecoach to Enrol Bracknell Bracknell North Newbury

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Reading East Reading West Wokingham

01932 348844 0844 800 9482 0845 265 7050

Visit us now at www.

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News & Views Baby Sensations A simply sense-sational experience for you and your baby ... Baby massage taught in the comfort of your own home, or join one of our local classes.

0118 935 3759 or 07738 566 646 E-mail

Mummy’s Maid “an extra pair of

hands that understand”

Mummy’s Maid was created with busy individuals in mind – our main aim is to make life easier and help create more time for you. We can provide services to suit all of your household, cleaning and childcare requirements without the need for long term contracts. Each contract is a minimum of two hours long and prices start from £13.50.

Call 0845 463 0075 or visit


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Reading Children’s Festival There are three fun-packed weeks of events, workshops and activities coming up for local young people with the start of the 23rd Reading Children’s Festival. This year’s extended event has an international sporting theme, in keeping with the Olympic year, and kicks off with Meadow Madness on 19 May. Many of the events are free of charge and they all offer great family entertainment. We’ve listed the main events in our What’s On guide but the full festival diary can be picked up from any Reading library, leisure centre, arts venue or the Civic Centre. It can also be viewed online at childrensfest For further information or to order your copy of the diary contact 0118 937 2771.

Abingdon’s Fair in the air Please fasten your seatbelt… This year’s Abingdon Air & Country Show will be taking to the skies on 6 May at Abingdon Airfield (Dalton Barracks), Oxfordshire. Flying displays will feature vintage aircraft including a 1930’s Miles Whitney and a World War II Spitfire, Hurricane and Mustang, along with modern aircraft such as the RAF Hawk fast-jet trainer, while the daring wing-walking ladies of the Breitling Team and the Pitts Special ‘Trig’ Team will provide daredevil mid-air aerobatics. On the ground, visitors can enjoy live music, a

falconry display, a demonstration by the Oxfordshire Fire Service and a range of military and civilian vintage vehicles. Other family-friendly attractions include a World War II encampment, craft stalls, and children’s amusements – including the ever-popular tank rides. Bring a picnic or enjoy the on-site food and drink outlets. Advance tickets at reduced prices can be bought at selected local tourist information centres and Newbury Building Society Branches or online from


News & Views MAD for sport this summer MAD Academy, who provide high energy music and movement classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, will be helping children discover all about sports this summer term, with fun packed sessions full of singing and dance activities inspired by sporting events. The MAD Academy team is also running fund-raising sporting parties in local nurseries, children’s centres and pre-schools, complete with opening ceremony, races and medals. All money raised will go to ‘Make a Wish’ and ‘Amelia’s Miracle’, charities that support local children suffering from life threatening conditions. If you would like to find out more, contact Trish on 0118 977 0050 (Reading), Emma on 0118 979 2695 (Maidenhead), Kate on 01753 830 162 or Gemma on 01344 305 688 or visit

Britain’s leading National Physical Play Programme Classes in Winnersh, Woodley, Wokingham, Finchampstead, Reading

FREE TRIAL sessions available Call Helen on 0118 973 6711

Teddy Tennis Teddy Tennis is a fantastic new fun way to encourage children aged 2½ to 6 years to get active and learn to play tennis. It works by combining music, pictures and ‘teddy bear’ stories into a totally interactive learning adventure. As well as teaching tennis skills and enhancing co-ordination, lessons help to improve children’s confidence and self-esteem, build their communication skills and teach them about team work and fair play. Lessons and courses are available in Windsor, Datchet, Staines, Egham and Bracknell. Holiday courses are also available. For more information visit, email or call 0845 643 1173.

The Big Scream New parents can see the latest films without the hassle of getting a babysitter at the Regal Picturehouse in Henley. The Big Scream Club screens films exclusively for parents with babies under one year old. Low lights are left on in the auditorium and nappy changing facilities are available. Latest releases are shown every Friday and Saturday with doors open at 10.30am and the film starting at 11am. Membership is £1 and tickets £6.50. The Picturehouse also runs a Kid’s club for older children every Saturday with fun and creative activities from 10.30am, and the film starting at 11am. Visit to find out more. for the latest news Visit now at www.

Thames Valley West


News & Views Maintain a happy and healthy smile

At Nine Mile Ride Dental Practice we understand how precious your child’s smile is. Let us help you and your child maintain a healthy, happy smile. We welcome all children up to the age of 18 for NHS treatment. Established for 20 yrs. Ample free onsite parking available.

Dr Syed and Associates, Nine Mile Ride Dental Surgery, 193 Nine Mile Ride, Finchampstead, Berks RG40 4JD, 0118 973 3907

Let Hypnotherapy Help You This Time If you want to stick to your New Years’ Resolutions then make an appointment with Louise Carter DHP MAPHP Stop Smoking Weight Issues Confidence Stress and anxiety Habits Fear/Phobias Children’s issues helped too. Make 2012 your Best Year Yet! Free Initial Consultation Thames Valley Clinic, Caversham and The Rosedale Clinic, Central Reading

0118 9471749 / 07903807510

Osteopathy Physiotherapy Acupuncture Cranial Osteopathy Sports Massage Nutritional Consultancy Homeopathy

Exceptional care in a friendly, relaxed environment 0118 976 2253

Bridge Farm, Farley Farms, Reading Road, Arborfield,Reading, RG2 9HT

Go-Kart Party – Indoors or outdoors at a venue near you… Go-Kart Party gives children from 4-10yrs their first driving experience. Girls and boys love the excitement of being like Button and Hamilton as they get experience behind the wheel and have fun in their karts. The Go-Karts’ eye catching colours give them instant appeal. The safe fun party format includes lots of different games to suit the driving ability of the children. Go-Kart Party arranges the venue with parties lasting from one hour. If you’re looking for something different and memorable for your child’s birthday party: You’ve just found it! And it’s not just parties – Go-Karts can bring excitement to school and village fetes, weddings, sporting events, corporate days etc – just about anywhere that children want to have fun. Call 07787 800 647, visit or e-mail

Bridging the gap for children in care At the age of 18, young people in care are considered adults and therefore deemed to be able to look after themselves. In reality, with no Government funding for this age, many find themselves homeless or even in prison. Children 1st West Berkshire is a charity set up to support youngsters who have been in care in West Berkshire. At Cornerstones, the house run by the charity, they can live for a time and receive the practical and emotional help they need to go on to live independent responsible lives in the community. If you want to find out more or are interested in offering your spare time, please visit or call 07887 791453.

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

• Combines music, tennis and pictures into an interac�ve learning ac�vity • Weekly 50 minutes session available in various venues. Sign up for a single lesson or a course • Encourages co-ordina�on, confidence and sportsmanship, while ge�ng kids ac�ve • Led by a LTA registered coach • Holiday camps available

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

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A fantas�c and fun way to encourage children to get ac�ve and play tennis

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News & Views Ant and Dec become patrons of Ascot Club Ant and Dec, two of the biggest names in TV, have become the first patrons of the Colts & Fillies Club at Ascot Racecourse after watching their own horse, Primaeval, run three times at the course last year. The club, which has over 14,000 members, aims to bring horseracing to the next generation by making the sport more accessible, educational and fun. It’s free for children to join and member’s activities include organised stable trips, competitions and lots of raceday fun. Five dedicated family days are held at Ascot each year. For more information about the Colts & Fillies club visit the Colts and Fillies section at:, call 0870 727 1234 or email

Penn Festival returns The picturesque village of Penn will once again be home to a 2-day family friendly music festival with camping on 7 and 8 July with some of the biggest acts of the ’80s and ’90s taking the stage, including Altered Images, Snap!, The Beat and Soul II Soul. And that’s not all – there’ll be live bands, street theatre and plenty to keep the kids entertained, including arts & crafts workshops, street entertainers and a free kid zone area in a circus tent with circus skills workshops, crazy bikes, inflatables, trapeze workshops, family circus shows, big balloon disco and much much more. Tickets have already gone on sale, visit to find out more.

MERL Village Fete Do you love baking? Can you make a prize-winning cake? Then why not have a go and enter your favourite cake into the Museum of English Rural Life’s cake competition at their Jubilee Village Fete on 9 June. No Village Fete would be complete without a cake competition, so why not bake a traditional Victoria sponge or delicious chocolate cake and take it along to the MERL fete for a chance to win great prizes! To find out how to enter, visit or call 0118 378 8660.

Gael Music is granted the London 2012 Inspire Mark Berkshire based Gael Music is a traditional music organisation working in schools and in the community. It has been granted the Inspire mark by the London 2012 Inspire programme to deliver ‘Culture Together’, an outstanding project that will celebrate local traditional songs and music with over 900 music sessions and nearly 450 hours of free music tuition. These include free drop in music sessions involving young musicians from participating West Berkshire schools and Gael Music’s folk academies based in Beenham, Hermitage, Hungerford, Bracknell and Tilehurst. Go along to one of these performances, see details below, and try a free starter session on a range of folk related instruments including celtic harps, wood flutes, pennywhistles, mandolin, folk fiddle, squeeze boxes and skin drums. Find out more at

Public Performances as part of Culture Together Project: * Sat 12 May, 26 May & 9 June Newbury Corn Exchange * Sun 13 May Burghfield May Fayre, Burghfield Common * Sun 3 June Picnic in the Park, Victoria Park, Newbury * Sun 17 June Berks Giants Festival, Aldworth Village * Sat 30 June Culture Fest, Newbury Race Course * Sat 7 July Mortimer Fun Day * Wed 11 July Olympic Torch Relay, Newbury Town Centre


A wealth of expertise on your doorstep We provide a comprehensive financial planning service and offer specialist advice in a wide range of areas including: • • • •

Investment for Growth and or Income Pensions and Retirement Planning School Fees Planning Investing for Children

For further details contact Darren Ford FPFS Chartered Financial Planner on:

Tel: 01344 317917

Mobile: 07703 726616

Email: Web: for the latest news Visit now at www.

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Days Out The Museum of English Rural Life is part of the University Museums and Special Collections Services

MERL Jubilee Village Fete MERL’s annual Village Fete has a jubilee theme this year, so come along and enjoy the fun

• Traditional games • Face painting • Morris dancers • Vintage and modern tractors • Beer tent • Hog roast • Jubilee teas and much much more

£2.50 per adult Children free Drop-in Find out more on our website at:

for Look outdiary your freents, of eve from available April!

A vibrant 3 week festival of events and activities for children of all ages at venues across Reading!

Meadow Madness

Saturday 19 May

Christchurch Meadows

Reading Community Carnival Half Term Fun

Museum of Reading


Reading Town Centre

Find out more! 0118 937 2771

Supported by


Thames Valley West

We take a look at the latest developments at some of our favourite parks and attractions. An ‘event-full’ year at Wellington Country Park

Saturday 9 June 10.00 am – 4.30 pm

Prospect Park


Monday 4 June

Tuesday 5 - Friday 8 June Friday 8 June

It’s a busy year at Wellington Country Park, with a packed calendar of events for visitors to enjoy. Situated between Reading and Basingstoke, the park is set in 350 acres of beautiful parkland and has many facilities and attractions especially suited to the under 10s. New play equipment plus a ‘Jumping Pillow’ and a small indoor soft play area are coming very soon, allowing children even more opportunity to let off steam. The Animal Farm facilities and Wacky Wheeler’s area have been upgraded and, by the lakeside, will be a new Birthday Party/ Education Room Shire Horse & Cart rides, 6-10 June & 6-10 Aug (see page 18 for party details). Special activities on offer over the next few months include the ‘Welly Dog’ Show, Nature Week, Tribal Bush Crafts, Refab Arts, clowns, circus skills workshops and a Craft fair. Family fun days with games and entertainments include Mini Olympics, Teddy Bear’s picnics, Cowboys & Indians and Fairy & Pixie parties. Most activities are free with the entrance price. Keep an eye on our What’s On pages for dates and details or visit

Beware the Witches of Warwick! Warwick Castle has a spine-chilling new addition to its Castle Dungeon attraction, the Witches of Warwick. Visitors are given a journey through hag history, hearing horrid tales of black magic and the story of a witch from the Castle’s past. Scary spells, witchcraft games and the presence of a vexed hag create an atmosphere so malevolent it’s deemed suitable for brave over 10s only. If this all sounds far too scary there are plenty of other attractions at Warwick to please all ages. Fans of the BBC drama series will want to head straight for Merlin: The Dragon Tower to experience the magic of Camelot first hand. Little princesses won’t want to miss The Princess Tower and mums will love the Secrets and Scandals of the Victorian House Party. One of the best features of Warwick Castle is the way it brings history to life. Live actor experiences take place every day and there are some spectacular events at various times throughout the year. Check the website for times but do try and catch the knights jousting and the giant trebuchet, basically an enormous catapult, being demonstrated. It’s all great fun.


