The Great Northern Warehouse has this week launched an online version of its popular Forest Tots play sessions to help inspire families with under five year olds with new nature-based activities that they can do at home or during their daily walk.

Last year the Great Northern ran free weekly outdoor sessions in its giant sandpit and amphitheatre facilitated by a Forest School trained practitioner to the delight of young families from across Great Manchester.

Weekly sessions were fully booked, and so popular that the venue was set to launch the 2020 session for an extended period running from April right through to September.

However, with the lockdown now in place and the events having to be postponed, the Great Northern Team wanted to help local families by bringing some of the Forest Tots activities online to help parents and carers looking for fun, free-of-charge ways to keep the kids entertained while the city is in isolation.

Weekly Forest Tots play ideas created by Forest School practitioner Amanda Williams will be posted on the Great Northern’s website as part of its new Great Northern at Home online campaign. Families will be able to visit each week for a new nature-based game or activity for under five year olds that can be done on a walk, in the garden or in the living room.

To kickstart the campaign, two activities have today been added. The first, for locals who may be missing the Great Northern’s giant, outdoor sandpit and its associated games, is instructions on how to create an at-home sandpit – including ideas for those with limited outdoor space or who are on a tight budget.

The second, offers a guide on using a nature walk to collect items for a fun, bird-themed game at home, a perfect example of the types of activities run in the Forest Tots sessions when they take place at Great Northern.

Mark Schofield, centre director at Great Northern comments: ‘Our Forest Tots sessions last year were designed to bring a bit of nature-based play to children living in, or visiting the city centre. We are so pleased to be able to deliver some of this magic online with Amanda’s help until such time that we are able to run the activities again at the venue itself. Many of our team have young families, so we know just how challenging it can be to keep little ones occupied during the lockdown, and we hope that Forest Tots Online can provide a little weekly inspiration to help.”

Forest Tots online is part of Great Northern At Home, a new online campaign that brings some of the venue’s most popular events and brands, including everything from delicious recipes to at home games and activities. To check them out, please visit:


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