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Keep the kids entertained this Summer with exciting activities at The Reader

3 weeks ago

Keep the kids entertained this Summer with exciting activities at The Reader
The Reader - The Mansion House photo by Ollie Gyte

Struggling to find ways to keep your children entertained over the summer holidays? Look no further!

The Reader, has a fantastic lineup of over 20 activities for all ages, from babies to teens, at The Mansion House and The Storybarn in Calderstones Park.

From family-friendly outdoor theatre performances to a summer holiday club and special one-off events for four to nine-year-olds there is an exciting fun-packed programme, including a celebration of Liverpool Pride and the chance to meet a real archeologist in a Turn Back to the Stone Age workshop.

Tickets for two brand new events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Oliver Jeffer’s iconic story How to Catch a Star and Tom Percival Big Bright Feelings series have just been announced and are now available to book. How to Catch a Star workshops include a special reading of the story, games and crafts. They will run twice daily, on dates between 13 and 22 August, 10am – 11.30am; 12noon – 1.30pm. 

And workshops based on Tom Percival’s best-selling Big Bright Feelings series, a celebration of diversity and individuality, will explore emotions through imaginative play, stories and craft. They will also take place twice daily on dates between Sunday 25 August and Friday 30 August, 10am – 11.30am; 12noon – 1.30pm. 

Both events are suitable for ages four to nine-years-old. Younger siblings are also welcome.

Summer Holiday Club 

Once schools are out, the highly popular Storybarn Summer Holiday Club returns from 22 July to 9 August between 8.30am and 5pm, with plenty of outdoor adventures in the park, storytelling, games and much more for children aged five to 10. Book now for the last few remaining places. Every ticket purchased helps support The Reader’s charitable work for children and young people across the UK.

Books & Brambles 

Credit: The Reader
Credit: The Reader

Set off to explore Books & Brambles in an imaginative play, arts and crafts session across the park with the Storyhunters every Saturday from 27 July – 31 August.

All Books & Brambles sessions can be booked individually so families and carers can join as many as they like. This adventure takes place around the park so sun cream or wellies are essentials. Best suited for four to nine-year-olds, and younger siblings are also welcome.

Family-friendly activities and workshops  

Perfectly timed to coincide with the day of the Wimbledon Ladies Final join best-selling author Katherine Woodfine (The Sinclairs Mysteries, The Clockwork Sparrow) on Saturday 13 July for a special reading of her new book Lottie the Little Wonder. It is based on the inspiring story of real-life tennis superstar Lottie Dod, who won Wimbledon FIVE times – including once when she was only 15-years-old!

This event will take place in The Reader Bookshop at Calderstones Park from 10am – 11am and is best suited for four to nine-year-olds, younger siblings welcome.

Running alongside regular weekly events during the summer holidays are family-friendly workshops in The Reader’s imaginative play space for children, The Storybarn.

Storybarn Celebrates Pride will take place on Saturday 27 July, 12pm – 1.30pm, celebrating Liverpool Pride 2024 with stories about friendship and community, as well as getting busy in the Craft Room creating something special to take home. Best suited for four to nine-year-olds, younger siblings welcome.

Families can meet a real archaeologist in Turn Back to the Stone Age on 24 August and dive into the past to learn about sabretooth tigers and big woolly mammoths. During three sessions, at 10am, 12.30pm and 2.45pm, there will be Stone Age bones to examine, stories and children will be creating their own prehistoric animal masks. Best suited for four to nine-year-olds, younger siblings welcome.

And the next Storybarn Relaxed Sessions, especially for families with autistic children and sensory conditions, will take place on Saturday 6 July and Saturday 3 August, 12.30pm – 1.45pm.

A Storyhunter will be on hand to help but there will be no activities or group story sharing giving families a chance to explore this wonderful imaginative play space at their own pace and in their own way. There is reduced capacity for this event.

Free, monthly Make at the Mansion arts and crafts sessions, suitable for older children and adults, will also continue to run at the Mansion House in Calderstones Park on Sunday 28 July and Sunday 25 August, 11am – 1pm.

The 1940s Garden Theatre

Open Air Theatre at Calderstones. Credit: The Reader
Open Air Theatre at Calderstones. Credit: The Reader

The Reader’s restored 1940s Garden Theatre will be home to a summer season of family-friendly open-air performances running from Thursday 18 July to Tuesday 22 August – perfect for pop-up picnics and pre-ordered pizzas.   

Just as the city’s schools break up for summer the season begins on Thursday 18 July with Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet by the award–winning open-air touring theatre company Illyria, from 7pm – 9.15pm.

On Sunday 4 August critically acclaimed cycling Shakespearean actors The HandleBards who carry all their set, props and costumes on the back of their bikes will present their fast and funny new production of The Comedy of Errors, 5pm –7pm. 

The season continues Tuesday 13 August with Hamlet, a new production by Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the UK’s premier all male theatre company, from 7pm – 9.15pm. 

Just So festival favourites The Fabularium, a superb family theatre company, is back by popular demand on Tuesday 20 August with two open-air performances of their 45-minute show Reynard the Fox featuring the woodlands’ most infamous scoundrel, from 11.30am –12.15pm and 1.30 – 2.15pm. 

Expect storytelling, puppetry and original live music with a beautifully intricate set and stunning animal headpieces. All ages are welcome, babies under 12 months go free.

Illyria return on Thursday 22 August with Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles based on the book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and adapted by Oliver Gray from 7pm – 9.15pm.  

All ages are welcome to each performance, with a recommended age of eight+, and babies under 12 months go free. Audiences are invited to bring a deckchair or picnic blanket.

Credit: The Reader
Credit: The Reader

Page to Stage Shared Reading workshops

New this year, is The Reader’s first ever series of From Page to Stage Shared Reading workshops allowing guests to get the most out of this season’s plays. They are perfect for anyone looking to dive deeper into the script, including teenagers studying any of the texts at school.

Each workshop will take place on the same day as each performance: Romeo and Juliet on Thursday 18 July, A Comedy of Errors on Sunday 4 August, Hamlet on Tuesday 13 August, and The Hound of the Baskervilles on Thursday 22 August.

For babies and toddlers 

Throughout the summer holidays Incy Wincy Rhymers will continue to run every Friday and Saturday at The Storybarn at 10am and 12.30pm. These Sessions for one to four-year-olds and their families explore classic stories, family favourites and nursery rhymes through storytelling and sing-a-longs.

There are also free drop-in Relaxed Reading sessions for parents, carers and babies every Wednesday, 10am – 11.30am, at The Mansion House, Calderstones Park. This is the perfect opportunity to catch up on reading grown-up books or poems with your baby in tow and enjoy the chance to meet others. There is no pressure to read aloud. 

The Mansion House will be open seven days a week with guided tours exploring the history of the house every Tuesday at 2pm, and the History of the House exhibition, and the ancient Calder Stones which give the local area its name, which are on display every day.

To see the full Summer programme at The Reader click here.

For the latest news in Liverpool click here.



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