Days Out

new in 2012? New family hotel with built-in fun The newly opened LEGOLAND Premium Pirate Room Windsor Resort Hotel may be close to home but it feels a whole world away – a LEGO world, packed with features built from the iconic bricks. The hotel has been designed to inspire young imaginations, from its dragon-guarded entrance through to the brightly coloured pirate splash pool. Each room is themed to reflect one of the lands in the Windsor park, so young adventurers can choose between a Pirate, Kingdom or Adventure bedroom, complete with great details such as Lego parrots and treasure-map carpets. It’s not cheap; prices start from £247 low season and £337 high season for a themed family room, including breakfast and park tickets for two days. If an overnight stay is too much the hotel’s Bricks Family restaurant also hosts birthday parties for £19.50 per person (park entrance extra). In the park itself a new indoor attraction, LEGO Star Wars Miniland Experience, recreates 7 of the most famous scenes from the films. Fans can visit a galaxy far, far away all re-created using 2,000 Lego models, authentic sounds and lighting effects.

Get closer to wildlife! Enjoy a relaxing day out in the beautiful surroundings of the Cotswold Wildlife Park, near Burford in Oxfordshire. You’ll find over 260 animal species within the 160 acres of spacious parkland. Stroll along the Giraffe Walkway, a new feature for 2012, which allows visitors to get eye-to-eye with these amazing creatures. Picnic whilst watching rhinos and zebras grazing outside the Manor House. Leap about with lemurs in their walk-through enclosure. Ride on the railway around the Park or climb into the tree house in the adventure playground. There’s something for the whole family and the Park is wheelchair and pushchair friendly! A great value for money day out. Open daily from 10am. Find out more at or call 01993 823 006.

There’s no smoke without fire MAGMA, the hot new ride at Paulton’s Park, is definitely not for the fainthearted. Visitors who enter this volcano-themed attraction will discover a prehistoric surprise. Then, using smoke, light and sound effects, MAGMA ‘erupts’ and riders are shot and spun 25 meters up into the air, only to face a stomach-churning plunge back down into the mountain again. Paulton’s Park, located on the edge of the New Forest, has rides and attractions for all ages from favourites such as the EDGE and the rollercoaster Cobra to the beautiful garden-themed Trekking Tractors and the Digger Ride. Younger visitors should love Peppa Pig World, 3 acres dedicated to all things pink and pig-like, including themed rides, a large indoor play area and a café. It’s also home to the largest (and only) dedicated Peppa Pig shop in the World. You have been warned! or

What else is new? Chessington World of Adventures turns 25 this year and to celebrate they have a new stage party Madagascar Live! It features characters from the hit films, who will also be meeting children in the jungle surroundings of the new land, Africa. Animal Inside Out is a new blockbuster exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London that explores the intricate biology and physiology of some of the world’s most spectacular creatures. The exhibition is the UK premiere from the team behind the famous Body Worlds shows and includes over 80 plastinate and blood vessel specimens, from a 3.2 tonne Asian Elephant to octopuses and ostriches. Museum entry is free but exhibition tickets cost £27 for a family. Beale Park in Lower Basildon is this year challenging visitors to Animal Athletics, a series of 10 challenges dotted around the Park. See if you can hang like a monkey, hold your breath for as long as an otter or even outrun a cheetah. There will also be Minibeasts stamping stations throughout the grounds, designed to entertain younger visitors.

Lots us more at Visit nowideas at www.

Thames Valley West


School News



Teaching Today, Forging Tomorrow

We are a small independent school for boys with small class sizes and a caring family environment that focuses on the individual boy’s academic, moral & physical development. Located in the heart of Reading, we are a school with a good reputation that strives to bring value for money for parents.

OPEN MORNING: FRIDAY 4TH MAY 2012 9–11am Please register with Tracy Glass: or 01189574342 or 07775420930 64 Tilehurst Road, Reading RG30 2JH • B a ur Ye vaila sari ars ble es 7 a fo nd r 8.



Co-educational Independent Day Preparatory School for children aged 3-13

O PEN M O R NING Tue sd ay 1 5 t h M ay 2 0 12 9:15am -11:30am with Headmaster’s welcome at 9:30am

‘‘The overall achievement of pupils at Crosfields School is high and their attainment is far above age-related expectations.’’ ISI Inspection 2011

‘The Family School of Choice’

CROSFIELDS SCHOOL, Shinfield Road, Reading, RG2 9BL. 0118 9871810 or Visit PAGE 10

Thames Valley West



10 things your child should be able to do when they begin school by Sarah Butters

If your child starts ’big school’ this September, it’s time to start preparing. Forget force feeding them phonics, this is about getting your child ready for the social challenges of school. The more prepared they are, the easier they will settle and the more they’ll get out of those early days. 1. Can they dress themselves? Imagine the scene. One teacher faced with thirty children and their coats. By the time each child is zipped up and wrapped up, playtime is over. If your child is able to go some way to helping, they may get some fresh air. If you can see buttons on trousers and skirts becoming a problem during the post PE change, invest in elasticated waistbands. These will also help during any ’last minute’ toilet visits. Avoid tights in the early days - they can also lead to unnecessary bathroom accidents. With shoes, laces and buckles are a no-no. Stick to Velcro fastenings which your child can do themselves. 2. Are they used to sharing? Sharing is a difficult lesson for a child to learn, especially if they only start learning it at school. But it’s a vital lesson if you want your child to settle in and make friends easily. No one wants to play with the boy who refuses to take turns and share, and before long that child becomes isolated. Start to make a point of praising your pre-schooler for sharing his bag of figures or his last few sweets. 3. Can they use the toilet on their own? Reception classrooms usually have a toilet nearby but children are expected to use it on their own. That can mean less confident children avoid a visit until it’s too late. Encourage your child to begin taking toilet trips without you to build up their confidence. Remind them that hand washing is part of the ’visit’. Beginning school toilet training now will mean fewer accidents in September. 4. Are they able to eat independently? Lunchtimes can be a real flashpoint in the early days of your child’s school life. Dinner halls are noisy places and can make a child feel overwhelmed. Make sure they arrive at school able to pick up and use a knife and fork. If they’re opting for a packed lunch, make sure they can open a yoghurt, put a straw in a juice box and unpeel a banana. With school a few months off, it may seem like the easier option to feed them, but it won’t help in the long run. Practice, however painful, makes perfect. 5. Are they able to recognise their name? If your child can recognise their name, they’ll be able to find their peg, identify their drawer in the classroom and find their cardigan if it gets

misplaced. Starting school can make even the most confident child feel a little lost. If they can locate important places, it will make them feel more in control. 6. Can they use scissors? Teachers look for this in the early stages of Reception to evaluate dexterity. Get crafty over the next few months. 7. Do they understand discipline? It’s important your child understands what’s expected of them when they arrive at school. They need to know hitting, kicking, biting and hair pulling will not be tolerated. Not only will it bring your child to the attention of the head teacher for all the wrong reasons, but it will make your child unpopular with their classmates. Reputations earned in the early days of school tend to stick and can be hard to shake off. 8. Can they communicate with an adult? Giving your child the skills to communicate with their teacher means they will be able to have some control. How else will they ask to go to the toilet? If they don’t understand how to get the attention of an adult, how will they let their teacher know they don’t understand their work? A child who can communicate will get more out of the school day than a child who is unwilling to speak up. Encourage your child to ask and even practice with a raised hand at home to make sure they understand the most appropriate way of getting a grown-up’s attention. 9. Are they able to count? If your child is about to count up to 20, and count back from 10, this will give them a really good

More education news at

head start. Use some of their favourite toys or foods to make counting fun. Lay out 10 grapes and get them to eat them one by one, counting as they go. It will give them confidence and help them see learning as fun. Plus it’s a great way to get one of their 5 a day down them! 10. Can they follow simple instructions? The school day is full of instructions. Your child will be asked to put coats on pegs, bring packed lunches into classrooms and sit cross-legged on the carpet for circle time. If a child is used to following instructions, they will avoid being reprimanded. The more time a teacher dedicates to repeating instructions and encouraging cooperation, the less time there is for teaching. Start giving your child simple tasks – perhaps helping with the weekly shop or with some straight forward jobs around the house. It will prepare them for school life.

SOME BOOKS YOU MAY FIND USEFUL: • I am too absolutely small for school (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child • Topsy and Tim Start School by Jean Adamson • Starting School Sticker Book (Usborne) by Felicity Brooks • Going to School (Usborne First Experiences) by Anna Civardi • Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Thames Valley West


School News Alder Bridge Steiner School Alder Bridge Steiner School is set in beautiful, semi-rural surroundings on the canal at Aldermaston Wharf. It is the only Steiner-Waldorf school in the Thames Valley area. Creativity lies at the heart of its teaching, working in accordance with a child’s natural stages of development. Teachers focus on nurturing the whole child – physically, intellectually, spiritually and socially. Central to the children’s education is experiential learning, with each child learning at an unhurried pace. Children leave Alder Bridge at the age of 13 ready for the wider world, with inner confidence,

balance and maturity, and a sense of social responsibility. Many go on to achieve exceptionally within mainstream education. Alder Bridge is an inclusive school, which welcomes children from all social, cultural and financial backgrounds.

Lack of sleep devastates the school day

The independent day school in Reading for girls aged 3–18

A recent poll by The Sleep Council has found that lack of sleep among primary school children is having a devastating effect in schools. 92% of the 250 teachers surveyed complained that some pupils are so tired they are unable to pay attention in class. They felt that too many distractions in the bedroom (games machines, TVs etc) were at the root of the sleep related problems along with the fact parents are simply not strict enough about enforcing bedtimes.

For two thirds of teachers the problem is so serious they consider that the long term progress of their pupils can be affected while nearly half said lack of sleep made children unruly and badly behaved. The Sleep Council’s free GoodNight Guide for Children booklet is filled with hints and tips for parents on how to help their children get a good night’s sleep. Download it from or request a leaflet by calling 0800 018 7923.

Turn your Horrid Henry into Perfect Peter Experience the buzz of The Abbey Come to an open event where our girls will show you around and tell you why they love their school. Junior School and Early Years Open Morning • Wednesday 9 May 9.15 - 11.00 am Senior School Open Morning • Thursday 10 May 9.00 - 10.30 am For times of Head’s talks and for more information please visit our website. For enquiries contact Admissions on 0118 987 2256 or email PAGE 12

Thames Valley West

This Horrid Henry magnetic reward chart is perfect for encouraging children to do their homework or tidy their room. For each completed task, they’ll earn ’Purple hand’ tokens. Suitable for ages 4-9 years and available through for £9.95.

Exam boards get tough Finally, exam boards are listening to the cries of parents and teachers that GCSEs are becoming too easy! The exams regulator, Ofqual, has announced that it will be making changes to GCSEs in English literature, maths, history and geography, tightening them up

and ensuring students study the whole curriculum. This comes amid concerns that pupils are only studying topics likely to come up in exams, rather than the entire course. This spring’s announcement is part of a move away from teaching to the exam and to encourage wider study.


Education Independent School Open Days Bracknell and Ascot LVS, Ascot (co-ed day & boarding, 4-18 yrs) 01344 882 770 Open Day Sat 19 May with talks by Head Teachers at 10am, booking required please telephone the Registrar to reserve a place. Open Morning Thu 21 June 9.30am12noon, no booking required. Meadowbrook Montessori School, Malt Hill, Warfield (co-ed, 2½-12yrs) 01344 890 869 Open morning Sat 19 May, 10.30am. The Marist Preparatory School, Ascot (girls only, 2½-11yrs) 01344 626 137 Open Day Sat 16 June, 10am-4pm.

The Marist Senior School, Ascot (girls only, 11-18yrs) 01344 624 291 Open Morning Wed 27 June, 10.30am-12noon.

Leighton Park School, Reading (co-ed

day & boarding, 11-18yrs) 0118 987 9600 Open Mornings Tue 15 May & Tue 19 June, 10.15am. Please register via the website.

& boarding, girls only, 11-18yrs) 0118 918 7333 Open Morning Sat 12 May & Fri 22 Jun, 9.30am. 11+ Taster Day Fri 18 May. Boarder Taster Weekend 23-24 June. Contact school to reserve your place. Reading Blue Coat School, Sonning (day, boys 11-18yrs, girls 16-18yrs) 0118 944 1005 Open Morning Sat 28 April from 9.30am. St Edwards School, Reading (boys only, 4-13 yrs) 0118 957 4342 Open Morning Fri 4 May, 9-11am.

St Joseph’s College, Reading

11yrs) 01344 773 394 Open Mornings Fri 18 May & Sat 19 May, 9.30am-12noon.


