Based on the How to Train Your Dragon books by Cressida Cowell, this exhibition will transport you back to a time where Vikings rule and dragons roam. Cool. Explore the lands, sail in a longship and learn to speak Dragonese. If you’re brave enough, book for a family sleepover, see the film and complete your warrior training.
Walk On The Wild Side
Become the next David Attenborough at Washington Wetland Centre this summer. Pick up a Nature Explorers Passport and get out there pond dipping, den building and mini-beast hunting. Who knows what you’ll discover? Don’t miss the daily otter feeds, flamingo talks and craft activities.
Treading The Boards
A theatrical whirlwind for creative children. Work with dramaturgs to stage a musical theatre production for friends and family in one week. No experience necessary, your budding stars will be in very capable hands here – students from this company have gone on to perform in television and stage roles.
This one’s for the cool kids... Hip hop, musical theatre, singing, drama, beat boxing and choreography all rolled into one fun-filled summer stage school. Warning: by the end of this workshop your children will be spitting lyrics like Jay Z and dropping moves like Diversity.
Celebrating the 100th birthday of our beloved children’s writer Roald Dahl, The Witham are hosting a spectacular Summer of Stories inspired by his most famous novels. Make a felt peach, search for minibugs, watch the films and join the team as they stage an all-singing, all-dancing production of Matilda.
That’s Show Business
For one week this summer, work with professional actors from Multi Story Theatre Company to devise, rehearse and produce a piece of theatre to perform as a prequel to their production The Labyrinth in The Main Theatre. Aimed at 11–16 year olds.
Grab your wellies, roll up your sleeves and get ready to get stuck in this summer. There’s lemurs to feed, cockatoos to train, Shetland ponies to walk and a whole host of other hands-on activities. Perfect for budding zoo keepers aged five to 15.
You’ll be bowled over by the choice of sports courses on offer at Durham School this summer. Swim, save lives, play ball and then tackle, row and bat your way to victory. Run by professional coaches, these courses are perfect for future sports stars or those wanting to blow off some steam. Parents, you can thank us later.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – create, produce and star in a film set in Newcastle using objects found around the city as props. A professional film company will advise the 11–17 year olds in everything from shooting and camera work to performing and presenting.
Ahoy Me Hearties
Tynemouth Priory and Castle have been invaded by scurvy-looking pirates and they need some rufty, tufty sea mates to join their crew. Do you have what it takes? Join the treasure hunt, check out their weapons, listen to the tales of shameless skulduggery and see if you can earn your pinstripes.
Let Your Light Shine
Part of a summer of crafting activities at the Shipley Art Gallery, on Thursday 11 August use collaged paper and plastic pictures to create a stained glass lantern. Bright and colourful, it will become the centrepiece to any midsummer barbecue.
Juggling, diabolo, acrobalance, aerial, unicycle, hula hoop... That can only mean one thing, it’s time for Circus Summer School. Run by Circus Central, a charity for the circus arts based in Newcastle, this is a fun-filled class for children of all ages and all abilities. Roll up, roll up...
Is your child a dab hand on the computer? Know how to programme their way out of a sticky situation? Then this is the workshop for them. Make 2D and 3D games, build gadgets and programme robots using only science, computing and technology. Exterminate.
Worried that some of these activities aren’t challenging enough for your older children? Then head down to The Biscuit Factory this summer and try your hand at mono type printing, landscape collage, jewellery making, pottery, felting, perfume making and wire sculpture – great fun for all.
Beside The Seaside
A trip to the beach like no other, the Cullercoats Bike and Kayak Salty Dogs Kids Club is for seven to 14 year olds with a thirst for adventure. In a packed two-hour session they can try kayaking, paddleboarding or building their own watercraft. All you need is swimwear, a towel and a parental consent form. Oh, and the kids, of course!
If you’ve exhausted all of your usual pretty picnic spots and are looking for somewhere new, then how about the picturesque Wynyard Woodland Park? Created around an old railway line, it boasts lovely walks, picnic areas, meadows, ponds, an adventure playground and, importantly, a café – so you won’t go without your caffeine fix.
Let’s Get Physical
SportNE are parents’ favourite summer camps – while they put your child through their paces on the court, on the field and in the gym, you can put your feet up and enjoy a biscuit or two. Perfect. This multi-activity camp allows children to learn new skills, try new activities and build confidence through sporting fun.
All Singing, All Dancing
Attention all budding Kenneth Branaghs and Emma Thompsons. If you’re aged 11–15 and fancy creating a piece of theatre in a week and then performing in front of an audience, check out the Northern Stage Summer School on 25–30 July. Help devise scenes, scripts, songs and music – all in six days.
Hit The Wall
Banish the boredom and give your kids an experience to remember at one of the Rock Antics Outdoor Activity Days, where they can challenge themselves by rock climbing or coasteering. The former takes place in popular locations around the area, with climbs tailored to suit all abilities in the group, the latter involves an exciting set of obstacles, rocks, slides and jumps along the beautiful North East coast.
Put on your deerstalkers, polish your magnifying glass and be Sherlock Holmes for the day in this unique and imaginative way to explore the UK that the whole family will enjoy. Simply buy one of the themed, self-guided Treasure Trails and solve clues set on various landmarks dotted along the route to discover whodunit, find the location of buried treasure or complete a top secret mission. A brilliant way to discover new places.
In The Navy
Ahoy all landlubbers, Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience is a fantastic re-creation of an 18th century seaport that will be sure to shiver your timbers. Travel back in mari-time to experience life on real British naval frigate 200 years ago. Explore the historic quayside, with its period shops, interact with the costumed guides, visit Hartlepool Museum, then enjoy refreshments in the café.
Take To The Track
Fancy yourself the next Lewis Hamilton? Get yourself down to F1K Indoor Karting in Newcastle, where they offer a children’s Kart Driving Experience. After a safety briefing, you’ll take to the 450-metre track for an adrenalin-fuelled experience to remember. Be warned, your kids will want to come back again and again.
Imagine a place where your kids can have loads of fun, and learn something at the same time. With a host of fascinating, interactive displays, exhibitions and a packed programme of brilliant science activities that caters for all ages – and that includes you, adults! – the Life Science Centre in Newcastle is the place to be this summer.
Walk The Plank
Reach for the skies at the UK’s biggest Sky Trail at Tees Barrage, a high rope adventure course set over four levels with 38 unique challenges, including wobbly bridges, tightropes and swinging stepping stones. With two full length zip wires and a terrifying Walk The Plank challenge, it’s one for the whole family to enjoy.
Wind back the clock to the time of King Arthur with an extra special archaeological dig at Chesters Roman Fort. Rummage in the sand pit to uncover clues, handle artefacts and discover this fascinating history. With sword skills, dressing up, storytelling and crafts, there’s plenty to keep your mini detectives busy as you embark on this family quest.
Make and Mend
Scissors, needles and paint brushes at the ready... There’s crafts to be done at The Bowes Museum this summer and they need some willing helpers. Create your own paper fish, Ganesha pot, food collage or board game and peruse the gallery’s collections and exhibitions. Are you up for the challenge?
You don’t have to worry about the weather if you take the kids to the fantastic leisure waters at Haven point in South Shields. With water slides, jet sprays, a family bubble spa and interactive water play features, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Look out for the morning family fun sessions too.
A Great Surprise
If you go down to Preston Park on Sunday 14 August between 11am–3pm you’re sure of a big surprise at the annual Teddy Bear Picnic. Bring your favourite bear, picnic and blanket, and enjoy a wealth of teddy treats including storytelling, arts and crafts, face painting and activity trails.