Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Competition: TV presenters and singing stars at London Wetland Centre

Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust launch competition to find new wildlife presenter

London Wetland Centre is setting up a special video booth over the bank holiday weekend for anybody wanting to enter the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) competition to be a wildlife presenter. Individuals of any age wanting to enter the competition can visit the video booth on May 2nd and show off their presenting skills!

A script is provided and competitors have to deliver it in the style of their favourite celebrity presenter. The videos will then be uploaded by WWT to YouTube. The top entries will be judged at a later date by a panel of leading TV presenters including Bill Oddie, Nick Baker, Mike Dilger and David Bellamy.

And you can listen to other wildlife ‘performers’ by coming along for the Centre’s Dawn Chorus morning at 5.00am on Sunday May 2nd. This is the only opportunity during the year to enjoy the thrilling songsters of this wonderful wildlife reserve before daybreak as the Centre celebrates international dawn chorus day. Listen to the birds sing as the sun rises over the lakes and pools. Warden-led walks will take you out on to the reserve as the sun comes up, with tea and coffee in a hide to warm you up! And at the end of the walk enjoy a bacon roll (or vegetarian option) before you head off out again for a day of self-guided bird watching. The Dawn Chorus event must be pre-booked in advance as only ticket holders will be admitted to the Centre. Call 020 8409 4400 to reserve your space and please bring your own binoculars if possible and wrap up warm. £20.00 per person (plus admission to the centre), includes the guided walk, tea/coffee, bacon roll.

Prizes for the TV presenter competition include a pond for a garden or school, VIP visits and family memberships and the chance to see Sir David Attenborough at an exclusive event in May to launch London Wetland Centre’s 10th anniversary celebrations. The judges will take into account the number of views each video has received on YouTube, how well the TV presenter is mimicked and the potential of the video to inspire others. The winning video will be used to launch the Wildest Hide & Seek project and the winner will be a guest news presenter on Green TV.

Full details and the script can be downloaded from Anybody unable to make the event on 2nd May can still enter. They just need to upload film of themselves to YouTube and email the link to to let WWT know.

May Bank Holiday Family Activities >>
London Wetland Centre reviews >>

May Bank Holiday Family Activities

- Storytelling Carnival at Battersea Park (Sat 1st May)
A Story in search of an audience- an exciting and spectacular event performed by the Vayu Naidu Company Artists and pupils from the Battersea Park School led by a giant 14ft high storyteller. The story unfolds using music, dance and carnival with colourful costumes/props. A free fun day out for the whole of the family.
Click here for more info

- Kids eat free at Tate Britain (1st March-16th May)
Valid for children under 12 who are accompanied by an adult who buys a main course and a dessert from the a la carte menu. Plenty of activities to keep young and old amused. Kids can take part in a craft workshops, and also go on a discovery trail around the gallery.
Click here for more info

- Brunswick Square- Open Garden Squares 2010 (2nd May 2010)
Celebrating that Brunswick Square's oldest London plane tree has been recognised as one of the greatest trees in London. The Friends of Brunswick Square invite you to join in marking this important event. Get your face painted, kids can play in the playground and listen to music in this beautiful park.
Click here for more info

- Vaisakhi on the Square (Sun 2nd May)
Visit Trafalgar Square for the stunning 'Vaisakhi on the Square' Sikh festival. Fantastic music, dance performances and messages of peace plus wonderful food, make this a great and unusual day out for the whole family.
Click here for more info

- Little Venice (Throughout the Bank Holiday)
The Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice is a superb family day out, particularly if the weather surprises you with a bit of sun. Situated close to Warwick Avenue or Paddington stations, Little Venice is a charming area of London that really comes to life for this Cavalcade, with a boat rally, boat trips, plenty of food and drink and also some great kids' activities in the form of puppet shows and teddy bear picnics. Free admission.
Click here for more info

Outer London
- May Day Festival at Campbell Park (1st May) Campbell Park, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire MK9 4AD
Celebrate the traditions of May Day with this free, fun-packed festival by the canal. There will be a selection of traditional fairground rides, maypole dancing, Morris dancing, a variety of stalls and fete games. There will be a variety of refreshment stands including 1950s ice-cream, BBQ, local cider and the opportunity to board cheese and fudge canal boats.
Click here for more info

- Walkern Fair (2nd May) Jubilee Pavilion, High Street, Walkern Hertfordshire SG2 7PD
A great afternoon out for the whole family. As well as firm favourites like the dog show and tug of war challenge, there’s a whole host of entertainment including a bouncy castle, fairground attractions, a special children’s play area, charity stalls and side shows like the coconut shy and plate smashing, trailer rides for kids, a display of military vehicles, and much more.
Click here for more info

- Butterfly World Family Fun Day (3rd May) Noke Lane, Chiswell Green, St. Albans Hertfordshire AL2 3NY
A fantastic family fun day packed full of entertainment, colour and butterflies galore. A wide range of exciting activities for all ages to enjoy such as face painting, story telling, a treasure hunt, butterfly pageant and more. To make the day a real family treat, children wearing butterfly wings can enter for free!
Click here for more info

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Become a fan on Facebook and win a copy of the Baby Dragon Tamer

Boom! Crash! Bang! A dragon has arrived! He’s big, loud, snorting purple smoke - and all he wants is TREASURE! And he’ll try anything to get it… But he’s reckoned without the Baby.

