It takes quite a lot to wow me these days.
As I probably mention in every Little Lewes post, we have lived here for four years. In that time, a lot has impressed me in terms of things to do with children – in the relative sense that I think there’s a decent amount of decent quality in and near this town given its size.
So when I say it takes a lot to wow me, perhaps it’s because by now I’m maybe becoming desensitised to the brilliance of much that is available to us. (Actually I hope not or this blog will become obsolete, or worse, a really crap read).
If not, then at the very least we are basically spoilt.
But guess what? Last Friday I was wowed!
A friend and I took our children to a beautiful mini museum in a beautiful village. The beautiful museum was Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft. So I think you can guess the name of the beautiful village!
If you’ve been stuck in a hole for the past couple of months, or y’know, been really busy being someone’s parent, you may not know that the Museum of Art + Craft’s newly renovated doors just opened.
I have written a separate, more general post about the museum – you can see it here.
I’ve also cobbled together a post about three upcoming children’s workshops – one of which is for Christmas. I’ll publish that tomorrow.
So, on to Little Museum Visitors drop-in.
Drive: 19 minutes
Address: Lodge Hill Land, Ditchling, East Sussex, BN6 8SP
Tel no.: 01273 844 744
Dates + Times: 13 Dec, 17 Jan, 14 Feb and 14 Mar
Ages: 2 to 5
Price: Child, £5; Adult, Free. *Entrance to the museum is charged separately – see the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft post for details
LITTLE MUSEUM VISITORS DROP-IN
The museum contacted me through Twitter and kindly invited us to its Little Museum Visitors.
This is a toddler and pre-school creative craft drop-in that takes place on the second Friday of each month.
The littler of my boys is six months too young for it. But he’s quite handy with a pencil, so I knew he’d love it. We went with a friend and her daughter, who is almost three.
The monthly workshops are lead by Early Years specialist Alison Martin. She themes each session – this one was ‘Puppets’. The next will be ‘Light’, exploring Christmas, Diwali and other festivals and celebrations involving light.
The session began with a story about a crocodile.
Everyone was then free to explore the amazing new Learning Space – a bright, airy, glassy structure off the main building.
There was a mat strewn with materials for puppet-making – wooden spoons, goggly eyes, brand new Ferby pencils, pipe cleaners, scraps of material, straw and wool. And plenty of glue.
Nearby there was also a large tray filled with shaving foam for messy play, as well as various bits of autumnal foliage and fauna and a plastic crocodile.
This had been intended to go in the paved garden in front of the space, but it was raining.
Lots of children – my own included – also explored string painting and, in another corner, played with the most amazing wooden animals that came with trees and a structure for role-play (see pic towards the top of the post).
There were also various puppets and musical instruments to tinker with in a small cardboard theatre.
Towards the end of the session, Alison made up a little puppet show on the spot, giving each child’s puppet a starring role. She asked each of them their character’s name, and gave the slightly older ones sound-effects jobs to do. The story had a teeth-brushing moral.
What I was so impressed by was the range of activities. The imagination and thought put into it all. The space. And mostly, Alison herself.
She took time to talk to each child, and then to the parents that came with them. She made some observations of my son that were interesting and very astute. She encouraged me to bring him to future sessions as she plans to bring specific materials and organise certain activities to suit individual children returning. This, I will be doing.
I wish there was more like this in Lewes. It is a notoriously creative town and yet, unless I am mistaken, there are no structured art or craft activities for younger children outside of nurseries and pre-schools.
We were blown away by the hour and a half and our littlies were totally absorbed. Not one child flinched during the puppet show and song at the end.
And they weren’t the only ones mesmerised by it!
Little Museum Visitors runs on the first Friday of every month at the Learning Space, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft. It takes place from 10.30am-12 noon and costs £5 per child. Adults can accompany them for free.
Read my post about Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft here.
Disclosure: Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft invited my younger child and I to try out and review the Little Museum Visitors session. The drop-in was complimentary for us that day, but won’t be in the future. While I was there, I also had a quick look around the museum and tried out the cake in the cafe (!), as well as making a note of workshops and daily activities for children of various ages – pictures and my view of these will be in further posts. No financial compensation was offered or accepted for this review. The review of the session is based on our experience alone, and no responsibility can be accepted for disappointment if the future experience of Little Lewes readers is not the same. Please note that each Little Museum Visitors session is themed differently and the activities on offer will change each month. Thank you to Alison and Lucy for having us at Little Museum Visitors.