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The Festival of Free Time – Family Highlights

Feat. CBeebies Bedtime Stories, Hey Duggee Reading Trail, Baby Rock Sampler, RHS Family Workshops, Playhouse Project, Skateboarding Workshops, The Music Shed, Crafty Family Activities, VR Gaming Experience, Dance Like a Mother and more! 10th and 11th September, 2022 Taking over places and spaces across MediaCity and Salford Quays

Festival Highlights:

CBeebies Bedtime Stories

All ages welcome

CBeebies Bedtime Stories tent

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September

11am – 5pm

No booking required 

Welcome to CBeebies Bedtime Stories Live! Hosted by BBC Children’s Rhys Stephenson of Strictly Come Dancing Fame; where parents, carers, their babies and toddlers can relax and listen to stories together.

There’s a fabulous array of special guests lined up to read some Bedtime Stories live at the festival, with sessions for little ones running across both days.

Get cosy, snuggle up and enjoy a bedtime story read to you by a host of surprise readers in the CBeebies tent, including appearances by Hacker T Dog, CBBC & Radio One’s Katie Thistleton and more.

In between bedtime story sessions families can boogie on down at the Hey Duggee disco.

Sessions will run every hour on the hour on both days from 11am with the last session starting at 4pm, please see the blackboard outside the CBeebies Bedtime story tent for details of readers on the day.

Tiny Happy People

Age 0-5 years old

BBC Tiny Happy People tent

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September  

11am – 4.30pm

No booking required 

Join us in the BBC Tiny Happy People tent for free, fun activities designed to help develop children’s language and communication skills. Play with sock puppets, get crafty with the ‘Feelings Tree’, have fun with skittles or join in with ‘Teddy says’.

The Hey Duggee Story trail with The National Literacy Trust, Salford Community Leisure Pop-Up Library 

All ages welcome

The Lowry, CBeebies and Imperial War Museum North

The Reading Lawn

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th Sept

11am – 5pm

No booking required (collect your trail map from the Reading Lawn at MediaCity)

Follow the trail and create your own story adventure around the festival! Start on the Reading Lawn where you can grab a book from the Salford mobile library and take a seat on one of the colourful BookBenches from the Salford Literacy Trail. From there, visit the Picture This exhibition at The Lowry to take part in one of many activities themed around the nation’s favourite children’s book illustrators. 

Cross the canal to IWMN for their Story Seekers workshops. Finish at the Reading Lawn to collect your very own Hey Duggee Reading Badge (and keep your eyes peeled for Duggee, Elmer the Elephant and some CBeebies’ favourites appearing across the weekend).

Playhouse Project

All ages welcome

MediaCity Weekend Stage

Saturday 10th September

1:50pm – 4pm 

No booking required 

It’s time to party – family style. Fronted by P-Ro & MC Kwasi, Playhouse Project will be bringing banger after banger to the MediaCity Weekend stage with soulful house, rare funk and broken beat from all across the globe. Conker Crew will be joining with nature-based knees up activities, plus bubbles, balloons and plenty of colouring in! 

The Playhouse Project is a family rave company based in Manchester, organised by a crew of ex-ravers and DJ’s that are now parents. They create daytime clubbing experiences aimed at parents that miss their late nights getting lost in music.

Sounding Out: The Music Shed’s intro to Music workshop

Age 5+

University of Salford – Digital Learning Suite, Lecturer Theatre Room 1,  and Lecturer Theatre Room 3

Sunday 11th September

11am – 4pm

Book in advance, free tickets available here


Ever thought about playing the guitar or keyboard? WITW invites festival-goers to book in for a taster session with the talented teachers from The Music Shed. The team at The Music Shed will host a number of fun and interactive music workshops open to all ages and abilities, introducing attendees to the basics of learning an instrument of their choice. 

Dance Like A Mother Workshop

Suitable for parents with their 8 weeks to 2 year old 

Garden Lawn

Saturday 10th September

11:30am – 12pm 

Book in advance, free tickets available here

Come and join Dance Like a Mother for a taster of their Babywearing dance class. Bring your own carrier or use one provided. You’ll get babywearing support from experienced instructors, so your little one gets lots of cuddly bonding time, feeling safe and happy.

Most of all expect lots of laughter, a really welcoming and non-judgmental space and leave feeling confident and full of joy. 

Dance Like a Mother is Manchester’s original, award-winning, joyful & inclusive Babywearing Dance class. The class is for parents with babies aged 8 weeks to 2 years (older kids are welcome to join in too). A chance to have fun and get active whilst dancing to top tunes!

Baby Rock Sampler in association with Band on The Wall and Sounds From The Other City 

All ages welcome

Lowry Bar

Sunday 11th September

12pm – 5pm 

No booking required 

Family-friendly gig organisers Baby Rock Sampler will be joining forces with Band on The Wall and Sounds From The Other City to host a child-friendly, daytime gig which all members of the family can enjoy! Baby Rock Sampler will also host two workshops at the venue; TV babies present Ten Pin Grin & Club Da!da presents Noise Makers Workshop.

Supported by Arts Council England, Baby Rock Sampler was created to fill a gap within the current provision across Manchester – something fun, creative and interesting to do with you little ones, that is also aimed at you.


