BAM Bristol Father’s Day Fun

Well, obviously none of us had forgotten that it’s Father’s Day this weekend (ahem) so it will come as no surprise that there’s loads of great events going on. Here’s some that caught our eye…

Sock Puppet Workshop
Sat 17 June
13:00 – 16:00
Tickets £3.50
What dad doesn’t dream of waking up to a hand made sock puppet on Father’s Day? Join the dreamy Let’s Make Art down at the Harbourside for this afternoon workshop and take your friendly fella home with you afterwards.

Ball Mania
16 – 18 June
Various times
Tickets £8.25
If you’ve ever watched your kids have all the fun in the ball pit or sneaked in but spent the whole time terrified about squashing a toddler, look this way. Perhaps not the best name but ditch the kids for half an hour and go wild in the adults-only ball pit!

Open Studios 2017
16 – 18 June
Various times
There is a mind-boggling array of talent at Jamaica Street, making their Open Studios one of the highlights of the Bristol calendar. Explore the studios of 30 artists working in paint, print, film, illustration, photography, textiles and much more. Not to be missed!

Festival of Nature
Sun 18 June
11:00 – 17:00
After hitting up the Harbourside last weekend, The Festival of Nature heads to Keynsham where you can expect guided nature walks, a bio-blitz to find as many species as possible, a campervan cinema and live street theatre from Desperate Men.

Songhoy Blues Live
Sat 17 June
Early evening gig from the phenomenal Malian band as they release their new album ‘Resistance’. Brilliant way to introduce young uns to live music and a chance to stock up on your vinyl at the same time. Live gigs at Rise feature in our guide to free artsy activities in Bristol.

Retroville Street Market
Sun 18 June
10:00 – 14:30
Have a gander at the goodies on offer at the market than never fails to delight. Vintage & retro clothing, furniture and records as well as art, craft and delicious food.

Big Fish Little Fish
Sun 18 June
13:30 – 16:30
Tickets £7.50
Indulge in a bit of dad dancing and get back to your Drum & Bass roots at this Father’s Day family rave. Expect a multi sensory dance floor and craft table among other activities.

Father’s Day Classics
17 – 18 June
10:00 – 16:00 each day
Free with admission
Get stuck into some classic car spotting at Tyntesfield this weekend. Can’t think of a better way to hang out with your dad! There’s also spoon carving on offer if you go down there on Sunday.

Big high fives to all the dads, step-dads, grand-dads and single-mums! Hope you all have a great weekend!

💥 BAM 💥

As always, please check times and availability before setting out. The events in this guide are in no way affiliated with BAM. If you think we’ve missed anything then let us know!

BAM meets The Time Seekers

If any of you joined Alph, Betty and Gammo on their previous adventure through space, you’ll know that it was a wonderfully silly and lots of fun. You may have decided which planet to visit and helped find one of the glowing plasma orbs needed to fix the Bristol Space Station.

Next week, the gang are setting off on a new journey through time and they need adventurers like you to join them! We caught up with the three explorers to ask them some very important questions…

Hi Alph, Betty & Gammo! What have you been up to since we journeyed through space?
Hi there! Since our space adventure we’ve been learning all about TIME as we are busy working at Bristol Time Station. Our boss, Professor Professor, has just finished her latest invention… a time machine! It allows people to travel forwards and backwards through time! We are also planning for Gammo’s birthday which is tomorrow, he’s having a party and you’re all invited!

Yes! We love a party! Where are you going next and will you need any helpers?
We’ve just found out that the clock which keeps time moving forwards has broken and that the clock pieces have been scattered through time. They could be anywhere – in the past, present or future! We’re going to need the help of lots of brave Time Seekers to help us find where the clock pieces might be, otherwise time will stop and Gammo’s birthday will never happen! We can’t wait for the time adventure – maybe we’ll meet a dinosaur, visit Ancient Egypt or even hear what music sounds like in the future!

Sounds great! Will you be taking any snacks with you?
Alph loooooves food and always packs a big bag of snacks to take with him. He especially likes sandwiches!

Us too. Bristol Arts Monster would like to know who your art throbs are?
Lara Hawthorne, Harriet Lee-Merion, Laurie Stansfield, Hannah Broadway, Pirrip Press, and Lina Lofstrand – all wonderful women making beautiful artwork in Bristol!

They all sound ace! What are your favourite pieces of public art in Bristol?
Alph likes the big bear sculpture in the bear pit at the bottom of Stokes Croft – we hope we don’t bump into any of those on our adventures! Betty likes the big colourful rings outside the Children’s Hospital because they she wants to launch her space rocket through them! Gammo likes the bunnies outside The Little Shop, drawn by Alex Lucas

Thanks guys! Can’t wait to see you at Wardrobe Theatre!

