Fun ideas to make the most of Half Term

Tue 2 Feb 2021

School’s out, and parents everywhere, including those of us at InDerby, are looking for ways to give our children a break from home learning and spending so much time on their screens.

While we don’t claim to have all the answers, we have found some great activities for all ages to keep them occupied. Some of these may start on the PC, but should spark their imaginations enough to get them going offline!

Get stargazing with Alvaston Park Friends and Derby Parks. Although the Friends’ annual event couldn’t go ahead this year because of Covid-19, they teamed up with Derby and District Astronomical Society and Derby Museums to create some inspiring videos to encourage you to take a fresh look at the night sky from the comfort of your own home. There are also star-themed craft activities to do at home. All the links can be found on the Alvaston Park Friends website.

Videos include how to use Stellarium, free-to-download software where you can learn about the stars and how to find them in the night sky, and videos about the stars associated with each day of the week and the myths surrounding them.

Going out for a walk and exploring your local park is a fun way to get the kids out of the house to get some fresh air. Take a riverside stroll in Darley Park and enjoy all that this wonderful green space has to offer or explore the famous Derby Arboretum for its fine collection of trees. The Friends of Derby Arboretum have put together lots of videos about the historic park, along with crafts to make at home. See the Friends of Derby Arboretum YouTube channel to find out more.

A trip to Alvaston Park isn’t complete without a visit to the Science Garden for star-struck youngsters. A scale model of our Solar System is among some interesting activities that are also educational – although they don’t have to know that!

Markeaton Park is also a very popular park for walking, and its flat, wide paths make it ideal for young cyclists as they learn to ride. There is still wildlife around even in winter, so turn your daily walk into a mini-safari. Although some activities remain closed, the play area at the Mundy Play Area is open.

Derby has many fine parks and gardens for public use, meaning there are lots of spaces to discover. There are over 375 parks and open spaces covering 13% of Derby City – a total of 900 hectares, or 2200 football pitches. In addition to the larger parks and open spaces, locations of local parks and green spaces can be found here. Please follow the latest guidance while visiting the parks, and visit the Derby Parks news page for the most up-to-date information.

You can also add a new dimension to your walk around Markeaton or Alvaston Park by downloading the Love Exploring Virtual App, and then choosing the park as your destination. You’ll discover some great virtual trails to follow as part of your daily exercise – and the children can search for dinosaurs or fairies too!

Back in the warmth of your home, have a look at Derby Museums’ website for some online craft activities inspired by some of the objects in the museums, each with a video to show you how. On Sat 13 Feb it’s a Valentine’s Day make, to create a gift for someone special or just for the love of it. Add some much-needed brightness to winter with the Colour Play session on Thu 18 Feb.

Families can join Derby Libraries to access children’s eBooks and eAudiobooks using the Borrowbox app. You can also order books through the online Library catalogue for click and collect at Riverside, Alvaston, Mickleover and Normanton libraries. You have to be a member of our library and parents/carers can sign up under 13s here.

We're delighted to announce that The Reading Agency has decided to extend the Winter Mini Challenge! The Challenge will now run until Friday 19 February 2021 so it's not too late to get involved. Read our full article about the challenge here.

Young swimmers can keep up-to-date with their knowledge of water safety by looking at Derby Active at Home’s Learn to Swim webpage – you don’t have to be a Learn to Swim member to download the activities there. Older children and parents can check out the Derby Active at Home pages too for an energy boost – with daily online fitness classes, online cycling coaching, gymnastic routines and swimming techniques to watch, there’s something for everyone and it’s all free!

Babbling Vagabonds’ Storytelling Theatre are well-known in Derby, and their Christmas show, Elf Encounter proved very popular with families. Join them for Into The Woods, a free online family story making workshop with Buxton Opera House, which runs from Tue 16 Feb to Sun 21 Feb. Sessions are limited, so early booking is advised if you don’t want to miss out!