Our Little Explorers: Your Ultimate Guide To A Summer Full Of FREE Fun!

By on July 18, 2015
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Here at Our Little Explorers HQ we cannot wait to adventure with our little ones during the summer holidays! With our budgets low and our spirits high we have come up with a free activity to do with children for every day of the holidays.. Make sure you tweet us, post to our Facebook page or Instagram with the hashtag #ILoveStocktonMe to tell us all about what you’ve enjoyed in the Stockton Summer Sunshine!

Saturday 18th July





Camp of Champions starts at Preston Park today (and goes on until Tuesday 21st). With an under 5s activity area for parents to enjoy with their children (10am­noon), staffed sports camps running for 5­11s (10am­noon) and 12­18s (1.30­3.30pm), there is something for everyone!

Alternatively, head to Stockton Central Library for a special free performance of Instant Light featuring Urban Kaos at 11am.

Sunday 19th July

Today is the second day of the amazing Ingleby Barwick Family Fun Weekend. Running 10am-­6pm on the 18th and 19th, this great event boasts activities for everyone. Live music, Punch & Judy shows, funfair, crafts, face painting, police dog displays, farmers’ market and so much more. Join the fun on the field beside Ingleby Tesco.

Over at South Park in Darlington the Dogs Trust are having their Fun Day. Dog shows, games, displays, and free micro­chipping for dogs it is a must for all canine lovers.

Camp of Champions is still running at Preston Park.

Monday 20th July

Camp of Champions is still running at Preston Park, but today one also starts in Ropner Park. These free sports camps run by American youth workers are always a highlight of our children’s summer!

Tuesday 21st July

A free family dancercise class is running in Preston Park Museum 2pm – 3pm. Booking is recommended.

Camp of Champions is still running at Preston Park and Ropner Park.

Wednesday 22nd July

Have a go at decorating your own animal mask at the Dorman Museum in Middlesbrough, and while you’re visiting this brilliant free museum make sure you check out the excellent WILD exhibition that is there until September.

Camp of Champions is still running at Ropner Park.

Thursday 23rd July

Drop in to any Stockton Library this summer to sign up your children to be a record breaker in a summer reading challenge. To complete the challenge the children have to read six books of their choice collecting stickers and incentives along the way. Children who complete the challenge will be presented with a certificate and medal.

Camp of Champions is still running at Ropner Park.

Friday 24th July

The amazing Sunderland Airshow kicks off this afternoon, and in some style, with music, fireworks and fly overs. Starting at 4pm at Cliffe Park, this free event is always a great part of the summer.

Saturday 25th July

Don your favourite fairy tale fancy dress and head to the Museum of Hartlepool for their Fairytale Family Fun Day. They promise real life princesses, duelling knights, stories and crafts. Entry is free – although the website states some activities may be charged for.

At 11am there will be an amazing performance of Instant Light by Sara Maitland. This wonderful free show that weaves historical truths of Stockton with circus will be at Thornaby Central Library.

Sunderland Airshow is still running at Cliffe Park.

Sunday 26th July

Head down to Ropner Park for their Eid Fusion Festival. With a promise of live music, Punch & Judy, magic shows, bouncy castles, henna tattoos, food and funfair rides it should be a great family day out. It is running noon-5pm.

Sunderland Airshow is still running at Cliffe Park.

Monday 27th July

With climbing walls, slides, swings, rope bridge and climbing frames make sure you head over to Romano Park in Ingleby Barwick these holidays. Its creative landscaping and unique play equipment make it a much-loved destination for many of Our Little Explorers

Tuesday 28th July

Make a Knight with moving joints and visit the Castle exhibition at the Castle and Dragons Day at Kirkleatham Musuem.

Wednesday 29th July

The brilliant Darlington-by-the-Sea Festival enjoys its ‘World Record Wednesday’ with a day full of seaside themed activities. Running 23rd July-6th August, Darlington Market Square will be turned into a seaside beach with sand, buckets and spades, ice cream, rides and more. There is a full programme of daily events.

Thursday 30th July

Stockton International Riverside Festival kicks off tonight with a fantastic show that fuses trapeze performances, music and showmanship. The story starts at 8.45pm when the circus troop arrives in Stockton by boat. We LOVE this festival – and cannot recommend it enough! It is creative, fun and jaw-dropping at times. Make sure you get along to something between today and Sunday!

