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Fun Afternoon Ideas For Preschoolers

by Jude (follow)
With the weather on the turn and my afternoons' feeling longer, I thought I’d have a look at what fun afternoon activities are around for pre- school aged children.

My 3-year-old started mornings at nursery in September and we used to love our afternoon adventures.

Swinging at the Whitworth
Swinging at the Whitworth


Fortunately, one of our favourite morning activities also runs through to the afternoon. The Whitworth hosts early year family events.

The gallery sets aside a space for young people and their carers to create some unique artwork. The materials and concept usually have a link to an exhibition that is in the gallery at the time. The last time we went, we made Rapunzel’s tower – not sure how Susan Hefuna would have felt about it!

The café at the Whitworth is always a pleasure.

Swinging at the Whitworth
Food at The Whitworth
Tip - Make sure you remember to get a children’s art hamper to keep the little ones entertained while you guzzle coffee and eat cake.

Swinging at the Whitworth
Walking through The Whitworth Park


We are so lucky in Manchester now, we have our pick of child friendly cafes. I have frequented quite a few in my three years of motherhood but always go back to the same ones. Home M20 is a favourite of ours. I like that it feels like a ‘home’, I like that it is run by volunteers, I like that it serves fresh tasty food, I like the coffee, I like the cake, I like help yourself tap water dispenser.

Friends in Pub
Food at home

Swinging at the Whitworth
Water at home

But most importantly, my daughter likes that she can choose which six items she can have in her muffin tin (yes, an actual muffin tin that you make Yorkshire Puddings in) and she likes the all-important children’s play corner with every item from the Ikea kids bit.

Friends in Pub
Food at home

Friends in Pub
The home play area


Swimming! I know we have some swanky pools around now but for some reason our family still frequents Stretford Leisure Centre. I blame it on growing up in Yorkshire in the 80s. The teaching pool is given to ‘Baby Splash’ at different times of the day throughout the week (check timetable).

Basically, loads of bright coloured floating items are thrown into the pool and children and their carers are left to have fun. On a Wednesday the session runs from 2pm – 3.30pm and costs £4.50. There is a café on site selling brightly coloured frozen drinks and chips.


The Garden Centre. I never knew that becoming a parent would also mean you would like Garden Centres’. We have been to a few now and seem to love the random selection of items on sale (if you thought Aldi was random…). Wye Vale Garden Centre is out in Altrincham.

Loads of people had told me about this place before we made it. The best part of it is the soft play area in the middle of the restaurant. It is surrounded by windows which meant that I could happily sit and eat my lunch whilst the kids ran around inside.

Friends in Pub
Walking through the plants


Pub! On a Friday afternoon, I like to pretend I’m with the rest of society and the weekend will be full of parties and hangovers. My kids love to see their friends and I love to see my friends so why not do kids tea in a family friendly pub.

Chorlton has been a little taken over by the pram brigade. I wonder how the landlords feel about the pub floors being littered with Babybel wrappers and Fruitshoot lids. Our favourite is Font. They do a great kids menu and have an area at the back which has a few drawers of toys and books. They also do a lovely cocktail menu. It’s just a shame you can only have one and need to get home for bedtime!

Friends in Pub
Children in the pub

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