15 Feb 2012

Classic movies your kids should see

 My hubs and me have realised that our kids (ages 2 to 10) have been spoilt by the superb 
Pixar and Disney movies!
I am not knocking Pixar, Disney or animation at all - we all LOVE these movies!
They are visually stunning, polished and perfectly written for children.

But against this benchmark, it's hard for them to engage with live action family films like we grew up with.
So we went on a mission to educate them with our favourite childhood movies :)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
A great feel good story, with lots of moral tales built in. The most striking thing for us was 
how shocked our children were that families outside Africa could be poor and hungry.
(I do also adore the Johnny Depp remake, but the original oompa loompa songs will never die!)

Home Alone.
You have never seen four kids in more hysterical fits of giggles. 
Even our toddler gets the physical slapstick humour. And the smart kid beats the dumb robbers.

The Goonies.
A bit scary for very young children, but an excellent family adventure!
We do wrap our kids in cotton wool, so it's good for them to see kids 
going off with their friends where they shouldn't really be...

Tissues at the ready...

Short Circuit.
Johnny 5 is alive! Super story about a robot programmed for violence, 
who rebels and befriends a human.

The Wizard of Oz.
OK so this is even older than me (1939) but it's still up there with the classic children's movies.

Superman The Movie.
The original and best. Goodies vs Baddies.

Mary Poppins.
(Yes I know it's Disney) Think Sunday afternoon, the whole family gathered around the telly, 
singing "Chim chiminy, chim chiminy, chim chim cheroo". Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious...

Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
(not to be confused with "Breadknobs and Boomsticks" as I once said accidentally 
and have never lived it down)
Animals playing football, and an apprentice witch who takes in displaced city kids 
evacuated during the war...

Spirited Away.
Anything by Studio Ghibli is definitely worth watching. Traditional folk tales of people turning into animals. This collection is beautiful to look at, and a little deeper than the super sleek blockbusters.

So there you have it, that's my humble opinion. 
I'd love to hear what your favourites were (or still are!)

13 Feb 2012

More half term fun

Our adventures in Liverpool don't end with the World Museum!
There's the Walker Art Gallery next door, with "Big Art".
This is a free activity based gallery for children to explore.
Big Art for Little Artists

There are books, videos, costumes, art materials and quizzes.
The gallery is easily accessible now with a new ramp :)
There is a traditional tea room on the ground floor, and small gift shop.
The building itself is stunning, with sweeping staircases and ornate ceilings.

The main galleries are free to enter, with permanent collections and exhibitions throughout the year. These include paintings, sculpture, design icons and costume.
The Walker is also home to the biannual John Moores Contemporary Painting Competition.

Two minutes away in the city centre is the new Liverpool One shopping centre. This has all the usual high street brands (with Build a Bear, The Entertainer, Waterstones and John Lewis for toys and books). In the centre is the cinema, surrounded by restaurants.
There is also space on the new outdoor mezzanine for crazy transient features like bouncy castles, roller coasters and even a real sandy beach in the summer!
The restaurants are all family friendly and there's something for every budget.

Have I mentioned we love Liverpool?
Next time, we will visit the Albert Dock - care to join us?

Half term in Liverpool

Hi Halftermers!
How's it going so far?
I am grabbing 5 minutes to blog while our 4 monkeys are busy drawing and filling their sticker albums.
We live in Cheshire so one of our favourite cities to visit is Liverpool.
Our children are aged from 2 to 10, so it's tricky to find things to entertain them all together, but Liverpool has loads to do!
I want to share our best family entertainment finds with you, and hope it encourages you to give this beautiful city a try :)

First of all, there is plenty of convenient parking in the city centre and at Albert Dock, and Liverpool Lime Street Station is right at the middle of everything.

An absolute must visit for all ages is The World Museum.

This is on William Brown Street, and has 6 floors of free exhibitions and hands on activities.
There is a planetarium, aquarium and bug house.
A planetarium show
The Egyptian and Dinosaur galleries are super, with enough real mummies and dino skeletons to keep everyone oohing and aahing.
Cast of a dinosaur's skull and vertebrae
There are two good quality cafes to choose from, and a large gift shop with pocket money treats as well as more select artefacts.

If you book at the front desk there are free planetarium shows, and guided activities in the aquarium and bug house every day.
Another two floors of world galleries featuring real eggs and bones from every animal we could think of were great for older kids. And traditional global crafts kept Mum happy as well!
There must be something for everyone here.
A circular red, blue and gold belt brooch
My only gripe on busy days is the two tiny lifts. These take an age to arrive and can only fit one pushchair or wheelchair at a time (and are always full of people with neither, who could easily use the stairs!). With 6 floors this could be a major pain in the rear if you have little ones. We just pulled the buggy up the stairs in the end, and beat the lift every time!

You could easily spend a whole day here, with the restaurant serving good organic food and homemade cakes, and certainly enough to see and do for at least 4 hours. There is no picnic space that I am aware of, so packed lunch may not be practical. In nice weather there is a lovely public garden right outside with lots of benches.

We love this museum and go at least 4 times a year. We still find things to see and do on every visit, and have never been disappointed so far.

I'll be back with another halfterm recommendation tomorrow :)
Have fun you brave parents...