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Pre-School Days at Centre for Life

I am always looking for fun things to do with my 2 year-old on my day off. Luckily, it falls on a Tuesday, which is the day Centre for Life holds its monthly Pre-School Days. For parents, Pre-School Days mean reduced entry into the interactive science museum (£5.50 for adults and children under 5 go free). For the kids these days offer a whole world of fun.

We arrived just before the centre opened, which was great as it meant I got a chance to look at the exhibits before the crowds arrived. The temporary exhibit Wallace and Gromit Present… A World of Cracking Ideas is only on until 22 January, but I can highly recommend it. An exploration of innovation and invention, most of it went way above my toddler’s head (though my 5 year old will love it), but there were several interactive parts I managed to get him involved in so that I could look around myself.

Next it was up to the Under 7s area, which I knew would be a massive hit. Here there were tables laid out with Duplo, a train set, exploration boxes, building blocks, craft activities. Behind that is a miniature hands-on world: a kitchen where children can play at making food (and tidying up), a garden with fish pond and vegetables to pick, a supermarket and a recycling plant where they sort the waste. My son spent the next three hours between the activity tables and the small world, absolutely involved in it all.

I think he would have happily stayed the whole day, planting cabbages, baking cakes and sorting tins from plastics. However, I’d booked us into a Piccolo music session, so I dragged him away. Piccolo runs weekly singing and music-making classes in North Shields, Cullercoats and Heaton, and the team is a regular fixture at the Pre-School Days at Life. The sessions are always popular and James and I both enjoyed a bit of a boogie to their original and traditional nursery songs.

Last stop, the bubble disco. Ok,not quite the last stop, because as we were leaving we encountered the water table and stopped for a quick dip. That was followed by a run around the Our World exhibit and a bit more building – this time with giant Lego. We drove a rickshaw, built an igloo, and as James lay down in a hut for a rest, I knew he was seconds away from sleep. Unfortunately we had missed the Naughty Monsters in the Sky show in the Planetarium,but I look forward to taking him to that next month. Nor did we have time for ice skating - I'll have to take him another day now that I know they have skates in his size.

What a fabulous day out for pre-schoolers, and for their parents.

The next Pre-School day is on Tuesday 21 February, 9.30am-3pm

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