The Time Seekers is at Wardrobe Theatre 29th May – 4th June with several shows per day. Tickets are £8 and under 3s are free. For more information on the show visit The Wardrobe Theatre website.

If The Star Seekers is anything to go by, it will be a show that you and your little legs will remember for a long time!

For more excellent half term ideas, check out the BAM Summer Half Term Round Up.

💥 BAM 💥

BAM Summer Half Term Round Up 2017

Another half term, another bewildering array of events on offer for Bristol families who want to get stuck into the arts. We are so lucky! Here are the ones that have caught our eye…

Second Look’s Photomarathon 2017
Sat 3 June
10:00 – 17:00 (cameras must be collected by 13:00)
Tickets from £12 per group
We love a photomarathon! Each group will be given a disposable camera and a list of topics which must be taken in the order they’re provided. A really fun way to get creative with your family and an excellent opportunity to make the most of your kids’ imaginations! Pick up the cameras from the Touch exhibition where you are encouraged to touch, interact and make.

Stomping Story: Pirates Love Underpants
Wed 31 May
11:00 – 11:45
Tickets £5 (only children pay)
Hop aboard the Black Bloomer for a walk sail in search of the glittering pants of gold! This story goes down a storm in the BAM household so we’re sure your little legs will enjoy this stomping story too.

Free Outdoor Screening: The Jungle Book (1967)
Thu 1 June
12:00 – 13:30
Grab a picnic and enjoy this screening of the original Disney animation The Jungle Book in Millennium Square. Expecting a full on sing-a-long!

Half Term at The Hub
Tues 30 May & Thu 1 June
13:00 – 15:00
Tickets £3.50
Let’s Make Art are coming to your rescue this half term! They’re going to be entertaining your littles for two hours, giving you the chance to settle down with a book, your work, your laptop… whatever! Your kids will enjoy some popcorn and film and then they’ll be exploring robot themed printmaking, collage and sculpture.

Treasure Island Story Walk
27 May – 4 June
14:00 & 16:00 daily
Tickets from £5 (suitable for ages 8+)
Join Show of Strength Theatre for a tour of the harbour that will take in secret spy holes and the dirty deeds of Bristol’s most notorious buccaneers. Oh, and expect some top quality pirate gags along the way!

Easton Arts Trail
3 – 4 June
11:00 – 18:00
Head to BS5 and enjoy snooping around houses admiring the work of local artists! There’ll be a range of art and food events and the artists showing represent a huge range of mediums. Definitely worth a trundle round the neighbourhood.

Holiday Stay & Play
30 May – 3 June
Various times
Drop In / Tickets from £5
Everyone’s favourite junk haus is the place to be this half term! As well as their regular Under 5s Messy Play and Super Saturday sessions, there are one off workshops with different themes including print making, tunnels and mazes and space robots. Something for everyone!

Half Term Workshops
27 May – 4 June
Various times
FREE – £6 depending on event
A lovely range of workshops on offer including Improvisation, Mask Making and Film in a Day, as well as a theatre performance of award winning Alf and the Highway Man. The prices range from free or donations to just £6 so really good value too. An excellent opportunity to check out this new creative space!

Let’s Make Art: B O X HE A D S
27 – 28 May
Tickets from £49.50
If you’re heading to Eastville Park with your little legs to see the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Little Dragon, Shy FX, Kate Tempest and Sherwood & Pinch, you’ll be pleased to hear that Let’s Make Art will be there to keep them entertained with their amazing Boxhead workshop. Without a shadow of doubt, one of the highlights of our 2016, you’d be a fool to not have a go!

Holiday Family Fun
Tues 30 May
11:00 – 15:00
Pay What You Think
Explore the collections and exhibitions through hands on activities led by Children’s Scrapstore. Also at Blaise Castle Museum on Weds 31 May.

Seussical: The Musical
31 May – 3 June
Tickets £13.50
Join the Cat in the Hat for a musical extravaganza that will take in all your Dr Seuss favourites. Full of colourful characters and enchanted lands, this sounds like a hoot! Despite the later performance time, this is a family show.

Pop Art Workshop
Wed 31 May
10:30 – 12:30
FREE with entry to exhibition
Join Let’s Make Art for a pop art extavanganza where you’ll be drawing on acetate over collage. Drop in session so no need to book.

Summer Fair 2017
Sat 3 June
12:00 – 19:30
An absolute highlight of the Bristol calendar, there’ll be a live music, food and craft stalls, workshops and much more. Best of all, you’re supporting the farm in all the great work they do throughout the year.