South of Reading

Cranford House, near Wallingford (girls 3-16yrs & boys 3-7yrs) 01491 651 218 Private Tours 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 enquiries@ Open Day Sat 26 May, 10am. Please contact the school to book a place. Radley College, Abingdon (boarding school, boys only 13-18yrs) 01235 543 174 Please contact the registrar for details. Shiplake College, Shiplake (day & boarding school, boys only 11–18yrs, girls sixth form) 0118 940 2455 Open Morning Sat 12 May, 10am. The Oratory School, Woodcote (Catholic day & boarding school, 11-18yrs) 01491 683 500 Open Day Sat 19 May, 9.30am-12noon. Please call to register. The Oratory Preparatory School, Goring Heath (Catholic, co-ed day & boarding school, 3-13 yrs) 0118 984 4511 Please contact the registrar for an appointment.

Reading The Abbey School, Reading (girls only, 3-18yrs) 0118 987 2256 admissions@ Open Morning Junior School and Early Years Centre Wed 9 May 9.15-11am. Open Morning Senior School Thu 10 May 9-10.30am. Caversham Preparatory School, Caversham (co-ed day school, 3-11yrs) 0118 947 8684 Please contact school to arrange a visit. Dolphin School, Hurst, Reading (co-ed 3-13yrs) 0118 934 1277 Open Morning Fri 11 May, 11am-12.30pm. Hemdean House School, Caversham (co-ed infant & junior, girls only 11-16yrs) 0118 947 2590 www.hemdeanhouse. Generous bursaries available for girls in Years 8 and 9. Open Evening Tue 29 May, 6.30-8.30pm.

Catholic independent day and boarding school for children aged 3 to 13

Queen Anne’s School, Caversham (day

(co-ed 3-18yrs) 0118 966 1000 College and Prep Open Morning Thu 3 May, 9.15am-12.15pm. Prep Open Afternoon Tue 26 June, 2.30-4.30pm. College Open Morning Wed 4 July, 9.15am-12.15pm.

Our Lady’s Preparatory School and Day Nursery, Crowthorne (co-ed 3mths-

The Oratory Preparatory School

Crosfields School, Shinfield (co-ed day prep, 3-13yrs) 0118 987 1810 Open Morning Tue 15 May, 9.15-11.30am, with Head’s Address at 9.30am. St Neot’s Preparatory School, Eversley (co-ed day & weekly boarding school, 3 mths-13 yrs) 0118 973 2118 Open Morning Fri 11 May, 9.30–11.45am. Wellington College (co-ed day & boarding school, 13-18yrs) 01344 444 000 Please contact the school for details. Yateley Manor School, Yateley (co-ed day school with nursery, 3-13 yrs) 01252 405500 Open Morning Fri 4 May, 9.45am. Please call to book your place.

West Berkshire Alder Bridge Steiner School,

Padworth, Reading (co-ed, 3-13yrs) 0118 971 4471 Open Day 26 May 10am-1pm. The Cedars School, Aldermaston (co-ed day, 4-11yrs) 0118 971 4251 Open Morning Fri 11 May & Wed 13 June, 9.30am-12noon. Pangbourne College, Pangbourne (co-ed, 11-18yrs) 0118 984 2101 Please contact school for details.

Tel: 0118 984 4511

email: website: Goring Heath • South Oxfordshire • RG8 7SF

Reaching over 100 Independent Schools and Nurseries To advertise call 0118 954 6893 or email

BearwoodFamMag_Mar(87x85):BearwoodFamMag_Mar(87x85) 14/03/201


Open Morning

Wokingham Bearwood College, Wokingham (co-ed day nursery, prep & senior school, 3mths18yrs, boarders accepted 11-18 yrs) 0118 974 8300 Open Morning for whole school Sat 12 May, 10am. Please call to confirm attendance. Holme Grange School, Wokingham, (co-ed day school, 3-13yrs) 0118 978 1566 Please contact school for details. Luckley Oakfield School, Wokingham (girls only day & boarding, 11-18yrs) 0118 978 4175 Open Morning Wed 2 May 9.30am-12noon. Waverley School & Nursery, Wokingham, (co-ed, 3mths-11yrs) 0118 973 1121 Contact school for a time to suit you.

10am Sat 12th May 2012 Please call to confirm your attendance

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

Moreuseducation at Visit now at www.

Thames Valley West


Education For child-led learning – where every child is an individual day care for boys & girls from 3 months • Full to 5 years of age (full and part time places available)

• Term time nursery/pre-school for 3-5 years a great start to your children’s • Giving education, preparing them for when they start in reception at whatever school you choose

in the pre-school benefit from full • Children time qualified teachers during term time in fees: Hot lunches, stationery, • Included swimming, languages (French, Spanish and Mandarin), football coaching, music & movement and pottery (activities are age dependent)

Care Vouchers and Early Years • Child Government funding accepted

• Free flow across a number of spacious rooms to potty train children whenever • Facilities parent and child is ready from as young as 3 months mix with • Children older children during day to day activities are involved in events such as sports • Alldayages and school productions Our Lady’s Nursery, The Avenue, Crowthorne RG45 6PB Tel: 01344 773394 Extended opening hours: 6am – 8pm

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. 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.


11+, 13+ & 16+

by Nadia Montuori-Boyes

Are we putting our children at a disadvantage by not encouraging their natural linguistic abilities? A House of Lords committee has recently published a report recommending that all children should learn a foreign language in primary and secondary school and also suggests that the UK’s attitude to learning languages is preventing students from experiencing educational opportunities overseas. Even though English is the world’s primary language, we cannot afford to isolate ourselves by relying on this alone. The world is getting smaller because of our ability to connect more easily. However, the recession and the increasing unemployment rate will make life quite difficult

for our children when entering the world of work, where a second language becomes an increasingly valuable asset. At the moment, languages are not compulsory in English and Welsh secondary schools after the age of 14, although a review of the curriculum is under way in England. Many educationalists believe that making a foreign language compulsory at GCSE level would be a step in the right direction. We would certainly be giving our children a better chance to succeed if they could learn, at least one other language, whilst they are young. But when is the best time to start learning a language? And what are the difficulties our children may face and what can we do, as parents, to support the learning process? Madame Hala Alani is a local

Entry is through assessment in December 2012. Applications close on 1 November 2012. Sample papers are on the website.

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


Thames Valley West



Why children should learn a foreign language La Jolie Ronde teacher, a leading provider of French and Spanish learning for children across the country. She believes that children should start learning a foreign language as soon as possible. “The earlier, the better. Twoyears-old is a good age to start, because the child is impregnated with the sounds of the language they learn. They will be able to speak with no accent later. I strongly support the idea of learning languages at a very early age.“ For some parents, the thought of taking their toddler to a French class could be pretty daunting. But, Madame Alani says the main aim of the classes is to have fun. “When I teach, I use visual and oral techniques. The lessons are mostly game-based as I think that children should enjoy their learning. Very young children are not yet aware of the benefits of learning a new language, so I have

to keep them interested during the whole lesson, which usually lasts 30 minutes, in any way I can.“ According to Noam Chomsky, the ’father of modern linguistics’, it appears that young children have a much richer capacity to develop and to acquire many languages simultaneously, than adults have. According to some of his studies, there seems to be a critical period for language acquisition, roughly from birth to around puberty. If you do not learn a language at that time, you will never learn it. But if you have learned a language by that time, you will be able to learn more languages later, but probably in a different way, maybe by connecting them to the languages that you already know. It has been proven that some of the benefits of early language learning are: advanced reading skills; greater confidence; improved brain function; greater

opportunities for going to college and your career; a more liberal world view; and the ability to build and keep cultural connections. According to Madame Alani, who is French, being a native teacher really benefits the pupils. “It is very important to be a native teacher not only to provide the right accent and the right way of saying things, but also to teach the children about the French way of life. I always talk to them about the traditions in France, how would people react to a situation or an event. Learning a language is not only learning the idiom, but also about the country, its traditions and its people.“ As a mother of a seven yearold bi-lingual boy, who has also been learning French for the last two years, I am very aware that parents have to play a big part in the learning process. To help and support our child, we bought DVDs in French, CDs of French music

and, last November, we took a trip to Paris where we all practiced the language and mixed with the locals. Over the years, many parents have changed their perception of language clubs: “The attitude of parents towards the French Club has changed since I first started teaching, four years ago. At first, the French Club used to be a posh place to send your children to, but now parents have started thinking about their children’s future, and have realised that, in order to find a good job, they will need to know at least two languages.“ Et alors... Allons-y, les enfants! On va apprendre le Français! For more information about courses at La Jolie Ronde classes in High Wycombe and Henley, please contact Madame Hala Alani on 07934 413515 or by email:

A quality education from start to finish COME AND SEE THE SCHOOL Call us to book your tour with the Head Teacher

A varied and stimulating curriculum Outstanding pastoral care Separate Junior School with modern facilities Small classes where children feel valued and inspired

01344 882770

Email: LVS Ascot, London Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 8DR

A Co-educational Independent Day & Boarding School for young people aged 4 - 18 A Co-educational Independent Day & Boarding School for young people aged 4 - 18

Moreuseducation at Visit now at www.

Thames Valley West


New classes in Sonning Common

Fun, friendly, well researched Music and Movement classes for 0 to 3 year olds in Caversham and Sonning Common. For more details email or call 07500 220588 (Sonning Common) or 0118 9479673 (Caversham)

The Dos and of Birthday


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

The Party Box

ONE STOP PARTY SHOP FOR ALL OCCASIONS Party Goods - Tableware Fancy Dress & Accessories Banners - Bunting - Balloons Party Bags & Fillers Confetti - Face Paints and lots lots more 367 Wokingham Road, Earley Reading Berkshire RG6 7EH (between Loddon Bridge & Three Tuns traffic lights)

0118 966 4400

Look out for the clown!


Mon-Fri 9-5.30pm Sat 9-5pm

by Sarah Butters

DO plan early If you think you can book your first choice entertainer and venue a fortnight before your child’s party, think again. The best people and places are fully booked months in advance and if they’re not, ask yourself why not. It’s a question I wish I had posed the year I left it late and introduced a knife juggling circus act to my 4 year old. It’s not a mistake I made twice.

DO consider a joint party Instead of entering into a ‘Who can get the invite out first’ race with other parents, join forces and funds. If your child has a friend whose birthday falls around the same time, why not organise a party together. If you’re going to invite the same group of friends and even opt for the same sort of party, this is a great option that halves the cost and the stress. Make sure you and your party partner are clear about the planning and the expectations.

DON’T let your child decide the guest list If you let your little one take charge of who they’re inviting, they’ll leave out the friend they’ve fallen out with in the playground. Up to the age of 7, it’s best to stick to either a full class party, or one where you simply invite all the girls, or all the boys. Tempting as it is to leave out the class troublemaker or the girl who leaves your daughter out, this is an approach that will only cause future heartache. A party invite not sent, is a party invite not received. Teach your child to be inclusive. For nursery aged children and over 7s, it’s fine to be selective. Parties tend to become more


Thames Valley West

expensive as children get older and taking 30 children to Build a Bear or a Laser Quest Party would break the bank.

DON’T be afraid to chase late replies There are few things more irritating than chasing the parents who haven’t bothered to respond to a party invite. Experience has taught me that parents who don’t respond within the first few days of an invite either haven’t received it, or have forgotten. Give yourself a helping hand by putting an RSVP date on the invite. After that, don’t be afraid to ‘remind’ via text or over a pick up time chat in the playground. Avoid involving bewildered Dads at drop off. Unless they are in charge of childcare, you’ll be disappointed. For those replies that never arrive, and there will be some, head to your party venue armed with some extra food and a few unmarked party bags. Don’t let the unexpected guests catch you out!

DO check for allergies In a group of 20 children, chances are there will be some allergies, and some children who can’t eat certain food for religious reasons. Don’t presume parents will inform you. Ask about allergies when you know who is coming along.

DON’T over cater You are feeding a group of children not an army of starving soldiers. Appetites shrink as excitement builds so there is no need to provide a smorgasbord of sandwiches. Stick to the tried and tested trio of party favourites – ham, jam and cheese. Throw in a selection of crisps and a couple of bowls of grapes, cucumber sticks and tomatoes, followed by cakes. Forget leftovers. Peckish parents will clear the plates, often while their children are still eating.



Don’ts Parties DO consider your party date It’s heartbreaking to receive a steady stream of ‘nos’ after you’ve spent weeks securing an entertainer and a venue on a particular date. Give yourself half a chance by avoiding key dates, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and religious holidays such as Easter Saturday and Yom Kippur. Parents tend to jet off on holiday as soon as school’s out, or just before term begins again so avoid weekends at either end of the school holidays.

DON’T invite too many children This is a mistake you’ll only make once. 30 children and 30 parents will fill even the most generous village hall. Add a bouncy castle and some uninvited siblings and you are nearly on riot watch.

