It’s Children’s Mental Health Week next week, and it’s more important than ever this year.
With several lockdowns, social distancing measures, ever-changing coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines and prolonged absences from school having such a detrimental affect on the mental health and wellbeing of children, this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week has a particular resonance.
And so former primary school teacher Laura Steele – of education experts PlanBee – has gathered together week’s worth of fantastic free resources all in one downloadable pack for parents / carers / guardians to use during the homeschooling day to help children explore their mental health.
Each activity aims to give kids the tools to express their thoughts and feelings in a way they have never been able to achieve before.
These posters aim to help your child understand some of the physical sensations that accompany different feelings.
By exploring and discussing the vocabulary on each poster, you could ask children – Do you know what this word means? Have you ever felt like this? What made you feel this way? Could you add any more words to either of the posters?
Older children may find the Synonym Booklet of Emotions more useful to expand their vocabulary and help them to better express themselves.
Use these 16 feelings and emotions cards to develop discussion around a range of different feelings with the questions below each emoji. If your children cannot think of an example, you could describe and explain a time when you felt this way.
They could also be asked whether each of the cards represent a ‘warm fuzzy’ or a ‘cold prickly’ feeling, picking up on yesterday’s discussions.
You could then challenge your child to use the Design Your Own Emotion Emojis sheet to create their own versions, and encourage them to think about their personal experience of each emotion, and think carefully about the shape, colour, size and facial expression they choose.
Wednesday’s resource focuses on a specific feeling – worry, or anxiety.
Tell your child that everyone experiences this feeling sometimes, and more often than not, acknowledging and talking about the reasons why you are worried or anxious can help you to feel better. These Worry Monster Activity Sheets can help your children to voice, and then deal with, any anxieties they may have.
Anger and frustration can be difficult emotions for anyone to deal with, not least children, so these posters offer a range of techniques that can be used almost anywhere, in any situation.
The first four posters (The Calm Down Cake, The Slow Down Star, The Slow Down Square and the Helping Hand) direct children to focus on their breathing, using an image to help them do this. Discuss and practise the techniques together, first with and then without the posters in front of them, so children realise that these strategies can be successful using only their imagination if needed.
The final poster in the pack (5…4…3…2…1), may be more suitable for older children, as they are directed to use all of their senses to focus and calm the mind, and they can do this for the actual environment they are in, or an imagined one, such as a park, a beach or a forest.
The mental benefits of meditation are now widely recognised – for children as well as adults.
Research has shown that short, regular meditation sessions can have a positive effect on children’s attention, focus, self-awareness, and their management of thoughts and feelings, so this Guide Sheet is a simple, easy introduction to meditation, with step-by-step instructions to follow.
Try a short session with your child and ask them how they feel afterwards.
You could try to add a session like this into your daily routine, and see what effect it has over time on your child’s emotional wellbeing.
A person with a fixed mindset feels that they have no control over their abilities or problems they may face, but someone with a growth mindset knows that they can improve their abilities and overcome difficulties if they persevere and are patient with themselves.
Discuss these differences with your child, and look at the poster for examples of each type of mindset.
What type of mindset does your child think they have, and why? Why might it be better to have a growth mindset?
Children could use the blank poster provided to write their own personal examples of statements they made when they felt they had a fixed mindset, and how they could turn this around into a growth mindset statement.
You can end the week on a positive note with this activity, where children are encouraged to think about all the different aspects of their life that they are thankful for.
A blank template is included for children to record these thoughts.
The I am Lucky Because… activity sheet may be more suitable for younger children, where they are encouraged to think about and complete the sentences, ‘I am lucky because I can…’, ‘I am lucky because I am’… and ‘I am lucky because I have…’.
You can download Plan Bee’s Children’s Mental Health Week activity pack for FREE here.
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 27 March – 2 April 2023
We can’t believe how fast this year has gone already, but it’s time to wave goodbye to March and welcome April this week.
With schools breaking up for the holidays this week, and not long left to go before Easter rolls around once again, the Greater Manchester events calendar is absolutely packed this week, so we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits happening across the region this week for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide.
As always, some of the events we’re going to mention are completely free, while others will set you back a few pounds, and many will need to be booked in advance.
Here’s our top picks.
Manchester City Centre
Monday 27 March – onwards
Manchester’s gaming scene continues to get bigger and bigger every year, and now one of the UK’s biggest VR arcades has opened in the city centre.
Promising some of the best and most immersive ‘alternative’ activities you’ll find anywhere in 0161, DNA VR’s arcade is packed out with an impressive library of games, over 100 virtual arcade challenges and even virtual escape rooms.