Much Ado About Puffin
30 – 31 May
11:00 & 14:00 daily
Tickets £9
This non-verbal family show from Open Attic will use puppetry and music to tell a funny tale of a man alone and a puffin. This show has received great reviews around the country and will teach littles about new friendships and stepping out into the unknown!

Family Woodworking 2017
Sun 28 May
Various times
Led by the Somerset Bodgers, you’ll use traditional hand tools and wood from the Tyntesfield Estate to create your very own pencil, whistle or small animal.

The Time Seekers
29 May – 4 June
Various times
Tickets £8 (under 3s FREE)
If you saw The Star Seekers, you’ll no doubt already be pretty excited about the next adventures of Alph, Betty & Gamma.  If not, buckle up and get ready to travel through time and find out what a Diplodocus’s favourite bedtime story is. And don’t forget to read our interview with the three explorers here.

Family Craft Workshop
Fri 2 June
10:00 – 12:00
A morning of swashbuckling fun awaits any little pirates wanting to make pirate badges, costumes and maps. You’ll be guided by local artists and you can stay for the 13:00 screening of Aardman’s Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (a firm BAM family favourite!) afterwards if you wish.

Have a great time everyone!

💥 BAM 💥

This round up is purely intended as a guide and none of the events are affiliated with BAM. If you think we’re missing something amazing, please feel free to email us.

#BAMArtChat Tweet Chat Guide


BAM Family Art Chat (#BAMArtChat)

Join us for our first tweet chat all about getting creative with your family!

We’ll be joined by @letsmakeartkids who will be there to answer any creative dilemmas you might have and everyone’s welcome! It’s not all about Bristol so if you’re from out of town, please do join in. You might have some brilliant ideas to share with us!

How will it work?
Firstly, you will need to search for #BAMArtChat in Twitter. This will bring up the chat stream. You may want to change it so it’s ordered Latest rather than Top, that way you’ll see what everyone is saying.

The chat will take place on Tuesday 9th May from 20:30-21:30. We will tweet out five questions over the course of the chat. Each question will be numbered Q1, Q2, Q3 etc. To answer simply begin your tweet with the relevant number: A1, A2, A3 etc.

So, for example…
Q1 Who is your absolute art throb? #BAMArtChat
A1 Picasso, can’t wait for the @tate Modern exhibition next year #BAMArtChat

To join the conversation simply use the hashtag #BAMArtChat and your tweets will show in the stream. You’ll be able to see everyone else’s comments there too.

Top Tips
Share your tips, problems, success stories, photos… whatever! We’d love to hear what you have to say.

Remember to use the hashtag #BAMArtChat in every tweet so we don’t miss it. It might be handy to copy and paste it so you don’t have to type it out each time.

And don’t just chat with us, chat with each other. We’re all about sharing tips and stories so we can inspire each other to be more creative with our kids.

What we’ll be chatting about
We’ll be talking about the different ways we can be creative with our kids and the hurdles we sometimes face, great family arts experiences, the importance of taking our children to museums, galleries, theatres etc and much more.

Really looking forward to chatting with you at the first #BAMArtChat!

💥 BAM 💥

BAM Family Festival Guide 2017

Pre-kids, music festivals were hands down the highlight of our year. From getting GCSE results at Reading Festival, to badge making stalls at Secret Garden Party, not a summer has gone by where we haven’t bust out the tent and sparkles and braved the mud / dust / torrential rain / blazing sunshine.

Nowadays it can seem like a daunting prospect but that urge to stomp around a field hasn’t left us so we’ve put together a little guide to festivals within easy reach of Bristol. Limited to a 1.5 hour drive from town, these are all family friendly festivals that are close enough to Bristol so that, if the weather’s shocking, pegging it home and returning the next day are always an option.

If you haven’t been to a festival with kids before, take a look at This is Ladyland’s fantastic guide to packing for a festival with kids.

So, in date order…

19-20 May 2017
Featuring: Molotov Jukebox, DJ Cheeba, Circe’s Diner
Blackborough, Devon
1 hour 30 mins from Bristol
This ‘little festival with a big heart’ showcases local talent alongside national acts and promises lots for the kids including a forest school, story telling, graffiti workshops and craft workshops. Arrive Friday lunch and head off after breakfast on Sunday – the perfect length for anyone with younger nippers. Adults £30, Kids £10, under 2s FREE (tent pitch £30)

25 – 28 May 2017
Featuring: Skunk Anansie, Seasick Steve & Madness
Catton Hall, South Derbyshire
2 hours from Bristol
Yes, this one is just outside our 1.5 hour zone but as Winner of Best Family Festival at UK Festival Awards 2016, we had to include it! As well as an actual school so the kids aren’t bunking off, there’s a village green area with puppet shows, ukulele jams, family yoga, sing-a-longs, DJ workshops, art workshops, a craft tent and a baby area. This year’s theme is also one of the best we’ve come across… Mobsters & Lobsters! Worth that extra little schlep! Adults £110, Teens £60, Kids £25, under 7s FREE

