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FREE

Issue No. 43

Mar/Apr 2012

Take flight - it's Spring! Win a pamper day at The Spa at Sopwell House Win a family session at The XC Win a Step Outside Guide Win The Gruffalo’s Child on DVD Win a Pillow Racer from Little Tikes

The Herts magazine with the information young families want


IT'S PARTY TIME! Advertise in our May/June Children's Party Feature! Call 020 8428 6384

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In this issue:

From your Editor… So, what’s in the mix this issue? With Mother’s Day coming up - oops – that article is for Dad’s eyes only! So, avoiding that, on the same page make sure you enter our competition to win a spa package at The Spa at the luxurious Sopwell House, St Albans. Plus, on page 14 we’ve got four more competitions all with great prizes to be won. Keeping with the ‘luxury’ theme we have an indulgent recipe to make your own chocolates. A great project, with or without the children, and I defy you not to taste and test as you go. For those of you looking for a nanny or au pair our Childcare Feature, written by Joanna Moorhead, is a must read. Joanna shares her own extensive experience of employing nannies and au pairs. We’ve crammed as much as possible into our What’s On listings (with more on the website) so that you’ve got lots to keep you going especially during the Easter school holidays. Plus, on page 10 we’ve focused on four attractions that we think will make a great family day out. Now Spring is here – let’s get outside and enjoy it!

Shelley Where are we? Baldock, Bishops Stortford, Borehamwood, Chorleywood, Harpenden, Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, Hitchin, Kings Langley, Knebworth, Letchworth, Radlett, St Albans, Stevenage, Ware, Welwyn GC. Pick it up from cafes, playgroups, nurseries, schools, activity groups, selected shops, surgeries, leisure centres and libraries. Get in touch to request copies for your venue.

News & Views: 4 Childcare Feature: 6 Mother's Day: 8 Easter Choccy Fest: 9 You really need to get out more ... 10 Schools: 12 Competitions: 14 What’s On - Theatre: 16 What's On - Easter & more: 17 Next Issue: Party Feature May/June copy deadline: 4th April

Don’t miss a copy. Families Herts by post for just £9.30 for 6 issues (1 year) or £18 for 12 issues (2 years). Call or email for a subscription form. Families Herts, PO Box 434, Pinner, HA5 9AH Tel/Fax: 020 8428 6384 editor@familiesherts.co.uk www.familiesherts.co.uk

Say you saw it in

Front cover image details: Floral Dress: £11.00 Bow Ballerina Strap Shoes: £6.82 Stockist: Heatons www.heatonsstores.com

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News & Views The Sharkeys that won’t Bite! Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids has now opened its doors in Radlett. At Sharkey’s they know that kids and parents want to enjoy their haircut experience so children will have a fantastic haircut with warm, experienced stylists in this specially themed children’s salon. There are no scary black hairdresser’s chairs here - kids can choose to have their haircut in one of three fun chairs: The ‘Lightning McQueen’, the ‘Barbie Jeep’ or the ‘Mini Cooper’! Older children will love playing on the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 while having their haircut or they can relax in the tween lounge listening to music.

Sharkey’s will make your child’s first haircut an experience you will want to remember. Children are presented with a first haircut certificate, a cute photo and a lock of hair which makes a wonderful keepsake to treasure. Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids also offer fabulous glamour/princess parties where the girls will be treated like stars, with hairdos, mini-cures and makeup, finishing off with a fashion show

in the glamour room. To find out more or to make an appointment call 01923 856780 or email radlett@ sharkeyscutsforkids.com

Hats Off to Wear a Hat Day!

Stevenage family’s Fight for Sight

On the 30th March Brain Tumour Research will be encouraging nurseries, schools, colleges, universities, public sector bodies and office workers to make a donation to wear a hat (sensible or silly) for the day. Sue Farrington-Smith, Director of Brain Tumour Research, comments: “Brain Tumour Research receives less than 1% of national cancer research spending yet the deadly disease kills more children and under 40s than any other cancer. ‘Wear a Hat Day’ is a fun way of increasing awareness and getting people raising money for [research into] an often overlooked form of cancer”. For those with a creative bent, instructions to make your own bespoke hat will be available from the website as well as instructions for making a hat out of nothing more than paper! These projects will be supported by an online video making it easypeasy.    Philip Treacy, celebrity hat designer and patron to the charity, comments: “Fashion is a feeling and a mood and therefore how better to express your passion and commitment to a subject such as brain tumour research than

Alicia and Kevin Coghlan, from Stevenage, whose son, Jackson (4) was diagnosed with Leber’s congenital amaurosis (LCA) at 3 months, have raised over £15,000 for Fight for Sight, the UK charity that raises funds for pioneering research that aims to help prevent sight loss and to treat eye disease. LCA is a rare inherited eye disease for which there is no treatment. It affects around one in 80,000 people and causes progressive deterioration of vision leading to blindness. Alicia said: “We were devastated when Jackson was diagnosed with LCA. However, his doctor has said that it is likely that something will happen during his lifetime to help him, and the research funded by Fight for Sight into the identification of the genes responsible for this disease has given us real hope.” To find out more go to www.fightforsight. org.uk or call 0207 264 3900.

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by wearing a fantastic hat? It immediately creates a statement and it doesn’t matter what the hat is or how much it costs; everybody who gets involved will feel a million dollars on the day, whilst also raising much needed research funds and awareness.” Philip has also contributed to the campaign by providing an image of a hat that he has designed for an exclusive limited edition badge that can be purchased through the website, alongside this year’s Wear a Hat badges which will be on sale during March – brain tumour awareness month.   Brain Tumour Research is the united voice of the Brain Tumour Research group of 18 charities.  Launched in 2009, the charity was established specifically to raise funds for brain tumour research. To find out more and to order a fundraising pack go to www.braintumourresearch.org.

For inclusion in News & Views pages please ring 020 8428 6384 or email editor@familiesherts.co.uk


A Helping Hand for Herts Children The ‘One Herts-One Family’ project will be helping children who have a hard start in life. The project, provided by Westminster Drug Project (WDP) and Safer Places in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council and others has been awarded £900,000 of funding over three years from the new Big Lottery programme ‘Improving Futures’. ‘One Herts-One Family’ will work with families facing a range of problems, especially drug misuse, domestic abuse and emotional problems. The project will provide early interventions to families with children under 11 years old who are not currently receiving any other family intervention services. Projects funded by the ‘Improving Futures’ programme must improve children’s life chances and must also develop new ways of working between voluntary organisations and public services so that families get better and more joined-up support in the future. The holistic support provided by WDP, Safer Places and their partners in the form of the ‘One Herts – One Family’ project will do just that and will help to make a significant difference to vulnerable families in Hertfordshire. Safer Places: 24 emergency helpline 08450 177668 www.saferplaces. co.uk / Westminster Drug Project: www.wdp-drugs.org.uk