The new venue is right in the city centre and just a 15-minute walk away from Piccadilly Station.
Have you had the chance to visit Manchester Museum yet after it finally reopened to the public after an ambitious £15 million transformation project?
After an 18-month refurbishment, the cultural institution – which is part of the University of Manchester – has expanded into a modern new two-storey extension, with new exhibition spaces and inclusive facilities added into the space.
New spaces inside include a brand new Exhibition Hall, which has opened with the blockbuster exhibition Golden Mummies of Egypt, where visitors get an unparalleled access to more than 100 objects and eight mummies in a UK debut, while the new extension also includes the South Asia Gallery, which will be the UK’s first permanent space to explore the lived experience of South Asian diaspora communities.
There’s a new dinosaur in town too, joining the museum’s legendary T-Rex Stan.
Kimpton Clocktower Hotel has made access to their state-of-the-art gym facilities completely free to the general public for the rest of March.
As part of a new initiative by Technogym called ‘Let’s Move for a Better World‘ – which is aiming to get people back exercising in 2023 – the fitness, gym technology, and wellness brand is encouraging gyms across the UK to open up their doors free of charge to local communities.
Running until 31 March, Mancs can get moving and make the most of Technogym equipment for free and join them for a series of fun events – including a 12-hour ‘MOVEathon’, as well as various circuit classes.
Corn Exchange has installed a book vending machine inside its stunning atrium space.
Whether you’re in need a book for your commute into the city, want to update your bookshelf at home, grab a page-turner for your holiday, or simply have a good read over a coffee or glass of something at Corn Exchange, the new vending machine has you covered.
Book lovers are invited to head on down with their old books, grab a token for the machine, and Read. Swap. Repeat.
With the aim to help the environment and reduce waste for book lovers, the machine includes a mix of pre-loved books of all genres, and you’ll just need to simply bring in a pre-loved book and swap it for a token with one of the Corn Exchange hosts to access the machine and choose your next read.
Families are encouraged to make the most of Manchester‘s new ‘sky park’ on Castlefield Viaduct during the school holidays.
The New York-inspired elevated urban park on the giant Grade II-listed 330-metre steel viaduct has been closed since December to allow time for the team of National Trust gardeners, volunteers, and community partners to prune, plant, and create new and exciting areas.
On top of the work to add a variety of seasonal planting displays created by, four plots on the viaduct have also been handed over to local community groups and partner organisations to create their own unique gardens for visitors to enjoy.
Manchester’s very-own cookery school Food Sorcery is giving you the chance to transport yourself to the bars of Spain with class dedicated to Spanish tapas and pinchos.
During this three-hour class, chef Jan Cron will guide you through how to create a selection of authentic dishes, including Spanish Tortilla, Padron Peppers, Croquetas de Jamón, and more – all of which you can eat through the class, and take home any left overs.
Suitable for all ability levels, it’s not only a great chance to learn new cooking methods and recipes, but it’s also a great social occasion with like-minded people.
There’s a special Wine & Dine Night at Platzki this week.
Hosted by special guest Polish sommelier, Adam Michocki, the beloved Great Northern Warehouse-based independent restaurant has crafted a comforting four-course set menu, with each dish paired with a Polish wine that perfectly complements the authentic cuisine.
Setting guests back £77 each for the full menu, Adam will guide you through the wines and explain the delicious pairings in more detail.
Fancy catching the last of all the March deals, discounts, and offers in Manchester’s cafes, bars, and restaurants?
Quite a few of the city’s best-loved independents have decided to extend their food deals into March, and this is your last week to make the most of them.
While there’s still some great offers to make the most of, we’re going to keep promoting them, and fortunately for us, there are some awesome set menus, lunch deals, and general discounts going around this month.
If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a bite this week, we’ve rounded up some of the best Manchester restaurant deals to take advantage of.
A live West End recording of one of the best-loved musicals of the last decade is to be screened in two of Greater Manchester‘s biggest cinemas this week.
And you only have one night to catch it.
Theatre lovers and musicals fans will probably want to make their way down to Vue in the Printworks, or Odeon at the Trafford Centre, this Tuesday 28 March as the smash-hit Broadway and West End production, Heathers: The Musical, will be screened for one-night-only as part of a special nationwide cinema event.
Manchester’s largest street food hub’s annual celebration of East Asian street food, desserts, and drinks returns for 2023 this weekend.
