Scotland is a beautiful country with so much for families to see and do, and Inverness is no exception. Nestled on the northeast coast, where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth, it’s the largest city and the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands. Inverness is steeped in history and natural beauty, and is a great base for exploring the surrounding area. With this in mind, I thought I’d share some of the best things for families to do when visiting Inverness:Continue reading “Things to Do as a Family in Inverness “
The evolution of family centres in London has been greater than anyone could imagine. From arcades and playgrounds to laser tag, miniature golf courses and trampoline parks, family entertainment centres have evolved from occasional stops on the way to must-see destinations.
This profitable industry has continued to grow in recent years, even with advancements and access to technology. With smartphones and computers consolidating their presence in everyday life, the need for quality time in families is increasing. Creating a family entertainment centre is a fun and timeless way to profit while giving back to the community.
What is a family entertainment centre?
Many structures fall into this category, but few people understand what a family entertainment centre really is and how it can bring enormous value. A family entertainment centre (CEF) is a small-scale amusement park, usually indoors, that combines traditional play elements with innovative and creative structures that all children dream of. FECs incorporate elements that are mentally and physically challenging for children, with multiple levels, tunnels, ropes, water, and other design components that tap into children’s imaginations. These centres are usually independent structures or extensions of existing ones.
Types of Family Entertainment Centres found in London
Although you may not have heard the specific terminology of family entertainment centre before, you have been watching and playing them for a lifetime. Mini golf courses, laser tag centres, go-kart tracks, zip lines, and bowling alleys are examples of different FECs. The spaces have evolved into larger and more exciting experiences that have elevated the entertainment industry in London. With modern designs and innovative concepts, there is much more to consider when creating a CEF. Possible entertainment centre options include:
- Children’s Museums: With interactive designs, children’s museums can encourage children to explore and learn in location-based centres.
- Trampoline parks: As one of the most recent advancements in the evolution of CEFs, trampoline parks offer a way to exercise while improving balance and concentration.
- Arcades: Get back to the classics with this old CEF. A game-filled environment encourages social participation and active play for the whole family.
- Inflatable centres: Inflatable centres are one of the easiest structures to add to any indoor or outdoor environment. With soft foam play areas, you can offer obstacle courses and games within a creative play space.
- Children’s Discovery Centres: This inquiry-based environment can foster independent discovery, exploration, hands-on learning, collaboration, and problem solving. These elements are the main attractions of discovery entertainment centres for children.
Tips for Creating a Family Entertainment Centre
Like any other industry, family-oriented entertainment has its own advantages and considerations. Fortunately, there are specific tips and tricks that will help bring your visions to life. Now that you know the basics of the industry and your creative wheels are turning, let’s dive into the best ways to start your FEC.
First you need to investigate. Although this advice may seem like a no-brainer, many entrepreneurs in the family entertainment industry fall short on the little details. Research begins with identifying your target audience and creating an in-depth analysis of their interests and ends with finding financial backers and obtaining building permits.
Build a Presence in Your Community
The decisive factor in the success of your CEF will be in the strength of your surrounding community. Trust, reliability and a supreme customer experience are crucial when building a strong relationship with your clientele. Do this by focusing on local marketing efforts, offering special discounts, and partnering with other businesses and schools to sponsor neighbourhood clubs and events. Another good way to create a lasting presence in your area is to organize special events, such as birthday parties and school field trips. The possibilities of involving your neighbours are endless. But one thing is for sure: if you invest in your neighbourhood, people will invest in your business.
Seek Professional Help for Setting Up Your FEC in London
When setting up your own family entertainment centre, if it’s your first time, it’s advisable to seek professional help in order to receive some guidance. This can be in the form of a business advisor or even an expert and renowned firm in the industry of family entertainment such as the crazy golf theme design offered by Plonk Golf Studios.
Interactive Challenge Courses
Building an interactive challenge circuit will appeal to older audiences and differentiate your business from the competition. This type of family entertainment centre differs from the others in that it offers the thrill of an adventure ride while staying within a contained play area. A structure like The Hive uses obstacle-based challenges with a friendly competitive edge for teens and young adults. Other structures like adventure spheres use climbing patterns, interactive light shows, and colourful designs to immerse younger guests.
Family time can either be fun or chaotic, depending on how much you prepare for it. Especially if you have kids around, you will have to factor in activities that will be appealing to all members of the family to engage them. A movie night is one of the more relaxing things to do with the family, and you can make it as enjoyable as you want with the following tips.