Hitchin Girl Wins Poster Competition Isobel Porter (11), a pupil at William Ransom Primary School, Hitchin, has won a national poster competition for her design promoting awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. This odourless, colourless gas kills around 50 people each year and injures over 200 more. The poster competition is run by the CO-Gas Safety charity, which works to prevent deaths and injury caused by CO poisoning. Receiving her prize at the House of Lords, Isobel said, “I knew a bit about carbon monoxide and decided to have a go at a poster. I’d been talking to my mum about how fast it can affect you, so I thought it would be good to concentrate on that. It’s important that people know about CO.” To find out more go to www.co-gassafety.co.uk

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Childcare Feature

How love

changes childcare Joanna Moorhead reveals the secret ingredient in childcare – and explains how Ofsted has caught on to it as well If 18 years of organising childcare for my children taught me anything at all, it’s this: you can pay someone to look after your kids, but you can’t pay someone to love them. What this means – or at least, what it means to me – is that when and if someone comes along who actually does love your kids, hold onto them for all you’re worth; because they are literally priceless in your family’s life. For me, the wonderful carer who really did love my daughters was Linda, who looked after them (and sometimes me as well) for eight years. She arrived in our family’s life

Often – or so it has sometimes seemed to me – parents are too ambitious in their hopes for a childcarer; and ironically, this means they end up getting a raw deal for their child. They want a carer who, as well as looking after their child, will also manage to make the beds and iron the laundry and leave the kitchen spotless at the end of the day. And of course, if you’ve been out at work since dawn and you’ve got another tough day tomorrow, tidiness does matter – because in order to enjoy a bit of time with your child, you don’t want to have to start ploughing through the washing up.

‘you can pay someone to look after your kids, but you can’t pay someone to love them’ when my eldest child was two, and she stayed until the birth of my fourth. When she left, she said it was because she didn’t want to fall in love with another of my babies – because then it would be too hard to leave, and during the time she’d been working for us, she and her husband had moved further out of town. Across the years I reckon I’ve paid at least 20 different carers to look after my children – and I still occasionally have to find childcare for my youngest daughter, who is nine. I’ve searched for – and found – carers for tiny babies, and for older (and not always very easy) pre-schoolers. I’ve found nurseries for some of my children, and I’ve had au pairs from time to time. None of the carers in our family were as much a part of our team as Linda was, and none of them loved my children as much as she did (she still comes back to see them, several years on); but the more the carer engaged with, and enjoyed, whichever child or children she was looking after, the happier the children were. So I have no doubt at all what matters most in choosing a childcarer. Look for someone who makes your child happy, pure and simple. Look for someone your child looks forward to being with, and is happy to share his or her days with.

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But expecting too much ‘round the edges’ from a carer means your child can miss out: because it’s that primary relationship between the nanny, or mother’s help, or childminder, that matters more than anything else. Interestingly, Ofsted recently came to the same conclusion. In recent years, the main thrust of an Ofsted check on a nursery or childminder has been on safety issues, especially safeguarding ones. But under new plans, inspectors will concentrate instead, in the future, on whether children feel loved and emotionally secure while they’re in the nursery or childminder’s home, and will look at children’s personal development, such as how ready they are to share and to take turns, and how well they engage with the other children around them. The plans are out for consultation until April, but they’ve already received a warm welcome – because of course they make perfect sense. I’d also say, looking back over my many years of employing childcarers, that – strangely enough – the carers the kids would have chosen were unfailingly the ones who were most successful in our family. The litmus test of a childcarer’s abilities is, at the end of the day, whether your child would choose to be with that person (assuming you aren’t

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available which, of course, you’re not). For this reason, it seems a bit odd to me that parents sometimes report feeling jealous of the feelings their child has for their childcarer. No carer is ever going to replace a parent, but surely the very best accolade for the choice you’ve made for your children is if your replacement is the next-best person in their life? Ideally, a carer should resemble a muchloved family member – depending on what sort of carer they are, and what sort of age they are. So in my family, Linda was a ‘granny’ figure (although she was only ten years older than me, and a very glamorous granny when she first arrived at our door, aged just 40); we’ve had Czech and Polish au pairs, usually shared with other families, who have had a big-sisterly relationship with my daughters; and we’ve had carers in nurseries who have been like favourite aunties. And all in all, my daughters have laughed a lot, and enjoyed their time, and improved their social skills through their attachments and their relationships with the people who’ve cared for them. Like every working mother, I owe all these people who’ve backed me up through the years a huge debt of gratitude: because we all need to know our kids are safe and happy in order to do our jobs. So, follow your instincts is what I’d say: find someone your child really likes being with, and a carer who clearly enjoys being with your child. If you’re very, very lucky, you may even find someone to love him, or her; and then you’ll truly have hit the jackpot.


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Childcare: your options

Childcare pitfalls

There’s lots to think about when you’re weighing up which sort of childcare to go for. Do you want your child looked after at home, or somewhere else; with other children, or one-to-one with a carer? You’ll also need to consider what sort of care will dovetail with your working hours; plus (and all-importantly) your budget.

• Don’t be vague with your carer about what you want/need. But once you’ve spelt out what you need, be prepared to trust her to provide what your child needs when she’s in charge, within the boundaries you have set • Don’t enter into a childcare arrangement unless you’re certain that the logistics work. Any niggle about practicalities is likely to grow much, much bigger as time goes by • Don’t forget to trust your instincts. Never ignore any nagging doubts about a carer’s suitability – explore the doubts instead, because you need to be completely sure that all is well when you’re not around

A nursery: usually open long hours, typically from 7am to 7pm. You need to think about how you’ll get your child to and from nursery; also, if you intend having another child soon, remember that having two children at nursery will double (or almost double, if there’s a sibling discount) the costs. Expect to pay: £30-50 a day A childminder: looks after up to six children (three of whom can be under five) in her own home. Childminders can often be flexible about working hours. Childminders must be registered with Ofted and must deliver the EYFS. Expect to pay: between £3 and £8 an hour. A nanny: looks after your child in your own home, and may live in or live out. You can cut your costs, and give your child a playmate, if you share a nanny with another family with a similar-aged child. Expect to pay; between £7 and £10 an hour, plus you’re responsible for your nanny’s tax and NI contributions. An au pair or mother’s help: au pairs or mother’s helps tend to come from other EU countries, and may or may not live in your house. They’re often not trained, but will need to have some experience of childcare; they look after your children, and may do some housework as well. Expect to pay: between £6 and £8 an hour for a live-out, less if they’re live-in and you’re providing food.

Useful contacts: www.ofsted.gov.uk The National Childminding Association: www.ncma.org.uk Association of Nanny Agencies: www.anauk.org

When considering childcare options also keep in mind that ... • Love is a supplement to safeguarding and child welfare, both of which will continue to be important measures of quality childcare. •Ofsted will continue to focus on safeguarding and welfare. They are currently consulting and piloting new inspection frameworks. • Your mother’s instincts are very important in choosing a childminder or a nanny but police checks, qualifications, first aid training and references are also essential – if only to confirm your gut feeling.

