Inspired by parents and carers, each activity was subsequently developed and written up by early years experts and language specialists, creating a fabulous resource for every child under five and the grown-ups in their life!
Each region can develop the local focus of 50 Things for children to enjoy, to see what Bradford has developed you can visit their website...
What are the activities like?
Rather than explain, why not take a look at one of the activities that has been created...
#40 Happy History
Bradford has lots of great museums, from the award winning National Science and Media Museum in the centre of Bradford to the recently refurbished Cliffe Castle in Keighley. Best of all admission is absolutely free!
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Take a bus, a train or get in your car and drive to one of the Bradford District’s wonderful museums. Take a picnic lunch and stay for the day. Lots of museums are in a park so you can easily spend the whole day there.
Visit the museum’s website first to check that it will be fun for you and your children. Some museums are more popular with some people and less with others. If you try one museum and do not like it, try another, as it will be quite different.
A picnic lunch. A warm coat or a raincoat. Friends or family - the more of you the better. Take along a pencil and notebook in case you are inspired to do some drawing while you are there.
Museums and galleries in Bradford include the Media Museum, Cliffe Castle, the Industrial Museum, Cartwright Hall and Salts Mill. There are also lots of museums in Leeds, and further afield.
Among the highlights is the natural history gallery at Cliffe Castle, which has a wide range of small mammals and birds. The gallery helps the children to begin to understand how many different animals and birds there are and shows them the skeletons that help support them. It will certainly get them asking questions which is the best way for children to learn.
Eureka! in Halifax is a child friendly museum just a short drive or train ride away from Bradford. Admission charges apply so check the website before you go.
Other museums will give children the opportunity to develop their awareness of the past, and how things have changed over time. The Science and Media Museum has galleries to explore technology, including Wonderlab where what you see and hear is only the beginning.
You can visit at any time of the year, although some museums are not open on Mondays, except for bank holidays. They are also closed on Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Day.
In a museum or gallery, children will experience things they won’t see in their everyday lives. Objects like paintings, lasers, stuffed birds and rock crystals, as well as things that we don’t use any more like wooden carts and washing dollies. Visiting a museum will help a child to understand that there some things we see in the museum that don't exist at all anymore. Eventually, they will use these visits to build their understanding of history, art and science, not just the concrete and literal world they see and hear.
Babies: Big, small, noisy, quiet
Toddlers: Use words that describe what you see in the museum
Pre-schoolers: Past, present, yesterday, today
Take a note pad and pencil, you might want to make a note or draw a picture of your favourite part of the museum.
Babies & Toddlers:
Peepo (Janet and Allan Ahlberg)
Lulu And The Flying Babies (Posy Simmonds)
If you travel to a museum by public transport, you can include #28 The Wheels on the Bus.
Babies & Toddlers (0 to 24 months):
Museums and art galleries aren’t always geared up for babies on first appearance. However, we often forget that new environments and places are hugely beneficial to a child’s sensory development. Taking babies to museums and art galleries exposes them to new experiences that stimulate their brain, they have chance to be in a different environment with different sounds, smells and sights.
Pre-schoolers (3 and 4 year olds):
Choose your museum carefully, it can be a very worthwhile experience even for young children. It is worth checking the museum’s website to see if there is a special exhibition or event that is aimed at younger children. Otherwise, young children benefit from looking and talking about what they have seen in different places. For example, talking about how people lived in the past when visiting Cliffe Castle, or admiring the size (and sounds) of the galleries in Cartwright Hall. Looking at the pictures displayed or looking at the different animals in the gallery and talking about what they look like can hold the smallest child’s interests.
The Science and Media Museum in Bradford city centre has a whole gallery (Wonderlab) devoted to children. There are exhibits of mirrors and a sound tube that you can use to check off different experiences of 50 Things and special events planned during the year.
We are lucky to have Eureka Children’s Museum in Halifax close to our city, and easily accessible by train. The museum is designed for children age 0-11 and though there is an entry fee for both adults and children, you can get an annual pass to visit again and again in a year!
If your child has autism, you may find that they are motivated by the idea of looking at pictures of themselves over the years. You may find that this is a way of interesting them in the concept of history.
Bradford Industrial Museum is a great place to take children with a wide range of SEN. You could start by calling the museum and asking when a quiet time to visit would be. There are lots of things to look at, smell and touch and for a lot of children the old cars, trains and trams are incredibly exciting! Often transport can be a huge motivator for children with Autism.
If your child has a visual impairment, Bradford Industrial Museum is a very interesting place to visit. There are some items in the Motive Power exhibition. There are lots of sounds of machines working and also some pieces of equipment which they can safely touch. If you think that the sounds may be too overwhelming for your child, you can find out when the machine running times are by contacting the museum directly. If your child has a visual impairment and is in a wheel chair, you may find that they think the bumpy cobbles are funny to go over in their chair! Make this part of the experience. The majority of the museum is accessible for wheelchair users.
Find out how 13 Local Authorities are extending lifelong opportunities for the under fives in their communities, through the ground breaking 50 Things To Do project and mobile app...