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KidsQuest.. a new place for kids to play

Blogger Mummy Em visited one of Ilford’s newest gems, a great place for kids to have fun and parents to relax. Check out what she thought of KidsQuest.

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Last week we were invited to go and visit Kids Quest, the new soft play area located in Creams Café in Ilford Town Centre.

It is brilliant. The staff are so lovely and what I loved most was that they took the time to know the names of every child in there, and go above and beyond to make sure you have everything you need.

The play area is located to the rear of the café, and is the stuff of kids dreams. There is the compulsory ball pit, and a massive slide, which was even big enough for me to have a cheeky go.kidsquest6

Prices are extremely reasonable with two price options available, and what’s more it is open until 7.30pm in the week.

Personally I love that it is located in a café so parents can sit and have a coffee (or a ice cream without having to share) while their little one can enjoy themselves in the sweet themed play area.

Now, as if all of the above wasn’t fab enough they are now introducing autism hour. From Tuesday 30th January, 4.30pm-5.30pm the play area will be closed to the public every Tuesday in order for children (aged 0-10) with Autism Spectrum disorder have a safe place to play, socialise and develop their physical skills in. How fab is that!

Guest Writer: Mummy Em

If you’d like more information about the new play area, visit the KidsQuest website.

If you’d like to read more from Mummy Em, visit her blog!

If you’d like to become a guest writer, fill in our simple form.

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Intro to Robotics Workshop

In June, Redbridge Central Library launched their new exciting and innovative work space Lab Central, where adults and children of all ages can meet to create, learn, collaborate and innovate with new technologies.

During the summer holidays, the library held various workshops including Make:Robot, Interactive Electronics Workbench, Creative Code: Making Music and lots more!

Want to know more about what goes on in a Lab Central Workshop? The participants of the recent Intro to Robotics workshop took some time out of their busy schedule to speak to us! See what they had to say about how they found the workshop and their love for robotics as well as hearing from the volunteers, parents and tutor of the course.

Post Author: Nida Hussain


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Redbridge Museum’s On The Move Exhibition

Redbridge Museum’s summer exhibition On The Move is coming to an end this weekend, so I thought I would go along and see what it was all about!  The theme is transport related and showcases a variety of different modes of transport.  As a first time visitor to the Museum exhibition, I wasn’t really aware of what to expect, and I was surprised that everything was extremely interactive providing lots of things for children to do.

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As you walk inside the exhibition space, there are lots of colours and signs drawn on the walls which are actually road signs. There are many huge structures which the children can climb on including a plane with seating for a pilot and co-pilot, a boat which children can climb aboard, and for children that love to dress up, there are costumes which they can wear. There was a train with lots of seats inside, so multiple people could sit and watch a video showing a drivers view of the London underground. The exhibition also includes other types of transport including wheelchairs, bicycles and scooters.

There is an assistant who is very hands on and keen to help all the children, explaining to them how things work, as she did this she explained how real versions of the exhibits would work too and the children were so mesmerised by her and you could really tell that they were interested in what she had to say.

The exhibition offers educational benefits because next to all the interactive activities there are fact sheets that described what it represented and for some pieces it described the history about it so that the children were learning and having a good time. The interactive activities included many puzzles, things they could build and games, including a variation of whack-a-rat.

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The atmosphere in the exhibition was entirely happy and the sounds of laughing and playing was very clear, a young boy called Charlie summed up his visit by saying “it’s fun!” and another young boy called Louis, when asked what he liked the most exclaimed “all of it!”. A grandparent of children playing also told me that she had brought her grandson once and he loved it so much that she brought him and his cousin back again! This proves that this exhibition is not one that should be missed!

Exhibition closes on Saturday 2 September, so hurry if you wish to experience the fun. Entry is FREE.

For more information visit the website

Guest Author: Kate Beard

 

 

 


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A day out at Fairlop Fair 2017

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On Saturday we headed to Fairlop Waters County Park for their annual fair. This was our first time going to the fair but not our first visit to the park as it is one of our favourites and is opposite my daughter Chloe’s nursery.

As you may be aware we love a local day out and the fair is one of our favourite days. The fair started at 11am and we got their around 11.30am and by then it was already busy. I was amazed at the variety of activities they had.

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Chloe had seen the rides on her way home from nursery on Friday so was already looking forward to going on them and had been saying all morning she wanted to go on the cars. I think Chloe and her cousin Lizzie would have stayed on them all day if we had allowed. The rides were all ticket based which you purchased from the ticket booth. It was £10 for 10 tickets and the rides were two tickets each.  I don’t know what it is with little ones but they get so much enjoyment going round, and round and round.

One of the first things to catch my eye as we entered was the Greggs sign and we soon made a beeline for this. They had a gingerbread decorating stall and the children got two gingerbread men to decorate, one was to be entered in to the competition and one was to be enjoyed now. Chloe didn’t want her one which meant I got to enjoy it. And the best thing was it was all FREE.