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Mother's Day

What mums really want for Mother’s Day By Gabrielle Starkey

Warning: This is a page for dads only – mums, look elsewhere (or leave the magazine conveniently open on this page where it might be found by your other half…) Psst, dads – want to know what mum really wants for Mothers’ Day? Here are some ideas to show her how much you care. A family gathering Mothering Sunday was originally a day-off from Lent, when servants were allowed to travel home to see their mums, and have a slap-up dinner together. Traditional presents were flowers and cakes – and you won’t go too far wrong if you stick to tradition. What mum doesn’t love having the family all around one table, with cake and flowers thrown in? But mum’s not making the feast, or doing the washing up – oh no. Book her favourite restaurant or pub, or make the meal yourself and make sure you wash up afterwards. Breakfast in bed A traditional but excellent choice. Try making Jamie Oliver’s ridiculously easy Americanstyle pancakes (1 cup each of flour and milk, plus one large egg - www.jamieoliver.com) with fruit and maple syrup, add flowers and a pot of tea, and Bob’s your auntie’s live-in lover. Follow up with a family walk – or take the kids off yourself to let her really enjoy that extended lie-in.

Time to herself This is one thing we mums often crave more than anything, so organise her some proper “me time”. Book her a spa day or indulge her hobby (yoga/writing/crafts/cookery) with a weekend course. If she doesn’t get to see her closest friends enough, maybe you could secretly liaise with them and organise a weekend away? You’ll be rolling in Brownie points after any of these. Time with you, alone Chances are, since the kids came along, life’s been a little (or a lot) less romantic. Mothers’ Day is the perfect time to put this right, with a hotel reservation slipped inside the card and the grandparents on standby for next weekend. Happy days all round. Personalised works of art If home is where your woman’s heart is, then a few personal touches to beautify it won’t go far wrong. Book a portrait session for the whole family with a great local photographer, or find a local service that turns an existing

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photo into a fantastic artwork. What woman could resist a framed print of her wedding day as a romantic gesture? Something really unique With a little planning ahead, you and the kids can present mum with a truly unique and handmade creation. Take the children’s fingerprints or hand or foot casts, and have them made into pictures, keepsakes or jewellery – there are lots of places that do this now. Alternatively, take the kids to a pottery painting shop and have a great time making a personalised plate, mug or vase that mum will treasure forever.

Whatever you decide, we hope every mum has a wonderful Mothers’ Day!

Win a Pamper Day at The Spa at Sopwell House Sopwell House, the Georgian country house hotel in St Albans, Hertfordshire has just undergone an extensive £1.2 million refurbishment of its swimming pool and spa area. Designed by Sparcstudio, the multi-award winning designers and architects behind venues such as Calcot Manor Spa and the Sofitel London St James Hotel, the new spa now offers some of the best facilities in the county. Refurbishments include a 14.5 metre swimming pool, children's pool, Jacuzzi, starlit steam room, glass fronted sauna, curved mosaic-lined showers, and a luxurious heated mosaic seat on which you can dry off and relax. The contemporary feel is combined with refined Japanese elements and warm natural materials. LED feature lighting creates a relaxing ambience and the luxurious furnishings create a really distinctive environment. Located amongst acres of picturesque parkland, The Spa at Sopwell House is a

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sanctuary from the stresses and strains of the outside world. To compliment the refurbished luxury spa facilities there are a range of new treatments, spa days and spa breaks. What better way to treat your mother (or yourself) for Mother’s Day than a fantastic spa break at Sopwell House? To find out more go to www.sopwellhouse.co.uk or call 01727 750427

Enter our competition to win a fantastic ‘Sopwell's Signature Day’ package which includes 1 ½ hours treatment time, Robes, Slippers & Towels for the day, full use of the Country Club & Spa facilities, a complimentary 16ml ESPA bath oil, a sumptuous 3 course buffet lunch in The Brasserie and complimentary tea & coffee throughout your day. For your chance to win go to www.familiesherts.co.uk Closing date: 20th April


Easter Choccy Fest! C hocolate and Easter are inseparable and at this time of year the shops are awash with chocolate products, but, have you thought of making your own? Dawn Fry, who runs The Melting Pot in Hitchin, shares one of her delicious recipes. Dawn is sure that this straightforward recipe will be a success whether the cook is adult or child, experienced or beginner. These little chocolate truffles are perfect for gifts or for serving after a dinner party.

Ganache Ingredients: 250g dark chocolate 250g double cream 100g light muscovado sugar Method: First break the chocolate into small even sized pieces and place in a bowl. Place the cream and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for one minute. Turn off the heat and allow the cream to cool for one minute. (If you pour boiling cream onto your chocolate, it will cause the chocolate to separate and result in a split ganache.) Pour the rested cream and sugar mixture onto the chocolate pieces and mix well until smooth and very glossy. Allow to cool at room temperature, then cover and place in the fridge for at least two hours or until fully set. To roll, remove from the fridge and use a teaspoon to scoop even-sized pieces and place them on parchment paper. Powder your hands with cocoa powder and roll the ganache into spheres. (Take care not to handle for too long or the ganache will begin to melt.)

Enjoy! About The Melting Pot: Dawn has always loved people and chocolate – so she combined her two loves and created The Melting Pot – chocolate making workshops for children and adults and as well as for corporate team-building events. She holds her workshops in the cosy summerhouse at the bottom of her garden in Hitchin. Dawn was prompted to start her business when redundancy loomed and she knew that she had nothing to lose by jumping in and making her idea into a reality. That was in 2009 and a little over two years later (with the support of her husband and her three children aged 14, 12 and 8) her business has grown and developed and she is now an experienced chocolatier. Dawn enjoys bringing groups of people together over the chocolate tank and sharing the experience with them – the heady aroma of chocolate and the therapeutic effect of dipping fillings into the tank seem to make everyone want to share their secrets! The Melting Pot runs workshops for groups of up to eight children or adults – or more at alternative venues. Dawn also runs chocolate parties for children aged 8 and over. To find out more go to www.makechocolates.co.uk

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You really need to get out more … It’s March and it’s time to venture out! The weather may be changeable but as long as you have a brolly or waterproofs that you can whip out it really is time to get out and enjoy the fresh spring air and the sights and sounds that it brings. Here are a few suggestions …

River Lee Country Park This fabulous park, offers a fantastic variety of family experiences, within its 1,000 acres that stretch between Waltham Abbey in Essex and Broxbourne in Hertfordshire. There’s a specially created play space encouraging kids to play with their imagination in a safe, natural environment, where the emphasis is on physical challenges and fun. Or discover Disc Golf. This is golf without the clubs or balls. Throw the specially designed discs into the baskets around the nine ‘hole’ course which is sited near Pindar Car Park. Discs can be purchased at nearby Lee Valley White Water Centre or Lee Valley YHA. Lee Valley Park Farms in Waltham Abbey is the place to meet all the animals, including meerkats, giant rabbits and chinchillas. Play

in the tractor barn, Piglets’ Paradise, the soft play area Bundle Barn and there’s the Jumping Pillow to bounce on and incredible Spider Tower to climb. The Orchard Café serves a tasty selection of hot and cold food. There’s also a working dairy farm just a short stroll or tractor trailer ride away, where you can see how the cows and calves are cared for. Adventurers will also love the multi activity outdoor centre at Herts Young Mariners Base in Cheshunt, where you can learn caving, canoeing, sailing and climbing, all at one fantastic location. (www.hymb.com) With its different walking and biking experiences along miles of traffic free country trails River Lee Country Park is the perfect place to introduce the family to the great outdoors, to exploring history and to encounter all kinds of wildlife. To find out more go to visitleevalley.org.uk or call 08456 770 600

Heartwood Forest A visit to Heartwood Forest (near Sandridge, St Albans) is an opportunity to see a forest in the making. The project, being overseen by the Woodland Trust, will transform open fields into a beautiful 850 acre wood that will be a haven for wildlife. It is expected to take 12 years to complete but there is plenty to see and do at Heartwood right now.

