We’ve put together some of our favourite activities going on at the museums shortlisted for our Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award. From science detectives to silent discos, from pirates to picnics, here’s your guide to what’s on:
1. Get crafty with Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum
Every Wednesday in July, you can join the Carnegie Creators for hands-on family activities. This year marks the centenary of Carnegie’s birth, so these activities are inspired by the philanthropist’s gifts to Dunfermline and the rest of the world. Learn about magical meteorites, make your own musical instrument and design your own stained glass window. Free. Read more.
2. Fashion yourself into a Textile Techie
London Transport Museum
20 July to 11 August
Did you know a top designer created today’s London Transport uniforms? This summer, it’s over to you to become a material scientist and discover what keeps London’s transport workers safe and comfortable. Design new clothing and test them for durability with water, heat, light and wind. Children’s entry to the museum is free. Adult tickets are up to £18. Find out more.
3. Set sail for a Great Pirate Adventure
Timed sessions from 22 July to 17 August (There’s a Relaxed session on 4 August.)
Come along to Bolton Museum’s pirate training school and learn how to look, talk and act like a pirate. Sing a pirate song, make a pirate craft and dig for treasure. But watch out – you don’t want to end up walking the plank! Free, but book on Eventbrite.
4. Lounge on the beach
22 July – 31 August
The beach is back at Erewash Museum! Relax in a deck chair, enjoy an ice cream and build sandcastles, as Erewash brings the seaside to Derbyshire. Free. See what else is on.
5. Get your game on
Devil’s Porridge Museum
Games Club: Thursdays, 11am-12pm
Pokémon Club: Fridays, 11am-12pm
Warhammer Club: Saturdays, 1-2pm
If you enjoy getting competitive with your family, look no further than Devil’s Porridge Museum. Swap cards with friends at Pokémon Club, battle it out at Warhammer Club or bring your own board game to Games Club. Free. Find out more.
6. Disco with Dippy
Great North Museum: Hancock
26 July, 6-8pm
The Great North Museum: Hancock is holding its first ever Silent Disco featuring special guest, Dippy the Diplodocus. Families will have three music channels to choose from and two hours to dance the night away with one of the UK’s favourite dinosaurs. Tickets are £4 per person and must be booked in advance.
7. Take a trip to Candyland
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
27 July: Performance times at 11.30am, 1.30 and 3pm
Enter the world of the Chocolate Factory with a show inspired by the story of Willy Wonka. Meet the eccentric owner and his little helpers as they make their delicious sweets before gum-chewing champion Violet arrives with her special ticket. Free. From 11am to 3pm, children can also make a basket of clay sweets and candy canes to take home for £1.50. Learn more.
8. Become a Science Detective
Museum of Zoology, Cambridge
1 August, 9.30am-3.30pm
The Museum of Zoology is teaming up with the other University of Cambridge Museums for a day of science and problem solving. Young detectives should come prepared as after honing their scientific skills at the museum, they will undertake a forensic investigation at the Botanic Gardens. Remember a packed lunch and sunscreen! Tickets are £15 and can be booked online.
9. Picnic with Teddy Bears
Parc Howard Museum
2 August, 2pm
Age: For pre-school and infants.
Bring your favourite teddy, a tasty picnic and join in the party at Parc Howard Museum. There will be a traditional singalong, storytelling, bear hunt and crafts. £3 per child. Plan your visit.
10. Make LEGO™ like never before
Hastings Museum & Art Gallery
2, 9, 16, 23, 30 August
If you know a teenage technology fan, this is a must-do! Get creative with Hastings Museum’s weekly LEGO Makers summer club and create programmable machines and creatures using LEGO™. Free. Find out more.
11. Grow your green fingers
Valence House Museum
Hands on in the Herb Garden: 2 August, 11am-12.30pm and 1.30-3pm
Green Fingers Friday: 9 August, 11am-12.30pm and 1.30-3pm
Get your hands dirty with these gardening drop-in sessions at Valence House. Discover more about the herbs in the garden and make your own lavender wand on 2 August. Free. Or on 9 August, discover more about growing fruit and vegetables and take something with you to grow at home. £2. Plan your visit.
12. Blast off with space-themed fun
World Museum, Liverpool
10 August, 11am-4pm
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landings in 1969 with a day of family fun. Enjoy space-themed interactive games, puzzles, craft workshops, badge making and demonstrations with experts from Liverpool John Moore’s University and the University of Liverpool. Free. Read more.
13. Learn about Liverpool Lives in the Blitz
Museum of Liverpool
24 August, 1-4pm
Hear what life was like in Liverpool during the Blitz at this day of memory sharing and family friendly activities. Older family members will be sharing their stories with younger generations. Take part in craft activities, listen to curator led talks, explore the Blitzed – Liverpool Lives exhibition and handle real items from the Second World War. Free. Learn more.
14. Build a dinosaur
Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Cambridge
How do some animals change colour? What can humans do to adapt to extreme temperatures and environments? Discover how animals have adapted over time and find out what makes a dinosaur at this fun, science session. Free, but book in advance.
15. Board the Great Big Heritage Bus Tour
31 August, 11am-4pm
Hop on a free vintage bus service to discover new places and exciting activities linked to theatre and cinema in Glasgow. No need to book. Find out more. Like Erewash, Riverside will also be bringing the beach to the city. Don’t forget your bucket and spade!