Our Secret day of spies, disguise & ways to hide: IWM North

Over the weekend we were invited to the Imperial War Museum Manchester for a special sneak preview of some of the activities which will be on during Feb half term.

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The IWM NORTH is situated across from Media City and boasts amazing architecture both inside and out. The building is stunning to view and the views from the building are equally amazing.
I took Ryan and Jordanna along who were very exciting in the days leading up to it. I decided to leave little Izebella at home. It was a cold day and being only one year old I thought she was a little young.
Our first activity began in the Learning Studio and was Animals on a Mission. We and a few other fellow bloggers sat in a comfy room surrounded by toys and war memorabilia and were told some very interesting stories about animals that were used to help through the World wars. I found it quite interesting and educational. I had never heard these stories before and Ryan loves things like this.
Would you believe that animals such as bears and rats were actually used in wars?
Puppets were used with the animal stories and the children got to hold and look after the puppets throughout the stories.

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After our stories of animals the children got to make their own cardboard binoculars which had real magnifying lenses. Jordanna struggled a lite with hers but got their eventually and children were able to colour and design how they wished. The binoculars came from Baker Ross. They really worked too and everything looked much larger when looking through them.

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Gadgets and Disguise was next on the schedule and this is wear children went off playing with toys and the many costumes. As you can see lots of fun.

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For our final activity in the Learning Studio we were able to see some of the war objects in the museum such as hats, helmets and periscopes and able to touch and try them on. Many museums don’t let you do this and again it’s something the kids really enjoyed.

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Once the activities down in the Learning Studio had finished we were then able to go upstairs to the main exhibition area. This is a very very large area with so many war collections and exhibits to see. There are collections from both World Wars plus things and information on other wars. Even advice on nuclear fall outs and what to do etc. We really enjoyed walking around and exploring everything.

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There were many interactive interesting displays such as games, mini screens, telephones, and activities literally everywhere we looked. I remember there being a sniff box thing and Jordanna saying the smell was awful. It was lots of fun walking around and my children didn’t once say they were bored.
In the main area there were large screens and benches everywhere and at certain times of the day a 4d Horrible Histories Rotten Rationing big picture show comes on. The show we watched was about rationing during the war. It was loud and entertaining we actually felt like part of the show. You have to be there to experience how good it actually is. We were surprised to learn just how much people had to do without during wars and Jordanna was shocked to learn about pig buckets.

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After a lovely lunch in the cafe we went to a Time Stack handling session also in the main area. In this session we learned a lot more about items used by soldiers during the wars and got to touch and hold actual items. Many of which donated by the families of soldiers. We even held an actual grenade.

20140202-184818.jpg good thing it’s disabled. Other items included medals, tags, hats and postcards sent to loved ones.
Finally before leaving we were eager for a trip up the Air Shard. It’s a trip 100ft up in the air by lift (or stairs if your up to it) the lift was a little scary and rattly going up and very fast and all we could see was piles of metal structure.

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It didn’t take long to reach the top and it was very cold and windy. Jordanna was a little scared being so high up as you can see through the metal grills all the way down. There is a lovely man at the top who pointed out all the views. You can see all of Media City and Salford Quays and it’s quite spectacular.

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Then back down the lift and a look around the shop it was time to head home. We spotted a big tank outside and took this tho.

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This was our first time at the IWM NORTHwe found it very interesting and it certainly has many fun educational benefits teaching both children and us adults many things about war. Some things we saw were a little sad. All the soldiers who have fallen fighting for our country and also mentions of ongoing wars of today. Ryan and Jordanna enjoyed all the activities and getting involved answering questions and learning. The staff were lovely and kept children and adults amused and entertained throughout.
The Imperial War Museum is free to Going to the top of The Air Shard costs Β£1.20 for adults and 60p for children.There will many activities running throughout February half term and I would definitely recommend this museum for a family day out. Visit IWM NORTH to plan your day.

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