On 17th March (10am-3am) you can help plant the 300,000th tree at Heartwood! Trees and spades will be provided but make sure you wrap up warm take waterproofs and wear sturdy boots or wellies. You can take your own home grown native trees to plant as well and your own spade too, if you want. There will be plenty of hot food and drink available to buy during the day as well. On Saturday 7th April from 10am –12 noon there will be an Easter Egg Hunt in Wick Wood. Find 5 different Easter tokens and get a little Easter egg. Cost: 50p – all proceeds go to the Woodland Trust. Of course, there are lots of other woods in Hertfordshire and you will find a comprehensive listing on the Woodland Trust website. For more details go to www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/heartwood and heartwoodforest.wordpress.com

Willows Farm Village Willows Farm Village, St Albans, offers a great family day out with lots of fun farmyard animals, adventure play, fun fair rides, children’s shows, falconry displays and tractor rides. There’s indoor soft play as well at the Woolly Jumpers play barn. During the Easter holiday (31 March – 15 April) there’s the Easter Eggstravaganza. Activities will include the Willows Bunny Hunt, where every child who finds the 12 cut out bunnies receives a special prize. Help the Easter Bunny on an Easter Egg Hunt with chocolate treats for the little ones. See real fluffy bunnies and chicks at Farmyard Favourites. For the speed freaks why not hop on board the Rabbit Racers sit-on ride or pedal a mini-digger in the JCB Young Driver’s Zone? The Daft Duck Trials, a Willows favourite, are guaranteed to entertain as the Willow’s sheepdog shows off his skills rounding up the ducks. Captain Chicken’s Egg Dodge - an indoor activity where children can join the Yolks or the Whites teams and dodge the ‘eggs’ fired from the egg cannons – will provide some eggs-citing fun in all weathers. Call 0870 129 9718 or visit www.willowsfarmvillage.com

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for the day then try one If you want to head into London page 14). Created to give of the Step Outside Guides (see in London. g orin expl out families free days

Dunstable Downs This beauty spot is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and it’s on your doorstep! Open every day of the year it is a great place to get your family outside. The high position gives unrivalled views and makes it an ideal spot for kite flying and there is a kite festival held every year. Spot the gliders from The London Gliding Club that is situated at the bottom of the Downs. There is a wide variety of wildlife to watch for including red kites, butterflies and wildflowers as well as

fascinating archaeological features. Take a picnic and make a day of it. If you can’t be bothered to make a picnic there is a café in the Chilterns Gateway Centre (open 10am - 5pm) that serves fresh food made with local ingredients. You will also be able to take in the stunning views through the huge windows that bring the outside in. For families there are family trails, activity packs and guided nature walks. If you are visiting with babies, changing facilities are

available in the Chilterns Gateway Centre during opening hours. Pushchairs and baby back-carriers are welcomed. Dogs must be kept on leads when near livestock. Events are held regularly and on 6 April there’s an Easter Egghead Hunt (10.30am-4.30pm). Tickets are £2 which includes the trail and a chocolate prize and are available from the Chilterns Gateway Centre. If you are an early riser the Dawn Chorus Day Walk is for you. An expert guide will talk about the birds that live on the Downs and identify the bird song. 6 May (4.30-6.30am). Tickets are £2 per person. Booking is advisable call 01582 500920

There are some lovely short walks suitable for families: Five Knolls wildlife and heritage walk –A 2 mile walk along the top of the Dow ns with amazing views. Jewelled Trail - A fun easy walk just follow the beautiful jewelled posts. Whipsnade and Dunstable walk – Slightly longer at 4.5 miles this walk will take you over Dunstable Downs and throu gh Whipsnade village. These walks and more can be dow nloaded from the National Trust website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

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Schools

Harpenden Free School The ethos of the school will be built upon respect for each individual child. With this principle at its heart the school will seek to instil the joy of learning, discovery and individuality in every child. It will do this by providing concrete experience of concepts through multisensory approaches.

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The Department for Education (DfE) has approved 3 Free Schools in Hertfordshire and the Government is committed to open all 3 of these schools in September 2012. They will be sited in Hatfield, St Albans and Harpenden. Harpenden Free School has been proposed by representatives from: Artisans (www.artisans-nursery.co.uk) Montessori Kindergarten; Changemakers (www. changemakers.org.uk), a national youth charity and Iseldon (www.isledon.co.uk) a public facilities management company. Between them these three groups boast more than 100 years of teaching experience from across a range of ages and a variety of educational approaches. What is different about Free Schools? The main differences lie in the level of flexibility that Free Schools have in the way they structure their curriculum, their style of teaching delivery, their material resources, school days and term dates. Every Free School is unique and will vary from a mainstream model to differing degrees. Harpenden Free School will deliver education in a unique way which combines the child centred and experiential learning of the Montessori approach (which has a proven track record spanning over 100 years) with the nurturing of child leadership skills, in which Changemakers have international experience.

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What is the Government’s Free School policy? The Free School policy is a flagship policy of the Conservative Party that is also supported by the Liberal Democrats. Free Schools are funded directly by the DfE, and are free to families who have places in them. Free Schools are ‘not for profit’ and remain the property of the DfE so cannot be sold for profit either. What regulations do they comply with? Free Schools are not obliged to follow the National Curriculum, though most do. They do not have to recruit under teacher’s terms and conditions and have different recruitment regulations. Free Schools are self governing and are set up by independent groups but they are still inspected by Ofsted. What is the approval process? There is a stringent approval process. An application must include information about the curriculum, governance, finance and ethos of the proposed school as well as the personal credentials of the group. Bids are submitted to the DfE who then interview those who have potential for success. If successful at the interview the next stage is pre opening. This is the point where potential sites, details of governance and curriculum are developed further. When all of these aspects are settled the Free School then enters a final funding agreement with the Secretary of State to deliver the specified education as a not for profit company. This is a permanent commitment from government and overarches changes in government. Where will it be? The two Harpenden sites being considered are Crabtree Fields and a part of Rothampstead Research Centre. Where can I find out more? The best way to find out more about Harpenden Free School is to join the interest list through the website. In addition, public consultation meetings will be held during February and March and these will be announced on the website. Application forms will be available from Harpenden Free School directly in March. Places will be offered in co-ordination with offers from Hertfordshire County Council for community school places in April, assuming the predicted timetable is met. For more about Free Schools go to www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/ typesofschools/freeschools For Harpenden Free School go to www.harpendenfreeschool.org.uk


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Competitions Win a Pillow Racer from Little Tikes Pillow Racers are soft, character ride-on toys that are perfect for adventurous toddlers (aged 1 – 3 years) to race around on. There are three Pillow Racer designs to choose from - a fun ladybird, a friendly dinosaur, or a cool green turtle.  Kids can have fun riding their Pillow Racer, either in a seated position or on their tummy.  The four castor wheels give great mobility which allows these ride-ons to turn in any direction and the easy-grip handles help little ones hold on tight.  As well as a whole lot of fun, Pillow Racers help to develop co-ordination and important motor skills. And as the name suggests, when it’s time for a rest the friendly pillow character detaches from the base to become a soft, cuddly and washable companion.  RRP £29.99. For stockist call Little Tikes: 01908 268480 or go to www.littletikes.co.uk.

