Every parent dreads the wet weekend, school holidays that drag on forever and the dreaded cry of: ‘I’m bored!’
It’s useful to have a few tricks up your sleeve to keep the children busy when all else seems to be failing.
We’ve put together 9 of the best ways to entertain children in the Chippy area – all it needs is a little planning ahead.
The roar of the crowd
CHIPPING NORTON THEATRE
There really is something for all ages at The Theatre, Chipping Norton. This unique, community owned and run theatre stages a wealth of events for children aged from six months to late teens and young adult.
The theatre specialises in workshops based on dance, music and drama, with sessions for pre-schoolers as well as dramatic storytelling for primary age and musical theatre for secondary schoolers.
Films, shows, plays and exhibitions with kid appeal appear on a regular basis, so make sure you stay in the loop.
Chippy theatre works closely with local schools on dramatic productions, offering work experience options and pilot projects for young adults with learning disabilities.
Make a splash
CHIPPING NORTON LIDO
From May to September, there’s nowhere better to take the family than Chippy’s own community lido – an open air swimming pool set in lovely grounds.
There’s a 25m pool plus toddler pool and water slide, with a great selection of hot and cold snacks – not forgetting icecream – available in the café.
Enjoy a splash and a swim, or enrol the kids for junior swimming lessons or water polo. There’s even synchronised swimming, so why not give it a go?
The last session before closing for the winter is always reserved for a swim with your dog, a much-loved lido tradition. Earmark 11 September 2016 for a doggie paddle, or watch out for next season’s closer.
There’s usually something going on at Chippy’s Fibreworks to get those little fingers moving.
The renowned fibre store offers a range of workshops for children which introduce them to knitting, sewing, printing, beading, felting and craftwork.
Sessions run during school holidays, with pre-Christmas classes to help you make your own Xmas decorations and gifts. The May Fibre Festival also offers interesting ways for youngsters to get involved.
Fibreworks hosts birthday party workshops where young guests can screen print tote bags, cushions and t-shirts.
Burn up the energy
CHIPPING NORTON LEISURE CENTRE
Chipping Norton Leisure Centre offers year-round activities for children and teens, with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and a range of flexible membership packages.
There’s always something to do as the community centre offers a 25m swimming pool with learner capabilities, activity hall for fun and fitness classes, dance studio, squash courts and fully equipped gym.
The leisure centre hosts recreational trampolining sessions held by the Chippy branch of the Higher Energy Trampoline Club. This allows young gymnasts to work towards the British Gymnastics Proficiency Trampoline Awards, having fun and exercise along the way.
Watch out for school holiday programmes, special sporting sessions and discount activities. The centre also offers themed birthday parties for under-16s with bouncy castle, games and pool inflatable.
Don’t miss a trick
The Chippy Trixsters have to be one of the coolest – and most welcoming – young groups in town.
Starting in 2009 as the Chippy Trixsters Street Hockey Club, the youngsters have gone from strength to strength, winning worldwide fame in 2015 and 2016.
But you don’t have to be a world champion to enjoy the fun. The Trixsters love new members, with around 100 people joining each month, and they give everyone a big, warm welcome.
They cancel training on the last Saturday of every month to run a roller disco where everyone can join in and get their roller legs happening
A beginners session takes place every Saturday from 4-5pm at Chippy’s leisure centre where new players can borrow equipment and see if the sport is for them.
In the words of the members: “We aren’t a club which is focussed on winning at all costs, participation is the key and our qualified coaches ensure that players of all abilities learn the skills needed to have equal time on the court to seasoned players.”
An apple a day
CHIPPING NORTON COMMUNITY ORCHARD
Many outdoor activities are centred on Chipping Norton’s community orchard, a valuable public space always open to the public and supported by Chippy schools.
This half-acre orchard is lovingly tended by volunteers from Chipping Norton Green Gym, with its wonderful selection of apple, plum, mulberry, pear, greengage and quince trees offering free fruit to the public in autumn – just pick your own and eat!
Two special annual celebrations are great for youngsters.
Blossom Day, in May, involves children and families in a community event promoting local food production. Surrounded by fruit blossom, entertainment includes children’s games and sometimes Morris dancing, with apple juice and fruit pies for refreshment.
Apple Day, held in October, pays tribute to the harvest, with the King’s Stone Wassailers generally performing their ancient rites aimed at providing a bountiful orchard crop. Apple-pressing, delicious food and activities like scavenger hunts are also a feature of the day.
Discover an enchanted world
Enjoy a few hours or even a day at Fairytale Farm, a sensory wonderland for children only a short drive from Chippy.
The farm features special events throughout the year including the popular Walking with Alpacas and winter Illuminated Weekends with dazzling light displays.
Discover tame, friendly animals, sandpit, adventure playground, sensory garden with water features, fairytale characters and even a family of mice who live in their own customised model village!
Fairytale Farm is divided into four main zones – Huff & Puff for adventure play; Enchanted Walk for a delightful sensory experience; Alfie and Friends where you get to meet the farm animals; and Jack’s Yard which houses the Mouse Town, sandpit, café and indoor play area.
You can also hire the entire farm for special kids’ birthday parties involving 2.5 hours of animal experiences, great food and personalised fun.
Join in the fun
A TOWN OF MANY FESTIVALS
If you wait for long enough in Chippy, the right festival is bound to roll along.
Chipping Norton Music Festival, held every March, is one of the oldest of its kind in the Cotswolds. With workshops, classes and concerts for primary age upwards, it’s a great way to get the kids involved with music.
April’s ChipLitFest always features popular children’s authors, with book-signings, workshops and special age-appropriate events, some centred on Chippy bookshop Jaffe & Neale.
May finds Daylesford Summer Festival, an annual celebration featuring dog show, tours of Daylesford Organic Farm, sheepdog demonstration, rare breed animals and lots of yummy things to eat.
You can’t go past Chippy’s own Summer Festival in June, when the town lights up with a packed program of live music and activities – including children’s rides and games to keep the kids amused, along with hog roast, market stalls, street food, raffle prizes and heaps more.
Cornbury Music Festival in July along with the Wilderness Festival and Big Feastival in August offer some interesting diversions during the school holidays.
Top it off with a mop
CHIPPING NORTON MOP FAIR
Yes, Chippy’s mop fair makes sure September goes with a bang.
Just when the kids go back to school and things are getting chilly, the annual mop fair brings five days of fairground fun to heat things up again.
There are rides for children of every age, from gentle, through breathtaking to downright terrifying. And there’s lots of good stuff to eat including toffee apples, hot dogs and candy floss.
Get yourself a cracking view of Chipping Norton and the surrounding countryside from the top of the Big Wheel. Are you game?