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We’re growing! Bristol, Bath & Oxford

6 October 2016

Like families across the country, the all-important words ‘Back to School’ were marked in our calendar this September 5th. However, the date was doubly important as it also marked the day we took our first steps outside of London and launched Hoop in our second city, Brighton.

Thank you to all the happy Brightonians who have already been in touch to let us know Hoop has helped them to discover new family activities — your emails, Tweets and Facebook messages have really made us smile.

It’s been a busy month at Hoop HQ and 30 days on from Brighton, we’re incredibly proud to now be offering Hoop to families in the cities of Bristol, Bath and Oxford. With each city, we learn something new and find activities we’ve never come across before. Here’s what we’ve discovered so far:

Folks in Bristol Love the Great Outdoors

We love a great Stay & Play at Hoop but the team at Windmill Farm have scored a perfect 10 for their weekly ‘Farm Adventurers’ — a Stay & Play with music, crafts and you guessed it, farmyard animals. We think it’s an irresistible offering for under 5s. If you like the look of this, it’s also worth checking out ‘My Wild Child’ and ‘Golden Buds’, two parent and toddler groups for families that like to get their hands dirty. Their regular activities include things like ‘hunting for frogs and mini beasts’, ‘mud painting’ and ‘nature crafts’.

Of course, outdoor adventuring shouldn’t be limited just to the little ones and we’ve been really excited to see organisations like the National Trust and Wild Foresters putting on some great events in Bristol for school aged kids. Got a budding Bear Grylls in the family? Next half term, why not sign up for a day of ‘Family Woodland Survival’ or ‘Halloween Forest Fun’ ?

You’re never too young to be a ‘thesp’ in Bath

Treading the boards is so old hat. In Bath it seems that the best way to make it across a stage, is to crawl. With some incredible introductory theatre classes available for kids aged from just 18 months, Bath has set itself up to produce a fine generation of mini actors.

Two groups that caught our eye were ‘Dinkies’ and ‘Create: Tales for Tots’. Both employ story telling, props and music to make their classes accessible to little ones, parents and carers are invited along to support their children and perhaps enjoy a bit of a song and a dance as well!

For those who prefer being on the other side of the curtain, Bath theatre’s The Egg The Mission and The Rondo have some brilliant family programming. We especially like the look of ‘Mavis Sparkle’ coming up later in the month, a tale of ‘cosmic, magical, illusion, animation and laughter’.

Oxford: Your starter for 10

It might not come as too much of a surprise that in a city renowned for academia, Oxford has a bit of an educational thread running through its family events. Put away any ideas you might have about whiteboards and homework though, this is hands-on learning at its very best. Oxford is a small city but it boasts 8 fantastic, diverse museums and each with it’s own spin on educational family fun. In the coming weeks you can try your hand at ‘eyeball dissection’ at the Museum of the History of Science, devise, design and create your own comic at The Story Museum and ‘extract DNA from a strawberry’ with Science Oxford.

If all that learning gets too much though, where better to blow off some steam than at Cutteslowe Park Miniature Railway? Small but perfectly formed, these miniature steam trains are calling out to Thomas the Tank Engine fans (and of course, their children…).

Find fun, healthy activities for kids on the Hoop app