100 things to do with your family in Norfolk - part two
PUBLISHED: 09:04 13 January 2012
Evening News © 2004
Make this year's resolution to spend more time as a family. Last week we gave you 50 ideas for fun family activities in 2012, here are a final 50 to kickstart your year. STACIA BRIGGS reports.
51Create your own homemade cinema, complete with drawn curtains, seats in a row and homemade popcorn and then settle down to watch a film the whole family can appreciate. Whether it’s The Sound of Music, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Star Wars or Dumbo, the children will love going to the pictures at home (and it’s easy!).
52 Go on a fungus foray in Thetford Forest.
53 Go to a circus. Try the Hippodrome at Great Yarmouth. Phone 01493 844172 or visit the website at www.hippodromecircus.co.uk.
54 If you’ve got a big enough garden, give your children their own small plots or a well-defined section of the larger family garden. Include stepping stones or a small path for easy access to plants and grow vegetables that they love to eat and are easy to grow from seed sown directly in the garden. Try beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, radishes and courgettes. Dramatic flowers such as sunflowers and zinnias will produce impressive blossoms. If space is limited, give your child a large pot to grow flowers or herbs.
55 Make Valentine’s Day cards. And them send them... anonymously.
56 Visit a zoo. Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! are fantastic places to introduce your children to the amazing animal kingdom.
57 If your children are old enough, take them body-boarding at the seaside. Cromer and Mundesley are particularly great places to catch some waves.
58 Have a sunflower-growing contest, or grow your own pumpkins for Halloween.
59 Teach your children how to do basic sewing. It’s not just a craft – it’s a life skill!
60 Try apple bobbing. Use a washing-up bowl or a bucket, fill with water and float apples. Players retrieve the apples using only their teeth. If you don’t mind mess, try fishing grapes or pieces of chocolate from a bowl of flour.
61 Eat fish and chips on a pier. Any pier (although we like Southwold’s and Cromer’s).
62 Indulge in some cloud-watching – top marks to those who can spot clouds that look like people or objects.
63 Children spend so much time trying to avoid mud that sometimes it’s nice to let loose. Take them somewhere muddy after a rainfall, plonk them in their Wellingtons and let them enjoy themselves – try not to think of the washing.
64 Buy candyfloss at a fairground.
65Take part in a nativity play or put on one of your own and video it for your relatives.
66 Have ready a ‘get better box’ for if one of your children is ill. Fill it with little treats to cheer them up, such as a new book, some pens, paper and some tiny toys. Try scouring ‘pound shops’ for bargains.
67 Ever wondered if there really is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? Why not try chasing one the next time you see one with your children?
68 The next time there’s a rainy Sunday afternoon and everyone’s twiddling their thumbs, start up a Christmas card production line. It doesn’t have to be December to get out the glitter and when it is Christmas, you’ll be super organised.
69 Take horse-riding lessons. Everyone needs to saddle up at least once in their lives.
70 Make peppermint creams. Whisk one egg white until white and frothy, sieve in 350g of icing sugar and add three drops of peppermint essence and two drops of green food colouring. Roll teaspoon size amounts of the mixture into small balls and place on a tray. Flatten each ball and place in the fridge until firm.
71 Create chalk art in your back yard or on a patio. You can even buy glow-in-the-dark chalk so you can gaze at your masterpiece in the dark (unless it rains!).
72Make a pumpkin lantern. If it’s not Halloween, carve a swede, a turnip or even an orange! You don’t have to limit yourself to scary faces, designs like stars also look stunning when lit from within with a candle.
73Build a sandcastle with your children on the beach. Be inventive – make your castles as big and as opulent as you like.
74Take your children on the snail rides at Great Yarmouth – it’s a rite of passage!
75Trace your family tree – children are fascinated with their lineage. Make it more exciting by asking your children to draw how they think distant relatives might have looked. As a keepsake, you can write your own history for when your children are older and interested in what life was like for their parents in the dim distant 1960s, ’70s, ’80s or ’90s.
76Take off your shoes and socks, roll up your trousers and go for a paddle.
77Go on a scavenger hunt in the woods. Arm each child with their own list of items to find (things such as a small white pebble, a feather, a cone, a seed husk, an acorn), a pencil and a small box or bag to collect their finds in.
78If it’s warm outside, turn on the water sprinkler and let the family run through the spray.
79Give each member of the family a large piece of paper (such as an old roll of wallpaper) and trace the outlines of their bodies. Colour the outlines in to make them look like the person.
80Create a family orchestra with homemade instruments. For cymbals use saucepan lids, for a drum use an upside-down saucepan and a wooden spoon, maracas can be made with rice, pasta, dry beans or sand in a plastic bottle, a xylophone could be milk bottles or jars half filled with water and a spoon while greaseproof paper and a comb can be transformed into a harmonica. Remember to record the results!
81Flip pancakes. Award a prize to the highest flipper.
82Before chucking out any old clothes, think what dressing-up outfits could be created from your cast-offs. Make a dressing up box with your children and help them create a new look – suddenly an old dressing gown is a Roman toga and a belt a gun holster.
83Build a robot out of empty boxes of all shapes and sizes. Remember to capture your masterpiece in a photograph.
84Tell ghost stories on Halloween.
85If you’re tired of taking your children to slick theme parks and attractions (in which case, avoid number 100!) try taking them to sample a flavour of Norfolk’s history at one of the county’s fine ruins. The cathedral at North Elmham, near Dereham, is fairly spectacular, as are the Thetford Priory ruins.
86Take a trip on a boat.
87Does anything sum up childhood better than den-building? Whether your children create their hidey-holes indoors or outdoors, dens are a great way to while away an afternoon. Indoors, you will need a ready supply of sheets, boxes, chairs, duvets and clothes pegs to anchor ‘roofs’ to ‘walls’.
88Make bubble pictures using a little liquid soap, some paint and a straw. Add the soap and paint to water in a dish, then blow bubbles in the mixture with the straw. Make sure there’s paper on hand to capture your bubbles.
89Bottle-feed a lamb at a petting farm.
90In autumn, wrap up warm and head outdoors to collect conkers and chestnuts. String up the former and roast the latter.
91Don’t just rely on books for your stories, encourage your kids to make up their own and get them in the mood by creating stories for them using their inspiration. If you’re brave, you can record your efforts for posterity.
92Pass the parcel. Why save it for parties? Your prizes can be as big or little as you like, from a box of raisins to some treasures from the pound shop. Wrap in newspaper and cue the music.
93Take a trip in an open-topped bus – in Norwich, Great Yarmouth or London.
94Let the children watch the sky turn black as rooks on the RSPB’s Buckenham Marshes reserve gather in a breath-taking rook roost. The rook roosts happen in winter.
95Visit the lifeboat station at Cromer. After entering the boathouse, you can walk up a flight of stairs where there’s a viewing gallery which runs along the starboard side of the lifeboat, just above deck level.
96Create a holiday scrapbook during the summer. It can be about a holiday you take away from home, or it can chart what your family gets up to at home. Include train tickets, postcards, treasures picked up on walks, photographs and written accounts.
97Take your children on the dungeons and battlements tour at Norwich Castle – and ‘forget’ to warn them about the moment when they turn the lights off in the middle of the dungeons tour!
98With a bucket of water or sand at the ready, let your children write their names in the air with sparklers on bonfire night.
99Plan a really impressive treasure hunt around the house and garden. If your children are very young, you can use the tried-and-trusted ‘you’re getting hotter/colder!’ trick. If they’re older, try cryptic written clues which lead them to the next clue and finally towards a prize.
100Visit Disneyland. My children would have never forgiven me if I hadn’t included this one...