DON’T obsess over 5 a day There are certain things you can depend on. If you’re having a party in your garden, it will rain. If you’ve made 15 party bags, 17 children will turn up and ALL of your carefully cut cucumber, tomatoes and grapes will remain untouched on the table by the end of the party tea. Be honest. You only put them out to make sure the Annabel Karmel Fan Club in the corner didn’t fall out with you. Remember that it’s one meal, on one day and if all the birthday boy eats is a handful of Hula Hoops, a Jam Sandwich and a pack of Smarties then so what? You can force feed him broccoli for breakfast tomorrow.

DO party bags Usually found in the back of your car a week after the party, just as the buttercream icing from the napkin wrapped cake is going rancid. But woe betide the mum who thinks she’s above a party bag. It’s a sure fire way to get your guests sobbing as they leave. Don’t fight it, simply be creative and accept that simplicity is the key. Suggestions include popping in a children’s magazine, a packet of seeds in the Spring or a personalised chocolate bar with the birthday child’s picture on it. And if you want to impress by being the ultimate organised mum, include a pre prepared thank you note. Bribing a child to write notes is easier when there’s the threat of a lost party on the horizon.

DO enjoy it There are times during the planning you will find this the most absurd piece of advice. How on earth can you expect to enjoy it? Remember that this is one of those ‘gone too quickly’ milestones and if you don’t press the pause button and enjoy the sight of your child laughing with the entertainer or bouncing with his friends then the stress simply isn’t worth it. When the balloons have burst and the cake is just crumbs, it’s those memories that will make you do it all again next year!

Top party t ips from a professional fairy! by Miss Jaime Brodie author and children’s entertainer

4 Do it at the weekend… after school parties have children exploding like coiled springs so catch them when they’re fresh and ready.

4 2 hours max with a break for refreshment in the middle – plan activities and games to work in 10 minute units – so 5 games before tea (the first 10 minutes will be everyone arriving) and 3 games after tea.

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:

4 Learn all the children’s names – stickers come off and knowing a name is a lasso of control.

4 Get a play parachute (ebay/Amazon) or use a big old sheet – keeps everyone together and has enormous scope for games.

4 Keep enemies closer – make the naughty child/ren your special helpers – telling kids off kind of spoils the fun.

4 Occasionally pretend to fall asleep – tell

FDA approved, non-allergenic materials. Experienced, friendly & reliable service. 07505 104 376

the kids a wizard put a spell on you and every time they see you drop off they need to shout Wakey wakey – keeps their attention beautifully.

4 Taking turns – have the first child choose who goes next and that one choose the next and so on. Keeps it fair and ordered.

4 Play music games at the end of the party and instead of having people out give prizes for the best statues and fastest bumps…chocolate coins are perfect! Find Jaime’s full article at You can find lots more including games to play, ready made party plans and heaps of other Professional Fairy tips at www. howtorunakidsparty. com where you can also download the full guide for only £7.99.

See our full party directory at Visit us now at www.

Thames Valley West



PickaParty! Our party directory has all the entertainers, venues and party suppliers you need to plan the perfect party. We’ve got a selection here but you can find even more online at

Party venues

Active Tots soft play barn, just off

the A33 and just for 0-3’s, is an ideal place to celebrate your child’s birthday and by choosing one of our party packages, you are sure to have a memorable time! Choose from the Mini Party, £7.00 per child, Active Party, £9.50 per child or have exclusive use for £265 for up to 20 children. Optional extras include messy play and pass the parcel. 01256 880 220,

Eddie Catz Newbury have fun parties starting at £11.99 per child (£9 for Toddler parties) which includes use of the all play equipment and sports pitch, a great meal and drinks, party bags, your own party host and a visit from Eddie Catz himself. Also available are Glitz n’ Disco parties for girls 5-13 yrs and Laser Tag parties for 6-14 yrs for which you have exclusive use of the venue transformed with disco lights and music. Extras include face painting, cakes, adult platters and balloons. 0845 201 1268,

Jakes @ Tri-Lakes in Sandhurst have a variety of party packages for children up to 11 yrs which can include: time on the playframe, traditional party games and animal handling sessions. 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 Reading offers party packages

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


Thames Valley West

from £10.95 per child (£9.50 during school hours) that include 1 hour and 15 minutes play followed by 45 minutes in a themed party room. Included are invitations, entrance for guests, a reserved table, birthday meal and ice cream, party bags and thank you notes. Themes and extras also available. 0118 942 6171,

The Look Out Discovery Centre in 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

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). New Magic Masterclass and Teddy Bear Parties available on a limited basis. 0118 975 5455, birthday child and invitations. £7.50 a child (self-catering), £12.85 (hot meal) and £12.15 (cold meal). 01344 354 400,

Monkey Mates in Wokingham include 75 mins on the Playframes followed by tea in themed party room for £8.95 per child, party bags extra. Sole hire available 6-8pm Mon-Sat and 5-7pm Sun for £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 Kids’ Club at 11am on Saturdays 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. 0871 902 5738,

Wellington Country Park have party packages that include 2 hours of games, face painting (cheeks only), food, entertainment in a special party room plus a free train ride. After the party, access to the Park and all its facilities are included. 2 adults are free, to help oversee the party. Party themes include Traditional, Fairy, Pirate, Bug Hunting and Dinosaur. £13.95 per child. 0118 932 6444,

Whoosh in Bracknell Sport & Leisure Centre offers a variety of parties including Monkey Fun, Fairy or Pirate and Gingerbread Making from £9.80 including food, time in the play centre and a host. Also do Laser Storm parties for 8+yrs costing £140 for 10 children. 01344 868 383,


Parties Music, dance and drama parties Jo Jingles musical parties are based

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, magic, X Factor and teddy bear’s picnic parties at The Mad House. 07976 652 742,

MAD Academy run high energy music and dance parties for children specialising in children 1-6 yrs. One or two hour party packages which include lots of singing, dancing, musical instruments, games, parachute play and exciting props such as pom poms, bean bags, and bubbles and lots more with fully trained and insured CRB checked instructors. Reading and surrounding area including Burghfield and Arborfield 0118 977 0050; Bracknell, Crowthorne, Camberley, Finchampstead, Hook, Hartley Wintney, Sandhurst & Wokingham area 01344 305 688/07435 754712; and 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,

© WavebreakMediaMicro -

Dancercise organises fun filled themed parties for children of all ages at a venue of your choice. High School Musical, Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Disney, Pirates and Princesses, Street Dance Disco Party… these are just some of their popular themes. Dancercise can provide party bags, prizes and treats and are happy to satisfy any special request you may have. Prices start from £160 for a 2 hour party, including prizes, face painters, disco lights, bubble machines, Pass The Parcel and much more... For more information please contact Emily: 0774 339 8844,,

around action songs, dancing and musical instruments and are perfect for children up to 5 yrs. Everything you need to create a fun atmosphere is brought to your party including instruments, streamers, pompoms, parachute and bubbles, fitting with any party theme. Ascot & Bracknell contact Jackie 01344 484 473, Twyford, Henley, Maidenhead & Windsor contact Andreas 07590 434 016,

Popstar Parties run high energy, themed parties include music, lights, choreographed dance routines and games taught by an enthusiastic and qualified Dance Instructor. Dance props; ribbons, pom-poms, blow-up guitars, glitter microphones & hats. Parties include Popstar, Street Dance, Mamma Mia, Hannah Montana, High School Musical & Grease or a combination to suit you and complimentary invitations are included. 10% discount on party bookings for 2012 if confirmed before 1 July. Arwen@, 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 933 3791,

Party animals Animal Dramatics is home of the

Bucklebury Farm Park has a

Farms2ewe can provide a mobile

famous film and TV animals, available for your party at home or on their training farm. Enjoy baby goats, baby lambs on the bottle, chicks and ducklings, face painting and egg painting. Also, pony or donkey rides available for your event. 07831 409 457,

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,

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,

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

Odds Farm Park Parties include everything except the cake and the kids. Farm entry, hire of a fully decorated party room, invitations, animal masks and fun badges, party

Finduslots more parties at Visit now at www.

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,

Owen’s Animals provide hands-on educational and entertaining workshops and parties for all ages and abilities. With a variety of animals available from bugs and creepycrawlies, reptiles and hungry hedgehogs, to fluffy and cute bunnies. 0118 961 2814 /07966 062 274,

Thames Valley West


Parties Sporty and activity parties AcademySport Leisure Centre in South Reading offers parties with use of a party area for games and your own food. Parties are for up to 20 children (unless stated otherwise). Tots Play Party for under 5’s with bouncy castle and soft play, £66. Sporty Party for 5+yrs, £50. Pool Inflatables Party for 8-14yrs, £120 (max. 30 children). Pick n’ Mix Party with bouncy castle, sports and games, £60. Bouncy castle Party for 5+yrs, £66 for 1 castle, £86 for 2 (max.30 children). 0118 937 0270,

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. Reduced party rates during August. 0118 926 7196, email: bulmershe,

Bulmershe Leisure Centre in Woodley offer Monster Fun Inflatable pool parties for 8–13 yrs for £75/£70 with a pass. Hire of tea room is an extra £20. Also Bouncy castle parties for 5-8 yrs for £55/£50 with a pass. Please contact Reception for full T&C’s, availability & prices. 0118 926 8733,

Carnival Pool in Wokingham holds parties with an hour in the pool with inflatable and a host organising games for £99.50 for 10 children, £8.50 per extra child. The crèche is available for your own tea at a cost of £25. Sole use of the pool for one hour and use of the crèche is £145 (£230 with a host), £265 with inflatables (£300 with host). 0118 977 0007,

Coral Reef in Bracknell holds

Giant Playframe Padded Toddler Area Sports Pitch • Disco • Café Baby & Toddler Classes Holiday Workshops & Events Birthday Parties Laser Tag Parties

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 three Giant Waterslides and food available as optional extras. 01344 862 525,

Cotswold Sports Centre in Tilehurst, offers a Bouncy castle and games party and a Sporty party for 7-12 yrs. £86/£78 with West Berks card, for up to 15 children, extra children £2.20 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), Mini Multisports parties (3-6 yrs) and Trampolining, Multi sports or Football parties (5+yrs) for £87.90 (combine with a large bouncy castle or trampoline for £123.75). Includes 1 hour’s activity plus 45 mins for party tea which can be provided at extra cost. 01344 776 211, Elite Soccer School run football and


Northway House, York Rd Newbury RG14 7NF

Tel. 0845 2011268 PAGE 20

Thames Valley West

sports 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 indoors and outdoors. The karts are easy to drive with trained operators on hand to help. Award ceremony held at end. 07787 800 647, Henley Leisure Centre offer Sports and Swimming parties. They can also provide catering for your party. 01491 577 909,

Hollywood Bowl in Bracknell offers party packages for £11.95 per person (£7.95 on weekend mornings) which includes one game of bowling, meal, drinks, present for birthday child and a framed photo of the party. 0844 826 1454,

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,

John Nike Leisuresport Complex in Bracknell offers an Ice Skating party for 5+yrs (lesson followed by ½ hour free skating) for £15.95 per child. The Ski and Snowboard Centre offer an hour’s Skiing lesson for 8+yrs (£15.95 each); a Sno-tubing party for 6+yrs (£16.50 each); or a Snowboarding party for 10+yrs (£18.50 each). All parties include a meal. 01344 789 000,

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); 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,


Parties Palmer Park Sports Stadium in

St Crispins Leisure Centre in

Reading has Soft play parties with bouncy castle, soft play equipment and a food area for £40 for 1½ hours. 0118 937 5080,

Wokingham offers parties in conjunction with Premier Sport at £125 for up to 20 children. Choice of Football, Multi-sports, a single sport, Street Dance, Gymnastics, Bouncy castle or Trampolining. Food not provided. 0118 979 1066

Pinewood Gymnastics Club in

Crowthorne runs gym parties for up to 20 children aged 5-10 yrs. Included is use of the fully equipped gym, soft play, trampoline and sponge pit led by a qualified coach. Party length is 2 hours, 1 hour in the gym followed by 1 hour for party tea, £150/£135 for members. 01344 773 237,

Thames Valley Gymnastics Club in Sonning Common can be hired with beams, soft shapes, rockers, the trampoline and a sponge pit with qualified assistant in attendance for £130. Parties last 1 hr 45 mins and include use of a room for your own party food and games. 0118 972 4401

Reading Bowl in Calcot holds Bowling

Theale Green Recreation Centre

parties for 6-14 yrs for £7.50 per child (£8 weekends) before 6pm. Includes invitations, one game, meal and drink and 2 free game vouchers for birthday child. An additional game costs £1 per child. 0118 930 4296,

offers a Bop n Bounce party with a bouncy castle and disco; a Sports Mish Mash; a Party Game Special with bouncy castle and games; a Pick n Mix party, choose 3 activities; a Tots Time party with bouncy castle and pop up fun; and a Games Roundabout party with bouncy castle and team games. £83/£78 with West Berks card. Also Trampolining party £103/£98. 0118 932 3725,

