I love entertaining my nieces and nephews with fun filled days out at any time of year but it does become a bit more of a challenge during autumn/winter, north east England is hardly known for its mild weather conditions!
Seven Stories to the rescue… The National Centre for Children’s Books is a wonderful museum and visitor attraction dedicated to children’s literature and it’s located right here in Geordieland.
It’s a great place to visit over the winter months because there is so much going on. From themed weekends to creative workshops and chances to meet inspiring authors and illustrators, there’s plenty to inspire young minds – and I’ll be honest the grown ups enjoyed it as much as the little ones when I took the whole family along for a day out recently.
Following on from our visit I’ve pulled together a little list of the reasons you should head to Seven Stories this season… feel free to add your own in the comments section!
1. It’s A Comic Fan’s Dream
‘Comics: Explore and Create Comic Art’ is a new exhibition featuring original artwork and vintage comics from all the famous classics. My mum couldn’t believe it when she spotted copies of her old favourites ‘Jackie’ and ‘Diana’! The kids loved seeing how their Marvel heroes were created too.
If you visit on a Saturday or Sunday you join the ‘Comic Gallery Explorers’ at 3pm on a lively guided tour of the exhibits, this is especially for those aged 7-12 and is included in your entrance price.
If you’re reading this post before the 28th of October then save the date for a jam-packed day of comic activities for all the family as part of Juice Festival! The Comic Takeover is a chance to meet comic artists, make comic art, swap comics and loads more!
2. Autumn is the Time to Rhyme
If you’re a family of budding poets or simply appreciate a good rhyme then Rhyme Scene is sure to inspire you! There’s a whole host of poetry events taking place between now and the end of the year.
3. Sensory Stories for Under 4’s
As well as my recent visit with Jack and Emily (who are 5) and my Mum and Dad (who are 5 at heart) I have previously been to Seven Stories with my other niece Sadie who is 2 and there was plenty to feed her curious mind too. If you have toddlers to occupy this autumn/winter then the Sensory Stories sessions are perfect; Story Catchers will encourage little ones to engage with exciting children’s books using props, sounds and songs.
The sessions take place on Wednesdays and Fridays at 1.30pm and Sundays at 10.30am (during term time). I’d also recommend Bookworm Babies, you can check out details of all the baby and toddler events HERE.
4. Explore the Theme of Freedom City with a FREE Author Event
I’ll be telling you more about Freedom City in my next blog post but make sure you put Thursday 23rd November in your diary because that’s when Alex Wheatle (winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2016) will be talking about his young adult novels ‘Liccle Bit’, ‘Crongton Knights’ and ‘Straight Outta Crongton’ in a free event hosted at Newcastle University’s Percy Building in the city centre.
This is one of a selection of events that Seven Stories have collaborated with the uni on, find out more HERE.
5. Mischief Making Themed Weekend
Kids rarely need an excuse to make mischief but on Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th November (Bonfire Night Weekend) they have the perfect opportunity to do just that as Seven Stories are inviting visitors to come dressed as their favourite literary rascals and enjoy splendid stories and creative crafts featuring famous scamps. Wonder if I still have that black and red striped jumper?
6. A Fairytale Christmas
Seven Stories is like a magical fairyland all year round (I particularly love the attic with it’s over sized sofas and twinkly fairylights) but during December it turns the magic up a notch.
Every Saturday and Sunday from the 3rd till the 23rd December, The King and Queen of Fairyland are holding a festive party. Join Little Red Riding Hood and the White Rabbit as they set about creating a story fit for royalty. It’s an extra £3 per person for these events and probably best to book in advance.
7. A Wombling Weekend
When Christmas is over and you want to clear your home of all that festive clutter, make like a womble and head overground to Seven Stories on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th January 2018.
A fun-filled weekend of wombling stories, song and crafts await and you can recycle your old Christmas cards and wrapping paper in to beautiful works of art. There’ll also be a unique opportunity to see original manuscripts and illustrations from Elisabeth Beresford’s Womble series of children’s books, straight from the Seven Stories archive.
These are the highlights that caught my eye from Seven Stories’ autumn/winter events schedule and while efforts have been made to give you the correct dates and booking info I strongly suggest you have a good old rummage through the pages of their website and check the finer details before turning up.