New Mum or Dad? Finding it hard to get out of the house with little ‘uns? Jodie Wilson has first-hand experience of exploring Liverpool with children in tow, so we asked her to recommend the best kid-friendly spots in the city…
The second most difficult task for a parent is to get yourself, and your little person, dressed and ready to leave the confines of your house. The most difficult task is finding somewhere to go once that feat has been achieved.
I can pretty much guarantee that if you are reading this article, and you have a small child of your own, you love them. Look at them. So cute. They look like you. Or your partner. Or a mis-mash of both. Give them a little kiss. Ah. Now come back. Before they arrived you expected to give up certain things, like a full night’s sleep, your social life and your clean and tidy abode.
What you didn’t expect to give up is the ability to leave your home and interact with other members of society. Don’t barricade your front door just yet. There are places in the city you can retreat to in order to escape the confines of your four walls.
Fun at the Big Art
Parent and Baby morning at Big Art in the Walker Art Gallery is a life saver. Running three times a week, the session is aimed at the 0-5 year age group, but speaking from experience Friday morning tends to pull in the younger end of this spectrum.
The Big Art room itself is a sensory feat – a little like walking into a box of Crayola crayons. As you would imagine, there is an art project available for children to participate in, but also story and song time, which goes down a storm. Due to the central location, there is a good turnover of visitors, with some regulars, so there is none of the in-group politics that you sometimes get with these types of groups. Dads and grandparents are also welcome to the group, and this adds to the friendly feel. The session is free, just turn up on the day and collect an entry ticket from reception.
Time for something to eat
Playing can be hungry work, so why not talk a fifteen minute walk to Cuthbert’s Bakehouse on Mount Pleasant. This small popular bakery gets busy around lunchtime, but get yourself their early and nab a table. There are high chairs available and the friendly staff will help you to tuck away your pram and make you feel at home. The menu is tasty, reasonably priced and food is always prepared quickly. And please, do yourself a favour and have some cake. Don’t think about it. Save the guilt for the next time you accidently run over a pigeon and eat the cake. You can thank me later. For more ideas of places to eat, take a look at our things to do in Liverpool guide where we have several great suggestions to keep you and your little ones going all day long.
Picturehouse at FACT has a number of events that are children-friendly. For young parents keen to get out of the house there’s The Big Scream – a wailing child-friendly screening of popular films. For older kids (and big kids) there’s Children’s Club, a series of classic family films with complementary activities and increased staffing in case you need to leave the cinema. There’s also Toddler Time to introduce children to the big screen with 30-minute shows (Timmy Time, Rastamouse and the like) for pre-school children and their parents; plus autism-friendly screenings.
If the weather is half-decent then why not take a walk around the Albert Dock. The area is populated with museums, such as the Museum of Liverpool and the Maritime Museum. Little Liverpool, at the Museum of Liverpool is great: especially for children under the age of six, with play and learn blended seamlessly together. Both are free, as is most of the stuff at the Tate Gallery (special exhibits excluded). Museums tend to be a good choice until your little one can walk; after that it can become a battle of wills. The family saver tickets at the Beatles Story offer a discounted entry, and early immersion into the sights and sounds of the Fabs, and the attraction’s Discovery Zone has been awarded a Quality Badge by the Learning Outside the Classroom initiative, which is backed by OFSTED. Which is nice. Just don’t tell the kids.
Heading to the Waterfront
The alternative can be to take a walk around the Albert Dock and along the waterfront, which will be enjoyable for both you and your small companion. I don’t think it was a coincidence that Granny said fresh air helps babies to sleep. You’ll most likely find that you both have a good night’s slumber after a generous dose of sea air.
If you’ve got fidgety, impatient kids in tow you could do worse than head to Underwater Street, a well-established, well-run discovery centre at Pier Head. Kids are encouraged to get hands-on and find out about all manner of different arts and science stuff – it’s basically fun, interactive learning, but obviously don’t tell them that. And it’s better than another rainy day necking Coke in front of the X-box.
If you’ve got older children, FACT is running a first programme of holiday activities for young people. Prototype is a new series of workshops for young makers and creative minds, with workshops on interactive illustration, app programming and filmmaking.
The series of workshops are designed specifically for the age ranges of 8-12 and 13-17, offering the chance to work with professional artists and technologists to experiment with interactive art forms.
The Prototype sessions run for 8 to 12-year-olds on August 19, 20 and 21. A more advanced version of the same workshops for 13 to 17-year-olds will take place on August 12, 13 and 14.
And the third most difficult task for a parent? Keeping your child amused. I think we’ve just sorted that one out. Who said that parenthood was difficult?
If you would enjoyed this guide, why not take a look at some more Liverpool attractions and events in our other Liverpool tourism and travel information guides.