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Free For Families in Glasgow

Free For Families in Glasgow
There are plenty of regular, free things to do for families in and round Glasgow, particularly at the city’s museums. These activities tend to be drop-in (with the exception of those running at Glasgow’s Museum Resource Centre) and are excellent ways for children to explore the museums’ collections in a fun way. And they are most definitely for families which means that grown-ups at the very least have to keep an eye on their children (perhaps throwing the odd word of encouragement into the mix) or take the plunge and get stuck in and join in whatever is on offer, which can be more fun. What’s usually not on offer is the chance to slope off and enjoy a crafty coffee and a quick read of the paper/twitter. That kind of entertainment comes with a price - the heaven-hell of soft play for instance.

Kelvingrove is a treasure trove - not just for adults - as on a rainy day it can be full of small children making the most of the museum’s open spaces and eye-catching exhibits. As the city’s largest and best-know destination, there is plenty going on. Toddler Time takes place every Friday at 11.00 and is especially for ages 1-5 and RSPB Toddler Tweets takes place on Tuesdays (suggested donation £1.00). Once a month (generally the last weekend), the RSPB hosts two-days exploring a specific theme through the museum’s nature galleries. There are usually drop-in activities for families to coincide with any current exhibitions. And this is without mentioning the popular, very interactive Children’s Museum on the ground floor, Briar Rose gallery on the first floor, the whole room full of armour and weaponry and of course, Sir Roger Elephant. The adventurous can pick up a Rainforest Explorer Backpack which includes everything you might possibly need and complete the activity trail.

At GoMA, the Saturday Art Club continues to be a very popular activity for children. Each session is inspired by a current artist or technique. If it is very busy, families are welcome to make use of GoMA’s Create Space.

Scotland Street School Museum has recently started a new series of regular events: School Subjects and Bring an Adult to School Day - exploring the art and design of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s building or learning new creative and artistic techniques. School Subject is for ages 4+ and is a drop-in activity and Bring an Adult to School Day is for ages 7+ and is bookable. The age suitability, and the fact that booking is required for Bring An Adult to School Day is useful in gauging what to expect. Both of these are in addition to the popular Horrible Heidie and Time Traveler Tours.

Other new regular sessions include Saturdays at St Mungo’s and Sunday’s at Provand Lordship, drop-in and find out more about these important (and ancient) museums. Also at Provand’s Lordship, visitors can now take advantage of a self-led cart packed full of family-friendly activities. Fun@thePalace takes place almost every Saturday afternoon at the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens. Over at the Burrell, there’s a packed programme: Family Films every second Sunday of the month, Wee Wednesdays for pre-schoolers on the first Wednesday of the month and Burrell for Families which takes place a couple of times a month.

The Glasgow Museum Resource Centre (GMRC) at Nitshill run a varied programme of activities for kids and families. In general these do need to be booked in advance but are still free. There are two streams - a series of popular sessions for ages 3-5 which include regulars like Blast Off! and then there are workshops for older children and cover the Romans, archeology and knights. All include a short tour of the museum.

Look out for a A Grand Day Out. These are especially designed for grandparents and their grandchildren although anyone is welcome to join in. At the moment, they take place on a Saturday at different museums. A great idea and it might be worth seeing if they do something similar during the holidays when grandparents help out with childcare.

Lastly, shopping with children is no fun for either party but sometimes it has to be done. Most malls do put on entertainment at the weekend - e.g. Get Crafty regularly hold arts and crafts sessions at the Avenue Shopping Centre, Newton Mearns - to make the experience a little more pleasurable.


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