Our Go-to Back To School Guide
From backpack essentials and extra-curricular activities, to designing your university bedroom and how to have fun on the weekend
WORK HARD, PLAY HARD
The kids might be back at school, but there’s still plenty fun to be had at the weekend.
Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery
Open everyday 10am–2pm
The National Railway Museum
Ready to experience the extraordinary? Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery is a new interactive experience for families where nothing is off limits. Having only opened this summer, be one of the first to play your way through 18 hands-on challenges and fuel your curiosity with amazing live experiments. Test your engineering skills as you step into the human wind tunnel, launch a rocket, and build big – then immerse yourself in an explosive live show which reveals the science behind the fun.
Held in the stunning grounds of Wentworth Woodhouse in South Yorkshire, Wentworth Festival is an open-air pop music celebration over five stages. Kim Wilde, Sleeper, Toploader and Lemar are just some of the big names who will be performing here, and there’ll be plenty of fun things to do for the whole family. For younger festival-goers the kids’ zone is full of activities to keep you entertained throughout the day, including the game zone, funfair, kids’ comedy shows and even axe-throwing!
BRICKLIVE: Animal Paradise
Until 24th September
Sewerby Hall and Gardens
Experience a brick-tastic outdoor model trail around Sewerby Hall’s Gardens this September. BRICKLIVE: Animal Paradise will bring to life an incredible display of some of the world’s most beautiful endangered species, hand-built using 556,086 bricks. A total of 15 animal statues – many of which will be life-size – can be found around the gardens, offering a fascinating and memorable day out, whilst also reminding visitors of the importance of preserving endangered species from around the world.
Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne
Until 27th September
Along the Tyne
Join the flock searching for Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne. Newcastle and the surrounding area have been dotted with 45 super-sized Shaun the Sheep sculptures, inspired by the much-loved TV star, as well as a series of smaller Little Shaun sculptures. A trail map and app are available to help, but can you find them all? This is a free public art trail, presented by and raising funds for St Oswald’s Hospice.
With everyone back to school and work, you’ll have less time to spend cooking and prepping food for the whole family. This Mac ‘n’ Cauli Cheese is a quick, healthy, purse- and-child-friendly meal based on the much-loved favourite macaroni cheese. This tasty version with British cherry tomatoes and cauliflower increases the veggie content – ideal for helping your kids get their five-a-day! Find the full recipe here.
Feels Like Home
Heading to university for the first time can be scary, but a few small additions to their room can make new students feel much more at home
While you can’t paint rented accommodation, cushions are an easy way to add some colour to your bedroom. Fara cushion, £30 Lilian Daph, Saltburn
What’s a student’s bedroom without fairy lights? Clear glass heart string lights, B&Q, branches regionwide
Artwork adds character to a room and a print of your home city is an extra special touch. Newcastle upon Tyne illustrated print, from £20 Rhianne Siân Designs
Throw a bohemian-style rag rug down in your space. Circular rag rug, £42 Urban Outfitters, Newcastle
Plants are perfect roommates – they help to create a cosy feeling and can lift your well-being. Aspidistra Elatior potted plant, £22 Ikea, Gateshead
You won’t realise how much you need a mirror until it’s not there. Gold frame floor mirror, £129 Barker & Stonehouse, Gateshead
An extra-curricular activity can be anything from joining a sports team to taking part in a school play, and whether they’re starting primary school or heading into first year of uni, extra-curricular activities have a number of benefits for kids of all ages. So, what can your child learn from joining in these activities?
Improves physical health
Extra-curricular activities such as sports clubs can help to improve the overall physical health of children. There’s so much choice and from traditional rugby and netball teams, to sports such as rowing and fencing, there’s something for everyone. Clubs and societies also tend to be fun, motivating kids to exercise, sometimes without even realising it.
Activities such as music lessons or drama clubs are a great option. Your child will learn to express themselves while becoming more creative. Debating societies, chess and bridge, astronomy, photography and woodwork are other interesting options.
In a busy classroom it can be hard for students to make themselves heard, especially if they’re a bit more introverted. Extra-curricular activities give your child the chance to build their confidence in a more intimate setting. They’ll meet others who share a similar interest to them, making it easier to socialise and it’s a great way to make new friends no matter what age.
Teaches time management
As we get older, being able to juggle different aspects of our life becomes increasingly important and it’s never too early to learn this skill. Whether it’s attending a variety of clubs per week, or fitting training and matches around your studies, taking part in extra-curricular activities is a great place to start managing your time effectively.
Back to School Essentials
Insulated drinks bottle, £25 Qwetch at The Little Refill Shop, Seaham
Everyday backpack, £60 Herschel at Fenwick, Newcastle
Chunky wooden colouring pencils, £7 JoJo Maman Bebe, Morpeth
Bamboo lunch box, £12.50 Buy the Kilo, Tynemouth
Sustainable notebook, £18 pithsupply.com
Checkerboard pencil case, £18 papier.com