- Pick a family movie ahead of time
If you want members of your family to be interested in the movie from start to finish, then it should be one that everyone might be interested in. And the best way to do this is to take some time together to pick one. Consider everybody’s interest and choose a movie that meets all the expectations to some extent; after all, no one can have it their way. To make the experience even better, install streaming apps and add ons to your devices to give you access to countless movies for free. Troypoint has some of the best to make streaming movies smooth and stress-free.
- Add refreshing snacks or meals
It won’t be an enjoyable time without some snacks to go with the movie, so don’t be scared to go all out. Get some creative ideas for a variety of snacks and make it possible for everybody to customize theirs. The old school popcorn works very well (only those above four can have some), especially when it’s glazed. You can take it up a notch and add some pastries or drinks so that it becomes a mini-meal. Also, don’t forget the healthy options and special snacks for those who may have dietary issues. Movie night is the only time that you can eat together in front of the tv, so make it count for everybody.
- Be comfortable
If you want to prevent fidgeting as much as possible during a good movie, then make sure everybody is as comfortable as possible. You can do this by making sure the couch or whatever you’re sitting on is spacious and soft enough for everyone. If possible, you can let family members create their little comfort zones in front of the tv. Those who will need extra pillows and blankets should get just that so that everyone’s attention will be on the movie and not discomfort. From time to time, you can ask around if everybody is comfortable but not too much that it becomes a distraction.
- Make it a theme
This tip works well with the kids because it makes them look forward to movie night. So consider giving them the opportunity to create costumes that they will wear while watching the movie – this makes them invested even before the time comes. It is also a great opportunity for you to combine entertainment with education as they strengthen their creativity skills. That way, they will be glued to the tv, and the chances of moving around are lowered. You can also ask them to help you decorate the viewing area before time so that they can feel like a part of the organisation process.
The recent life-changing social distancing measures that have been introduced mean that for the first time, many of us are facing the challenge of home-schooling our kids. In addition, we are needing to support our kids, who will be unsettled by the disruption to their routine and upset by the events going on around them. However, there are simple steps that we can take to help keep kids education on track and ensure that they are entertained while at staying at home.
Providing a structured routine
Ensuring that your kids have a structure to their day is vital for keeping them motivated and productive. Continuing with your usual meal times and bedtime routine is also recommended to bring your kids some normality.
Plan the day using a timetable
The classic timetable is ideal for kids of all ages to use, as it provides predictability to the day and ensures they complete all of their school work. By also including meal and snack times it can help stop kids developing any unhealthy eating habits during their time at home. Get your kids involved with writing their timetable, as there are many excellent skills they can develop at the same time.
To do lists
If you are struggling to keep your kids entertained and motivated throughout the day, then try writing a to-do list filled with activities to keep any bored kids occupied. A to-do list is a perfect opportunity to get kids helping out around the house, as you could include daily chores or even get them involved with preparing meals.
Online exercise inspiration
It can be challenging to think of exercise ideas for kids outside of their regular sports and activity groups. However, to inspire you, there are many online activities for kids that will help keep them fit and active.
Try contacting your child’s current sports and activity groups, as many have created online fitness sessions that may also allow your family to join in. Otherwise, there are a great variety of exercise, yoga and dance videos on YouTube that kids can enjoy participating in. Online workouts make perfect fitness sessions for everyone who is at home with the kids that will get the whole family moving.
Online educational resources
When undertaking home teaching, the support from kids’ educational websites is invaluable. These resources ensure that any work you do with your kids follows their school curriculum and is at the correct level for your child’s learning ability
The STEM Learning website provides many exciting and stimulating learning activities for kids of all ages, so if you are stuck for fun things to do then, this is a great website to visit. There are even wildlife spotter sheets and fun plant project ideas that are perfect for encouraging time in the garden. For more STEM play options, there are many suitable educational toys for 6 year olds and above that are ideal to use in combination with these projects.
Learning through craft
Staying at home is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some quality family time together and try some craft ideas. There is plenty of inspiration available on social media sites, and most activities only require items from around the home. Craft activities are a great way of recycling everyday household items such as cardboard tubes and plastic bottles. However, if you need to increase your craft range, then there are many great craft inspired educational toys for 7 year olds and below to enjoy.
Providing kids with time to play with toys is an essential part of learning. There are many great educational toys available, so you will be able to find the perfect toys for occupying every child. For inspiration, take a look at https://www.starwalkkids.com where you can discover exciting toys for all ages.