University of Salford activities and workshops

University of Salford Mezzanine 

Saturday 10th September 

3D Printing and Activity Workshop, 12pm – 5:30pm, Age 6+

Arcade Machines and Retro Gaming, 1pm – 6:30pm, Age 6+

‘Make A Scene!’ Stop Motion Play Under Camera, times tbc, Age 6-12

VR Gaming Experience, 11am – 4:30pm, Age 13+

University of Salford will host a number of exciting gaming and tech workshops on the Saturday; take your gaming experience to the next level and try out immersive gaming at the VR Gaming Experience, bring your ideas and imagination to life with the 3D Printing and Activity Workshop, try out some retro games at the Arcade Machines & Retro Gaming experience, and Make A Scene will introduce younger ones to the world of stop-motion animation via the Make A Scene! Stop Motion Play Under Camera workshop. 


Show Us Your Veg, and Family Workshops, talks and pop up theatre with RHS Bridgewater

All ages welcome

Waterfront Terrace: Walk the Plank’s Veg Tombola / RHS Tent: Show Us Your Veg (and fruit & flowers!) 

Saturday 10th September at 10am – 7pm 

Sunday 11th September at 10am – 5pm

No booking required 

Link to enter Show us your Veg

Show off those green fingers as WITW host a number of family-friendly gardening events across the weekend! ​​Try your hand at Walk the Plank’s Veg Tombola and other vegetable related games and activities: every spud’s a winner! 

Show us veg with va-va-voom in a friendly competition in partnership with RHS Garden Bridgewater. Bring along your prize produce to the RHS tent for your chance to be a winner! Can’t make it in person? You can still get involved by sending us your photos for our social competition. 

Lowry by Lowry with local Salford artist and Goggleboxer Helena Worthington

All ages welcome

Pier 8 Terrace at The Lowry 

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September 

10am – 5pm

Bookable and walk-in sessions

Now it’s your time to draw like Lowry! Join Gogglebox star and Salfordian artist, Helena Worthington who will guide you through three different workshops centered around creating a self-portrait, painting your pet, and finally capturing the local landscape in exactly the style of L.S Lowry. Think thick paints, earthy colour schemes and a whole lot of fun! 

As well as being an expert telly watcher, Helena Worthington is a multidisciplinary artist backed at Islington Mill who has a creative practice specialising in sculpture and painting, she has also been facilitating creative school and community projects for the last seven years. 

Screen Printing with Hot Bed Press and Postcard Printing with Sally Gifford

All ages welcome

Dock 10

Saturday 10th September at 10am – 4pm: Postcard Printing Workshop

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September at 10am – 5pm: Screen Printing Workshop

No booking required 

Head down to Dock 10 for free drop-in workshops! Join artist and designer Sally Gilford for Postcard Printing, whether it’s a ‘wish you were here’ or a festival keepsake, screen print your own weekend inspired postcard at the drop-in sessions. 

Hot Bed Press will be hosting the Screen Printing workshop in which attendees of all ages will get the opportunity to create their own tote bag or weekend inspired flag. Individuals can head back to the site on Sunday to see their creation hung up on display at the festival! 

Salford Community Leisure Sporting Activities

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September 

10am – 4:30pm 

Circus Skills, Under 8’s, Sports Arena

Kwik Cricket, All ages welcome, Sports Arena

Archery, All ages welcome, Sports Arena

Street Cheer, Age 4+, Sports Arena

Foundation 92, Age 7-16, 5-aside pitch

Parachute Games, Under 8’s, Sports Arena

Basketball, Age 8+, Sports Arena

Dodgeball, Age 8+, Sports Arena

Quidball, Age 8+, 5-aside pitch

Flag Football, Age 8+, 5-aside pitch 

Rugby League, Age 8+, 5-aside pitch

Lacrosse, Age 8+, 5-aside pitch

Tennis, Age 8+, 5-aside pitch

Bookable and walk-in sessions

Salford Community Leisure will host sporting activities across the weekend to suit all ages, abilities and tastes! Come along to Cheerleading try-outs, learn how to juggle with Circus House as they host the Circus Skills workshop for younger visitors to try out, get involved with a range of playground activities with Parachute Games, or try your hand at Archery in this entry level session aimed at families who wish to try an activity for the first time!

Salford Community Leisure will also host Kwik Cricket, Basketball try-outs, Dodgeball games, Football Skills via Foundation 92, the official charity partner of Salford City Football Club, Quidball (aka quidditch!), Flag Football, Lacrosse, Tennis, and Rugby League games via Salford Roosters. 

Host: Deep Racer League and Esports World

All ages welcome

HOST, Blue MediaCity

Sunday 11th September

9am – 4pm 

Book in advance, Deep Racer League tickets here and Esports World tickets here

Visit HOST, Salford’s Home of Skills & Technology, for various activities and workshops on Sunday 11th September. Experience the wonders of innovation with AWS DeepRacer and gain hands-on experience with machine learning. Suitable for both technical and non-technical participants, developers and data scientists can put their skills to the test in a friendly, competitive environment! The event is open to all, so you can pre-register your team for the tournament or just show up on the day to watch the teams compete during the festival.

Join HOST for an introduction to the exciting world of esports with live tournaments happening in our esports arena space, where festival goers can watch all the action and even take part! There will be demos and an exhibition, including universities, developers, creative studios and charities, for anyone interested in learning more about the education and career opportunities available in the esports and video games industry. Host will also have several video games consoles and high-end PCs for you to have a play! 

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