Top Festivals Child Friendly Festivals


Magic Loungeabout

Returning for a third year with three headliners and an increasingly enticing programme of music and arts, this is a boutique festival where you get the chance to see arena filling acts in an intimate setting. Short listed for best new festival in 2008 and best grass roots festival in 2011, Magic Loungeabout considers itself to be one of the most imaginative festivals in the north and the ultimate escape to the country for those in the know. And better still our YogaBugs Yorkshire team will be there too.

Venue: Broughton Hall, Yorkshire (

When: 27 to 29 July

Tickets: Check website

Underage Festival

Now in its sixth year, this super-cool one-day festival for 13-17 year olds only is all about the music. With five stages to choose from, your teens will be spoilt for choice with 22-year-old soul and folk sensation Lianne La Havas (whose influences include Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill) London’s lively grime and dance-punk act Hadouken! and Outfit, a guitar-pop quintet from Merseyside who’ve been compared to New Order and Franz Ferdinand.

Venue: Shoreditch Park, London N1 (

When: 31 August

Tickets: £19.50

Sunrise Celebration

Last year Sunrise won the Green Parent Magazine Best Festival Award and they’ve just found out that they’ve won for this year too! The festivalwill have an larger kids area this year, focused around a giant helter skelter, with a fairground ride, a safe toddlers’ area and a teen space with a skate ramp. There will also be a wide range of workshops for kids from basket weaving to learning about home-grown food.

Venue: Gilcombe Farm, Bruton (

When: 21-24 June

Tickets: adult £115, age 16-17 £70, age 5-15 £25, family £255

Standon Calling

This imaginative festival is particularly child-friendly with its special area set aside for children, which features an art and crafts area for painting, drawing, playdough, mural making, beatboxing classes and more. The organisers recently reported that as many kids tickets were issued for 2012 as in the previous two years combined. Not surprising, as under 13s go free.

Venue: Standon Lordship, Herts (

When: 3-5 August

Tickets: adult three-day £99, two-day £78, one-day £25-£39, under 13s free

Cornbury Festival

Cornbury is well-known for its magical children’s zone, featuring storytelling, yoga, parachute games, a ventriloquist show, Punch & Judy, face painting, mask making, arts and crafts, clay modelling, the Orange Hat Puppet Show and circus skills African dance workshops.

Venue: Great Tew Park, Great Tew (

When: 29 June-1 July

Tickets: adult £150-£275, age 13-16 £75-£150, age 3-12 £10-£25

Larmer Tree Festival

This intimate festival, held at the beautiful Larmer Tree Gardens, is packed with activities for children including the Emmy-award winning Farmer Jason and his infectious music show. Look out too for Vasalisa and the Peacock from Hinged Theatre, who host an origami puppet, workshop for kids, as well as kids’ drumming with Inta Africa, and a YouthZone for 11-17 year olds.

Venue: Larmer Tree Gardens, near Salisbury (

When: 11-15 July

Tickets: adult five-day £190, age 11-17 £155, age 5-10 £130, four-day £105-£165, three-day £90-£140, one-day £24-£60

Camp Bestival

Children are superbly catered for at this quirky festival, with the Upper Kids’ Garden on the Castle’s back lawn providing a big top, theatre workshop and bouncy castle, plus a separate toddlers’ area and the pioneering Breastival Mother and Baby Temple. The Lower Kids’ Garden caters for slightly older children, and features the English National Ballet tent, the Insect Circus and Museum and the Little Big Top. Look out too for CBeebies Mr Tumble and antics from Dick and Dom.

Venue: Lulworth Castle, Dorset (

When: 26-29 July

Tickets: adult £175-£185, student £170, age 15-17 £110, age 11-14 £95, under 10s free

New Olympic Activities On The Fun Zone

Here at the YogaBugs Mission Control, we’ve been getting into the Olympic mood by devising new activities for our Fun Zone. If you’d like to make your very own Olympic Torch, follow this link to find out how to do so. We also show you how to make an Olympic crown. Leaves from olive trees may be hard to come by in the UK, but we find green sugar paper works just as well!

We’ve also put together a fantastic set of Olympic class plans for schools. If you’d like to trial one at your school, nursery or children’s centre, please contact us at


Commission on Boy’s Reading

anthony horowitz

When researching the schools we’re working with, our Area Directors will read the Ofsted report as these give a useful overview of the specific challenges each school is working towards addressing.Time and again these reports comment that boys are attaining lower levels in reading and writing. We were delighted to learn that one of our favourite charities, the National Literacy Trust, has been working with the House of Commons’ All-Party Parliamentary Literacy Group to set up a Commission on boys’ reading.

The commission is evaluating a wealth of research showing that more boys struggle with reading than girls, and that boys have poorer attitudes towards reading and spend less time reading outside of school. As a result, boys with poor reading skills will struggle to succeed at school and this will impact on their life chances. The aim of the Commission is to make realistic recommendations that will to help improve boys’ reading in the UK.

Expert witnesses taking part in the evidence session included former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, children’s author and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, as well as teachers, academics, family charities and Ofsted. The final report of the commission will recommend key policies for schools, libraries and local areas and suggest approaches that should be supported and expanded across the country.