The Baby isn’t the slightest bit afraid of the dragon, no matter what tricks he tries, and it’s only after their fun-filled, night-time adventure that the dragon realises what real treasure is…

With all the booming, crashing, roaring and general silliness, this new picture book by children's author and illustrator Jan Fearnley is an absolute treat to read aloud to your kids. It's no wonder it's been nominated for the Red House Children's Book Award.

We're giving away 10 copies of the Baby Dragon Tamer, kindly donated by our friends at Egmont UK. To enter, all you need to do is join our Facebook fan page ( before April 30th, and we'll draw 10 winners at random. Want an extra chance at winning? Each tweet (using #reallykidfriendly), facebook page post, blog about us, or new discussion thread gets you an extra chance to win.

Yes, it's that simple.

PS - Not on Facebook? Log in and leave a comment below and we'll count you in the draw.

Prizes donated by Egmont:
Egmont is the UK’s top specialist children’s publisher selling more than 25 million books and 12 million magazines each year. The company is home to some of the world’s best loved authors, illustrators and characters such as Michael Morpurgo, Andy Stanton, Michelle Magorian, Julia Donaldson, Winnie-the-Pooh, Wallace & Gromit, Tintin, Mr Men, Thomas the Tank Engine, Barbie, Waybuloo and Ben 10.

The small print: 
  • There is no maximum number of entries into the draw - the more often you write / tweet the better your chances, but if we think you're a spammer we'll have to disqualify you.
  • This prize draw closes at midnight on Friday April 30th 2010, and we'll notify the winners as soon as we can.
  • The prize draw is open to everyone in the UK over 18 years of age.
  • We will need to provide Egmont UK with the winners' postal addresses. No, they won't do anything with it except send you a lovely book.

Friday, 9 April 2010

I jumped aboard a Pirate Ship and the Captain said to me...

Forget Year of the Tiger, from mini pirate toddlers to a corny pirate joke competition and pirate-themed craft sessions, 2010 appears to be shaping up to be Year of the Pirate.  Here is a slightly random selection of Piratey things for you to check out (it's Friday after all... we know you're not really working):

1. This year's Big Toddle will have pre-schoolers and toddlers all over the country dressing up in their finest eye-patches to raise money for Barnardo's children's charity. It's a great cause, so get yourself over to one of the Barnardo's-run events, or set up your own toddle. Click here for details and ideas.

2. Hot on the heels of their World Record Attempt, Legoland Windsor is running a competition to celebrate the opening of the new attraction, Pirates Landing. To enter, you need to think up the best Pirate joke you know, make a short video telling your joke (don't forget to dress the kids up in their finest pirate costumes for the occasion!), and upload your video onto the Legoland Facebook Fan Page by 26th April 2010. We're thinking the cornier the better, you know, along the lines of... What's a pirate's favourite letter? You may think it's ARRRR, but it's the C they can't get enough of!  The video with the most 'likes' will win tickets for their family to Legoland Windsor.  PS - you can read some parent's reviews on our site before you go...

3. Flotsam and Jetsam are running a Pirates and Mermaids puppet making workshop in Glasgow for ages 6+. It's today, so give them a bell to see if there's still space! Click here for more details. 
4. The National Maritime Museum has some brilliant Pirate games and quizzes on their website, and even tips on how to make a fab Sea Monster mask.  

5. Last but certainly not least, the centrepiece of the Princess Diana Memorial Playground is a huge wooden Pirate Ship - perfect for burning off some energy on a day like today. 

We'll leave you with this question that has been plaguing us... when you sing (we know you do) "I jumped aboard a Pirate Ship and the Captain said to me... we're going this way, that way, over the Irish sea..." do you warm your tum with milk or rum? [add a comment below to let us know!!]

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Winner of 2010 Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award announced

The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, is officially the most family friendly museum in Britain. Thanks to a £20 million redevelopment, careful planning of their interactive exhibits, excellent family learning programmes and some warm welcoming staff, they've just won the 2010 Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award.

Undercover family judges included Claire Jowett, who visited with Molly (9) and Ruby (5), and Helen Rehman who visited with Alfie (4) and Izzy (18 mo). The kids loved the fact that they were made to feel welcome to explore and experience the museum, and that the staff asked what they were interested in doing rather than telling them what they should be doing. 

From their experiences, it sounds as though children are welcomed as 'proper' visitors, rather than just being accommodated or tolerated - the children liked being able to easily see over the front desk so they could interact with the staff themselves and ask questions, not having to ask for help to open the bathroom doors, and nice little details like the inviting labels on some of the exhibits saying "Please Touch". 

As for the experience of being an undercover judge, Alfie was so proud of being a "Secret Museum Inspector" that he told everyone all about it... sometimes it's hard keeping a secret when you're four!
Click here to read more about the award and the shortlisted museums and galleries on the Kids in Museums website.  

Click here to read about The Herbert's child friendly facilities or to tell us about your experiences.