Friday 31st July

SIRF continues – look out for our tweets and instagrams from the event, with tips, shows to see and loads of the action.

Saturday 1st August

SIRF continues with more treats to wow and dazzle audiences. Make sure you check out Community Carnival today at noon, when the high street comes alive with music, dance and costumes. Always a festival highlight.

Sunday 2nd August

Saltburn Food Festival returns for another year. With chef demos, live music, world food and over 70 stalls, it is a must for any north east foodie.

SIRF reaches its fantastic finale

Monday 3rd August

Why not book your children into Pop Steps with Nouveau Dance at Billingham Library. This class for all wannabe pop stars runs 2­3pm. Booking is advised.

Camp of Champions (free sports activities) starts again in Preston Park.

Tuesday 4th August

Billingham Library is hosting some Folk­-tastic Crafts 2­-3pm. Booking is advised.

Camp of Champions is still running at Preston Park.

Wednesday 5th August

Join the River Tees Rediscovered team to take part in the Big Butterfly Count, followed by crafts and refreshments at the new Canal and River Trust Welcome Station. Booking is essential.

Camp of Champions is still running at Preston Park.

Head to the Sunrise Centre for Giant Water Play 1­2.30pm

Thursday 6th August

Head to the Sunrise Centre for Beach Family Fun 10-­11.30am.

Camp of Champions is still running at Preston Park.

Friday 7th August

Ingleby Barwick Library is hosting a bedtime story session for over 4s. This delightful event runs 6­-6.30pm.

Saturday 8th August

Join local award-winning writer Carmen Thompson to hear all about Billy Peewit’s adventures at sea and make your own sea creatures. 11am­ 3pm at Redcar Beacon.

Sunday 9th August

Running 11am-3pm, Flatts Lane Fun Day looks set to be a great day out. With archery, birds of prey, climbing walls, face paints and bouncy castle, your little explorers should be well entertained.

Yarm Farmers’ Market is also running today until 2.30pm.

Monday 10th August

As if the National Glass Centre in Sunderland is not already a brilliant day out, this Monday they are also running a free drop in session for recycled papercraft!

Tuesday 11th August

The Sage in Gateshead is hosting its annual Family Fun Day. Join them from 11am-4om for loads of amazing live music in the fantastic concourse, with the added bonus of crafts, face painting, food and much more.

Wednesday 12th August

Have a go at Indoor Archery at Norton Library. Drop in between 10am and ­noon.

Have a good shake, wiggle and boogie at the Sunrise Centre’s POP Dance Club from 1­2pm.

Thursday 13th August

Join the Tees Wildlife Trust for a practical conservation day! Bowesfield Nature Reserve is a wonderful wetland reserve teaming with wildlife, but over the years the bridges on the reserve look a bit worn and tired. So head down to join the team giving them a new lease of life by sanding and painting them. This activity is suitable for families of all ages but please wear old clothes that are suitable for any weather and paint!

Take your Roald Dahl lovers to Egglescliffe Library and have a Whoopsey­Splunkers time making Filthsome Twits Beards and other Phizz­Whizzing things. Running 3­4pm, booking is essential.

Friday 14th August

Zoolab will be at Easterside Library 2­-3pm for lots of hands on opportunities with animals.

Meet the Sunrise Centre team at 10am in the bandstand at Ropner Park for a park nature trail.

Saturday 15th August

A new exhibition opens today at the brilliant Discovery Museum in Newcastle so as well as all the regular wonderful and engaging installations there will be loads of extra activities spread throughout the museum – from crafts to sports to innovation they have it covered.

Sunday 16th August

One of our favourite things to do on a Sunday afternoon is to head over to Tees Barrage with a picnic. The children love watching the people on the water and having a good run about – and we enjoy sitting and watching them!

Monday 17th August

We are loving the latest knitted creations on Saltburn pier, this time with characters and images from Alice in Wonderland it cannot fail to delight both young and old alike. While you are there why not enjoy a paddle, or make a sandcastle (or two or three!)?

Tuesday 18th August

Bring along your own fossils to be identified and create your own dinosaurs at the Fossil and Dinosaur Roadshow at the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum in Skinningrove. This event is running 1­4pm but the wonderful museum is open from 10am everyday (though admission is only free for this event).