Yoga For Children With Additional Needs

We are often asked about the benefits that yoga can bring to children with additional needs, so we asked one of our Area Managers, Denyse Whillier, to tell us more. Denyse is running monthly Sunday morning YogaBugs classes for children with additional needs in North East London. (The clip above from Fox News shows the benefits of yoga for children with autism).

I started to offer these classes following requests from the parents of a local disability forum, the majority of who have children on the autistic spectrum. There’s a shortage of suitable activities for children with additional needs in my area, and little for parents to do with their child. I wasn’t sure how our YogaBugs story-style adventures would work so I piloted a couple of classes over the Easter holidays to find out. If you watched Louis Theroux recent programme ‘Extreme Love’ for the BBC, you’ll have gained an insight into the rewards, stresses and challenges this condition brings.

Story selection was important. Because the classes attracted children of different ages, I chose stories that had broad appeal. We started with ‘Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone.’ For our second adventure, we took a trip around London and the kids chipped in during the class to tell us what sights they’d seen themselves and the best way of getting to each. Teacher, Sarah, was reminded that Charing Cross tube station is not on the Piccadilly line!

For some of the children, simply staying in the room with us and experiencing the class was an achievement. Others were delighted to show us postures they’d learnt beforehand at home. A number of children needed help to balance in Tree pose but gave it a go nevertheless. With consistent encouragement from parents and carers, by the end of the class all of the children were able to lie down in Savasana and enjoy a few minutes of relaxation.”

So here are some reasons why yoga is particularly beneficial for children with special needs:

Relaxation: Yoga soothes the sensory system, and the relaxation response (parasympathetic system) is engaged through forward bending. Encouraging deep, even breathing leads to greater relaxation.

Body/ spatial awareness: Better body awareness is one of the greatest benefits of the yoga practice. Standing and balancing poses help develop stability, strength, and coordination. Poses such as tree, eagle, and dancer provide joint compression. Moving from backbends to forward bends to twists gives the vestibular system (which controls balance) rich input, which helps a child feel calm and grounded.

Self-awareness: All yoga practices are aimed at developing better awareness – of the body, the mind and the breath. Yoga also inherently helps develop a greater sense of self, a feeling of more ease in the world, and a sense that “everything is okay just as it is.”

For further information, see:

“Sensory Integration and How Yoga Helps” from Yoga Chicago’s March/April 2010 magazine by Mira Binzen, E-RYT, RCYT,

“Yoga and Autism: A rewarding (and challenging) assignment” by Hannah Gould, Published in Yoga Therapy Today December 2010,

“Yoga for Children on the Autism Spectrum” by Jennie Ehleringer, Published in the 2010 edition of International Journal of Yoga Therapy,

Our Top 10 Quotes By Gandhi

Here are ten of our favorite quotes from one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century – Mohandas Gandhi. Do you have any others?

1. You Can Change The World
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
2. Think Positive
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”
3. Cherish Life
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
4. Don’t Give Up
“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
5. Practice Compassion
“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
6. Live In Harmony
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
7. Forgive
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
8. Meditate
“I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.”
9. Serve Others
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
10. Live Life To The Fullest
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

Schools Urged To Introduce More Female-friendly Fitness Activities

Over half of secondary girls say that “girls are put off sport and physical activity because of their experiences of school sport and PE. These are the findings of a  study for the Women’s Sports and Fitness Foundation (WSFF). As a result, the WSFF is writing to schools offering advice on how they can make school sports more attractive to girls.

This research, conducted by the Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University, found big differences in the attitudes of girls and boys towards doing sport. This research suggests that the gap between the amount of exercise girls and boys do widens during their time at school. Official figures show that just 12% of 14 year old girls are reaching the recommended levels of physical activity – half the number of boys at the same age. This is despite three quarters (74%) of girls saying they would like to be more active.

Half of all girls (51%) have been put off physical activity by their experiences of school sport and PE. This is because they do not like exercising in front of boys, and are not confident about their sporting skills. Girls are also concerned about what their friends think about exercise – 48% think that ‘getting sweaty’ is not feminine. Many of those questioned said they did not think there were enough female sporting role models.

The differences are wider among older schoolchildren. Eight-year-olds do similar levels of activity – about 60% of both girls and boys said they did regular exercise (defined as at least an hour, five days a week). That figure had halved among 14-year-old girls. Only 31% said they exercised regularly, compared with 50% of 14-year-old boys.

School sport plays such an influential role in shaping attitudes towards sport and fitness in adult life. In addition to its physical benefits, sport also helps children to learn effective healthy coping strategies for dealing with stress. And no physical activity more than yoga. Did you read our blog post last month about the benefits of teen yoga? Last month we also explained why yoga is so good for Tweens in this blog post.

So well done to the Women’s Sports and Fitness Foundation for initiating this research and using this as an opportunity to encourage schools to introduce more female-friendly sports and fitness activities into their curriculum!




Vote For YogaBugs In The What’s On 4 Little Ones Awards!

Could you spare a few seconds to vote for us in the What’s On 4 Little Ones Awards? We’ve been nominated in the category “Best National Pre-schooler Development Activity (2 to 5 years).” Winning this award would give our profile a big boost as the awards are sponsored by Prima Baby and Pregnancy Magazine. And this would mean more children catching the Yoga Bug. By voting, you could win a trip to the awards as well as a luxury spa treatment.

Voting closes at 5pm on Sunday, 6 May.So  just click here to cast your vote! And thank you for your help.