Half term activities inspiration for youngsters with SEND

Nancy Oldfield Trust re opens after lock down Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The Nancy Oldfield Trust has reopened after lockdown with a new fleet of boats. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

The half term holidays are here and families will be busy filling up the week with fun activities. 

For families with children living with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), planning days out can prove harder than expected.

Nicki Price, chief executive of SENsational Families, said many families struggled during the half term due to limited sessions available.

She has provided recommendations for specialist sessions and businesses that provide outside, quieter or low sensory activities for families.

Here is a selection of ideas suggested for children and families to enjoy a day out during the half term.

1. UEA Sportspark 

The Sportspark at the UEA. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Sportspark at the UEA. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

The sportspark, on the University of East Anglia campus in Norwich, will run a SEND session on Thursday, June 3, from 1.45pm, for children with SEND and children with EHCPs.

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The sportspark runs the sessions during school time as well on a Thursday afternoon for those from walking age up to nine years old. 

A spokesman said: "It is a quieter session. We do not have music and less numbers."

The session is limited to 15 children, who are accompanied by an adult.

It costs £4 per child a session. 

To book visit https://www.sportspark.co.uk/ or call 01603 592398.

2. Nancy Oldfield Trust

Nancy Oldfield Trust re opens after lock down. The Pugh family enjoying a day out. Pictures: BRITTAN

A day out at the Nancy Oldfield Trust. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

The Broads charity has reopened after lockdown and has added a number of new vessels to its fleet. 

The trust provides boating opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged visitors from its base at Neatishead, near Barton Broad. 

Added for its reopening are two pedal launches, three Hansa sailing dinghies – specially-designed boats for use by people with disabilities - and a McConks Mega stand-up paddle board capable of carrying up to eight people including wheelchair users. 

This is in addition to its offering of sailing, canoeing and motor cruisers. 

To find out more visit https://www.nancyoldfield.org.uk/ 

3. Free carer tickets

 Elena Kelly following the track trail at Banham Zoo.

Elena Kelly following the track trail at Banham Zoo. - Credit: Zoological Society of East Anglia

Banham Zoo has limited activities this year due to the pandemic, but its track trail offers a quiet area with sensory activities as visitors pass through its woodland adventure. 

The trail features the footprint tracks of a number of different British species, with the Makaton symbol for each animal. All the tracks are in 3D which helps to stimulate the sense of touch and can be used for crayon rubbings too.

The woodland adventure is a great space to get closer to nature and explore a quiet and open area – it also features a brand new wheelchair swing.

Banham Zoo's new wheelchair swing.  

Banham Zoo's new wheelchair swing. - Credit: Zoological Society of East Anglia

SENsational Families recommended the zoo for its quieter areas alongside Africa Alive, Pensthorpe nature reserve, Go Ape Bewilderwood and Roarr Dinosaur Park as other larger venues for families, which also offer a free carer ticket.

4. Free and low cost 

Autumnal Holt Country Park.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Holt Country Park. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE - Credit: Archant Norfolk

SENsational Families recommended a number of free and low cost attractions for families looking for activities during the holidays.

These include Redwings Horse Sanctuary, which has visitor centres in Aylsham and Caldecott.

Both centres open from Friday through to Monday between 10.30am and 4pm, with the paddocks walk closing at 3pm. 

Visitors are asked to book a time slot for their arrival on the Redwings website.

Parents have shared walks in their local areas are often activities they enjoy during the half term, with Holt Country Park among the places to visit.

Are you running sessions for families and children with autism or special education needs? Email clarissa.place@archant.co.uk