Win an exciting family session at The XC The XC in Hemel Hempstead is Hertfordshire’s newest extreme sports facility and it is offering 4 lucky Families Herts readers the chance to experience life in the extreme! This brand new, world class facility boasts an impressive skate park, a 14m high climbing wall, a bouldering wall, one of the world’s largest organic indoor caving systems and a challenging high ropes course. The skate park features the UK’s only indoor concrete pool and bowl complex and an exciting range of ramps and obstacles to challenge even seasoned skateboarders, BMX and scooter riders.

For a chance to win 1 of 3 Pillow Racers go to www.familiesherts.co.uk Closing date: 20th April

Win a copy of the Step Outside Guide Step Outside Guides are a series of beautifully illustrated books created to give families free days out exploring in London. They are designed so that children from about 9 years old can take the lead. Each book offers a day following a themed route, packed with interest and surprise. The easy to follow maps with clear explanations make the route simple to follow. A charmingly drawn animal character lives on the route pointing out all top treasures along the way. Step Outside Guides have been created

by mothers who understand what makes a successful family day out. They are designed to be taken at a gentle pace, with time to stop and enjoy the rest-your-leg pages of activities. Good picnic spots and free toilets are highlighted, and accessibility details for buggies and wheelchairs are included. The first two Step Outside Guides, ‘The London Treasure Trail’ and ‘Down by the Thames’, are published on March 19th. They cost £5 each and are available from www.stepoutsideguides.com, and from selected museum shops and independent book shops. Further guides are planned for Summer and Christmas 2012. For a chance to win 1 of 5 copies of Step Outside Guides go to www.familiesherts.co.uk Closing date: 20th April

Win The Gruffalo’s Child on DVD The Gruffalo is back, and this time he has a daughter! The Gruffalo’s Child is the musthave DVD for kids and parents based on the much-loved children’s book by Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson and illustrator, Axel Scheffler. It is a few years since the fearsome Gruffalo, with his “terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws” fled from The Big Bad Mouse who threatened to eat him. But one wild night the Gruffalo’s child is feeling brave and she tiptoes out into the snow in search of the legend. On her journey she meets Owl, Fox and Snake who direct her towards the fearsome creature, but what will she make of Mouse when she finally finds him? With its stunning animation and starstudded cast, it is impossible to resist the

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charm and magic of The Gruffalo’s Child. Running Time: 25 minutes. DVD RRP: £12.99 For a chance to win 1 of 5 DVDs of The Gruffalo’s Child go to www.familiesherts.co.uk Closing date: 20th April

Got a head for heights? Then the 14m high climbing wall has four distinct areas suitable for beginners through to advanced climbers. There’s a warm-up wall and a 206m² area of bouldering complete with intricate hooks and turns designed to challenge all ability levels. Heading in the other direction, XC’s organic caving system is one of the largest in the world and creates the illusion of depth and danger! It measures 150m stretching through intricate twists and turns. The ‘sump’ is just one of the highlights. Here a ball pool replaces the water you would find in a real cave. Cavers can dive in then go under a cave wall, emerging inside another chamber! Lastly, a turn on the high ropes will give you a bird’s eye view. The 8m high course has 8 tricky obstacles to manoeuvre around. To find out more or to book call 01442 507100 or visit www.thexc.co.uk. 4 lucky winners have a choice of a caving session, a climbing taster session, a skatepark session or a high ropes session. Each prize is for a family of four. For a chance to win 1 of these 4 sessions at The XC go to www.familiesherts.co.uk Closing date: 20th April

And there's more … for a chance to win a Pamper Day at The Spa at Sopwell House turn to page 8


Tuition

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What's On THEATRE ABBEY THEATRE Westminster Lodge,
Holywell Hill
St Albans, AL1 2DL Honk! 12-14 Apr – 8pm 14 Apr – 3pm The story of an odd looking baby duck, Ugly, and his quest to find his mother. (St Albans Youth Music Theatre.) Tickets: £9, £7.50 ALBAN ARENA Civic Centre, St Albans, AL1 3LD 01727 844488 www.alban-arena.co.uk Cinema War Horse (12A) 28 Mar – 1.30pm & 7.30pm Albert is heartbroken when his father sells his beloved horse, Joey, to a cavalry Captain. Tickets: £6, £4 matinee & concs BROXBOURNE CIVIC HALL High Street, Hoddesden, EN11 8BE 01992 441946 www.broxbourne.gov.uk Let Us Entertain You 24 Mar – 2.30pm & 7pm
 25 Mar – 3pm An evening of dance including ballet, tap, modern, street dance, national and musical theatre. Tickets: £14, £12, Concs - £2 reduction GORDON CRAIG THEATRE Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage, Herts SG1 1LZ 08700 131030 Disney’s My Son Pinocchio Geppetto’s Musical Tale

11 & 13 Apr – 7pm 12, 14 &15 Apr – 1.30 & 4.30pm Packed with all the characters and adventures you have come to know and love, plus new songs. Tickets: £15-£17.50, family £55

14 Apr – 1 & 3.30pm Plop the baby Barn Owl is afraid of the dark. Join his adventure as he explores the dark. Age 3+ Tickets: £11, £9 Concs, Family £38

Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt 18 & 19 Apr – 10am, 1pm & 4pm Peppa Pig and her friends are going on a treasure hunt and need your help! Tickets: £14.50, concs £12.50, family, £50

HAWTHORNE THEATRE Campus West, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6BX 01707 357117 www.welhat.gov.uk/campuswest Cinema War horse 1-4 Mar – various times Arthur Christmas (U) 3 & 4 Mar – 9.45am Puss In Boots (U) 8 Mar – 10.45am The Bad News Bears (PG) 10 Mar – 9am & 1pm We Brought a Zoo (PG) 25 Mar – 9.15am A Monster in Paris (U) 31 Mar, 3-5 Apr – various times The Muppets (U) 1, 4 & 5 Apr – various times Theatre Bob the Builder 7 Apr – 1 & 3.30pm The Wizard of OZ 12, 13 & 14 Apr – 1 & 4pm

THE OLD TOWN HALL THEATRE High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE 01442 228091 www.oldtownhall.co.uk The Three Billy Pigs 10 Mar – 2.30pm Once upon a time there were three little pigs . . . who build their dream houses. Tickets: £6.25, £4.25 The Elves and the Shoemaker 21 Apr – 11am & 2pm Elvis Schumacker has hit hard times…with one piece of leather left, can anyone help him? Tickets: £6.25, £4.25

