Blasting off into summer

The holidays are with us again and there are plenty of educational activities for students who need them, writes Christina Zaba

Summertime, and the living is easy. But for students who prefer to have something to do, there are plenty of activities throughout the country and beyond.

The BBC's Blast programme is one of the most comprehensive. Covering music, art, dance and film-making, it's a multimedia initiative developed in partnership with a wide range of artists and youth organisations, aimed at teenagers who wish to work towards a performance.

The programme is divided into four areas - art, music, dance and film-making. Anyone who wants to get involved can visit the website, call the free helpline, or visit one of the roadshows across the UK. They will then be put in touch with experts and local organisations who will help them put together their own event. With luck, it might even be showcased in a series of programmes on BBC in the autumn.

London's Somerset House is to host Freetime, a free international arts festival for children from July 20-23. Freetime will include performances and activities for children of all ages, featuring artists, dancers, musicians, actors and designers from Britain, Spain, India, Holland and New Zealand. The festival will also offer plenty of hands-on activity, from water sculpture to performance art.

In the West Country, there's the choice of the Glastonbury Children's Festival, which has been running for 22 years, and the Bristol Children's Festival which is a sprightly three years old. Both are a chance for children big and small to see puppetry, clowns, storytellers, games and workshops. The festivals' modest day fee helps raise money for Childrensworld's year-round charitable work with special needs children and others.

The Showcomotion film and media festival in Sheffield for young people runs on July 8-17, with contributions from schools and colleges, which will put young talent alongside the big industry names. Children aged four and upwards have a special programme of animated short films - with parents invited along.

For a foreign trip with a difference, any child holidaying in Tenerife this summer should catch the Atlantic Whale Foundation's Whale Summerfest. Free to tourists throughout July and August, with education and conservation activities for young people and free multimedia educational resource packs for teachers - together with plenty of whale-watching.

For anyone who wants to tell the world about their great summer activities, the educational toy and games retailer Formative Fun is running a drawing and writing competition with more than pound;5,000 worth of prizes, including a first prize of pound;100 together with pound;1,000 worth of school resources. The competition calls on three to five-year-olds to draw a picture and six to 11-year-olds to write about their most memorable day in the holidays. The winning entry will be published in Formative Fun's own magazine.

Blast Tel: 0800 011011

Freetime: Somerset House, Strand, London WC2, July 20-23, 10am-6pm daily, admission free.

Tel: 020 7845 4600

Glastonbury Children's Festival, Abbey Park, Glastonbury, July 26-28 Tel: 01458 832925 Bristol Children's Festival, Bristol Downs, August 2-5 Tel: 0117 922 3719 both festivals: Showcomotion 2002: Showroom Cinema, Sheffield, July 8-17 Tel: 0114 276 3534

Whale Summerfest, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, JulyAugust, free. Atlantic Whale Foundation Tel: 0207 590 7919

Formative Fun Tel: 01308 868999 Email:

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