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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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The Cat in the Hat family fun!

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On Saturday we headed to a reading of The Cat in the Hat by the world famous Dr Suess at Barkingside (Fullwell Cross) library.

The event was held outside and benches were lined up in front of the steps ready for the performance. Prior to the show starting people from the event were making balloon animals up and down the high street.

The performance was put on by The Discovery Centre who are based in Stratford in partnership with the Vision Redbridge Culture Team. If you haven’t been to The Discovery Centre yet I cannot recommend it highly enough, the 2 people performing  were really good and interacted well with the parents and children and really brought the story to life.

There was even a surprise visit at the end by The Cat in the Hat himself!

Once the performance was over with there was a chance to have your photo taken with the cat and his car, obviously I jumped at the chance of this.

 

We then headed inside the library to take a look at the arts and crafts that included face painting for £1.50 and making items from the story including  a hat like the cat’s, these were all free.

It was a great way to spend a few hours locally and not spend any money!

To see what other events are on take a look at Vision’s Do More guide.

Maybe I’ll get to see you and say hello at an event!

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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Top things to do in Redbridge for Kids this Easter!

With the weather picking up and the sun shining, it finally feels like spring is here to stay! This Easter, don’t waste the holidays at home – there’s so much to do right outside your door. Check out our top picks of things to do in Redbridge for the kids.

easter eggs1. Go on an Easter egg hunt

What are Easter holidays without an Easter egg hunt? Lucky for you, there’s three to choose from (or why not try all three!) At Owls Play Centre, and around Fairlop Waters Country Park search for tokens and end the day relaxing while the little ones enjoy the play centre. Over at Valentines Mansion there are hidden eggs and bunnies to find with a special treat waiting for you. Or head over to Hainault Forest Country Park for a nature trail, clues and a chocolatey prize!

2. Visit your local library!

Did you know that there are always lots of kids activities taking place in libraries during the holidays? We have arts and crafts, creative workshops and even film clubs! Don’t miss out – find out what’s going on in your local library here.

3. Enjoy cycling sessionscycling

There’s no better way to spend time outdoors than a good few laps around the cycle circuit. With courses for everything from beginners to pros, there’s no reason not to give it a try!

To book or for more information call Redbridge Cycling Centre on 020 8500 9359.

Jelly Roller1 - St Georges Day 174. Celebrate St. George’s Day

Come along to celebrations across Ilford and Barkingside on Saturday 22 April. Join us in operating the 12ft tall George the Dragon – he plays music and blows bubbles! Don’t forget to head over to Ken Aston Square for the traditional Punch and Judy puppet show. Learn more about the day’s activities.

5. Take part in trampolining

Give the kids a place to release all that energy with our fun and exciting Trampolining courses! It’s a great way to stay fit and improve your skills – head over to Wanstead Leisure Centre and enquire at reception about holiday courses! Or call on 020 8989 1172.DSC_1250

6. Follow our family fashion trail

Throughout Easter, Redbridge museum is hosting free family fashion trails and dressing up along with puppet making sessions. If you haven’t visited the new exhibition yet, this is a great chance to get involved and learn all about the changes in fashion across the last 400 years! Come along anytime between 11am to 3pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

With so many events and activities taking place, you’re bound to find something to keep the kids busy this Easter!

Read our part-two Easter blog post: Top things for Adults in Redbridge this Easter!

Post Author: Nida Hussain

 

 


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The Mad Hatter: an iconic character in popular culture

mad hatter blog

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.

ship ahoy 26 july 2016 (45)

Post Author: Nida Hussain

 


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Celebrating Healthy Families in Redbridge in Loxford Park!

Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure and NELFT Healthy Eating Team hosted a celebration with families in Loxford Park on Monday 24 August. It was a celebration to mark a fantastic year for the MEND, Little Dudes and Active Stars weight management programme; becoming healthier through healthy eating and physical activity.

Despite an unfortunate forecast and a very wet morning, it was a pleasure to see so many families turn up to Loxford Park to celebrate being a healthy family in Redbridge. There was plenty of fun to be had and activities for all ages to enjoy, in particular the beach volleyball session and healthy food tasters! The turn out proved the determination of the healthy families, a bit of rain never hurt anyone!