2 – 4 June 2017
Featuring: Buzzcocks, Levellers, Billy Bragg
Cheltenham Racecourse
50 mins from Bristol
As well as entertainment such as magic, puppets, there are a dazzling array of workshops on offer including screen printing, junk percussion, knitting, willow, craft and experimental music! Adult £165, Teen £70, Kid £27.50, under 5s FREE

29 June – 2 July 2017
Featuring: Tom Odell, James Vincent McMorrow
Over, Gloucester
40 mins from Bristol
This small festival is located on a farm so children can get up close to all the animals including ostriches. The music is the main event here but there are also lots of food and craft stalls. Adult £110, under 10s FREE

27 – 30 July 2017
Featuring: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Benjamin Zephaniah & The Revolutionary Minds, Goat
Charlton Park, Wiltshire
45 mins from Bristol
Circus area, puppet making, story telling, a musical playground, climbing wall and other adventure activities are just some of the family friendly WOMAD offerings. Adults £175, Teens, £85, under 14s FREE

28-29 July 2017
Featuring: Roots Manuva, DJ Yoda, Melt Yourself Down, Nightmares on Wax
Gilcombe Farm, Bruton, Somerset
1 hour 5 mins from Bristol
Farmfest is a lovely small festival that packs a lot in! Located in beautiful Bruton there are some top acts playing as well as lots for the littles including kung fu classes, hat making, botanical print workshop, graffiti workshop with Graft, kid’s yoga, magic show, craft sessions, story telling, dance classes and more. Another Friday lunchtime – Sunday morning affair, this is a great shout for Bristol families. Adult £85, Teen £63, under 13s FREE

2 – 6 August 2017
Barton Hill Farm, Monnow Valley
1 hour 20 mins from Bristol
This one is a bit different! Forest school, den buidling, art workshops, adult fitness fun, animal orienteering, family raves, fancy dress discos, live music from Boudica Boogaloo, a talent show, woodland playground and, best of all, our pals Let’s Make Art will be doing art workshops. Starry Skies aims to give a family holiday experience that doesn’t leave the parents needing another holiday to recover! Adults £130, Kids £40, under 5s FREE.

3 – 6 August 2017
Featuring: Grace Jones, Bonobo, Toots & the Metals
Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
1 hour 20 mins from Bristol
Part music festival, part food fair, Wilderness is the definition of boutique family festival! Cricket matches, story telling, theatre, craft sessions, floristry workshops, yoga, cartooning and our personal highlight ‘Pimp Your Pineapple’! There’s even a nannying service so you can go off and enjoy the festival and pretend you’re in your 20s and child free for a few hours! Adults £180, Teens £120, Junior £40, Child £7

Valleyfest is idyllic. Not only is it completely beautiful up there, the festival is arranged in such a way that you feel as if it’s enclosing you and your family in a huge circle of fun and togetherness. Considering it’s a bus ride from Bristol, it’d be a great shame to miss out! – The Bristol Parent

4-6 August 2017
Featuring: This Is The Kit, Smerins Anti-Social Club
Chew Valley Lake
31 mins from Bristol
Just a hop away from Bristol, Valley Fest is somewhere the kids can run wild. No firm details at the moment but there is lots promised. And with a glowing recommendation from none other that The Bristol Parent, it must be good! Adult £110, Teen £40, Kids £20, under 5s FREE

17-20 August 2017
Featuring: PJ Harvey, Roni Size, Future Islands, Kate Tempest
Brecon Beacons, Wales
1 hour 10 mins from Bristol
One of the bigger ones on the list but so much for families to look forward to. Again, family line up is still to be confirmed but the kids area caters for little adventurers as well as older kids and there’ll be a cosmic parade! Adult £180, Kids £20, under 5s FREE

31 August – 3 September 2017
Featuring: Father John Misty, Romare, Mac DeMarco
Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset
1 hour 30 mins from Bristol
Again, information on kids activities not yet announced but previous years have included painting, drawing and animation classes alongside circus tricks, songwriting sessions, yoga and origami. Adult £189, Teen £145, Kids £70, Toddler £40, under 2s FREE

Happy festival season!

💥 BAM 💥

This guide is intended purely as recommendations and the events aren’t affiliated with us. If you think there are others we should include, please get in touch!

BAM meets Jane Porter of Bring Your Baby

When was the last time you went to an exhibition with little legs in tow and felt like you really got it? These days it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to peruse all the blurbs and insights at your leisure so it’s easy to feel like you’ve missed out a bit.

