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A host of half-term fun

PUBLISHED: 09:48 12 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:06 02 July 2010

Simon Parkin

Schools have broken up and the half-term holidays are in full swing. SIMON PARKIN looks at some of the shows, events and activities to keep the kids occupied, from making pancakes to learning 'dragonspeak'.

Simon Parkin

Schools have broken up and the half-term holidays are in full swing. SIMON PARKIN looks at some of the shows, events and activities to keep the kids occupied.

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It's half-term and, with a week off school stretching ahead of them, many youngsters will be keen to fill their time with fun packed activities.

While many maybe happy to celebrate not having to go to school by playing with their mates, there are plenty of organised events and activities planned for the next week.

Whether it's a theatre show, art workshops or even a flipping good time making pancakes, there is something that will capture the imagination of everybody.

Here are a few suggestions to help you plan your half term break.

GREAT YARMOUTH MARDI GRAS

King Street, Yarmouth, February 16

One of Great Yarmouth's most historic streets is expected to be thronging with visitors as the town emulates New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro...as the home of Mardi Gras. The festival (from 3.30pm-8pm) will mix the English Shrove Tuesday tradition of pancake races with customs from around the world. The traditional English pancake race will be given an international twist with the staging of Total Crepe, a carnival-style race to prepare pancakes for hungry volunteers. There will be energetic music street performers, dance groups, traditional street games and cooking demonstrations. The outdoor elements will culminate in a fire show and a recreation of traditional Lithuanian celebrations, including a symbolic fight between a fat man and a thin man who will emerge victorious to represent the arrival of spring.

FAMILY DROP-IN ACTIVITIES

Norwich Castle Museum, February 15-19

Plenty to do, learn and plenty to keep active hands and minds busy at the Castle Museum this half term.

The fun starts on Saturday with Medieval mayhem (10.30am-12pm, 2-4pm). On Monday with stories, sagas and old wives tales, free storytelling (10.30am-12pm/2-4pm). Then on Wednesday, its Stone Age day (10.30am-12pm, 2-4pm). Travel back in time to the Stone Age. Watch as expert John Lord demonstrates how to make flint tools. Handle prehistoric objects. Meanwhile on Friday the activities will be all about the Tudors (2-4pm), back by popular demand. Norwich Castle holds court to this extravagant dynasty. Come and meet some of the locals that lived in Norwich during this exciting period. Then on February 20/21 there will be simple art & craft activities for all the family to drop in and enjoy (20: 10.30am-4pm; 21: 1-4pm). More details: 01603 493625.

THE TEDDY BEAR EXPRESS

Bure Valley Railway, February 13-21

The Teddy Express will be running on the Bure Valley Railway (between Aylsham and Wroxham) over half-term. Bring your teddy and meet the BVR's mascot bear. There'll be free travel for every child when accompanied by a fare-paying adult (maximum two children per adult). Trains run from Wroxham at 11.10am, 2pm and - single trip only - 4.40pm. More details: 01263 733858, www.bvrw.co.uk

THE HOUSE OF FLYING DRAGONS

Dragon Hall, February 15-19

There's fun for all the family at Dragon Hall this half term. While the ancient building prepares for its re-opening in March, staff and volunteers have been stockpiling materials to help half term visitors make their own fantastic flying dragons and mobiles with trailing tails and fearsome faces. There will also be activities to help rediscover the ancient dragon language Dragonish with clues and ideas for new words for Dragonspeak. Younger visitors and their parents can enjoy a comfortable seated area for storytelling with Dragon Hall's own selection of dragon tales and story books provided. Throughout the week there is a special admission price of just £3 for adults and children, under-5s free, 01603 663922

EGGS, FLOUR, MILK AND FUN!

Norton's Farm, Frettenham, February 16

You couldn't be in a better place to celebrate Pancake Day then at Nortons Farm in Frettenham. This special event is a chance to learn about the ingredients right at their source, join in the games and eat some scrummy pancakes too! IT takes place on February 16 (12-2pm). More details: 01603 891692.

FISHY FUN

Time & Tide Museum, Yarmouth, February 16-21

Half term is always hugely popular at the Yarmouth museum and this holiday is now different. On February 16 (12-4pm) there will be a workshop to make a sea-life mobile, while on February 18 (12-4pm) you will have the chance to create a hand puppet. Then on February 21 (11am, 1pm and 3pm) there will be storytelling about the sea with Harvey Salmon.

THE KEY IN THE SEA

Norwich Puppet Theatre, February 16/17

A playful tale of love, monsters and adventures on the high seas. Princess Brunhilde runs away from home and spends the night in an old tower by the sea, where a greedy sea monster would love to have her as a snack. Knut, a courageous fisherman finds a bottle with Brunhilda's shriek for help...

Performed with puppets made from natural materials, live music and lots of joining in the show will be staged on February 16/17 (2.30pm), £7 adults (£5.50 cons), £5 children. 01603 629921. For ages: 3+

SUPER HERO COMIC STRIP

Norwich Arts Centre, February 17

Using simple techniques you will be able to create and star in your own super hero comic strip at this half-term workshop. Take crazy photographs, then add effects and graphics. Take along any props or costumes you might want to use and then you can take home your own full colour comic strip. From 10.30am-1.30pm, places £24, 01603 660352. For ages 8-13

SEAWORLD/STORYBOOK CHARACTER PUPPET MAKING

Norwich Puppet Theatre, February 17/18

Two separate puppet making workshops. On February 17 (11am) get to make your own sea creatures. The oceans of our world are full of fishes, seahorses, octopus, dolphins and whales. In this workshop you can make as realistic or fantastic a puppet of a creature of the seaworld. If you've ever wished to bring your favourite storybook character to life, on February 18 (from 11am) there's another chance for families to work together to create a puppet - or family of puppets based on Storybook Characters. All the materials are included in the price of the workshops. And at the end you will have a puppet to take home with you. Places £7.50, 01603 629921. For ages: 5+

RAINBOW: ZIPPY SUPER DJ

Norwich Playhouse, February 18

The stars of the classic children's TV show take to the stage in a brand new live theatre show. Zippy's life suddenly changes when he wins a hit record contract with Yellow Peril Records. With only a few hours to get ready before he leaves the Rainbow house, the gang all work together to help turn Zippy into a pop star. His rap record is a huge hit and quickly earns him Superstar status - but when Zippy starts to miss his Rainbow friends, he has to decide where and who he would rather be. Two shows on February 18 (1pm and 3.30pm), £8.50, £7 under-10s. 01603 598598. For ages 3+

OLD MOTHER HUBBARD

Norwich Puppet Theatre, February 19/20

Garlic Theatre bring to life the story of the dotty old woman who takes you on a nursery rhyme journey as she clatters about in her kitchen and her dancing dog sniffs out trouble in the most unlikely places. The show promises to delight children and adults alike with a spicy blend of slapstick and folk humour in this fresh and funny adaptation, with well crafted glove puppets, singing teapots and a feast of musical treats. Shows on February 19/20 (2.30pm), £7 adults (£5.50 cons), £5 children, family tickets £20, 01603 629921. For ages: 2+

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