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10 FREE things to do with the kids in Manchester this semester

Sergeant Emily

October midterm is back, which means there will be plenty of parents in Greater Manchester looking for activities to keep the kids occupied.

Mid term It’s the moment that most children look forward to, but most parents, caregivers and guardians tend to dread, as it usually means having to look for different ways to keep youngsters entertained, educated and engaged, all making sure they are still having fun – which is, without a doubt, a real task.

But this year, with the rise cost of living crisis continuing to make its impact felt nationwide, and more families struggling with their finances than ever before, finding ways to pass the time mid-term is trickier than ever as many look to stick to their budget.

Fortunately, the bustling city of Manchester and everything it has to offer has you covered.

From family-friendly art exhibits and educational festivals to exploring an all-new downtown park, a host of Halloween activities, and much more, there are plenty of Things to do in our city halfway for free.

Here’s a roundup of just 10 things you could be doing this week.


Pokemon: Art Through the Ages

Trafford Center

A Pokemon Art Trail and Scavenger Hunt-style event has taken over the Trafford Center over the next two weeks, and it’s absolutely free to get involved.

“Pokémon: Art Through the Ages” gives fans of all ages – but especially little Mancs – the chance to discover the hidden art of the 151 Pokémon that were originally discovered in the Kanto region through an interactive trail, which, according to the organizers of the event, showcases “a wide variety of artistic techniques and styles” from across the ages.

There are cave paintings, stained glass, and more for families and Pokemon fans to enjoy for free.

You can find out more here.


Manchester Science Festival 2022

Museum of Science and Industry

The Manchester Science Festival has made a glorious return in 2022, with events for all ages taking place for free at the Museum of Science and Industry and other venues around the city.

This year’s event celebrates science through immersive performances, interactive activities and after-hours entertainment, with highlights throughout the festival, including a flagship exhibition Turn up the volume: the power of musica nighttime nature tour and a chance to meet people who are already working in STEM careers, including experts from Amazon festival sponsors.

The museum’s 1830 warehouse will be a hive of futuristic activity throughout the festival, showcasing new technology, hands-on experiences and the chance to play Rock, Paper, Scissors against a prosthetic counterpart.

Families can also plant and take home their own saplings as City of Trees shows the role trees are playing in helping to reduce the effects of the climate crisis, and can talk to the Lancashire Wildlife Trust about how to preserve nature in their neighborhoods.

You can find out everything happening at this year’s Manchester Science Festival here.

Halloween in the city and MCR monsters

Manchester City Center

Looking for free Halloween-themed activities this semester? Well, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled because the iconic MCR monsters are back once again.

Just as they have for a few years now, a host of giant inflatable monsters began looming and crawling over downtown buildings this week to transform some of our most well-known landmarks with tentacles and googly eyes and sharp teeth for a FREE monster trail kids love.

And this year, the trail is bigger than ever, with 14 monsters to spot around town.

MCR monsters are part of this year’s Halloween celebrations in the city, where families are encouraged to put on their best costumes and participate.

Some of the free events to look forward to this weekend include the Monster Rock! festive processionwith stilt walkers, monster puppets and a five-piece band mingling with shoppers weaving through Manchester Arndale and Market Street, and the scary carnival made up of a carousel, helter skelter, street food and circus performers that take over New Cathedral Street.

You can read more about Halloween in the City 2022 here.


People’s History Museum


The People’s History Museum is one of the best places to take the kids for free fun this semester.

The award-winning museum in the heart of Manchester city center offers a wide range of exhibitions and activities throughout the week in its several galleries and event spaces, including a 2022 Banner Exhibition, which gives you the chance to come face to face with the work of people who fought for the rights we have today, and also play banner bingo.

You can also see The Manchester Agronaught, discover the exhibitions dedicated to Black History Month 2022, and much more.

You can find out more about what’s happening at the People’s History Museum this semester here.


Mayfield Park


Have you had the chance to visit Manchester’s first new park in the heart of the city center in over 100 years? This semester couldn’t be a more ideal time to see it for yourself.

It’s been a long journey to get here, but Mayfield Park has become a reality and it’s now open to the public.

Over the past 18 months, the sprawling and mostly derelict former industrial site next to Piccadilly station has been transformed into what the project’s developers call a “stunning, accessible and varied” green space for anyone who visit the city center to make the most of it.

As well as being a green oasis full of fresh flowers and beautifully landscaped river walkways, there is also a large play area for the kids with a huge slide as its centerpiece.

You can find out more about Mayfield Park here.


Windows of Youth Creativity – We Did It

Manchester City Center

Windows of Youth Creativity – We Did It is Wild In Art’s latest exhibition.

It will see 10 large windows and spaces transformed in prominent places in Manchester as part of a project commissioned by Manchester City Council to showcase creative disciplines such as photography, illustration, dance, sculpture, street art, mosaic, poetry and model making.

Running through the city, the trail will include giant robots at the Science and Industry Museum, photographs taken by young people living in East Manchester at the National Football Museum, a special installation at the Royal Exchange, coral beds and sea creatures in mosaic created by young people with special educational needs in the town hall annex.

The project will celebrate the creativity of young people and the diverse communities that live across the city.

You can find out more about the exhibition and the artistic journey here.


Welcome Wednesday

Victoria Baths

The popular baths of Victoria Welcome Wednesday The event is turning family-friendly this week for mid-term, and a wide range of free activities will be on offer to keep families entertained throughout the day.

You can take part in a stained glass workshop inspired by all the brightly colored patterned windows that are one of the amazing features of Victoria Baths, and try to create your own stained glass decoration to take home or visit. the coloring station for creative drawing and the toy station for the little ones to spend time playing.

It is also possible to take free guided tours around the historic building and learn about some of its original features.

Entry to Victoria Baths is free on Welcome Wednesdays, but donations are welcome – all of which help maintain the building for the community.

You can find out more here.


Spooktacular Halloween

new century

If you’re still in the mood for free fun, then Manchester’s beautifully restored new social destination, New Century, is hosting its own Spooktacular Halloween event this Sunday, October 30, and it’s a whole day of entertainment and themed entertainment for the little ones that will take over the entire space.

Free family fun events will be held in the upstairs and downstairs lobby kitchens – including spooky face painting, bogey man bouncy castle, photo booth, NOMA team spooky workshops and plenty of food and drink available.

The upstairs space will also be transformed into a “hellish Halloween room” for the occasion, with a spooky light show courtesy of the iconic disco ceiling.

You can learn more about Spooktacular Halloween in the new century here.


Power on

Museum of Science and Industry

A huge gaming event is back in Manchester, and anyone can join in for free.

With over 160 consoles and hundreds of games to play, Power UP is back at the Museum of Science and Industry for the first time in three years, and in case you haven’t heard, it’s taking the people on a journey through five decades of gaming – with everything from retro arcade games to cutting-edge virtual reality, and more.

Power UP takes place daily during the October mid-term and every weekend until December 2023 – with each free ticket including unlimited play all day.

You can find more information here.


Looking for even more things to do in Greater Manchester this week? You can read our full “what’s going on” events here.

Featured Image – HalloweenMCR | Science Museum Group | People’s History Museum