It’s work for little hands

Hands on fun: Children and their parents enjoying one of the Harris Museum's Little Hands On sessions
Hands on fun: Children and their parents enjoying one of the Harris Museum's Little Hands On sessions
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Tiny tots get an introduction to the fine arts as the Harris Museum’s Little Hands On scheme returns this week.

Aimed at children under five, Little Hands On is intended to help toddlers and babies to discover from the earliest age the art and history of their city, using stories, crafts and games to link to items and artefacts on show in its galleries.

The very first Little Hands session of the year is the gallery’s weekly Story Time on Friday.

This week’s story will be Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, by Bill Martin Jnr, A volunteer will read the story to the children with links to pieces on display, followed by a play session.

The little ones will be able to handle or explore the objects in the gallery to bring the story to life - and there is one particular little brown bear waiting to be discovered.

Past Story Times have read the tale of The Dolls House with little ones able to look at and play with the dolls house on display in the museum afterwards.

Then, on Tuesday, the first of the monthly Little Hands On workshops of 2013 goes ahead, with crafts, games, songs and activities to encourage an interest in art and history.

This time, the participants will be going on an Animal Safari with activities, a story, dressing up and songs centred around finding animals among the objects in the museum’s new Discover Preston gallery, opened as part of the celebrations of Guild Year.

Among the gallery’s treasures is the historic Poulton Elk, hunted by the earliest inhabitants of this area thousands of years ago.

But Harris staff say children will also be able hunt down lots of other more familiar animals among the artefacts on show.

The Story Time sessions take place every Friday from 10.30am till 11am while the Little Hands On workshops are held on the first Tuesday of every month from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.

The free sessions are run on a drop in basis so there is no need to book a place, just turn up.

Gillian Hunt, the Harris’s Discover Preston learning and access officer, said: “It’s all about the idea that there is lots to explore for our youngest visitors and lots to look at.

“The sessions are always linked to something in the museum or art gallery - sometimes in the Fine Art Gallery, or in the Costumes Gallery or the History Gallery or the Discover Preston Gallery.

“We move around the museum but it is always linked to something the children can see in a particular gallery.

“There are resources available for the very youngest and it is a nice welcoming atmosphere.”

For more details, call the Harris Museum and Art Gallery on 01772 905414.