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

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 £120/£110 for up to 30 children. The foyer can be hired for your party tea at £10 for an hour. 0118 983 4845,

Reading Football Club run parties with one hour’s coaching in the Academy Training Centre followed by a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of Madejski Stadium. Cost is £250 for up to 16 children. Mascot packages are also available. 0118 968 1460,, Reading TaeKwonDo Academy Hire

French Connection

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,

Rivermead Leisure Complex in

Reading has Swimming parties for £90 for up to 30 children. Also available are Soft Play parties at £77.25 for 20 children, Laser Tag parties for 16 children at £92.70 and The Zone parties at £97.95 with activities including climbing wall for up to 30 children. Food can be provided from £3.35 per head. 0118 901 5021,

The Royal County of Berkshire Club in Bracknell holds parties for

children 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 complimentary use of Club facilities during the party. 01344 382 380,

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 £87.90 (combine with

a large bouncy castle or trampoline for £123.75). 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,

Wokingham Superbowl (formerly The Big Apple), holds LaserQuest parties which include 2 games and drinks for £9.95 each (£11.95 with food and party room); Bowling parties with an hour of play and drinks for £9.50 (£11.95 with food); and Mega parties with a game of Laserquest, an hour of bowling and food for £12.95. Exclusive hire of the Laserquest arena with food costs £199. 0118 978 4147, Woodford Park 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 large variety of Sporty parties for 6+yrs. A decorated party room is available for your tea. An under 4’s Soft Play party is also available, which makes use of the centre’s new soft play equipment and bouncy castle. 0118 921 6969,

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. 01628 410736/07926 751243

Find lots more parties at

Thames Valley West




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Party suppliers Big on Bouncing hires bouncy

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castles, slides, Go Karts, Body Zorbs, Sumo suits, soft play for adults and children to be used indoors and outdoors all year round. 01628 410 736/07926 751 243, email,

Magical music & sensory play classes from birth to four years Contact us now for a FREE taster! Henley & Bracknell 016282 639727 55x90_multiple3:Layout 29/9/11

For classes of pure MADness, Birthday join MAD Academy Parties

How to Run a Kids Party by

Jaime Brodie - the ultimate guide with everything you need to do your own kids party. Games, plans and ideas from a Professional Fairy. Go to to get lots of helpful information and to download the book.

“Finally, a kid’s party guide that offers original games and takes all the stress away. I used this book and had so much fun running my daughter’s 5th Birthday party. Making wishes was absolutely magical! If you want to do it yourself and do it 14:22 1 you need!” well, thisPage book is all Faye - Mum of Isla and Grace.

The Lend and Play Toy Library

next to the 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 2-5 yrs; Mansion Maze, a collection of tunnels and tents; a giant Connect-4; ride-on toys and circus skills equipment. 0118 377 6429,

LPL Bouncy Castles have bouncy castles of various sizes for all ages, indoors or outdoors, large inflatable slides, Sumo suits, ball pits, penalty shoot out and

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

The Party Box in Earley has everything you need for your party including tableware, banners, badges, balloons, balloon bouquets, helium canisters, candles, party bags & fillers, piñatas as well as a huge range of fancy dress costumes, wigs, hats & accessories, face paints & more. 0118 966 4400,

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,

Kiln Café in Henley organises

Call Trish on 0118 977 0050 or

Arty Giraffe Pottery painting

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,

and decopatch parties for 8-15 children, 5+yrs. Prices from £10 per child. At Arty Giraffe, we believe the little extras make all Kitchen Capers offer cooking the difference. We offer a special parties suitable for 4-16 yrs, who Wokingham, Finchampstead, Crowthorne, party-plate memento with your learn to measure, mix and cook Sandhurst, Bracknell, Hook, Camberley & child’s handprint and guest their own party dishes. In addition Yateley fingerprints; homemade birthday they are now able to offer baking cupcakes and unique party bags and cup cake parties. Menus Call Emma on 0118 979 2695 or to take home. One of our staff tailored to child’s age. Parties stays with the party from start to include invites, all ingredients and finish,Writer ensuring everyone Maidenhead, Marlow, Henley & with deskPDF PDF party bags. DIY cooking party kits PDF Created - Trialenjoys :: their Arty Giraffe experience. also available. 07917 412 896, Charvil More information 0118 941 Movement • rhythms • songs • instruments • games 8683, Pottery Pals at Holme Grange Craft Village in Wokingham has two themed party rooms, Castle Room beadylicious parties are for girls Music And Dance and a whole lot of fun! and Fairy Room, where guests can aged 6+yrs. Guests will make two paint their own ceramic pieces for pieces of jewellery fully instructed £5 per child plus the cost of the and supervised using beautiful glass pieces chosen. You can bring your and semi-precious beads with own food. 0118 979 4006, sterling silver charms. Prices £15-17 per guest. 01491 572 030, Silver By Design run parties in their studio at Holme Grange At Build-a-bear Workshop in The Village, near Wokingham, The Painting and Party Centre in Twyford Oracle in Reading, each child chooses at which children make a bear, stuffs it and takes it home. A beautiful items to take party leader keeps the children home. Choose between entertained and extras include outfits a Clock Making Party; and accessories. Set a budget for a Pure Silver Party, Would you like a party with a difference? each child before the party. Prices making a solid start from £9 a guest. 0118 957 We have a great selection of pottery and sliver pendant; 6817, or a Princess fabric painting party packages for all ages. or Bedazzled HaaHoos the painting and party Come and talk to us - prices start from Party, centre in Twyford offer pottery making a painting parties from £10 per person. only £10 a head. variety of Also DecoPatch parties (£13.50 beaded person), Fabric painting parties jewellery. (£13.50 per person) and the 0118 932 1441 Prices from £15 Celebrity Red Carpet Party (£20 per 19 Church Street, Twyford, RG10 9DN per child. 0118 979 9507, person). 0118 932 1441,

Call Gemma on 01344 305688 & 07435754712 or

Opal Passions provide children’s

Arts, crafts & cooking


Earley, Woodley, Caversham, Burghfield, Purley & Arborfield

The Cake Crusader make gluten and wheat free cakes, with dairy free, egg free and sugar free options. 07789 477974,

assault course. 07767 630 559,

Make & Do offers a fantastic range of children’s craft parties in our attractive workshop space in the heart of Caversham. Ranging from jewellery making to tote bag decorating, and from cupcake decorating to t-shirt embellishment we will make sure that your mini crafter enjoys their special day with a group of up to 9 friends. Everyone gets to take their handmade gift home & we will clear up all the mess after the fun has ended! Prices start from just £12 per child with availability Tuesday to Saturday each week. Call us today to discuss your specific requirements 0118 327 6717, bookings@

Marks & Spencer

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It’s Party Time at HaaHoos!


Thames Valley West


Parties Entertainers & party organisers

Roly’s Magic Show Roly Richardson has

been entertaining children and adults for over 30 years. He started as a Butlins Redcoat and through-out the 80s he worked at many holiday centres. He now provides quality Children’s entertainment including Magic, Balloon modelling & Face Painting by Debbie. All of the packages include a Real white Rabbit! Roly has full public liability & enhanced CRB. Parties adapted for 3-8year olds, call or email for all price information. 07958 560 991

AB Entertainments have party packages designed for under 5’s -11yrs in the Berkshire and Hampshire area. From Kool Katz disco parties to face painting and Jewellery making – call or email for your quotation. 0800 052 6510, email

Nordic Kids

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, adventure play and much more. 07836 605 032, Circus Scene provide circus workshops and entertainment for all ages. 0118 976 1702,

Entertaining Children is our Party Piece!

0800 052 6510

The BEST children’s disco parties for 4 – 11yr olds. www.abentertainments/

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

For our full party directory with lots more party entertainers, venues and ideas visit

Face Painting By Sarah Maie for all ages, parties & events, FDA approved, non-allergenic materials, experienced, friendly & reliable service. 07505 104 376, Fred in the Shed offers a variety of family party entertainment, including: comedy magic shows; balloon modelling; puppets; games; snow, lights and bubbles; and sports parties. The most popular package is Fred’s Painless Birthday Party - 2 hours of fun and games and comedy magic. For older children, Fred offers illusion shows, magic and balloon-modelling workshops and discos. 0118 931 0981, PK Entertainments offer fairground parties in your garden or a hall. For ages 4-11, you can choose several items including chair-o-Planes, an unrideable horse, swing boats, inflatables, pop guns, test your strength, side stalls such as hoopla, coconut shy, candy floss and popcorn and various entertainers. 07836 605 032, 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, 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, Squish Bosh offer fun party games with a twist for 5-10yrs. A mix of Total Wipeout, It’s a Knockout and some original sports games. 07721 422 554/01628 821 145, Teddy Bear’s Picnic run teddy bear themed parties for 3-10yr olds at your home or venue with options including a teddy bear hospital, magic show, games, bouncy castle, teddy bear hunt and best dressed teddy competition, 07836 605 032,

Alan Mac Punch & Judy Magic Show 0118 933 3044

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

Farms2ewe Mobile Farm For educational visits and fantastic farm parties, please call

Animal Petting Parties and Pony Parties

you l Do ta ? e to hav BOSH ISH U Q S

Fun party games with meaning

Call Pete on 07721 422554 or 01628 821145, or email to:

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

01635 579878 or 07780654348

Street Dance Popstar Hannah Montana ABBA High School Musical Grease

T: 01753 538 525

Find lots more parties at

Poz Magic Show

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

Thames Valley West


What’s On

Diary Dates compiled by Claire Frew


Paul Johnson

Diary Dates MAY

From beginning May – SHEEP RACING at Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Green, 01628 520 188, Every weekend and holidays. Plus farm animals, playgrounds, indoor play areas, bottle feeding lambs (until end May), hay bale playbarn, adventure maze, trailer rides and much more. Every Friday in term time – TODDLER TIME at The Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, Reading, 0118 378 8660, Enjoy rhymes, songs and craft activities based on objects in the museum collection or garden. 10-11am & 1-2pm. Suitable for families with children aged 2-4yrs. £2 per child, drop in. Until 4 Nov – TITANIC DISPLAY at Beale Park, Lower Basildon, 0844 826 1761, In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, this display in the Park’s Pavilion gives an insight into what life was like on board the ill-fated liner. It features three models of Titanic and an array of replica materials associated with her. Items such as newspaper reports, a menu, letters and poster ads all bring to life this tragic event. Throughout May and June – WEEKEND ACTIVITIES at the Chiltern open Air Museum, Newland Park, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks, 01494 871 117, A variety of family events to bring history alive through re-enactments, demonstrations, displays and more. Also usual museum buildings and farm open for visitors. 5-7 May Meet the Normans; 12 May Night at the Museum – experience the museum buildings at night, bring a picnic and go on torch lit tours for a small additional charge, 6.30pm-11pm; 2-5 June Victorian Diamond Jubilee Fete; 9-10 June Edwardian photography; 17 June Working Heavy Horse Show; 30 June-1 July Medieval Weekend. All events 10am-5pm unless otherwise stated. Normal admission prices apply.

2-6 May – BEER & CIDER FESTIVAL at King’s Meadow, Reading, Organised by CAMRA, featuring a wide selection of real ale, cider and wine, plus live music. Sunday is family day with children’s entertainment. 5 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. 2pm-4pm. Adults £1 entry, children free. 5 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. 5-7 May – SPRING GALA at Didcot Railway Centre, 01235 817 200, GWR Diesel Railcar No.22 in Operation, ‘Black Python’ Real Ale Bar open plus Radstock Signalbox open to visitors (5 May only) and signalling in operation on the branch line (6 & 7 May only). 5-7 May - LIVE CRAFTS & THAMES VALLEY FESTIVAL OF FOOD at Mapledurham House, Mapledurham, Reading, A range of entertainment for all the family, including craft demonstrations and workshops, vintage upcycling, live music, delicious refreshments, cookery workshops, wine tasting and jewellery making. For the children there will be a dedicated area which includes ‘make and take’, ‘bake and take’ and ‘sow and grow’ workshops with small rides and inflatables, plus games and a small animal petting pen. 5-7 May – SOLENT DOG DISPLAY TEAM & THE WELLY DOG SHOW at Wellington Country Park, Riseley, Reading, 0118 932 6444,

Breitling Wingwalkers, see them at Abingdon Air Show 6 May 5-7 May The Solent Dog Display team back again for a 5th year to show off the skills of their furry friends; 5-6 May ‘Welly Dog Show’ - enter your own pooch in the fun competitions from ‘waggiest’ tail to fastest dog and owner. Normal admission charges apply. 5-7 May – GREEN FINGERED GROWING at Basildon Park, near Pangbourne, Discover your green fingers through a range of different activities at the property. Children can enjoy a trail around the garden (Trail £2) and make their own windmills. At 2pm the gardener will be running a planting workshop. Open 10am-5pm. Normal admission charges apply. 5-7 May – THE HENLEY ARTS TRAIL in various venues, 01189 34 1683 See over 150 artists showcasing and selling their work, from jewellery to painting, textiles, ceramics, glass and much more at venues across the Henley, Twyford and Wargrave 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. Free entry.