RHODES ARTS COMPLEX South Road, Bishop’s Stortford CM23 3JG 01279 651746 www.rhodesbishopsstortford. org.uk Oklahoma! 15-17 Mar – 7.30pm (& 2.30pm on Sat) This gun toting love story is set against a backdrop of cowmen versus farmers. (Bishops Stortford Musical Juniors). Tickets: £15, £10 concs, £45 family There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly 31 Mar – 11.30am I don’t know why she swallowed a fly... Tickets: £8.50 The Wind in the Willows 11 Apr – 2pm Original sing-a-long songs, four actors, some cuddly animal puppets, a caravan, a car, a barge, a train and horse! Tickets: £10, £8 concs, £32 family The Story Tellers 21 Apr – 3 & 7pm 22 Apr – 3pm A family show which will see four traditional fairytales magically interweaved. Tickets: £10, £8.50, £32 family

HERTFORD THEATRE The Wash, Hertford, SG14 1PS 01992 531500 www.hertfordtheatre.com The Little Big Club- Live in Concert 5 Apr – 1 & 3.30pm This family show features Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Pingu, Fireman Sam and more. Age 3+ Tickets: £13.50, £11.50 Concs, Family £46 The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark

THE RADLETT CENTRE 1 Aldenham Avenue, Radlett, WD7 8HL 01923 859291 www.radlettcentre.co.uk Fireman Sam: Pontypandy Rocks! 3 Mar – 1pm & 3.30pm 4 Mar – 11am The Hero next door is back due to popular demand. Tickets: £13, £11 concs, Family, £44 (4 people) The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark 27 & 28 Mar – 11.30am and 1.30pm Tickets: £7 The Wonderful Wizard of OZ 11 Apr – 11am & 2pm This show, with all new songs and the chance for everyone to take part will be family theatre at its very best. Age 5+ Tickets: £9.50

TRESTLE ARTS BASE Russet Drive, St Albans, AL4 0JQ 01727 850950 www.trestle.org.uk Snow Play 1 Apr – 2.30pm Make a giant snowman, have a super snowball fight and help to bring back the sun in this highly interactive production. Age 3+ Tickets: £10, Concs £8, Family £32 WATFORD PALACE THEATRE 20 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1JZ 01923 225671 01923 235455 www.watfordtheatre.co.uk Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales 24 & 25 Mar –11am & 2pm Under sea, over land, on the farm and in the jungle these tales are woven together with music, songs and puppets. Age 3+ Tickets: £7, £6

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Easter What's On EASTER HOLIDAY CAMPS AND WORKSHOPS CATHEDRAL AND ABBEY CHURCH OF ST ALBAN Sumpter Yard St Albans AL1 1BY 01727 890280 www.stalbanscathedral.org Family Discovery Morning: Diamonds are Forever 12 Apr 10.30-12.30 This fun trail takes a look at anniversaries and their celebration, as well as precious stones and metals. After the trail enjoy a themed craft activity. Ages 3-11, children must be accompanied by an adult. Register in north transept. Free BARRACUDAS ACTIVITY DAY CAMPS 0845 123 5299, www.barracudas.co.uk Various locations, including: Haileybury, Hertford Heath, SG13 7NU Abbotts Hill School, Bunkers Lane, Hemel Hempstead HP3 8RP Queen Elizabeth School, Barnet EN5 4DQ Watford Grammer School for Boys, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD18 7JF 2-13 Apr – 8.30-5.30pm Multi-activity day camp for children aged 4 1/2-16 yrs of age. Huge range of activities: swimming, motor sports, archery, fencing, mad science, arts and crafts and lots more. Extended hours available.

BIRCHWOOD LEISURE CENTRE PLAYSCHEME Longmead, Hatfield, AL10 0AN 01727 270772/3; 01707 262023 (bookings) www.hatfield-herts. gov.uk 2-5, 10-13 Apr – 8.30am-6pm Bouncy Castle, Badminton, Karaoke, Face Painting, Netball, Arts & Crafts, Cooking, Football, Hatfield Kids Funzone. Ages 4-12. Cost: Hatfield Resident - £12/ day, Non-Resident - £16/day CAMP GOSLING Gosling Sports Park, Stanborough Road, Welwyn Garden City. 01707 331056 www.goslingsports.co.uk 2-5, 10-13 Apr – 9am-3.30pm Tennis, athletics, football, trampolining and more. Junior Base Camp (4- 7 yrs), Base Camp (8-9 yrs), Sports Academy (10-15 yrs). Early drop off and late pick up facility: 8am - 6pm at extra cost. Daily: Members £23.50, Non Members £28.50 HATFIELD SWIM CENTRE Lemsford Road, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 0EB Tel: 01707 276276 Fun Sessions Sat & school holidays 1.30-3pm Energetic, fun sessions with inflatables and floats. £3.20. Ages 8-15 HERTFORDSHIRE SPORTS VILLAGE University of Hertfordshire, De Havilland Campus, Hatfield Business Park, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9EU www.hertssportsvillage.co.uk

Junior Sports Camps 2-5, 10-13 Apr A wide variety of sport camps for children of all ages and abilities. Age: 5-17 Prices vary depending on the camp. HERTS YOUNG MARINERS BASE Windmill Lane, Cheshunt, EN8 9AJ. 01992 628403 www.hymb.com Easter Holiday Activity Sessions 2-5, 10-13 Apr – 9.30am-12pm, 1-3.30pm Caving, climbing, kayaking, bell boating, canoeing, bush craft, adventure games, sailing Cost: Half Day £ 20, Full Day £35 THE OLD TOWN HALL THEATRE High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE 01442 228091 www.oldtownhall.co.uk Mugenkyo Taiko Dojo Hands On Workshop 3 Mar – 2pm Watch a demonstration of what Taiko drumming looks and sounds like – then have a go. Ages 7-11 £5, £4 KATT Club Members African Mask Making Workshop 28 Apr – 11am Create your very own African masks and shields from recycled materials. Ages 5-11 £5, £4 KATT Club Members

PERFORM DRAMA WORKSHOPS 0845 400 1272, www.perform.org.uk, enquiries@perform.org.uk Alice in Wonderland Fleetville Junior School, 228 Hatfield Road, St Albans AL1 4LW 2 - 4 Apr – 10am-12pm Northwood Methodist Church Hall, Oaklands Gat, Northwood HA6 3AA 11-13 Apr – 10am-12pm Specially designed to encourage creativity, confidence and communication skills as well as being a kaleidoscope of fun! Age 4-8, book in advance. WILDCHILD ACTIVITIES 0845 3717099 www.wildchildactivities.com Wild Wheels Skateboarding 2 & 3 Apr – 10am-12.30pm Beaumont Secondary School, St Albans Dive into the awesome world of skateboarding. For beginners and anyone who wants to learn cool skills and tricks. Equipment provided. Age 7-12 Wild Fashion Designers 3 Apr – 10am-3pm Cunningham Hill Junior School, St Albans Explore the fashion industry including mood boards and illustrations. Take ordinary pieces of clothing and use fabulous fabrics and decorations to produce something unique. Age 7-12

BEST THEATRE ARTS Spring Holiday Courses Venue: Sandringham School, The Ridgeway, St Albans, AL4 9NX www.besttheatrearts.com 01727 759634 First Class Ages 4-6 years 2-5 April - 9.45am – 12.30pm Theme: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Best Academy Ages 6-16 years 2-5 April - 10am – 4pm Theme: Yellow Brick Road Best are off to see the Wizard with highlights from Wicked, The Wiz and The Wizard of Oz.

