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Best things to do this summer holidays for kids in and around Manchester

School's out for summer! All the best things to do with the kids in and around Manchester this school holidays summer 2023

School’s out for summer, as Alice Cooper once said. That means six weeks to, ahem, enjoy with the kids.

So we’ve put together a handy guide to keep the kids entertained without having to lock them in a room.

Manchester is dialling up the summer fun with a jam-packed programme of events, art workshops and exciting food and drink on the menu.

If you’re worried about running out of ideas for things for kids to do before the end of the first week, we have a line-up of some of the best, and (mainly) free, family-friendly events in and around Manchester to keep them entertained.

Summer Reading Challenge at Manchester Libraries

The weather may be a mixed bag this summer, but our welcome is always sunny in Libraries!  If you haven’t joined the Summer Reading Challenge already, what are you waiting for?  You can sign up at your local library for free!  We have lots of other activities to keep you busy including a Saturday Spectacular and the re-opening of Abraham Moss Library too!

Head into nature with the Creatures of Cottonopolis guided nature trail

Connect with nature in the heart of the city, with the engaging and educational Creatures of Cottonopolis nature trail. Simply collect a trail sheet from Alex’s Bakery, The Book Nook or Little Northerners at Great Northern Warehouse, and head off in search of everything that the trail has to discover – from tiny wildlife and creepy crawlies, to edible flowers and exciting scavenger challenges. Taking place on Thursday 17th, Thursday 24th and Thursday 31st August. For more information or to book the nature trail, please visit here

Tiny Tuesdays at Little Northerners

 Perfect for restless babies and toddlers, or any parents looking for ways to keep the kiddies occupied throughout August, Tiny Tuesdays, guarantees an engaging morning of tales for tykes in the Little Northerners Book Nook. Designed for toddlers up to pre-school age, Little Northerners hosts free interactive story time sessions at 11.30am on Tuesday 15th, Tuesday 22nd and Tuesday 29th August. Little Northerners Book Nook is located within Great Northern Warehouse on the first floor beside Oden cinema. For more information, please visit here

The Conker Crew at Great Northern Warehouse

 Taking place on Monday 14th between 10am – 2pm, children and parents can get back to nature whilst enjoying a relaxed, forest-school style nature connection session. With games and interactive, educational experiences available for the children, and a free hot drink and snack served at the end of every session for parents.

For more information or to book a free session, please visit here.

Channel your inner-zen with Amphitheatre Yoga

 Whether you are an experienced Yogi or you’re looking to improve your skills, the free sun-kissed outdoor Amphitheatre Yoga sessions are suitable for the whole family. With yoga mats provided, the Amphitheatre Yoga sessions take place every Sunday throughout August, between 11am – 11.45am. Although the sessions are free, places must be booked in advance. For more information or to book a space on the next session, please visit here

Kids Cinema Club and eat free at MOTLEY Manchester

Looking to keep the kids entertained this summer whilst enjoying a meal out? Then head down to MOTLEY Manchester to enjoy their brand new Kids Cinema Club movie screenings, complete with complimentary popcorn for your minis  throughout the school summer break.

Launching this Sunday, 20th August at 2pm and running weekly on Sundays after that, kids can also eat free at MOTLEY, located on the ground floor of YOTEL Manchester Deansgate, making it the perfect choice to enjoy an afternoon relaxing in their stylish restaurant over the summer holidays.

To make the experience even sweeter, MOTLEY will treat kids to a portion of complimentary popcorn per showing, adding a touch of delight to the movie magic. Screenings will include much-loved Disney classics like Encanto and family favourites like Sing.  Screenings will be shown in the plush and comfortable karaoke room from 2pm every Sunday, allowing parents to relax and enjoy a meal or drinks while the little ones are entertained.

In order for your child to participate in the Kids Cinema Club at MOTLEY, they must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times. Additionally, there is a minimum spend of £15 in MOTLEY required from each accompanying adult. These terms and conditions apply to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all guests to MOTLEY.