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And what is any day at the fair without face painting? Chloe will always pick a Tiger. No matter what the event or time of the year she wants to be a tiger. The lady who did the face painting was so talented and Chloe sat really still and took the whole face painting very seriously. Lizzie was a disco cat! Oh to be 8 years old and get away with having a rainbow face.

Soon it was lunch time and we headed to the food area to see what there was, and we were not disappointed with the large choice available from jerk chicken, pizza, burgers and a cake stand with the best name ever – Cakey McCakeface! Chloe wanted chips so I headed to the jerk chicken stall and Lizzie and her mum Lisa had pizza. The pizza looked really nice and was all cooked fresh. The great thing with days like this is that it can be as cheap or expensive as you want and I saw plenty of people sitting having a picnic taking in all the surroundings.

After we had eaten we took a walk around the rest of the fair to see what was on offer. They had a beach area with deck chairs but by the time we got to this area it was so busy we didn’t manage to have a play, but it looked fab. Earlier in the day there was a performance put on in this area that looked like fun.

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Also going on throughout the day was music and entertainment by the local drama clubs and even a salsa dancing lesson.

We finished the day with an ice cream on the top of the hill looking over the fair and listening to the music. We all went home happy, tired and with a full belly. We are already looking forward to returning next year!

Guest Writer: Mummy Em

If you’d like to read more from Mummy Em, visit her blog!

If you’d like to become a guest writer, fill in our simple form.

 


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The Mad Hatter: an iconic character in popular culture

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The character Mad Hatter originated in Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The character, famous for wearing a large top hat and having an eccentric personality has appeared in media spanning more than a hundred years! Since the birth of the Mad Hatter as seen in Carroll’s novel, the character has appeared in movies, television shows, on stage and even video games!

The versatile personality of the character means that he has been cast as the leading man, funny sidekick or in some darker adaptations, a villain. Whether you love him or hate him, the Mad Hatter sure knows how to throw a memorable party! On Sunday 9 April, the Mad Hatter is coming to Redbridge to host one of his famous tea parties at Valentines Mansion. The day promises lots of activities for children, fun for the family and an afternoon to remember.

To find out more or to book, visit the Redbridge website.

Check out some memorable Mad Hatter performances below!

1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Novel, 1865)
Chapter Seven: A Mad Tea Party

Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he SAID was, ‘Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’

‘Come, we shall have some fun now!’ thought Alice. ‘I’m glad they’ve begun asking riddles.–I believe I can guess that,’ she added aloud.

‘Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?’ said the March Hare.

‘Exactly so,’ said Alice.

‘Then you should say what you mean,’ the March Hare went on.

‘I do,’ Alice hastily replied; ‘at least–at least I mean what I say–that’s the same thing, you know.’

‘Not the same thing a bit!’ said the Hatter. ‘You might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see”!’

‘You might just as well say,’ added the March Hare, ‘that “I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like”!’

‘You might just as well say,’ added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, ‘that “I breathe when I sleep” is the same thing as “I sleep when I breathe”!’

‘It IS the same thing with you,’ said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn’t much.

2. Alice in Wonderland (Film, 1951)
Mad Hatter voiced by Ed Wynn

Most people associate the Mad Hatter with this eccentric animation and extremely distinct voice. This version was based off early illustration work and was hand drawn, frame by frame.

3. Alice (Mini Series, 2009)
Hatter portrayed by Andrew Lee Potts

This unique portrayal of the character depicts the Hatter as a sophisticated and smart (black market) businessman who ultimately becomes the hero and falls in love with Alice.

4. Alice in Wonderland (Film, 2010)
Mad Hatter portrayed by Johnny Depp

One of the most widely known portrayals, Johnny Depp takes this interpretation to a new level – with incredible makeup and special effects that astound!

5. Once Upon a Time (TV Series, 2012)
Jefferson/The Mad Hatter portrayed by Sebastian Stan

This version of the character possesses a magical hat that allows him to travel through portals, but gets trapped in a world with no magic and no way back home.

6. Gotham (TV Series, 2016)
Jervis Tetch portrayed by Benedict Samuel

This quirky version of the Mad Hatter is an infamous Batman villain, one not many know! In this series he arrives in Gotham in search of his sister Alice.

So which version of the Mad Hatter is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!

Don’t forget to book your tickets to our very own Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Visit the Redbridge website for more information.

Post Author: Nida Hussain


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Set sail and get creative with Ship Ahoy!

Redbridge Museum’s new exhibition opened just last week and the kids already love it!

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When I arrived at the exhibition, a little before opening time at 10am, I wasn’t the first one there. There were already at least ten children standing at the doors, anxiously waiting to be let into the Ship Ahoy! exhibition, ready to explore everything that was to offer. Some of them had already been signed up by parents to the morning activity that day ‘Build a Barge’ – where children could use recycled materials, scissors, tape and colouring pens to create their own boats.

