This week, #RhonaRecommends is actually #Nicki'sNiecesAndNephewsRecommend which isn’t half as catchy but it does come with a fantastic find for keeping children aged 5 – 10 amused for very little money. That’s grabbed your attention I bet!
When Rhona and I started chatting about a family section I was keen to cover ideas for slightly older children. This was mainly for selfish reasons as I have four gorgeous nieces all aged 9 – 12 who quite often to come to visit for the day or an overnight. I’m also one of those extremely lucky people who has had the same best friends since my teenage years meaning there another two girls (5 and 8) and two boys (8 and 10) who are very much part of my special people gang.
I will shamelessly admit to having set my stall out as a favourite auntie and I’m always looking for things to do that will win me extra cool points! Perth Leisure Pool is always a hit and the girls would sit in the bottom of my wardrobe playing dress up all day long; but keeping things fresh gets trickier and trickier the older they get, particularly if you’re out of the loop and don’t chat to mums with kids this age.
So, when Blackwatch Museum sent their list of activities to us and it included a whole host of kids events I called in my gang of junior reporters to help me with this month’s spotlight article. The feedback was fantastic and as cool as I think I am, I’m also a bit of a geek; to see children learning while they’re enjoying themselves is a brilliant way to spend an afternoon. Costs are minimal with the craft sessions a suggested donation – the most I paid was £6.
SESSION ONE: Stained Glass Windows
COST: Suggested Donation £2 – I stuck £5 in for three girls.
DURATION: 2 hours
REPORTERS: Hollie, Jenna and Kerris (Aged 9)
This was a drop in crafts session that had loads of choices but all three girls decided to make Stained Glass Windows. Laura, who was in charge of the session chatted to all the kids at this wee bit about the history of the stained glass windows in the castle. This was done while they cut out their coloured tissue paper and was so cleverly weaved into the fun that they were fascinated by what she was saying. Everyone was round a big table, so the girls met other kids some of whom were doing the rubbings and other crafts.
I popped in with them to get the settled and then went and sat through in the café where I joined my Mum and my Sister for pots of tea and a slice of their amazing Red Velvet Cake.
VERDICT: “It was great fun. Did you know they had real stained glass windows here? Laura is really nice. When is it we’re coming again? Can Kerris come back as well?”
SESSION TWO: Design Your Own Tartan
COST: Suggested Donation £2
DURATION: 3 hours
REPORTERS: Kazik and Lukas Unterschutz (Aged 10 and 8).
My best friend Kelly took her two boys to this one and I have a full report from both of them!
Lukas Aged 8 – “We went to the blackwatch museum and it was a fun day there. We made tartan and mine was called the tctrgyb tartan which means the classic tartan then r for red, g for green, y for yellow and b for blue. Someone called theirs All Seasons In One Day. Kazik’s was the best – it was called poopooloo tartan.”
Kazik Aged 10 – “You made your tartan out of paper and wool. I didn’t do the wool one but I did do the paper one. You have to fold your paper in half and cut it like you’re making a Chinese lantern. Then you go over and under. I called mine the poopooloo tartan but signed it with my proper name. I’m going to make the one with the wool after. Ronnie and Sonny’s ones got used as examples (Rebecca was the teacher). We learned about the black watch tartan which I didn’t know about before. Then we went for something to eat and it was yummy yummy.”
Kelly: “They both had a great time at the tartan making which I thought was brilliant for kids. I didn’t know about the activities here before I saw them on Small City and I will certainly be back. I bumped into a couple of parents I know and everyone was in agreement that it was great value for money and well organised.
We had lunch afterwards and it was so good all the kids ordered seconds..... And not pudding! Seconds on sandwiches and pea and spinach soup - when in the history of the whole entire world has any child asked for more spinach and pea soup rather than a pudding? Well done black watch museum!
Then we headed to the park with some of the other families we met. They made me go on the roundabout and I got dizzy, we saw six squirrels and the boys met some pals from school and had a game of football! What a fantastic day out. We had a great day, met some old and dear friends, did arts and crafts, learned about tartan, ate nice food, got some fresh air and exercise, hardly spend any money and got home all shattered and happy. Brilliant!”
SESSION THREE: Night At The Museum
COST: £6 each
DURATION: 2 hours
REPORTERS: Hollie, Jenna and Kerris (9), Freya (10) and Bethany (12)
My four nieces all have birthdays within ten days of each other in October and there is an annual tradition of staying at my house, telling stories, seeing midnight and eating lots of popcorn! This year we were joined by Cerys, the twins’ best friend who after having a great time at the Stained Glass Crafts Day requested to become an official member of our Kids Reports Gang!
We decided to start this year’s sleepover with the Night At The Museum Event and arrived at 6pm to be welcomed by pumpkin lanterns and our fabulous tour guide. Everyone was given a torch and we headed into the Museum which was pitch black.
There is something spookily delicious about walking around such an old and regal building in the dark and at first, the girls were that fantastic mixture of wide-eyed wonder and apprehension. Our tour guide was amazing, with tales of friendly ghosts and beckons to come in closer. I’d say there was about twenty in our group which was just the right amount for everyone to see what was going on. As we moved from room to room the girls became more gallous and led by Bethany, the eldest cousin they were soon at the front of the group leaving me to take photos in the dark!
I heard an almighty scream and then much hilarity as our intrepid Ghost Hunters bumped straight into a world war one soldier who proceeded to tell us two spine-tingling stories from his time in battle. (Look at Hollie’s face in this pic!)
Up the stairs, moving through rooms until another scream introduced our world war one nurse. She had a horror of a tale to tell and at one point I realised the loudest scream in the room was my own! The girls were transfixed and in all the years I’ve been their auntie I’ve never seen them so quiet! It wasn’t until we wound our way out into the shop that the chatting started again and in truly animated form the dissecting of their spooky tour began.
We were whisked into the arts and crafts room to make Sphinx headdresses and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, all of which were included in the £6 ticket price. It was agreed the best bit was when Bethany screamed at the soldier and the spookiest bit was the nurses story of the haunted guest house nearby.
They all had Birthday money to spend so it was a browse round the shop before heading home.
VERDICT: “Scary!” “I liked the ghost soldier best.” "I loved it when Bethany screamed. That was so funny!" “I liked the hot chocolate!” “I didn’t even know it would be that dark. It was really cool.” “Will there be one where you can sleep over.” “Oh no I wouldn’t sleep over, would you?” And so on, for a whole sleepover night!
SESSION FOUR: Mess Silver
COST: Suggested Donation £2
DURATION: 2 hours
REPORTERS: Hollie and Jenna Martin (9)
I didn’t even know they were going to this! My sister called to say they had been asking when they were next having a day at the Blackwatch which prompted her to look at Small City’s Kids Activities Calendar to see if there was anything on. They met Granny and had a great afternoon making and learning about Mess Silver from Rebecca. I also hear it was their favourite event of the holidays although I would say they all said that after every session!
Next time you're wondering 'What's On For Kids in Perth' then I would highly recommend checking out our Family Events Section. As well as listing what's going on at The Blackwatch Castle and Museum for kids, we also include other family events and activities.
You can also sign up for our newsletter which highlights all the forthcoming events on our radar.