Whilst at MOTLEY, adults can treat their “mini me’s” to a variety of options from the newly launched kid’s menu, including a crispy chicken burger, traditional curry with steamed rice or a cheese burger. For a feast fit for all the family, guests can receive one free kid’s main meal for every adult main meal purchased between 12pm and 5pm Monday – Friday, until 1st September. Advance bookings only – book now here

Box on the Docks at MediaCity

MediaCity dialls up the summer fun with a jam-packed programme of events, art workshops and exciting food and drink on the menu.

With MediaCity being a place of culture, content, and creativity, the Box on the Docks and Salford Loading Quayside summer event programme have something for all audiences. Children can enjoy crafting activities and creative sessions throughout the summer break whilst animal lovers can get involved with the second annual ‘Dogs on the Docks’ Dog Show (12th August – 1pm-4pm). Visitors will also get a chance to enjoy delicious food froma range of independent vendors, including the new additional to BOTD, BAB K, serving unique kebabs and meze all August.

There are free things to do for the whole family with programmed events at MediaCity’s much loved Box on the Docks, as well as the Kids Crafty summer programme at Quayside offering free creative workshops for children hosted by independent artists and business owners of the Salford Loading community.

For art lovers, The Lowry in collaboration with publishers Macmillan Children’s Books and Scholastic, is hosting a new exhibition celebrating the acclaimed partnership between Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. The two have created some of the world’s best-loved and best-selling children’s books, including The Gruffalo, Zog, Room on the Broom, The Smeds and the Smoos, and most recently, The Baddies.

Summer Daze at Trafford Centre

There’s plenty to keep the kids happy at Trafford Centre over the school holidays.

Why not head down to Summer Daze @ Trafford Centre from 22 July – 4 September.

Summer Daze is an ace day out featuring live music, an outdoor cinema, sport event live streams, a summer-themed funfair, a new outdoor food & entertainment hub, a beach, AND a splash park!

Entry to Summer Daze is on a first come first served basis. The only element of the outdoor event which is available to pre-book is the fairground.

And don’t forget there’s a huge ten-pin bowling alley, Namco Funscape, Laser Quest, The Rock and Odeon IMAX cinema to keep them happy too.

Find out more here

Get your skates on at the Star Wash Roller Disco

Billed as the funkiest rink in town, the Star Wash Roller Disco is open all summer-long at Trafford Centre, from 19th July – 27th August.

Lose yourself in a kaleidoscope of colours, neon floor and funky tunes as you zoom around the rink under the sparkling disco ball!

Led by The StarWash crew of cool cats under a giant sparkling mirror ball bringing the D.I.S.C.O. vibes, this is more than just a roller rink, it’s an immersive experience where skaters can ‘get down’ both on and off the rink.

From glitter-tastic face bling action and disco flashmob dances, to jive-talking banter, you never know what will be happening at the StarWash!

As well as letting the good vibes roll on the rink with roller boots to fit young and old, the StarWash experience has a fresh and funky photo booth to capture your star quality StarWash vibe – dang you look good!

Book now here

Experitots at the Science and Industry Museum

During these relaxed sessions, toddlers and their adults are encouraged to play, explore and experiment together. Their team of friendly explainers are on hand to support young explorers throughout the morning.

Will you make light move? Can you find the heat in your body? How tall a tower can you build?

Discover the wonder and delight of science at work whilst making memories with your favourite tiny people.

From April to July 2023, Experitots will take place in Experiment, our family-friendly interactive gallery.

Tickets are priced £3 per person and are on sale now.

From September 2023 to May 2024, our monthly sessions will alternate between Experiment and our Special Exhibitions Gallery, where you can enjoy a playful adventure through Operation Ouch! exhibition.

Tickets for Experitots sessions within Operation Ouch! are free for ages 3 and under, £9 for children ages 4 and older and £10 for adults.

Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Road, Manchester, England, United Kingdom

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