Half term activity ideas

Here’s your roundup of free and low cost family friendly activities for the 2019 October half term.

The Royal Armouries is free entry and open 10am-5pm. The half term programme focuses on Movie Monsters, with a ghost hunters tour, masterclass on how monsters are created on the big screen and workshop on preparing for the zombie apolocalypse. royalarmouries.org (0113) 220 1999 (LS10 1LT).

Leeds Museums & Galleries offer a range of fangtastic family Halloween events across nine unique attractions.

Discover the real stories behind Halloween at Leeds Industrial Museum. Family craft sessions include willow wand making, crafting dreamcatchers, jack-o’-lanterns and making oat milk bath bombs from the autumn harvest of the colour garden. There’s also daily Mystery Matinees in the 1920s Palace Picture House, screening vintage classics and family favourites from 2pm.

Leeds Discovery Centre is local hidden gem. There’s a free Beastly Beasts workshop and Spooky Tour on Wednesday 30 October (10am & 1pm). Bring your battery-powered candles for the pre-Halloween spook-fest. Investigate the weird world of museum monsters. Dressing-up optional. Call (0113) 378 2100 to book. (LS10 1LB)

There’s ghoulish goings on at Abbey House Museum with creepy crafts in the Victorian Streets and silly science with gory goo, ghosts, bugs and bubbles!

Head to Kirkstall Abbey for free family friendly activities including the Tuesday under-5s session and a not so scary scarecrow trail through the ruins of the abbey between 29 October – 3 November.

There’s more outdoor fun at Thwaite Watermill. Grab a nature pack from reception and hit the eco trail along the canal. There’s creepy crafts on Tuesday and ghoulish goings on at Experimental Thursday in Thwaite House too!

If you fancy something a little less spooky then head to Leeds City Museum and celebrate the return of their pilot whale! Have a whale of a time with underwater themed crafts, making your own junk jellyfish to take home and join the family. The museum’s pop-up ‘Sensory Room’ for families with additional needs will take place on Thursday 31st October 2019, 10am-12noon, and includes bubble tube, dark tents and tactile toys, for a calmer moment on your museum trip in the holidays. (Free but booking essential).

Leeds Art Gallery will be joined by artist in residence Lou Samray who will be guiding arts and crafts sessions inspired by the current exhibitions. All materials are provided and it’s totally free too!

Head to museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk for more details.

Join Friends of Middleton Park for free children’s play activities 1-3pm on Tuesday 29 & Wednesday 30 October. Plus the Middleton Park bonfire (7pm) and fireworks (7.30pm) on Tuesday 5 November.

For holiday childcare, check out the popular camps run by The Hunslet Club, Asha Neighbourhood Project and LS-TEN skatepark.

The Hunslet Club provides daily activities for hundreds of children across a range of sports and performing arts. Full timetable at hunsletclub.org.uk/the-hunslet-club/timetables. Their annual Halloween party takes place on Friday 1 November (LS10 1BP).

LS-TEN also runs mini riders sessions every week for under-8s (4-5pm Mondays & Wednesdays, 9am Sundays, £4) as well as open skate park sessions and other events. Visit the website ls-ten.org for listings or call (0113) 532 5357 (LS10 1NT).

On Tuesday 29th October, Skelton Grange (LS10 1RS) is running a Bushcraft Day (10am-4pm) for 8-13 year olds (contact Harry on 0113 243 0815) and there will also be a FREE Leaf Art Session at Middleton Park Visitor Centre (or the Bandstand if it’s nice weather) for tots to pre-teens, run by Forest School Plus (just turn up on the day for this).

The Playful Leeds team of fun ambassadors will be out on Briggate again this October half term, bringing the famous Playbox full of FREE creative, crafty, inventive, colourful and fun activities for children and the young at heart (31st October -3rd November, 11am-4pm).

And look out for the upcoming Leeds Baby Week (2nd – 9th November 2019) events, including free taster sessions, workshops and giveaways for expectant and new parents.

I’m Helen Robinson and I run local parents’ website and community, South Leeds Mumbler: southleeds.mumbler.co.uk; or @SouthLeedsMumbler on Facebook.