Enter Jane Porter and Bring Your Baby – relaxed, friendly tours of Bristol’s best exhibitions. Taking inspiration from the success of baby friendly tours at other museums such as the British Museum, Whitechapel and the Whitney in New York, Jane approached Bristol galleries with an idea to start something similar. A few tried it but had little success so, a year later, Jane decided to offer to lead the tours herself.

With her background in arts and connections with other parents, her tours quickly gained in popularity and now regularly sell out. The effort she puts in to researching the exhibitions and artists is very evident and her talks are peppered with interesting facts and insights, as well as her own thoughts on the artwork.  We decided to learn a little bit more about what the tours mean to her.

Why did you start Bring Your Baby?
So many reasons! 

I found it really hard to go to art events when I had my first baby. After working as a production manager for artist films, I was used to seeing people at openings and events. Yes, you can go during the day with your baby, but it’s nice to see people too. When I went back to work I felt really out the loop. 

I had a friend who did baby tours at the British Museum and I knew that I would have loved to have that when I was on maternity leave and it would have helped me feel more in touch. So I met with her, Whitechapel and emailed the Whitney in New York because they do them too. I picked up some tips and approached some galleries in Bristol, suggesting they add this to their programme. 

When you meet people through having kids, sometimes that is all you have in common, which can be hard. A big part of BYB is that you might meet people with similar interests, or at least spark a conversation about something new. 

How important do you think it is to get parents into museums and galleries?
It’s integral to my reasons for starting BYB. 

When I started back at work after my first baby a friend told me about a project by two artists Kim Dhillon and Andrea Francke. They had published a book – The Invisible Spaces of Parenthood. It was amazing! It was about all sorts of aspects of feminism, being an artist and having kids and how childcare could be set up and types of creative play. But one thing that stood out for me was in one of the essays where it talked about visibility of parents in art schools and galleries. It talked about the importance of the presence of parents in these places so that other people / artists would see them and think ‘if I have kids that is what I can do.’ Rather than ‘if I have kids I don’t see myself coming here.’ This allows artists to imagine becoming parents and not seeing the two choices as either or.

I found that super inspiring. This is the reason I always do the talks when the gallery is open, if possible. Some places do it before the public comes in, but I prefer the group to be visible. 

What’s the best thing about running them?
For me personally the best thing is that I get to spend time researching artists and their work. It’s been such a long time since I could give an exhibition this amount of attention and it’s reminding me of how I felt about art to begin with. 

But my favourite thing overall is how the audience responds. I get so many thank yous and kind comments about how glad people are that it’s happening. People seem genuinely grateful and happy to be at something that is for them, not just their baby. 

Who is your personal art throb? 
I’ve had a few. I loved Simon Starling when I was at college. But that was a while back.

What’s your favourite piece of public art in Bristol?
Obviously the Whitchurch and Hengrove Community Orchard! It’s planted in the shape of a Cathedral on Whitchurch Green. I produce the engagement programme for it so naturally I think it’s brilliant! 

When chatting with Jane, one of the aspects that really stuck with me was the idea of visibility that she mentions and the importance of taking our children into these environments so that others see us and think, ‘When I have kids, I’ll bring them to exhibitions too’. If we help to break down that idea of museums being an adult-only environment where children are unwelcome, we’ll be on our way to bringing up a generation of little art lovers.

After all, in the words of Bob & Roberta Smith…

©️Bob & Roberta Smith

Bring Your Baby is at the Arnolfini’s Basim Magdy exhibition on Tuesday 6th June and the Whitchurch and Hengrove Community Orchard on Saturday 13th May, where everyone is invited to bring a picnic and learn more about the Orchard Arts Projects. A wonderful way to take in some art and meet like minded parents!

💥 BAM 💥

BAM Bank Holiday highlights

There’s so much going on this weekend, we thought we’d put together a really quick little guide for you. As always, by no means exhaustive but here are some family arts events that have caught our eye, including some out of town day trips!

We Are Family
Saturday 29 April
13:00 – 16:00
FREE (Donations welcome)
Experiment with film in this workshop inspired by the current Basim Magdy exhibition (also, well worth a look with kids) and see your creations projected onto the wall.  Aimed at 5+ but younger children welcome. We are really looking forward to this!

BEDMINSTER (various venues)
Breakfast in Bedminster
Saturday 29 April
08:00 – 12:00
Roll over to Bedminster in your PJs and take part in this celebration of the most important meal of the day! With special menus from around 20 different cultures and special screenings of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Breakfast Club, this is the perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday morning.

