We’re halfway through the school summer holidays and I don’t know about you, but I’m on a bit of a mission to fill the days with fun without breaking the bank. It can be a fine balancing act between packing in lots of activities (and wondering why your bank balance is going further and further into the red) and embracing the whole ‘boredom is good for kids’ ethos (which in reality often ends up with them having loads of screen time).
So, for me, it’s all about hunting down free activities and taking out packed lunches as often as we can. There’s only so many trips to the park I can take, heading to a free London museum is great but it can still cost £20 or so to get there and back, and the thought of coastal traffic often puts us off heading to the seaside. So hurrah, then, for the shopping centre in Bromley which has created a fun, and educational, interactive event for kids this summer – and it’s totally free.
Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes at The Glades shopping centre takes children on a journey through the human body. After dressing up in a white doctor’s coat, kids are led around by four doctors (Dr Head, Dr Shoulders, Dr Knees and YES YOU GUESSED IT, Dr Toes) who share facts, ask questions and make jokes.
First, we learn about the skeleton (the children are amazed that they have more bones in their bodies than grown ups do) and muscles, then we are shrunk down to microscopic size so that we can enter the human body and travel around to learn more. We head into the digestive system and watch a film about how we chew food and where it goes next. Cue lots of YUCKS and giggles when we get to the part about our bodies producing poo!
Next, we move onto the nervous system, where the children learn about how our brain tells our body to do things, and the immune system where germs and antibodies are talked about (and how important it is to wash our hands!)
The circulatory system is next and Dr Head and Dr Shoulders explain how blood is pumped around the body, how it keeps us alive and how toxins are removed from the body.
We move onto the brain, and the kids are quizzed on how many sections of the brain there are and what they each do. Then we visit the heart, and we’re shown how to make our own hearts pump faster by jogging on the spot for a while. Finally we go into the lungs where we learn about sneezing and breathing, and then into the mouth – where the children get to sit on giant teeth!
At the end, all of the children are given a certificate to say they have completed their operation and they’re now a Junior Doctor! So if anyone needs any medical advice, or a quick general anaesthetic, you know where to come.
What I loved about this activity was how engaged all of the kids were throughout the whole 40 minutes. The doctors taking them on the journey were brilliant at keeping them all interested, asking questions and making the children laugh. The seven-year-old came away from it reciting facts about the human body and dead chuffed that she’d been able to correctly answer a couple of the doctors’ questions. The event is suitable for kids going into Year 1 at school, up to Year 6, and I think having a lower age limit means you don’t have small children getting bored or distracting the others.
Top tip 1: If you’re going, pop into Costa Coffee before you arrive (it’s right next to the activity entrance) and grab a coffee to drink while you sit in the event waiting area.
Top tip 2: If you’ve got younger children, pop to the free soft play afterwards (it’s upstairs, next to New Look). There’s also a nice baby change area up that way too.
Top tip 3: If you’ve taken a packed lunch with you, like we often do, head to Queen’s Gardens outside The Glades where you can sit on the grass in the sunshine, and then use the fab little play area.
Heads Shoulders Knees & Toes is at The Glades, Bromley every day until August 22nd. For more info and to book your free ticket, head over here.
This post was commissioned by The Glades, Bromley and as always, all views are my own. For more information on how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page.