Artsreach helps kids to get creative

THE start of the school holidays means parents looking for interesting ways to keep the children busy and entertained and Artsreach as always has a packed and affordable programme of exciting, fun and creative workshops and activities.

The Artsreach summer programme, which runs from 27th July to 31st August, has something for everyone including music, theatre, outdoor adventures, crafts, storytelling and more.

Dorset Forest Schools has a range of outdoor adventure workshops exploring everything from making bows and spears, constructing shelters and bug-hunting to crafts, games and open fire cooking. Venues are village halls at Sixpenny Handley, Tolpuddle, Piddletrenthide and Portesham and the Kingcombe Centre in Toller Porcorum.

Parents and toddlers can enjoy a fun-filled session of minibeast-themed arts, crafts, songs, storytelling and cooking with Fiddlesticks On Tour at Sixpenny Handley and Sturminster Newton.

At Milborne St Andrew, parents and children can get hands on drawing to music together. After a storytelling session, children can create the house of their dreams from a cardboard box in Drawing, Dancing & House of Dreams. There is an Oops Wow Messy Art session at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton, where children can make and wear their own crab shell before embarking on an enormous drawing and storytelling adventure.

The Story Boat will be at Sixpenny Handley and Charmouth for two special days this summer. Step inside the magical boat (yes, a real boat!) and hear stories from its past. Then try your hand at boatbuilding and rivet a miniature Story Boat plank of your own.

Calling all wannabe musicians, a Song Writing Workshop at Milborne St Andrew offers the opportunity to learn different vocal techniques before writing your own song and giving a mini performance for friends and family.

Budding artists have plenty to turn their hands to, with Abigail Thommes’ Graffiti Experience designing and painting new tags with black paint at Martinstown and the Dorset Wildlife Centre in Toller Porcorum.

Local artist Fran Quinlan leads a Wacky Willow constructive craft workshop at Piddletrenthide and the Kingcombe Centre, and a Mammoth Monoprint session at Martinstown, experimenting with a range of materials to create gigantic prints!

Popular 3D sculptor Darrell Wakelam returns this summer with sessions creating magnificent 3D Secret Treasure Chests at Toller Porcorum, Charmouth and Milborne St Andrew, and a Space Scene at Sturminster Newton.

Get creative with wood and join local maker Karen Hansen, using drawknives, saws, hammers and shaving horses to create Anything that Moves in Sturminster Newton!

Finally, Squashbox Theatre invites you to join Forest Ranger Craig on a woodland adventure at Child Okeford and Durlston Country Park with Tales from the Trees – expect puppetry, storytelling, live music and comedy. A post show puppet-making workshop is also available.

Full details on all  the events can be found in the Artsreach Summer Activities programme at tourist information centres and libraries, or visit

Pictured: A Space Scene, created by Darrell Wakelam, and inside and outside the Story Boat.