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From the minute you enter the exhibition, it feels like you’ve been transported to a different place and time. Waves of blue colours on the floor reflect the vast seas, and twinkling lights give the impression of night sky, setting the scene for a truly magical experience. Hard to miss is the adult size (or perhaps child size) ship, all-inclusive with a deck, sails, wheel and even a kitchen! Kids were excited to play-act captain and crew as they imagined sailing the wild seas. The exhibition also includes something a little different this summer, sea-related board games positioned throughout the room! The giant Spice Traders board game includes two large wheels to spin carrying the game forward. For our more musically inclined visitors there is a section to sing along to sea shanties and play with instruments.

After half an hour exploring the exhibition we moved across the hall to the Gloucester Room where tables, chairs and supplies were set out for the activity. Led by our museum assistant Aki, the children were given a history of Ilford docks and the river Roding. One of the highlights of the activity was getting to visit the museum on the 2nd floor. The children listened intently as Aki told them about working at the docks and then each child was given a chance to use a magnifying glass to locate the river on the map.

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Returning to the activity room, children were given a chance to plan out their boats before being called up table by table to pick out their supplies. This was where the real fun began! The kids were back and forth, picking out the right bottles, the perfect colours and just the right material to make their perfect ship. The kids were able to get really creative with their ideas, when asked about what they enjoyed most one child said that they “enjoyed putting the strawberries on the boat” while another “enjoyed making the captain.”

The fun was not just limited to the children though! Even the parents were having an amazing time bonding with their children over this great activity. One parent said that “planning the barge with [their] son” was their favourite part!

It was a joy to see the proud and enthusiastic look on each child’s face after they were finished. Aki and our museum volunteer Jemima did a great job leading the workshop and assisting throughout the activity while I spent most of the time photographing the entire process, being a fly on the wall to ensure the children weren’t distracted, however even I was approached by a young boy who asked if I could take a picture of him with his finished boat. That was a request that I was more than happy to fulfil!

Before the session came to an end, some of the children wanted to tell the class a little about their boats. One by one the children talked about why they chose the colours and materials they did, and what they loved most about their boat. They had put so much effort into their creation, and you couldn’t help but feel proud of each of them.  A final group photo was taken before each child left the session, with their creations held tightly in their hands.

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This was just the first of many activities taking place during the exhibition run. There are plenty more to come in the next few weeks including making your own map, designing a flag for your own ship and singing sea songs and rhymes!

For more information on events visit our museum events page.

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Post Author: Nida Hussain

 


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Holly Black and Emily Lockhart get the kids votes in the Redbridge Children’s Book Awards 2015

Reading for pleasure and creative writing is thriving in Redbridge schools.  On Thursday 25 June 2015, around 200 young readers, budding writers and their school librarians and teachers celebrated this year’s Redbridge Children’s Book Awards in a vibrant, exciting ceremony at Redbridge Town Hall.

Students from 14 secondary schools and 9 primary schools across Redbridge and Newham voted for their favourite children’s and teenage book published in 2014.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra, won the Children’s category and We Were Liars by E Lockhart won the Teenage Category.

          RCBA 2015 Authors and children               RBA 2015 Authors

We were delighted to have six of the shortlisted authors, Sita Brahmachri, Kevin Brooks, Keren David, A.F. Harrold, Polly Ho-Yen and Bali Rai, attend.  They answered varied questions from eager students and signed copies of their books.  Emily Lockhart, who was unable to attend, sent a message saying “I am honoured and happy.  Libraries have been my home since childhood and they are home to so many children and teens.  Long may we all read and share and celebrate books.”

It was also a chance for the winners of the writing and poetry competitions to be presented with their prizes by the Mayor, Cllr Barbara White.  The poetry competition was judged by David Fulton, lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University and the short story competition was judged by author and Head of Bancrofts Prep School, Joe Layburn.

Esther Ukhueleigbe from Ray Lodge Primary School won the years 6 and 7 poetry competition with her poem, Make it GreenKanishk Panchal from The Palmer Academy, Ilford  won the year 8 and above category with the poem Our Cursed Elements.

Jessica Johnson from Wanstead High School won the years 6 and 7 short story competition with her story, My Father, The WomanFreddie Cochran from Wanstead High School won year 8 and above  category  with his story, The Shirt.  Winners were presented with a book token, a fiction book and a copy of this year’s anthology of all shortlisted poems and stories.

Our thanks to everyone who attended, especially the authors who gave up their time to be present and who made the afternoon so special, students and teachers who participated so enthusiastically and most of all, the Redbridge Schools’ Library Service team who worked  very hard behind the scenes to ensure the afternoon was such a success.

The book award is organised by Redbridge Schools’ Library Service and sponsored by MLS (Micro Librarian Systems).

Nina Simon
Manager Redbridge Schools’ Library Service