6 May – ABINGDON AIR & COUNTRY SHOW at Abingdon Airfield, Dalton Barracks, Oxon, Flying displays include a WWII Spitfire and Hurricane, daring wing-walking ladies (see photo) and dual aerobatics. Plus static aircraft area, arena displays, live music, a falconry display, vehicles of all vintages, a WWII Encampment, craft and trade stalls, Tank Rides, children’s amusements and lots more. In aid of the local Air Ambulance. 10am-5.30pm. See page 4 for more details. 7 May – SUPERHERO FAMILY FUN DAY at Windsor Racecourse, 01753 498 400, Fantastic racing to watch while the kids can enjoy free activities including face painting and bouncy castles. Ben 10’s Humungousaur and Water Hazard will be joining everyone as well as a special visit from Batman the Brave and the Bold. Adult tickets from £9. Accompanied children free. Gates open 12.30pm, last race 5.20pm. 7 May - WOKINGHAM MAY FAYRE in Wokingham Town Centre and Elms Field Live entertainment, funfair, refreshments, stalls and more. 10am–5pm. Money raised goes to local charities.

Taking prints is easy - Order online, host a print party, book an appointment or visit us at an event.


Thames Valley West


What’s On 7 May – CAR BOOT SALE at St Crispin’s School, London Road, 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. 7 May – BUSHCRAFT SPECIAL at Bucklebury Farm Park, between Reading & Newbury, 0118 971 4002, Try your hand at bushcraft: light a fire, learn how to track animals, forage for food, make a shelter, use tools to make rope and twine and much more. There will also be lamb feeding and tractor rides plus all the usual fun farm park attractions. 10-6pm. • Don’t miss our Bucklebury Farm Park competition on page 30. 7 May – ANNUAL CRAFTY CRAFT RACE finishing at Victoria Park, Newbury, See the home-made crafts 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. 9-13 May – ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW in the grounds of Windsor Castle, 01753 860 633, The largest outdoor equestrian event in the UK which this year also includes the Diamond Jubilee Pageant. 12 May – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at Bracknell Leisure Centre, Bagshot Rd, Bracknell, Sale of quality preloved and new goods for boys & girls from birth to 6 yrs. 2pm-4pm. Adults £1 entry. 12 May – SPORTING SATURDAY FUNDAY at Reading Museum, 0118 937 3400, A fun packed, active day to celebrate the opening of the new exhibition ‘Bikes, Balls and Biscuitmen: Our Sporting Life’. There will be lots of sport related activities for children and special guest appearances, including Reading’s Kingsley Royal. On show will be some of Reading’s top talent from badminton’s Madejski Performance Centre, the Kingfisher Table Tennis Club and British Taekwon-Do champion Jay Gilbert. All ages, 12noon-3pm, free, drop in.

Looking forward to the 2012 Olympics, MERL is participating in Our Sporting Life, a nationwide network of community exhibitions marking through photographs, stories and objects the story of Great British Sport. This exhibition on rural sports will complement the display on local sports being developed by the Museum of Reading. 12-13 and 18-20 May – CAVERSHAM ARTS TRAIL at various locations around Caversham, See the work of 32 local artists in many different venues on this annual arts trail. There will be various events and demonstrations happening. Audrey Snowden with Pixie - Shetland Show & Highland Fair, see 27 May 12 May – COMEDY AND TRAGEDY at Ure Museum, University of Reading, Whiteknights, 0118 378 6990, Be inspired by ancient Greek entertainment and create your own character masks for a play of your choice. 2pm-4pm. For families with children aged 6+. Booking required. £3 per child. 12 May – LET’S ROCK THE MOOR at Cookham, Fundraising musical festival for all the family featuring 80s stars such as Billy Ocean, Go West, Heaven 17, Toyah and Modern Romance. Tickets £24, child (3-12yrs) £14, family £64. Half the proceeds to Link Foundation, which supports disadvantaged families in the Maidenhead area. 12 May – FRIENDS OF CAVERSHAM PREPARATORY SCHOOL MAY FETE at Caversham Preparatory School, 16 Peppard Road, RG4 8JZ Raffle, silent auction, Roald Dahl Museum storyteller, animal corner, stalls, beer tent, Pimms, BBQ, Cookie the Clown - balloon modelling, Wacky Wheels and stage performances. 12 noon-3.30pm. Entrance £2, children free. From 12 May – OUR SPORTING LIFE at Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading, Redlands Road, Reading, 0118 378 8660,

12-26 May – THE NEWBURY SPRING FESTIVAL in various locations around Newbury, 01635 32421/528766 A fortnight of world class music including: 12 May Young Folk Day – children’s music procession at 10.30am from Newbury Clock Tower, free instrumental try-out sessions in the Market Place at 11am and Berkshire Youth Ensemble concert, 1pm, Corn Exchange; 20 May Come to the Circus - Newbury Symphony Orchestra, Corn Exchange, 3pm. 19 May – MEADOW MADNESS at Christchurch Meadows, Caversham, 0118 937 2771, Start of the 23rd Reading Children’s Festival. The riverside setting is a perfect venue for giant party games, children’s entertainment workshops, stalls, refreshments and a mini farm. Fun for all the family. 11am-4pm. Free event. 19 May – JUNIOR BIKEATHON 2012 at The Lookout, Bracknell, 07717 182590, Sponsored 5 mile cycle rides for children in aid of Leukemia and Lymphoma Research. £5 entry. Facepainting. BBQ, tombola and lots more. Information from, 01344 454 503 or 07717 182 590. 19 May – KIDMORE END SCHOOL SPRING FAIR & VILLAGE DAY at Kidmore End Primary School, Chalkhouse Green Rd, Kidmore End Attractions include bouncy castle, giant slide, football shoot out, climbing wall, coconut shy, live music and a variety of stalls. 2-5pm. Entry £2, children free.

Issue 55 : (C) 87 x 85mm Theatre listings at Visit us now at www.

From 19 May weekends and holidays – YUCKY YOU SHOW at The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell, 01344 354 400, Come and learn more about the yuckier parts of your body. This show covers burping and snot so is ideal for children! Fun interactive half hour shows during weekends and holidays, subject to minimum numbers. Costs £1.85 per person in addition to the admission charge. 19 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 person, max 3 children per adult. Booking essential on 0118 937 3400. • There are lots of other Museums at Night events running on 19-20 May. For full details visit 19 May - OPEN DAY at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, Butlers Farm, Beenham, Reading, 0118 971 3330, See the wolves and photograph them from the viewing platform, plus hug a Husky, children’s tent with facepainting, storytelling, nature trail, pond dipping, birds of prey, bouncy castle and refreshments. Adults £7, children £5, under 3s free, 11am-5pm. 19 May – ASHRIDGE NURSERY SPRING FAYRE at Ashridge Nursery in the grounds of Keep Hatch School, Ashridge Road, Wokingham Diamond Jubilee themed event with activities for all the family including bouncy castle, auctions and raffles, face painting, Sam the Train, decorate your crown, BBQ, stalls and games. Entry £1 for adults, children free. 11.30am-2.30pm. 20 May – BRACKNELL NCT NEARLY NEW SALE at Hilton Hotel, Ringmead, Bracknell Toys, children’s and baby clothes, maternity wear and equipment.11.45am-1.15pm (11.30am with NCT card). £1 entry. Details or to sell: bracknellnctnearlynewsale@, 0844 243 6058.

Thames Valley West


What’s On










TM & © 2012 Cartoon Network. © ABD/Ent. One UK Ltd 2003.

© 2012 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. A HIT Entertainment Company.

Admission tickets from £18 per person Fine dining available 0844 346 3000

Come and share the magic...

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NEW CAFÉ OPENING SPRING 2012 Rides to feed the deer Adventure Playground Wild Walk & Nature Trail Den building “Be A Farmer” Days Large Picnic Area Feed the Farm Animals PLUS GREAT INDOOR PLAY FOR RAINY DAYS






10/04/2012 17:22

We provide a quality indoor market for parents to buy and sell excellent quality nearly new and new baby & kids items from birth to six years! Great brands selling at bargain prices! Lots of toys, books, clothes, buggies, high chairs and much, much more on offer...

Our markets are currently located in Newbury, Bracknell, Woodley, Spencers Wood, Purley on Thames, Reading, Wokingham and across the Thames Valley. For our market dates and locations see the ‘What’s On’ section of the magazine or visit us at: • 07881 641614

Free entr second c y for hild whe n you quo te FM


Family Ticket £26.50 Adults £7.95 Children & OAPs £6.95 Disabled with 1 helper £5.25 each Under 2s FREE

*Pay for 1 child and 2nd child gets in free only with this voucher. Offer valid until 2/11/2012. Visit our website Tel: 0118 971 4002 Bucklebury Farm Park is open daily from 10am to 6pm and is situated 31/2 miles from the A4 between Reading and Newbury.


Thames Valley West


What’s On 20 May – NANCY ASTOR DAY at Cliveden, Taplow, Step back in time to the glamorous 1930s and join Cliveden to celebrate the birthday of Nancy Astor, one of Cliveden’s leading ladies. Period dress encouraged. Live jazz in the Water Garden, vintage cars, Punch & Judy and a facepainter, plus children can enjoy the maze and storybook themed play area. 10am-5pm. Normal admission charges apply. 26 May – DIAMOND JUBILEE FETE at Mapledurham Playing Fields in Caversham, Celebrate with games, sports, entertainment, food, face painting, vendors’ stalls, vintage and classic cars, a

car boot sale and bouncy castles. Proceeds go towards the regeneration of the Mapledurham Pavilion. 12noon-4pm. 26 May – CAR BOOT SALE at Sonning CE Primary School, Liguge Way, Sonning Come and grab a bargain or sell your own unwanted items at Sonning School’s first ever car boot sale. 8am-1pm. £5 a car, £7 a van. To book your slot, call 07916 177529 or email 26 May – PUMPKIN PARTY at Cliveden, Taplow, Take on the pumpkin challenge! Plant a pumpkin seed, take it home and watch it grow. Bring it back to Cliveden on 28 October for the Hallowe’en Trail and see if

yours will win a prize. Take part in pumpkin craft activities. Pot and seed provided. £2 (plus normal admission charge). 11am-4pm. Gates open 10am. 26-27 May – HIGHCLERE GAME & COUNTRY FAIR in the grounds of Highclere Castle, Highclere, Nr Newbury A showcase of country life with worldclass field sports competitions, displays and demonstrations, live music and children’s entertainment. Advance tickets £9, child £5, family £27 from www.countrymanfairs. Prices on the day £11/£6/£32. 27 May – SHETLAND SHOW & HIGHLAND FAIR in grounds of Sue Ryder Hospice, Nettlebed, Oxon A Shetland pony Grand National-style race,

Highland dancing, Dagenham Girl Pipers, arts and craft stalls, live music and lots more at this fund raising event. Aintree legend Bob Champion, who fought back from cancer to win the Grand National, will start the race. Discounted advance tickets £6.50, child £3.50 from For more information contact Charlotte Snowden on 07933 327 437 or email charlotte@ 27 May – RECYCLED ARTS WORKSHOP at the Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham, 01635 874 381 Turn old buttons into a beautiful keyring to take home. £1.00 per keyring, drop in event for families, 11am-4pm.

WHAT’S ON OVER HALF TERM & THE JUBILEE WEEKEND 1-6 June – JUBILEE ACTIVITIES at Cliveden, Taplow Normal admission prices apply. Pick up a free Family Trail from 1 June–31 August from the Information Centre, 10am-4pm. 2-5 June Prince and Princesses Trail celebrate the Jubilee by coming dressed as a Prince or Princess and taking part in the children’s trail, games and activities. Find out about royal visitors to Cliveden, 11am-3pm. £2. 4 June Jubilee Picnic take part in your own Big Lunch at Cliveden. Bring friends and family and enjoy relaxing in the Water Garden between 11am-3pm. 6 June Wild Wednesday - get stuck into some fun outdoor adventures for ages 4-11. £2. Drop in between 11am-3pm.

the Diamond Jubilee parade through the streets, followed by a picnic in the park, a kids’ fun run and Relay Marathon at 2pm and an afternoon concert from 3-4pm. Details at 2-10 June – DIAMOND JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS at Basildon Park, near Pangbourne, Celebrate with Jubilee-themed events. Open 10am-5pm, normal admission charges apply. Children can explore the royal trail around the garden (extra £2) and claim a reward. 4 June Street party fun in the stable yard; 6 June Make your own crown - free drop in; 5 June Royal Afternoon tea - available at 1pm and 3pm, £16.50, book in advance; 10 June Rewind to 1952 - discover the residents of Basildon Park discussing the news of the new Queen and their plans for the coronation, 11am-3pm.