Lego sets come in a range of themes, making them perfect educational toys for 8 year olds and above that bring out every kid’s creativity. They are perfect for entertaining kids for hours and allow kids to design new and exciting masterpieces. If your child loves Lego, then they are sure to enjoy the 30 day Lego calendar, which sets a different Lego challenge every day for kids to complete.
Minecraft is the latest video game craze, which all kids love playing, and with many educational toys for 10-year-olds featuring this popular game, it can be challenging to get kids to think of anything else.
If you are struggling to get your kids to focus on their school work as they constantly want to be playing this game, then there is a compromise, as Minecraft has produced an excellent range of educational resources. Kids can choose a wide variety of lessons, including many science, history, and language topics, so you can be sure that your child will learn a lot while exploring the Minecraft website.
Well, read on as we find out!
Trip to Kansas Aviation Museum
While in Wichita, you can never be far away from aviation and avionics, can you? Well, given the city’s legacy in these areas, a trip to Kansas Aviation Museum is definitely an idyllic way to spend time while in Wichita.
The site of this museum is in fact the former Wichita Municipal Airport, setup in the 1930s. Eventually, it took the shape of a museum much later in 1991.
Today, you can enjoy viewing airplanes such as the Cessna T-37, Beech Starship, B-52D Stratofortress, Boeing 737-2H4, as well as the Learjet 23 among others. You can also enjoy an annual “Play on a Plane Day” event held at the museum, in case you happen to be in Wichita at that time.
Wichita Art Museum
Art enthusiasts will certainly enjoy visiting Wichita Art Museum which is in fact the largest art museum in all of Kansas with over 7,000 unique artworks from all over housed in the museum.
Additionally, there are a lot of art galleries in the city; as an art enthusiast, we do recommend that you do try and visit these as well.
Sedgwick County Zoo
No trip to Wichita will be complete without visiting the city’s Sedgwick County Zoo, which is not only the largest zoo in the state of Kansas but also one of the largest in all of United States.
Wichita does offer ample avenues for you to shop with ease.
Bradley Fair, an outdoor mall on the city’s North Rock Road is especially recommended for a number of cool apparel stores, besides restaurants that offer delectable cuisine unique to the area.
There are also the usual malls like Towne East Square and Towne West Square with typical retail outlets you will find in much of America.
For a memorable culinary experience, we do wholeheartedly recommend heading out to the city’s Old Town. Situated just across from downtown, it is easy to get here and the food and drinks scene here is quite vibrant with a lot of unique gastronomic delicacies to try out.
The city’s Waterfront is another unique destination for a lot of special experiences that foodies would want to have. There are just so many nice restaurants here and the whole place is done up so well; you definitely would not want to miss out on this place!
Wichita Travel Made Easy with ESTA
ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorization is a special provision for travelers from select countries which allows them to travel to the US without having to obtain a visa in advance.
As a part of the entire exercise to ‘Check my ESTA’, viz. to ensure you are actually eligible to travel to the US under this program, you must confirm:
You do actually belong to one of the countries on the VWP or Visa Waiver Program list; not necessarily as a citizen – being an eligible national would suffice.
Your planned trip to the US should not exceed 90 days.
You should not have a Visitor’s Visa to the US already.
The purpose of your trip to the US should quite clearly be either business or pleasure.
Many travelers to Wichita have had memorable trips to the Aviation Capital of the World, all thanks to the ESTA provision.
Accordingly, we do reiterate that you confirm your eligibility for the program as per the ‘Check my ESTA’ checklist we have shared above.
As a music buff, you will definitely enjoy your time in Wichita. After all, there’s a lot going on – on this front, not only from a Kansan perspective but indeed an American and international one.
First up, there is Wichita Symphony Orchestra which performs regularly. Then, there are Wichita Grand Opera and Music Theatre Wichita, both of which are well known all over America.
Finally, as the place where the electric guitar was born, there sure is an electrifying buzz to Wichita, on the musical front!
Botanica is an experience unique to Wichita which we wholeheartedly recommend if you have 48 hours to spend in the city. There are as many as 24 immaculately designed gardens within Botanica, which definitely make a perfect setting for your Instagram ‘Wichita trip’ Story!
Ultimately, you will hardly find 48 hours to be adequate to explore and experience Wichita to the fullest.
At the same time, if that is all the time you have, this article will surely help you make the most of it!
If you are an international traveler eligible for ESTA, don’t forget to do a ‘Check my ESTA’ as specified above!