Say you saw it in

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Easter What's On Wild Animation 10 Apr – 10am-3pm Cunningham Hill Jnr School, St Albans Find out how what you love on screen got there! Make your own animated film and discover other techniques including model making, sound effects and pixilation. Age 7-12 Wild Archery 11 Apr – 10am-12pm Cunningham Hill Jnr School, St Albans Learn the art of archery and take part in a fun Wildchild tournament. Age 7-12

PLACES TO GO ADEYFIELD ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND Turner Hill, Adeyfield, Hemel Hempstead, AP2 4LD 01442 242852 paul.banks@dacorum.gov.uk Term time: Mon-Fri 3.30-6.30pm, Sat-Sun 1-5pm School Holidays: Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.30pm, closed weekends and bank holidays Inside: Arts & crafts, cooking, sports, free play and a pool table, table tennis and computer games. Outside: enclosed area with play structures; football pitch; zip wire and nest swing. 6-12 years; under 6s must be with an adult. Free BEKONSCOT MODEL VILLAGE Warwick Road, Beaconsfield, Bucks HP9 2PL,
 01494 672919
 www.bekonscot.com Open mid-Feb to end-Oct from 10am to 5pm daily. The world’s oldest model village has been delighting children and adults since 1929. Play area. Train rides (weekends, bank holidays and local school holidays only, 90p for over 2s). For all ages. BLETCHLEY PARK The Mansion, Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes MK3 6EB 01908 640404 www.bletchleypark.org Family Fun Wednesdays 4 & 11 Apr – 10am-4pm A range of activities, including crafts, spy workshops, Morse code, interactive displays about the role of pigeons during WW II and children’s guided tours and The Children’s Cinema Club. Ages 4+.

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Easter Eggstravaganza 9 Apr – 9.30am-5pm A traditional Easter Egg Trail with chocolaty prizes. Play area and giant chess board. Café. FROGMORE PAPER MILL The Paper Trail Frogmore Paper Mill & Visitor Centre, Fourdrinier Way, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead HP3 9RY 01442 234600 www.thepapertrail.org.uk GAMBADO STEVENAGE Roaring Meg Retail Park Stevenage, AG1 1XN 01438 745823 www.gambado.com Sun-Thurs – 9.30am-6pm Fri & Sat – 9.30am-9pm Indoor soft play centre Easter Party 6 April - 5-7pm Includes an Easter Egg hunt, games and disco plus refreshments for all children. Book at the venue or call 01438 745823 Ticket: £7 per ticket (1 child and 1 adult) in advance or £8 on the night HAYES HILL FARM Lee Valley Park Farms, Stubbins, Hall Lane, Waltham Abbey, EN9 2EF 01992 892781 www.leevalleypark.org.uk Open from 11 Feb Come and visit the animals, play in the indoor and outdoor play areas, and maybe have a tractor ride. Prices vary, please check online. HEARTWOOD FOREST Sandridge. AL3 6JE www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/ heartwood Community Tree Planting 17 Mar – 10am-3pm Help the charity plant its 300,000th tree on site. All welcome. Free. Easter Egg Hunt 7 April - 10am –12 noon In Wick Wood. Find the hidden tokens and win an Easter egg. Cost: 50p LEE VALLEY ATHLETICS CENTRE Meridian Way, Edmonton, London N9 OAR, 020 8344 7230 www.visitleevalley.org.uk Lee Valley Minithon 10 Mar An athletics competition where children aged between 8 and 13 can take part in hurdles, high jump and shot putt. £8 per entry, booking required

British Masters Championships 17 & 18 Mar – 10am-5pm Watch some of the best British Masters compete against each other. Sport Relief 25 Mar – from 11am Join in for the one, three or six mile challenge. Enter at www.sportrelief.com. Adult £5, child £2, family £12, booking required MEAD OPEN FARM Standbridge Road, Billington, Nr. Leighton Buzzard 01525 852954 www.meadopenfarm.co.uk Open daily 10am-6.30pm (last entry 5.30pm) Play in Shaggy’s Indoor PlayWorld, pet the animals, go karts, crazy golf. Prices vary, see website for details. ROLLERCITY Campus West, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6BX 01707 357117 www.welhat.gov.uk/campuswest OZ Sats – 10am-12pm Beginners session. Family fun with games and obstacles to enjoy. (Children must be with an adult) Boppin’ Stoppers Sats – 3-5pm Advance booking advised. Age 12 and under with accompanying adults. Breeze Suns – 11.30am-1.30pm For less confident skaters Sparks Suns – 2pm All welcome. Check with the box office or online for prices. RAF MUSEUM Grahame Park Way, London NW9 5LL, 020 8205 2266 london@rafmuseum.org, www.rafmuseum.org.uk Open daily An amazing range of aircraft are on display. Take the fighter pilot test, sit in real and simulated cockpits and to try the flight simulator. Free STOCKWOOD DISCOVERY CENTRE London Road, Luton LU1 4LX 01582 548600 www. stockwooddiscoverycentre.com Browse the collections and changing exhibitions, then play at the playground or explore the gardens. Free.

WILLOWS FARM VILLAGE Coursers Road, London Colney, St Albans 0870 129 9718 www.willowsfarmvillage.com Open Daily from 10am-5.30pm Easter Eggstravaganza 31 Mar- 15 Apr – 10am-5.30pm From real live chicks and bunnies in Farmyard Favourites, the Daft Duck Trials and Easter egg hunts complete with chocolate prizes, to indoor and outdoor play. WOBURN SAFARI PARK Woburn, Beds MK17 9QN 01525 290407 www.woburn.co.uk/safari Open daily (Winter hours) – 10am-4pm (last entry 3pm) Drive through the park and enjoy close up encounters with the animals. Entry: Adult £14.95, Child £9.95

MUSEUMS BRITISH SCHOOLS MUSEUM 41/42 Queen Street, Hitchin, Herts SG4 9TS 01462 420144 admin@hitchinbritishschools. org.uk www.hitchinbritishschools.org. uk Come Back to School 5 Mar – 10am-1pm Victorian Lessons 6 Mar – 2-5pm Easter Egg Trail 23-24 Apr HERTFORD MUSEUM 18 Bull Plain, Hertford, Herts, SG14 1DT 01992 582686 www.hertfordmuseum.org Model Railway Day 17 Mar – 10.30am-3.30pm
 Join us for even more working model railway layouts! Free, but donations are welcomed Toddler Tuesdays Pasta Picture Frames
 20th Mar – 10.30-11.30am Celebrate St George
 17th Apr – 10.30-11.30am Take part in themed crafty activities, play with toys and share a story! For children aged 2-4. £1.50 – including tea, coffee and squash for all – please book in advance. Under the Sea 3-5, 10-12 Apr – 10.30am – 3.30 Drop in during the day for some craft activities. £1.50 per child


IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM Duxford Airfield, Duxford, Cambridge, CB22 4QR 01223 835000 www.iwm.org.uk Easter Holiday Family Activities: Whizz, Bang, Wallop! 31 Mar-15 Apr – 12-4pm Build and race your own rocket. Make a paper plane and see how far it flies. Hands on Hangar 31 Mar-15 Apr – 11am-3pm Make an Airfix model aircraft. All Easter activities are included in admission price. Children aged 15 or under go free. MUSEUM OF ST ALBANS 9a Hatfield Road, St Albans, AL1 3RR 01727 819340 www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk Sunday Stories The Very Hungry Caterpillar 25 Mar – 3-4pm Everything is on the menu for the Very Hungry Caterpillar. Age: under 7. Cost £1 The Jungle Party 29 Apr – 3-4pm Come and hear about the Jungle Party. . Age: under 7. Cost £1 Pandora’s Box – an Olympic story 5 Apr – 2-4pm Pandora’s Box – a story from the home of the first Olympics. After the story create your own Pandora’s box. Ages: 6-13. Cost £5 (£4.50 for Young Friends) NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM AT TRING The Walter Rothschild Building, Akeman Street, Tring, Herts, HP3 6AP 020 7942 6171 www.nhm.ac.uk/tring Animal Record-Breakers 6 Feb - 8 July Explore the animal champions in disciplines including speed, strength and stamina, as well as the animal with the loudest howl, the furthest migration and the deepest dive. Free Tropical Fish 13 Mar – 10.15am & 2pm Use your hands and fingers to paint a shoal of colourful fish. Tickets: £1.50 Animals After School Sharks 22 Mar – 4-4.45pm Looking for after-school activities? Discover some incredible animals and make something wild. Age: 5+ Tickets £1.50, available on the day

VERULAMIUM MUSEUM St Michael’s Street, St Albans, AL3 4SW 01727 751810 www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk Mother’s Day Craft Activity 17 Mar – 2.30-4.30pm Paint a picture of your favourite object in the Museum and decorate a frame to put it in – your mum will love it. Cost £1 Drop-In Roman Mask Making 3 & 4 Apr – 11am-4pm Ages: 3-11. All children must be with an adult. Cost £1 Drop-In Roman Shield Making 10 & 12 Apr – 11am-4pm Ages: 3-11. All children must be with an adult. Cost £1

EASTER EGGSTRA! ASHRIDGE ESTATE Ashridge Estate Visitor Centre, Moneybury Hill, Berkhamsted, Herts HP4 1LX 01494 755557, 01442 851227 (visitor centre and box office) ashridge@nationaltrust.org.uk www.nationaltrust.org.uk Easter Egg Trail 8 & 9 Apr – 12-4pm This Easter Egg Trail will have face painters, a games area and activities to take part in including giant snakes & ladders, sack races, the egg shy and more. Cost: £2.50 CHILTERNS GATEWAY CENTRE Dunstable Road, Whipsnade, LU6 2GY, 01582 500920 Dunstable Downs Easter Trails 8 & 9 Apr – 10.30am-4.30pm This Easter Egg Trail will have a face painter. Chalk grassland, rich in wildlife, provides prime walking country. Trail Cost: £2 THE HOWARD CENTRE Welwyn Garden City AL8 6HA www.howardcentre.co.uk Easter Activities 7 Apr – 11am-3.30pm Come and meet Peppa Pig and George for some Easter fun! Arrive early to avoid disappointment. THE FOREST CENTRE & MILLENNIUM COUNTRY PARK Station Road, Marston Moretaine Bedfordshire MK43 0PR www.marstonvale.org

Easter Trail 8 & 9 Apr – 11am-4pm Follow the trail and look for clues to answer the questions on the wildlife quiz. Then go back to The Forest Centre to check your answers and collect your prize. No booking needed, just turn up! £2 per child PISHIOBURY PARK Sawbridgeworth, CM21 0AF, 0300 330 0770 Family Easter Egg Hunt 3rd Apr – 11am Kids will love this fantastic Family Easter Egg Hunt - come along and follow the trail around the garden, find the clues and win a prize! Bring a picnic! RIVERSIDE SHOPPING CENTRE Hemel Hempstead Fashion Show 31 Mar – 10am-4pm, shows at 1, 2, & 3pm View a Spring Fashion Show. What’s more, children from Hemel Hempstead schools will be taking part in an Easter Bonnet Parade, showing their creations. THE ROALD DAHL MUSEUM AND STORY CENTRE 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden, Bucks, HP16 0AL, 01494 892192 www.roalddahlmuseum.org Extra-usual Easter Egg Hunt 3-13 Apr Join an Easter egg hunt around the Museum. FREE to Museum visitors Bouncing Bunny Glove Puppets
 6 Apr – 12-1pm & 2-3pm
 Make your own bouncing bunny glove puppet. Ages: 6+
 £4/puppet Easter Egg Decorating 
 7 Apr – 11.30am-12.30pm, 2-3pm & 3.30-4.30pm
 Decorate your own Easter egg, hide some treats inside and wrap it up as a special gift. Ages: 3+ £12/participant ST HELENS SCHOOL Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, AL4 8AN Easter Craft Fair 17 Mar – 2-4pm Lots of craft activities for the children plus a tea/coffee shop. ST JOHN’S HOSPICE Moggerhanger, Bedford. Bedfordshire MK44 3RJ www.sueryder.org/events

Say you saw it in

PARTIES

Fun with Decopatch

Creative parties for ages 4 & over. Decorate and take home fab keepsake. All materials supplied.

Call Jennifer: 0770 3118 002 www.funwithdecopatch.co.uk

Easter Egg Hunt 1 Apr An afternoon of Easter fun. An egg hunt, stalls, raffle, games, cake decorating, mask decorating, face painting. Entry: Adults £1, Children £3 WOOD GREEN The Animals Charity, Highway Cottage, Heydon, SG8 8PN 0844 248 8181 handson@woodgreen.org.uk www.woodgreen.org.uk Easter Surprise at Wood Green 3, 5, 12 Apr Visit the veterinary surgery – get hands-on experience of life as a vet nurse and meet some adorable animals looking for new homes. Make fun toys for your animals. Booking essential, places limited. Ages: 5+ £3 pp, am and pm workshops. THE OLD TOWN HALL THEATRE High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE 01442 228091 www.oldtownhall.co.uk Easter Mosaic Workshop 24 Mar – 10.30am-2pm Make an Easter Bunny, Chick or Egg. Early booking advised. Completed mosaics will be available for collection later in the week. Age 8+ £15 (in advance); £5 materials fee payable on the day

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www.familiesherts.co.uk

Printed by Warners Midlands Plc, Bourne, Lincs., PE10 9PH. Copyright Families Herts 2012. Any original materials submitted for publication are sent at owner’s own risk and, while every care is taken, neither Families nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage. Families Herts is part of a group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under license. We take care 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 or for any consequences.

Families Herts Mar-Apr 2012  

Families Herts magazine Mar-Apr 2012

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