Taking place from 5pm this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, five of the city’s very best East Asian street food traders – Korean Grub Club, Osaka Local, Phat Rollz, Wong Dumplings, and Mary’s Cakery Makery – will be cooking all weekend long.
And as per the usual GRUB tradition, all food will be completely plant-based on the Sunday of the three-day annual event.
Pong & Puck is hosting its first-ever bingo night this week – but it’s not like any other, as this one’s a bottomless drag bingo party.
First things first, it’s still the same game of bingo with prizes to play for and the rest of it, only this one comes with the added bonus of bottomless drinks, pizza, a comedy show, sing-offs, catwalks and more – all of which will be hosted by legendary Manchester drag queen and comedian, Miss Ginger Hunter.
The Bottomless Drag Bingo Party will be happening down at the Great Northern-based venue on Friday 31 March from 7pm, with tickets setting you back £40 per person.
A massive “gaming extravaganza” is happening down at the Science and Industry Museum this month.
An ideal way to keep the little ones educated and entertained while schools are out, the museum has organised a packed programme of gaming, animated adventure, and digital discovery events inspired by its hugely-popular ongoing interactive gaming experience, Power UP.
From Saturday 1 to Sunday 16 April, visitors will be transported inside their favourite games as part of the Actual Reality Arcade – a life-size nostalgic gaming experience that’s promising to “unlock memories” players star in real-life versions of some retro favourite games, including Invaders and Breakout.
Young gaming lovers can also explore a special Pac-Man floor maze, and families can level up together with some super-size gaming too.
The Alternative Indie Wedding Fair is here in Manchester this weekend.
Hosted by ALT Events Co, The Alternative Indie Wedding Fair will see over 20 independent alternative vendors set up shop in the Royal Exchange Theatre in the heart of the city centre on Sunday 2 April, making it the perfect place to get a feel of how you want your special day to be, all while being budget-friendly.
While event organisers say the show is completely sold out, walk-ins are welcome on the day between 1-2pm and 3-4pm if the capacity of the room allows it – but it’s first come first served, so you’ll want to get there on time to avoid disappointment.
A giant outdoor funfair full of vintage fairground rides and a circus is heading back to the Trafford Centre this week.
After several hugely successful runs in both 2021 and 2022, the UK’s third largest shopping centre has announced that its outdoor space is “springing to life” once again as April begins, and will be back with a whole host of thrilling rides, a glittering circus, and lots of delicious treats for the whole family to enjoy.
Spring Escape is returning to the Trafford Centre just in time for the school Easter holidays on 1 April, and as usual, will be popping up outside the Great Hall.
Chester Zoo’s launching an Easter egg hunt with a twist this weekend.
If you’re looking for something to keep the kids entertained and educated at the same time while schools are out this Easter, the UK’s largest charity and conservation zoo’s ‘Really Wild Egg Trail’ will see giant 3D eggs hidden over the 128-acre site.
Tut the catch is, each of the six hidden eggs all belong to animals that you might not expect to hatch from eggs.
Featured Image – ATG Tickets | Trafford Centre | GRUB
There’s a big 3D animal egg hunt happening at Chester Zoo this Easter
Chester Zoo is gearing up to launch a new Easter egg hunt when schools are out next month – but there’s a bit of a twist.
With Easter right around the corner, and schools soon to be out across Greater Manchester, if you’re looking for something a little different to do with the kids that keeps them both entertained and educated at the same time, then Chester Zoo has got you covered.
The UK’s largest charity and conservation zoo is launching the ‘Really Wild Egg Trail’ at the start of April.
All set to be a proper “educational adventure”, the trail will see giant 3D eggs hidden around the zoo’s 128-acre site – but the catch is, each of the hidden eggs belong to animals that you might not expect to hatch from eggs.
With an interactive map specially designed by National Geographic, there’ll be a total of six hidden eggs to seek out.
Once little explorers have found all six eggs hidden around the zoo, they can then make their way over to the on-site gift shop to pick up a Nat Geo Kids magazine that’s usually worth £4.99 for free.
“This Easter you can expect something a little different at Chester Zoo,” Customer Development Manager Elinor Trigg said ahead of the start of the trail next month.
“From the largest lizard in the world to tiny invertebrates, this educational adventure will help to shine a spotlight on our world-leading breeding programmes that are helping to save some of the most endangered animals on the planet, while connecting children to the natural world.”
“We’re home to more than 27,000 animals here at our charity zoo,” she continued.
“The trail is a wonderful way to learn more about some incredible, endangered species and, at the same time, take part some Easter-egg fun.”