1-2 June – EAT READING LIVE in Market Place & Broad Street, Reading town centre, A delicious culinary event to kick off a month long foodie celebration. Cooking demonstrations, food stalls, live music, celebrity chefs, Reading Steady Cook, local ales and fine wines and more. Free. 2 June – QUEEN’S JUBILEE STORYTIME at Wokingham Libraries, Listen to royal stories and make a crown. Half hour sessions. 9.30am at Arborfield Library, 10am at Twyford Library, 10.30am at Finchampstead, Maiden Erlegh & Wargrave Libraries, 11am at Woodley, Wokingham & Lower Earley Libraries and 11.30am at Winnersh & Spencers Wood Libraries. Free, please book. 2 June – SONNING REGATTA in the village of Sonning, The Regatta will again be held on the Oxfordshire bank of the river opposite Blue

Join in the Diamond Jubilee fun, various dates Coat School – a ferry will operate from this point, alternatively limited parking is available on site at £10 per car. A range of adult and children’s events will be held – no experience necessary. Refreshments available or bring a picnic. And new for 2012, a climbing wall. Regatta admission £5 per family or £2 per adult and 50p per child.

2-3 June – MAIDENHEAD CARNIVAL at Kidwells Park and town centre, Maidenhead Lots of activities and entertainment. 2 June will see live entertainment on stage in Kidwells Park, bouncy castles and face painting at the Magnet Leisure Centre and an event concert and fireworks. 3 June is

More Jubilee events at

2-10 June – HALF TERM ACTIVITIES at Wellington Country Park, Riseley, Reading, 0118 9326 444, 2-4 June Refab Arts - kicking off the Nature week come along and watch these incredible artists at work with creative art drop-in art activities, help build a community sculpture and even make your own sculptures to take home; 4-10 June Nature Week - for explorers of all ages, with different outdoor activities including Den building and Bug Hunting; 6-10 June Derek Hilton and his Shire Horses come and see these magnificent animals and take a trip to the Animal Farm with the Shire horse and cart rides; 9-10 June Tribal Bush Craft - explore the woodlands with animal tracking, woodland walks plus have a go at making your own wooden bowl and spoon.

Thames Valley West


What’s On HALF TERM & THE JUBILEE WEEKEND 2-10 June – MORTIMER DIAMOND JUBILEE QUIZ QUEST around Mortimer village, quiz_quest_2012.htm A free event for all the family. Answer the Royal themed quiz questions and spot the 10 Royal pictures by exploring Mortimer and the Mortimer Village website for a chance to win the prize draw. Take your picture at the designated photo point on the Quiz Quest Trail and email it to be uploaded onto the website. 3 June – THAMES DIAMOND JUBILEE PAGEANT from Putney to Tower Bridge in London, See the Queen lead a flotilla of 1000 boats from across the UK, Commonwealth and the rest of the world. Steam boats, tall ships, cruisers, kayaks, Dunkirk little ships and Dragon boats – the flotilla will be the largest fleet of ships to assemble on the Thames in 350 years, continuing a royal tradition which dates back to Anne Boleyn’s coronation. The Pageant will begin in Putney and culminate at Tower Bridge. 3 June – PICNIC IN THE PARK & MUSIC FESTIVAL in Victoria Park, Newbury, Take a picnic and enjoy the live music, activities and entertainments provided to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. There will be an ‘It’s a Knockout’ competition, children’s activities, stalls and refreshments including world food tasting. Organisers are also planning to install a big screen in the park to show coverage from around the country of the celebrations. 3 June – DIAMOND JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS at Aldermaston C E Primary School, Wasing Lane, Aldermaston, RG7 4LX 10.45am-6pm. Aeroplane fly-past, live music, big screen of Queen’s procession, hog roast, tug of war, children’s fancy dress competition (kings and queens), Olympic athletics. Tickets £1, available in advance from school reception, call 0118 971 3362. 3 June – JUBILEE CELEBRATION BAND CONCERT at Forbury Gardens, Reading Town Centre Be entertained by a variety of brass bands and enjoy family entertainment and a cream team throughout the afternoon. 12noon-4pm. Details 0118 937 2771. 3 June – DIAMOND JUBILEE CHILDREN’S PARTY in Woodley town precinct, Fancy dress competition, rides and Miller’s Ark farm animals. 11am-3pm. 3 June – PICNIC IN THE PARK at Charvil Village Hall and grounds, Park Lane, Charvil, Organised by the Village Society for residents and their families. Lunchtime and afternoon picnic with live music. Free entry – bring a picnic and join in. 4 June – DIAMOND JUBILEE BEACONS at various locations A network of 2,012 Beacons will be lit to celebrate the Jubilee between 10pm-10.30pm throughout the UK and Commonwealth. Visit to find one near you.


Thames Valley West

4-8 June – LEMUR WEEK at Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford, Oxon, Lemur themed activities, events and talks, to highlight the park’s Lemur Conservation programme in Madagascar, helping to save Lemurs in the Wild. 4 June - 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. 4 June – SPRING BANK HOLIDAY at Bucklebury Farm Park, between Reading & Newbury, 0118 971 4002, Avoid the traffic and enjoy this local farm park. Vicar’s game hot dogs and speciality hand-made burgers are the perfect treat in the fresh air. 10am-6pm. • Don’t miss our Bucklebury Farm Park competition on page 30. 4 June – SHINFIELD COUNCIL FAMILY FUN DAY Family fun day featuring entertainers, funfair and stalls for all ages. Culminates with a beacon lighting event with live music, BBQ and bar. 4-5 June – SONNING SCARECROWS in the village of Sonning, www. Follow a trail round this beautiful Thameside village spotting a variety of wonderful scarecrows and vote for your favourite. Adults can buy a trail map for £4. Parking available off Charvil Lane. Proceeds to local organisations. Many gardens will be open to the public throughout the village. Lunches and teas will be available in Pearson Hall and in the St. Sarik Room next to St Andrew’s Church. Tickets available on the day. Plus, there will be a flower festival in St Andrew’s Church. 4-8 June – HALF TERM ACTIVITIES at the REME Museum of Technology, Arborfield, 0118 976 3375, 4-8 June Build it and Hunt Challenge - build a tank, a helicopter or even a robot from ‘stuff’ in the rubbish workshop and complete the massive museum wide hunt to find our missing object. 6 June Mini Assault Course survive Sir’s Mini Assault Course and Water Jump. Creep, crawl, run and climb through the nets, tunnel and wall and leap through the water jump to beat everyone else’s time. Certificate is given for every entry. Bring a change of clothes. Ages 5-12, just turn up between 11am-3.30pm. Free with entry.


What’s On HALF TERM & THE JUBILEE WEEKEND 5 June – JUBILEE PICNIC at Greys Court, near Henley, Join in the royal celebration with a giant picnic along the oval lawn. Decorate a Diamond Jubilee crown to wear while you eat your picnic. Bring your own picnic or buy one there. 11am-5pm. Normal admission charges apply. 6 June – CHILDREN’S WOLF WALK at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, Butlers Farm, Beenham, Reading, 0118 9713 330, Join the wolves for a special children’s walk. No more than 2 adults per group. 10am, ages 6+, £13, book in advance. 6 June – MAKE AND TAKE: JUBILEE CROWNS at Reading Museum, 0118 937 3400, Become King or Queen for the day to celebrate the Jubilee. For families, half hour sessions between 10am–12noon & 1–3pm, 50p, pay on the day, drop in. 6-7 June – HALF TERM ACTIVITIES at The Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Rd, Reading, 0118 378 8660, 6 June Marvellous milling demonstrations – come and see how flour is made with demonstrations throughout the day using museum quern stones and corn from the University farms. All ages, free, drop in. 7 June Flower pot loaves – make dough to take home and bake into bread. For families with children 2+yrs. £3 per child. Drop in, 10am-12noon & 1.30pm-3.30pm. 6-7 June – HALF TERM FAMILY ACTIVITES at the Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham, 01635 874 381 and Greenham Common, 6 June Jubilee Bunting and Flags – make art out of recycled materials and rubbish, drop in workshops for families, £1, 11am-4pm; 7 June Absolute Beginners Guide to Birdwatching at Greenham Common - 9.30am-12.30pm, £3.50 per person, suitable for adults and older children, booking essential. 6 and 8 June – HALF TERM CRAFTS WORKSHOPS at South Hill Park, Bracknell, 01344 484123, 6 and 8 June Arts Factory - have fun using clay, collage, drawing and sculpture, 10am-12noon, ages 4-11; 6 June Potter’s Wheel - learn how to throw a pot using air dry clay, 10am-12noon for ages 6-8 & 2-4pm for ages 9-11. All workshops £17 a session/members £16, book in advance

Enjoy a gondola ride at Beale Park Boat Show, 8-10 June 6-8 June – HALF-TERM ACTIVITIES at The River and Rowing Museum, Henley, 01491 415 605, 6 June Drawing Inspiration - use a variety of drawing media and take inspiration from the Museum collections, ages 7-11, £8.50, 10.30am-12.30pm, book in advance; 7 June Royalty and the River – celebrate the Jubilee with lots of fun activities including making a royal barge for your favourite doll or teddy. Royal fancy dress optional – prize for the best dressed. 10.30am-4pm, free with admission; 8 June Toad Treads the Boards – create a model theatre set complete with Wind in the Willows characters and stage your own production and visit the exhibition, ages 4-7, £8.50, 10.30am-12.30pm, book in advance. 6-8 June – TASTE OF ADVENTURE DAYS at Adventure Dolphin in Pangbourne, 0118 984 3162 Taster day courses for beginners aged 8-13yrs to experience a range of activities on offer at Adventure Dolphin. Call for details and prices. 7 June – ANCIENT KINGS AND QUEENS at Ure Museum, University of Reading, Whiteknights, 0118 378 6990, Come and celebrate the Jubilee by looking back at famous rulers through history. Find your favourite, then design and make your own crown jewels. 10am-11.30pm & 2pm-3.30pm. For families with children aged 6+. Booking required. £3 per child. 7 June - TEDDY BEAR’S PICNIC at Forbury Gardens, Reading Town Centre Calling all bears! Bring your owners along to the Forbury Gardens where you can make some fun crafts based on Reading Museum’s Bikes, Balls and Biscuitmen exhibition and join in with some bear

aerobics. Don’t forget your sandwiches (in the event of bad weather please come to Reading Museum). Families, 10am–12noon & 1-3pm. Drop in, suggested donation 50p. 7-10 June – EAST READING FESTIVAL at venues around East Reading, 0118 937 2771 Four days of events and activities in the East Reading community. 8 June – HULLABALOO in Broad Street, Reading Town Centre, Finish off the half-term holidays with a trip back to the 1950s. Entertainers, traditional fairground rides and tons of family friendly events will take over Broad Street for the finale of the Reading Children’s Festival. 8-10 June – BEALE PARK BOAT SHOW at Beale Park, nr Pangbourne, 0118 976 7498, Annual boat show with a Jubilee theme! Boat displays, river trips, music, dance, crafts, produce stalls, gondola rides, children’s activities and a display of boats and cars from all decades in honour of the Diamond Jubilee plus many more attractions. Camping available. Advance tickets (before 1 June) adults £8 (£6 Friday), under 16s free. 10am-6pm (5pm Sun). 9 June – MERL JUBILEE VILLAGE FETE at The Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, Reading, 0118 378 8660, MERL’s annual village fete has a Jubilee theme this year, with traditional games, face painting, morris dancers, vintage and modern tractors, beer tent, hog roast, jubilee teas and much more. £2.50 adults, children free. 10am-4.30pm. • See page 7 for details of how to enter the MERL Village Fete cake competition.

9 June – WOODLEY CARNIVAL at the Memorial Ground, Woodley, 52nd annual carnival to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. Music and entertainment from 1pm, evening concert headlined by Abba tribute band through to fireworks at 10.30pm. Lots of attractions throughout the day including circus workshops, clowns, inflatables, wildlife displays, birds of prey, train rides, stalls, carnival procession and more. Advance tickets; family £15, adult £7, child £4, conc. £4. From Saturday 2nd June the ticket price will increase to family £20, adult £8, child £5, conc. £5. 9 June – FAMILY FUN DAY at Multi Activity Centre, Dinton Pastures Country Park, Hurst, See what’s on offer at the centre and have a go at everything from rock climbing to sailing, canoeing or rowing; or try out a pedalo, Segway or easy glider. 10.30am-4.30pm, drop in, £2 a go. 9 June – PARISH COUNCIL DAY OF CELEBRATION at Charvil Village Hall and grounds, Park Lane, Charvil, Celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with performances by entertainer Fred in the Shed at 10.30am & 1pm, free for Charvil children – see Charvil village newsletter for details. Followed by evening event for adults including band and hog roast. Evening event tickets £12 from or 0118 934 5258. 9 June - LEAGUE OF FRIENDS OF ROYAL BERKSHIRE HOSPITAL SUMMER FETE at Victoria Recreation Ground, Armour Rd, Tilehurst Lots of stalls, entertainment, attractions and refreshments. 11am-4pm. 9-10 June – MARLOW TOWN REGATTA & FESTIVAL, Saturday is Regatta Day with river races, riverside music, numerous craft, food, trade and charity stalls, funfair and a Riverside Bar. Enclosure tickets £5 adults, £3 children. Riverside picnic pitches £25. Sunday is Festival Day with dragon boat races and lots of stalls – non-rowing visitors pay on the door. £3 individual or £8 family. Limited parking at Pound Lane from 8am for £5. 9-10 June - FOOD FESTIVAL at South Hill Park, Bracknell, 01344 484 123, SHP’s first every food festival promises to be a great event for all the family, with local food producers providing some great culinary treats. See website for more details.