Beach volleyball

There were a variety of stalls from providers for families to enjoy. Vision RCL Sport and Health Team had a stall with information of all the physical activity options the Sport and Health Team provide. They also had information on other activities in the borough provided by outside organisations. For updates from the Sport and Health Team, follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Everyone enjoyed the healthy snacks, activities and information about healthy food from NELFT healthy eating team. Also popular was the ISS education stall. ISS education came in full force with plenty of healthy ingredients for everyone to try out such as pea pate and a delightful spinach, banana, mango and pineapple smoothie – created on the smoothie bike! The smoothie bike attracted a lot of attention. Encouraging physical activity, the smoothie bike creates a smoothie from the energy produced riding and pedalling! Your efforts are rewarded with a delicious healthy drink afterwards!

Smoothie bike

Find out more information about what services NELFT Healthy Eating Team and ISS education provide.

Fit for Fun, School Nursing Team & Infant Feeding Team and the local Children’s Centres all had a stall providing information on the local services and activities they have to offer.

See what is going on at your local Children’s Centre in Redbridge and find more information of Free Fit for Fun exercise classes.

Sport & Health Team Tent in Loxford park

There are a number of Healthy Workshops throughout the year, so if you are looking for some support with healthy eating or increasing physical activity in your family, please do not hesitate to contact the Healthy Weight Teams today. View more information on Healthy Kids in Redbridge & Weight Management Support.

For more information on how to get involved in any of our healthy eating sessions contact: nem-tr.eatwell@nhs.net or for active stars contact the team on activestars@redbridge.gov.uk.

Post Author: Eleanor Wilkinson


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The Gardens Of Valentines Mansion Inspires Children To Design Their Own Crockery

From the small to the tall, from the greens to the blues and the buzzing of the bees and crawling of all kinds of bugs, the magical gardens of Valentines Mansion is home to many beautiful creatures and plants. I went along to the mansion’s creative crockery session to see how the children were going to use what they could find in the gardens to decorate their very own cup and saucer.

The elegant drawing room had been transformed into an artist’s workshop with cups and saucers all ready to be painted on. But first, everyone needed some inspiration and there’s no better place for it than the wonderful walled gardens. As children learnt that they would be spending the first part of the session outside they were bursting with glee – especially at the thought of being able to see butterflies! So, the children eagerly led their parents through the array of bright pink flowers to large green leaved plants, constantly sketching anything and everything that caught their eye. While the children carefully inspected each and everything they came across, I chatted to a few of the mums who gushed over the beauty of the mansion and the gardens and how lovely it is to come and visit.

When the time came to head back to the mansion, the children were already admiring each other’s drawings – all desperate to share what they found. Cries of delight and excitement followed the young artists all the way back into the drawing room. There were example cups and saucers all decorated in a typical victorian fashion for more inspiration and as the session leader Alison explained, victorians were known for decorating the inside of their cups too! So there certainly was a lot to think about and before going straight for the porcelain pens to design the crockery, all designs were first drawn on templates.

When it was time to start unleashing the pens onto the crockery, a burst of colour began to make its way onto the previously plain old white cups and saucers. Some children wanted to write their names on their cups and some wanted to dedicate it to their mums or dads! Either way it was clear that every creation was unique with each child’s own personality and imagination being expressed through the various designs and colours. There were small pink hearts that bordered plates, small little bees that buzzed around the cups and all kinds of flowers and plants that made these cups and saucers extremely special indeed.

The finished products needed to be set down to dry and as they filled up the table, crowds began to form to admire how beautiful they all looked. The items looked so picturesque that they could have easily been part of a window display in any victorian crockery shop! The children and parents were a little bit heartbroken at the thought of having to leave their creations behind at the mansion so that they could dry properly, but they were equally full of excitement to come back and collect them so that they can begin to use them and have them as the best piece of crockery in the house!

If you would like to participate in future workshops at Valentines Mansion:

Post Author: Raeesa Mukhtar