Vintage & Decorative Antiques Market
Sunday 30 April
08:30 – 16:00
A little further afield but there’s something special about nosing around a big vintage market and gawping at the weird and wonderful objects. We like to take photos and use them to make collages at home.

Djordje Ozbolt and Elisabeth Frink exhibitions
Open Daily
10:00 – 17:00
FREE (Donations welcome)
We love Bristol but sometimes you just need to escape the city! And there’s nowhere better to escape than this beautiful gallery in Bruton, only an hours drive from the city centre. You could even learn more about Frink’s work by listening to this podcast on your drive over there! And if you go on before Sunday you can also catch the Gavin Turk exhibition at the nearby Bruton Art Factory.

Spike Island Open 2017
28 April – 1 May
Various times
One of the highlights of the Bristol arts calendar, this is your chance to go behind the scenes and see how printmakers, writers, designers, animators and photographers work. There’s also performances, talks, installations and film screenings. Oh, and some of Bristol’s best street food traders will be joining the Spike Island Cafe to keep you fed and watered! Not to be missed.

World Pinhole Day camera workshops
Sunday 30 April
Various times
Tickets from £5 per group
We could get very evangelical about the wonders of pinhole photography but we’ll spare you and, instead, just strongly urge you take part in one of these great workshops. Take your own pinhole selfie and learn more about the process. A lovely way to introduce your kids to analogue photography.

Graffiti Nation
28 April – 12 May
Check times
If July and the return of the mighty Upfest seem a long way off, scratch that street art itch at this exhibition featuring some of the finest including Inkie, Cheo, Voyder, 45RPM and Sepr. (And if you’re a fan of street art, make sure you follow us on Instagram where we often feature some of our favourites!)

Morgan & West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show for Kids
Sunday 30 April
Tickets from £5
Magical silliness comes to town and promises to entertain kids and childish grown-ups alike. After selling out London’s Southbank, this one sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday!

As always, please check time and event details with the venue before setting out – we, like you, are sleep deprived parents and not above making mistakes! And do let us know if you think we’ve missed anything out.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

💥 BAM 💥

BAM Easter Family Arts highlights

The Easter holidays are here and really, Bristol, where do we begin? Theatre, pottery, drama, sculpture, stand up comedy… something for everyone. This is by no means an exhaustive list but we’ve gathered together some of our favourites.

Easter Trail
Sat 15 April
Various times
Tickets £10 per child
Children will have the choice of either decorating a basket or creating an egg costume before heading out on a trail to find clues and chocolate. Led by Let’s Make Art and How Brave is the Wren, this one will be a very bit special.

Captain Barnacle Pirate Panto
13 & 21 April
Various times
Tickets from £5
Join Captain Barnacle as he takes you on a one hour trip around the harbour in this panto that promises audience participation, puppets, props and a right old sing song.

Green Man Clay Workshop
Mon 10 April
10:30 – 14:00
Tickets £40
This isn’t a cheap one but your kids (ages 7+) will be taught how to create and glaze their very own stoneware greenman, led by expert potter Sarah Donovan. It will then be fired to take home later in the month. Next stop Great Pottery Throw Down!

The Pixies’ Scarf
10 – 16 April
Various times
From £7, under 3s go free
The wonderful Soap Soup Theatre return to The Wardrobe Theatre with this story of a human child who stumbles across a portal to the world of the pixies. Puppetry and music will help make this a magical adventure.

Tales in the Attic – By Day
18 – 23 April
Various times
Tickets £7, under 3s go free
Open Attic Company have gathered together storytellers, musicians and performers for a series of stories that will take you into the future or to last week. Who knows where you’ll end up in this unique piece of family theatre. (There are also evening shows for the grown ups!)

The BoxTrolls Screening
Mon 17 April
12:00 – 14:00
Head down to Millennium Square on Easter Monday and enjoy an outdoor screening of this lovely film (rated PG) based on the novel ‘Here Be Monsters’ by Bristol author Alan Snow. Deckchairs on a first-come-first-served basis only so bring some cushions and blankets along with your picnic!

Family workshops
14 & 21 April
Various times
Free drop-in
There are two wonderful sounding workshops that are both followed by a companion film. First up is a comic book workshop with renowned comic book duo The Etherington Brothers. The second one is a press printing workshop for families where kids can print postcards and railway tickets with The Letterpress Collective.

A Strange New Space
12-13 April
Various times
Ticket £6.50 (Family of 4 £22)
This non-verbal, physical theatre show from Tessa Bide uses puppetry and original music to tell the stories of Amira’s parallel journeys as a refugee and on an intergalactic voyage of discovery.

Easter Sculpture Festival
14 – 17 April
Various times
Tickets £6 – under 18s FREE
This year’s festival will include the work of Bristol based sculptor Lucianne Lassalle, as well as demonstrations of pottery, quilting and wood turning.