Wednesday 19th August

Help the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust team make bee and bug hotels at Egglescliffe parish hall. This drop-in family session runs 9.30am – 12.30pm.

Have a go at Indoor Archery at Billingham Library. Drop in between 1.30­3.30pm

Thursday 20th August

Inspired by Helen Snell’s Burnt Out exhibition, Hartlepool Art Gallery will be getting creative on the theme of paper and would love families to join the fun. Drop in 1pm to 3pm.

Friday 21st August

Make a time capsule at the Sunrise Centre 10-­11.30am.

Saturday 22nd August

Mima’s Art Trolley is out 1­-4pm today for your children to get involved and get creative. Our Little Explorers also love wondering around the galleries and telling us how all the pictures make them feel.

Sunday 23rd August

If your children love history then it is well worth making a trip to the Great North Museum Hancock in Newcastle. With Egyptian mummies, a replica Hadrian wall, and a life­size Tyrannosaurus Rex model there is plenty to entertain. As part of the Marine Festival, for an added bonus today your children can meet Captain Hook, Jake the Pirate and the Pirate Fairy, rescue a stranded seal and take part in other maritime activities.

Monday 24th August

Head over to Fairy Dell Park in Middlesbrough for an afternoon of sports and games. This session runs 1­3pm, but the park is a wonderful visit any time with wooded walkways, hidden ponds and great green spaces.

Tuesday 25th August

Book your children in for an hour of cake and biscuit decorating at Billingham Library, 10­-11am.

Let your children discover all about hedgehogs at Thornaby Library’s Hedgehog Preservation session. Book in for this session that runs 2-­3pm.

Wednesday 26th August

Try your hand at pond dipping in the mobile pond that is coming to Thornaby Library 10am-noon or Fairfield Library 2-­4pm. Booking is advised.

Have a go at Indoor Archery at Stockton Central Library. Drop in between 10am­noon.

Thursday 27th August

The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle is a great free family day out. At the moment their Prehistoric People exhibition is great, and has been enjoyed by several of our little explorer families. Today they have special squirrel hunts also going on. Walk around the Museum grounds with a wildlife expert to learn about the different habitats that exist there, see if you can spot a squirrel and then make a mask. Booking is required on 01833 690606.

Friday 28th August

Summerhill park in Hartlepool has something for everyone, including BMX tracks, bouldering, play areas, cycle routes, walking, and nature reserve. It is well worth a visit this summer.

Saturday 29th August

Time to get your cheer on for the Stockton River Rat Race. Part race, part obstacle course and part silliness this race is fab to watch. From people walking the plank at the endeavour, kayaking on the Tees and running their butts off, you will be spoilt for things to watch.

Sunday 30th August

On a sunny day there is no place my children would rather be than playing in the fountains on Stockton high street. Our own free splash park it is a must for any family this summer. Grab some bathers, towels and jelly shoes for some wonderful free family fun. (And don’t forget to listen out for the fountain playing ‘we will rock you’!)

Monday 31st August

Now in its fourth year, the Friends of Seaton Park Family Funday will have a Victorian theme this year. Kids rides, plus Punch & Judy, face painting, Bubble Man, Steve’s Animal Ark, and a ukulele group. Running 12­4pm expect to see plenty of people in Victorian costume and lots of activities, traditional games and stalls for all the family.

Tuesday 1st September

Have you checked out the Gruffalo Trail at Hardwick Park yet? It truly is a delight with lots of different creative things to spot, we are sure your little ones will love it.

Wednesday 2nd September

The National Railway Museum in York is spoiling us with performances of the Twaddle Train every day, as well as lots of other free activities.

Thursday 3rd September

The Superworm trail at Guisborough Forest helps make an amazing adventure even better. With lots of sculptures, trails and play equipment we love family trips to this forest.

Friday 4th September

Head down to Stockton high street from noon for a Food Festival and maybe even join in the Bake Off!


…Phew! What a load of incredible things to look forward to. We hope you and all of your little explorers have a wonderful summer!


About Our Little Explorers

Our Little Explorers is our team of children who love sharing about their adventures around Stockton - well, with their parents and carers of course!