Set in fantastic countryside location

Jubilee Jets is open every school holiday from 8:00 – 18:00 for children aged 5 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

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

• Feeding lambs • Biking in the woods • Cooking • Circus workshops • Henna tattoos • Trampolining • Games and races • Quad bikes • Or just hangin out with friends School Holiday Fun! Ofsted registered

Discover more things to do -

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 2012 will run from Mon 23rd July 2012 – Fri 31st August 2012 Contact Christine for more details on (01491) 414434, email: Cygnets of Henley, Valley Road School, Valley Road, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1RR

Thames Valley West


Great Competitions from CORAL REEF


WIN a Splashing Day Out

WIN a Day with the Animals

Come rain or shine you can’t beat a day out at the Coral Reef, Bracknell‘s Water World. Choose from three giant water slides, wild water rapids, an erupting volcano and hissing snakes. For the little ones a vibrant fun, fill and splash feature provides stimulating sensory play. However, if you are seeking adventure on the high seas then climb aboard the pirate ship complete with shooting cannons. Enter our competition to win 5 tickets and have a splashing good time. For more information call 01344 862525 or visit To enter the competition just visit Closing date June 6th.

Bucklebury Farm Park offers a magical experience in the beautiful Berkshire countryside close to the picturesque village of Bucklebury. With a deer park, farm animals, adventure playground, tractor rides and den building there is a lot to keep the children busy. They can even get very close to the animals to feed them. Younger visitors can also enjoy the ”Pat a Pet” area. With the new Barn Café just opened you’ll also be able to enjoy a tasty snack. Enter our competition to win 5 tickets for a great day out. For more information call 0118 971 4002 or visit To enter the competition just visit Closing date June 6th.


WIN a Family Weekend Ticket with camping Penn Festival is taking place from 6–8 July at The Big Park in Penn and we have a family weekend ticket worth £168 including camping for one lucky reader to win. This family friendly music festival will see some of the biggest acts of the ’90s taking the stage including Soul II Soul, Snap!, The Beat, Altered Images and The Real Thing. There’s also street theatre, free creative workshops, music workshops, open air yoga and an artisan market. Plus the kids will be kept busy with arts and crafts workshops, street entertainers and a circus workshop. Camping will be available too on site for a perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. For more information visit To enter the competition just visit Closing date June 6th.



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

REST OF JUNE 10 June – Baby & Children’s Markets at St Crispin's School, London Rd, Wokingham, RG40 1SS, Sale of quality preloved and new goods for boys & girls from birth to 6 yrs. 11am-1pm. Adults £1 entry. 11-15 June – BOOKSTART 20th BIRTHDAY STORYTIME at Wokingham Libraries, libraries Special half hour story time and craft sessions. Free but please book. 11 June Maiden Erlegh Library 2-3pm, Spencers Wood Library 4-4.30pm & Wargrave Library 4-4.30pm; 12 June Twyford Library 2-2.30pm, Wokingham Library 2.15-2.45pm & Woodley Library 4-4.30pm; 13 June Winnersh Library 10.15-10.45am; 14 June Lower Earley Library 2.30-3pm; 15 June Finchampstead Library 11.15-11.45am. Plus make the Bookstart pledge to share 20 books in 2012. Pick up a pledge postcard from any Wokingham Library. 16 June - BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at The Barn, Goosecroft Lane, off Beech Road, Purley on Thames, Sale of quality preloved and new goods for boys & girls from birth to 6 yrs. 2pm-4pm. Adults £1 entry. 16 June – WARGRAVE ROCKS at The Piggott School, Wargrave, Fun, friendly family music festival in aid of Camp Mohawk. Live music, refreshments, real ale, hog roast, children’s circus activities, face painting, wagon rides and more. £10 adults, under 12s free. Limited space so book now at 16 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, plus dance and live folk music in Forbury Gardens. 11am-5pm. Free event. 16 June – WINNERSH FAMILY FETE at Bearwood Recreation Ground, Sindlesham, Traditional fete with a Kings and Queens theme. Lots of attractions and activities. 1pm-4.30pm. Free entry and parking. 16-17 June – WHITEKNIGHTS STUDIO TRAIL in University area, Reading, A walking tour of artists’ studios, now in its 12th year. Museum of English Rural Life will be open to showcase some of the artists’ work and you can enjoy tea and cake or your own picnic in the museum garden, 16-17 June – HI-TECH WILD TREK at Wellington Country Park, Riseley, Reading, 0118 9326 444,

The Hi-Tech Wild-Trek trailer returns for another exciting chance to get up close with creepy crawlies and study the bio diversity of our back garden! Normal admission charges apply. 17 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 and farmers’ markets. Visit the website for local activities. 17 June – FATHERS DAY at Basildon Park, near Pangbourne, Bring your father to enjoy the day at Basildon. 10am-5pm. Normal admission charges apply. Children can enjoy the trail around the garden (trail £2) and make something special to give their dad. The craft activities run on a drop in basis. There will also be a gentleman’s afternoon tea at 1pm & 3pm so treat your Dad. £16.50 per person, book in advance. 17 June – BOAT TRIPS ON THE STEAM LAUNCH ALASKA at The River and Rowing Museum, Henley, 01491 415 605, Take a trip on this historic steamer, first built in 1883 at Bourne End. 45 minute trips leaving every hour from 11am-5pm inclusive. £10 adults, £6 children, under 4s free. Booking advised as spaces limited. 17 June – HIGHDOWN DASH at Highdown School and 6th Form Centre, Emmer Green 6K run for adults and 11+yrs at 10am plus a 2K fun run for all ages. Family fun with BBQ, stalls, games, bouncy castle etc. Find out more or enter at www.mrstephenson. 17 June – MAKE DAD’S DAY! at Cliveden, Taplow, Celebrate Father’s Day by bringing your Dad for free. Enjoy beer tasting from 12noon while stocks last. 10am-3pm. 17 June – CHARVIL FETE at Charvil Village Hall and grounds, Park Lane, Charvil, Family fun with an Olympics-inspired theme. Activities, stalls, barbecue, entertainment and more. From lunchtime. Preceeded by the inaugural Charvil 5K race through Charvil Country Park, raising funds for local charity Daisy’s Dream. Details at 19 June – BARNADO’S TODDLE at Beale Park, nr Pangbourne, Sponsored half-mile walk for under 5s. 10.30am. Toddlers free, up to 2 adults £7 each, pay on the day. Details at 22 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 or email 23 June – FAMILY WILDLIFE FUN: MINIBEASTS at the Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, Thatcham, 01635 874 381, Get your wellies at the ready and grab a sweep net, we’re going on a bug hunt! Discover what lives in our woodland and grassland areas and compare what you find. £1 per child, drop in, 2-4pm. 23-24 June – THE HURST HORSE SHOW AND COUNTY FAYRE in the centre of Hurst, Two days of show jumping events with country crafts, stalls, displays, children’s activities, bouncy castle, farmyard animals, arts activities, falconry, morris dancing, refreshments, tug of war, live band and much more. 10am-5pm. £3 adults, £1 teens, under 12s and senior citizens free. Free parking. 23-24 June – PEPPA PIG WEEKEND at Didcot Railway Centre, 01235 817 200, Come and meet Peppa and enjoy train rides and other entertainment. Peppa Pig & George will be appearing in the picnic area at 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm & 3pm. £10 adults, £8.50 under 16s, babes in arms free. Open 9.30am-5pm. 24 June – RAY PRIOR BIRDS OF PREY DISPLAY at Wellington Country Park, Riseley, Reading, 0118 9326 444, Your chance to see some amazing birds of prey up close and in flight. Normal admission charges apply. 24 June – HOLYBROOK FESTIVAL at Linear Park, Charrington Road, Calcot, Reading, Entertainment for all ages including fairground rides, Furry Foot, bouncy castle, circus and drum workshops, beer tent, classic cars, BBQ, refreshments, craft stalls and a raffle. 12noon-4.30pm. 24 June – THATCHAM FAMILY FUN DAY at Henwick Worthy Sports Field on the A4, off Henwick Lane in West Thatcham, Find out about sporting activities available in Thatcham, watch displays and join in sports taster sessions free of charge. There will also be a vintage car show, live music, fun fair, charity and food stalls and a Junior Fun Run. 11am-4pm. 27 June – TEDDY BEARS PICNIC at Jocks Lane Recreation Ground, Off Binfield Road, Bracknell, RG12 2BH A fun day out for pre-school children, with free bouncy castles, farm animals, arts & craft station, children’s fun and magic shows, cup and saucer ride and swing boats. Small 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, Great Hollands

What’s On Recreation Ground, Bracknell Council Offices and Jocks Lane Recreation Ground Café, group tickets on 07740 457389 or e-mail 29 June – BIG ART PICNIC in Caversham Court Gardens, Caversham, 0118 937 2373, Celebrate the end of Reading Arts week with a picnic. Features concert, family activities and children’s games. 2pm-8pm. 29 June–1 July – DAYS OUT WITH THOMAS at Bucks Railway Centre, 01296 655 720, Take a ride behind Thomas on his branch line train under the watchful eye of Sir Topham Hatt, The Fat Controller. Attractions include a Punch and Judy and Magic Show together with a Thomas video cinema, giveaways and miniature railway. Advance tickets adult £13, child £9. On the day £15/£11. 30 June - BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at Bulmershe Leisure Centre, Woodlands Ave, Woodley, RG5 3EU, Sale of quality preloved and new goods for boys & girls from birth to 6 yrs. 2pm-4pm. Adults £1 entry. 30 June – BATTLE RE-ENACTMENT at Mapledurham House, nr Reading, 0118 972 3350, Fairfax Battalia will transport visitors back to the time of the English Civil War with a display of activities, crafts, skills and weapons. An opportunity to gain a taste of life in the mid-seventeenth century. Online tickets £4, child £2, family £10. Entry to house extra. 30 June – BUG CLUB at Dinton Pastures Country Park, Hurst, Come and join the Bug Club and check out moths caught in a moth trap then join the bug hunt in the afternoon. 10.30am Meet a Moth, 2pm Bug Hunt. Free. 30 June – ARMED FORCES DAY in Forbury Gardens and Broad Street, Reading Town Centre, 0118 937 2771, Representatives of all the armed forces will be on hand with performances and activities throughout the day, as well as stalls and information. 30 June – OXFORD ROAD FUN DAY at Kensington Rd, Reading, 0118 931 7239 An afternoon of fun, activities and entertainment. 12noon-4pm. 30 June – MAIDENHEAD AND MARLOW NCT SALE at St Piran’s School, Gringer Hill, Maidenhead Nearly new toys, children’s books, DVDs, baby and children’s clothes, nursery equipment, maternity wear, parenting books, etc. Entry is a donation of £1. 1.302.45pm. (1.15pm with NCT card). No room for pushchairs inside. Email

Classifieds Baby Sensory Award winning classes for babies from birth - 13 mths Light Shows Water Play Puppet Shows

Classes Running Weekly in Hurst, Wokingham and Bracknell

Music and MUCH MUCH more! Call Suzi or Barbara on 07733 982534 or email Printed by Warners Midlands Plc. Copyright Families Thames Valley West April 2012. 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.

Discover more to do - Visit us now at www.

Thames Valley West


h c a o s t r A c e r t a e e h T g a t S

NEW Su nday Weekend performing arts classes for 4-18yrs afternoon school o p ening! Building confidence through drama, dance and singing.

Encouraging creative thinking and communication. BEnEfits of joining: - Working with experienced staff who are professional choreographers, directors and singers - All classes are small, age appropriate to help your child to reach their full potentional - Added extras: LAMDA exams, theatre trips, termly reports, performance opportunities, holiday workshops

STAGECOACH WOKINGHAM is enrolling now! Call : 0845 265 7050 (LOCAL RATE) Email:

T C A ! E C N A D ! G N SI


Families Thames Valley West Issue 59  

Families Thames Valley West magazine for May-June 2012

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