Holiday Family Fun
Thu 20 April
11:00 – 15:00
Pay What You Think
Put your needle and thread skills to the test in this sewing craft session.

Holiday Family Fun
11 April & 18 April
11:00 – 15:00
Pay What You Think
Activities based around the Easter bunny and skeletons! Suitable for the whole family. Spring fun also at Blaise Museum on Wed 19 April.

A Play in a Day: Pirate Themed Drama Workshop
Wed 12 April
10:00 – 16:00
Tickets £25
This full day workshop for 6-10 year olds will get the children playing, using their imaginations and coming up with a play in, er, a day.

The Amazing Bubble Man
Sun 23 April
12:00, 14:00 & 16:00
Tickets £9
End the Easter holidays with a bubbly bang! With audience participation, comedy and spellbinding bubble tricks, this is one looks like it will amaze the whole family!

Theatre Workshops
Various dates
Various times
Tickets £20 (combos available)
Tobacco Factory Theatres are putting on a whole host of different workshops over Easter for a variety of different ages. Can’t tell you how much we wish we were 11-13 years old so we could take part in the Stand Up Comedy one!

Remember to tag us in any photos of your arty endeavours along with #MassiveARTtack. We love seeing what you get up to!

Hope you all have a brilliant time!

💥 BAM 💥

Another top pick is the Doodle Workshop with Jon Burgerman at Foyles Bookshop but it sold out just before we published. If you contact them, they may have a waiting list though? It’s bound to be brilliant so definitely worth a try!

Please check with venues that events are still happening or have spaces available before setting out. This list is purely based on what we liked the look of. If you think we’ve missed an amazing event then email us!

BAM meets Bristol Children’s Scrapstore

There’s nothing quite like a trip to the Children’s Scrapstore in St Werburghs.

Walking in, you find yourself in the Artragreous shop, which stocks everything from spray paint and art materials, to instruments and games. There’s a play area in the corner that’s always stocked with colouring materials, scrap and a wall of ideas so the kids can keep themselves occupied while you wander the aisles.

Even if you think your imagination has long gone into retirement, you’ll leave buzzing with ideas for crafty projects. Every now and then we go with £5 to spend and no plan. Previous trips have seen us coming home with everything we need to make fridge magnets, confetti crowns and our own t-shirt designs.

Then there’s the actual Scrapstore. It’s only open to members but, by filling up a loyalty card in the craft shop, you can gain access to this incredible warehouse of junk. Bottle tops, blinds, leather scraps, rolls of vinyl, yoghurt pots, mannequins… all presided over by a magnificent old Sully who sits high up on a shelf out of the reach of little hands! You never know what you’re going to find, which makes each visit a real adventure.

We caught up with Rachel, the Scrapstore’s Playworker and Workshop Leader, to find out a little bit more about what it’s like working at the Scrapstore.

The Scrapstore is such a great place for fuelling imaginations.  What makes your art sessions so unique?
Scrapstore’s core message is about encouraging and facilitating free play. Our sessions are child led and although we theme some of the sessions, children are encouraged to explore there own ideas. I run the Messy Play sessions for under 5s where I put out two sensory tubs and two activities to start the group off but the children are able to move freely about the space. They can engage in water play, dressing up and use loose parts to make dens and inventions. The session is continuously adapting to suit the needs of the children attending that day and parents and carers are encouraged to play alongside their children.

You must have seen some amazing projects made by the kids. Do any stand out?
The projects that really stand out are the ones where the children have just taken an idea and run with it. For example, today I facilitated a workshop where I set the theme ‘Robots’ and provided them with a lot of scrap but each robot was so different. Some children even made costumes to turn themselves into robots. And one girl just decided that she would rather make a castle, which I love. That’s fine by me!

What’s the most popular type of scrap you get at the Scrapstore?
We get so many random bits and pieces, its so hard to chose! The warehouse boys say that tulle and pieces of card are really popular but I would have to say the most versatile piece of scrap that anyone can access is the humble cardboard box. The possibilities are endless! 

Who is your personal art throb? 
It would have to be Tony Hart because I used to love watching ‘Hartbeat’ and I now find myself doing lots of the things he used to do. (I’m showing my age a bit mind!)

What’s your favourite piece of public art in Bristol?
My favourite public art at the moment is Duncan McKellar’s work. He’s the guy putting all those yellow foam insulation tubes on the statues so that they look like they are wearing exotic headgear. Every time I see one it makes me smile.

