I was delighted to see my interview in today’s Scotland’s Press
PARENTS struggling to find fun holiday activities sometimes turn to TV and video games as a means of keeping kids busy, while others let wee ones amuse themselves playing computer games instead of enjoying the great outdoors.
According to research by Michelin I-Spy books, nearly a third of all parents in Scotland are nostalgic for days gone by when it comes to raising children, while some aren’t sure how to amuse their children with simple activities which are fun as well as educational.
Parenting expert Sue Atkins, author of the bestselling book Raising Happy Children for Dummies and the creator of the Parenting Made Easy app, says traditional childhood pastimes offer a perfect alternative to gadgets and the TV.
She said: “Old-fashioned, adventurous activities for kids appeal to both parents and their sons and daughters and are a great way of beating the computer-game culture and rising levels of child obesity.
“Just look at the success of The Dangerous Book for Boys, a guidebook for young lads on activities like tying knots, while the I-Spy books have sold more than a million copies since they were re-launched last year – the same amount as hit game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
“Nostalgic these activities may be, but boring they’re not.”
The pocket-sized I-Spy books were first released in 1948 and they were designed to develop children’s curiosity, powers of observation and sense of discovery. They were wildly popular and at one point the I-Spy “tribe” had 1.5million members.
Each book, now published by Michelin, is based on a specific theme, such as I-Spy Classic Cars or I-Spy in the Countryside, and features pictures of things to spot which earn youngsters a certain number of points.
Sue added: “You don’t even have to live in the countryside or by the sea to enjoy them; there is so much out there to spot.
“You can get books to suit your child, whether they love cars, history or nature, and there are even books specific to certain regions; perfect for keeping them interested on summer breaks and long car journeys.”
For an inexpensive, enriching and entertaining alternative to staying indoors, pick up an I-Spy book from your nearest bookstore.
EACH year, the Summer Arts Carnival is “theme filled” and this year is no exception. You can get Your Glee On, join Norn’s circus or stage your own musical.
The ever-popular Gruffalo makes two appearances: for tiny tots, there is an invitation to attend The Gruffalo’s Tea Party with Barry Donaldson, while those aged six and over will love Is There Room on the Broom for the Gruffalo, too, led by Scotty Armstrong.
This year sees the addition of BigStar Zumbatonic, where you can join the latest craze of zany Zumba, or why not become the next Karate Kid in the Little Ninjas workshop for the over-eights.
Each week ends with an action-packed performance or colourful exhibition for parents, family and friends, so weekly attendance is highly recommended.
Summer Carnival workshops are priced £8.50 for a morning or afternoon session or £40 for a week, which includes snacks. Places are strictly limited and can be booked online at www.aberdeenarts centre.org.uk or by calling the Aberdeen Arts Centre Carnival hotline on 01224 635208.
BASED on Royal Deeside, and only 45 minutes from the centre of Aberdeen, the park, which is set within 100 acres of beautiful countryside, offers a great day out for children and their parents.
Attractions range from a farm walk, which lasts two hours and includes a delicious cream tea, to kart racing, indoor climbing, fly fishing and paintball games.
An outdoor children’s playground features an all-weather sledging slope, sandpit, pedal karts, climbing frame, ball pit, soft-play area, swings, a slide, Wendy house and giant games.
Activities for children under eight include two-seater karting, archery, low-level climbing wall, quad bus and quad-bike rides, and a visit to the Groundhog Bus.
Facilities at the park include a restaurant, a farm shop, corporate conference suite, huge indoor activities arena, luxury holiday cottages and a micro-brewery.
Deeside Activity Park is open daily from 9am to 5pm all year round. For further details call 013398 83536 or visit www.deeside activitypark.com