As well as popping up at family events in Bristol museums and around the city, you can also attend one of the Scrapstore’s brilliant play events in St Werburghs. Messy Play sessions for under 5s take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:15 – 11:45 and cost £5. Super Saturdays run from 10:30 – 14:00 (last entry 13:00) and the sessions are free, though donations are appreciated.

Over the Easter holidays they have a number of activities including an Outer Space workshop where kids will get to play with space slime!

Adults interested in becoming more creative and playful themselves can attend one of their Make Play Do sessions which take place on the third Wednesday of the month from 18:30 – 20:30. They sound amazing and promise to send you home armed with ideas for different ways to play at home.

You can see a list of all upcoming Scrapstore events here.  If you haven’t already then do go and check them out. You’re always guaranteed a fun time and you’ll leave feeling inspired and bursting with creative ideas.

💥 BAM 💥

BAM Top Tips for Family Museum Trips

“It’s never too early to visit a museum. They’re social, sensory, stimulating places – perfect for babies.”

Kids in Museums Manifesto

Before kids most of us probably didn’t appreciate just how exhausting a trip to a museum or gallery can be when you’ve got little legs in tow. Let’s be honest, gone are the days when we could read all the blurbs and muse on their meaning at our leisure. Now we’re just desperately trying to make sure no one’s licking the artwork!

But it’s so important not to be put off from making the trip because, as Arts Council England reminds us, ‘Involvement with arts and culture is crucial to imagination, self-expression and creativity in young people.

So, we asked our followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to tell us their top tips for surviving a family art expedition and they didn’t disappoint. Here are some crackers to help you all have the best day out possible…

It sounds obvious, but doing a bit of research before you set off can help in lots of ways. Big exhibitions will often have a video showreel on their website, whilst smaller museums will have photos that you can explore together. Show them what they’re going to see so they can look forward to it and know what to expect.

Read up before hand so YOU get more out of it – after all, you’re there to enjoy it too! You’re not going to have much time for reading while you’re there so it can sometimes feel like you’ve missed out or not understood the art properly. If you have a bit of background on the artist and exhibition you’ll be able to appreciate it even if you are rushing around like a blue arsed fly.

And, as @peggy_richter pointed out on Instagram, ‘…it is more interesting for children if you can tell an engaging story or get their attention with some weird detail.’

This isn’t one that we had considered before but Eleanor from The Bristol Parent made the excellent suggestion of going after 3pm when the school trips have all gone for the day. It’s bound to be a bit quieter then and you’ll have more space for running around. And obviously if your kids aren’t in school yet, make the most of it of being able to go in term time whilst you can!

It’s easy to drag the nippers round a museum, but they’ll be so much more engaged if they are interested in what they’re seeing. As Mr. Fox magazine says, ‘Let your children be your guide’. Let them show you what they’re interested in, locate exhibits you think they’ll like and let them run the show a bit (don’t they always?!).

Loads of our followers were fans of the Games in Museums strategy. Playing I Spy was a popular suggestion and great for getting them to really look around. On Instagram, @vanesther1 described how she now plays museum games with her kids that she enjoyed as a child, describing how it helps them connect with the exhibition more.

“Sometimes I can see they just can’t be bothered to look themselves… but when we spend time asking questions and looking for patterns, they usually find themselves getting sucked in.”

@vanesther1 on Instagram

Basically, just turn it into one big creative adventure! On Twitter @k_atthestudio suggested making a mini ‘museum explorer pack’ – we’re thinking drawing materials, a bingo list of things to spot and most importantly, survival supplies (that’s snacks, folks!).

You could also arm them with an old camera so they can take some photos of their own, take drawing materials or make up stories about the exhibits. Make it fun and interactive!

Most museums now run family events to welcome young art lovers into their spaces. Find out what’s going on and make the most of it! It’s a great chance to get your kids used to the spaces so when you return they won’t find it a strange experience.

We found a wonderful suggestion on Condé Nast Traveler. Tell the nippers you’re searching the museum for a project to do at home and let them help you. If you see some great mosaics, create some with sugar paper later on. If they love a particular sculpture, dig out some loo rolls, get your Blue Peter on and have a go at recreating it. Or have a look at this great Red Ted Art round up of kid’s art projects inspired by the masters.

Some parents may be above such tactics but, to be honest, we survive on an elaborate bartering system just to make it through a normal day. So, the ‘We’ll go for cake afterwards’ promise is definitely not beneath us. And it means you get some too, right??

And finally…

Quite a few people mentioned this. These nippers know when we’re uptight and anxious and play to it. Hold your head up high and roll with it. Just remember, you have just as much right to be there as anybody else, so enjoy it!

Thank you so much to everyone that gave us their top tips. If you found them useful then please share with your friends so we can fill our museums with happy arts loving nippers!

💥 BAM 💥