18 things to do in Dorset this half term  

Four women in theatrical costume looking surprised

The Snow Beast is at Dorchester Corn Exchange - Credit: Matt Austin

From magical shows and creating a model of the Milky Way on Zoom to meeting your ancestors at Monkey World, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities happening in Dorset to keep your youngsters entertained during this February half-term

South West Model Show: Ideal for any young model makers, this is the biggest model show in the South West where you can see traders, exhibitors and modelling demonstrations alongside the real thing. A huge collection of model tanks, plus planes, ships and trains – all types and sizes will be available to see, make and purchase. The event includes the Portsmouth Model Boat Display Team; a large remote control tank display area and a chance to hone your skills with six different airbrushing workshops. February 19 – 20 Tank Museum at Bovington tankmuseum.org

The Snow Beast: A family show for ages 6+ with storytelling, original music & interactive science experiments. Does The Snow Beast really exist? Can we separate stories from fact, or do they whirl together like snowflakes in a blizzard? February 20 at 3pm at Dorchester Corn Exchange 

Cartoon of a puppy on a snowy mountain

Join Oskar on his Adventures - Credit: theatre-fideri-fidera.com

Oskar's Amazing Adventure: Fun-loving puppy Oskar leaves the snowbound little house on top of the mountain to find a friendly animal to play with. But where are all the animals? This heart-warming play for young children and their families, uses a rich mix of storytelling, clowning, puppetry, music and song to tell the tale of one puppy’s search for friendship in the wilderness of the Alps. Perfect for children aged 2-8 years this show won the Primary Times ‘Best Children’s Play’ award in 2018. Meet Oskar at Burton Bradstock Village Hall (01308 897421) at 3pm on February 21; The Exchange, Sturminster Newton (01258 475137) at 10am, and Sixpenny Handley Scout Hut (01725 552812) at 3pm on February 22. A fun-filled arts and craft workshop follows the performances at Sixpenny Handley and Sturminster Newton, inspired by the theme of hibernation and the animals in the play. Places limited please book in advance at artsreach.co.uk 

Woman with puppet dog on her shoulder with a mountain scape behind

Oskar's Amazing Adventure: Fun-loving puppy Oskar is looking for some new friends to play with - Credit: theatre-fideri-fidera.com

Great Creative with Clay: Create your own clay masterpiece with artist Janna Edwards in this family workshop at Dorset Museum in Dorchester. Work alongside Janna to create your own air-drying clay masterpiece to take home. Booking essential as places are limited to 8 children per session (10am/12.30pm)  with one accompanying adult per child. February 22, Dorset Museum, Dorchester. Tickets: £15 per child (accompanying adults go free). Book online at dorsetmuseum.org/whats-on 

The Dark: Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark lives in the basement. It doesn't visit Laszlo in his room. Until one night it does...  Join Lazlo on his journey to meet the dark and find out why it will never bother him again. Peut-Etrê Theatre merge vibrant physicality with live music to create captivating and energetic performances for the whole family. The Dark is accessible for blind and visually impaired children through integrated audio-description and touch tours. Suitable for  5+ . February 22 at 2pm in the Sherling Studio at Lighthouse Poole 

Cranborne Chase AONB’s Dark Skies Festival runs during half-term and there are two Zoom events ideal for young stargazers. February 22: Constellation Sketching and Milky Way Model-Making. Join astronomer Mary McIntyre for an hour of celestial arts and crafts on Zoom aimed at kids at 4pm. February 26: Star Walk Stories Dorset-based storyteller Lizzie Bryant explores the myths and legends of the stars and constellations to be found in the February night sky. Suitable for 7+/adults Starts 7.30pm. Book both at cranbornechase.org.uk/events 

The Amazing Bubble Man: Louis Pearl has been thrilling audiences worldwide for more than 30 years with the art, magic, science and fun of bubbles, combining comedy and artistry with audience participation and enough spellbinding bubble tricks to keep everyone mesmerised. February 24 at 2pm at Lighthouse Poole 

Man with woman in a giant bubble

The Amazing Bubble Man is at Lighthouse Poole - Credit: www.mirifoto.com

Children’s Floral Crown Workshop: Suitable for children from 5 years, this is a really fun workshop at Keyneston Mill near Blandford. With the help of our florist, each child will create a raffia crown that they will then decorate, using seasonal flowers and foraged foliage. Cost £16.50 per child. Runs 10-11am on February 25. Book online at keynestonmill.com

Oi Frog and Friends: It’s a new day at Sittingbottom School and Frog is looking for a place to sit, but Cat has other ideas and Dog is doing as he’s told. Little do any of them know that chaos is coming... The Olivier Award nominated West End production of Kes Gray and Jim Field’s bestselling books promises songs, puppets, laughs and more rhymes than you can shake a chime at. Daytime performances February 25-27 at Sherling Studio, Lighthouse Poole 

Cartoon cat, dog and frog

Oi Frog and Friends is at the Sherling Theatre, Lighthouse Poole - Credit: Kes Grey and Jim Field

From Hebrides to Padstow: Join a Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra chamber ensemble for a special celebration of the sea at Alderholt Village Hall (07709 933652) on February 26 at 2pm. Repertoire ranges from Handel and Mendelsohn to the Beatles and Adele. A lovely introduction to the world of classical music and beyond. More details at artsreach.co.uk 

Pinocchio: Join Pinocchio on a journey packed with hints of danger, slapstick humour and a playful exploration of identity, suitable for young audiences. A highly visual production featuring puppetry, illusion, and a very big fish! A hub for leading international puppeteers and theatre makers, Norwich Puppet Theatre bring a fresh twist to this classic Italian fairy-tale. Suitable 4+. February 27, 3pm, Wootton Fitzpaine Village Hall 01297 560948 artsreach.co.uk 

Puppet of a small boy with a puppeteer

Follow the adventures of Pinocchio at Wootton Fitzpaine Village Hall - Credit: Andi Sapey

Running throughout half-term  

Illuminate at The Blue Pool: New for 2022, Wareham's famous Blue Pool has teamed up with OT Event Technicians to create a spectacular evening of illuminations and music where you can take time to reflect in the peaceful tranquillity of The Blue Pool at night. Over 1km of professionally staged illuminations, lighting the meandering woodland trails. Glimpse the beautiful deep waters of the Pool and the ancient woodland whilst stopping at carefully selected positions along the way to enjoy this unique setting. The Art Deco Tearooms are open for refreshments throughout the evening as well as fire pits on the terrace for toasting marshmallows. Access around the trails is suitable for wheelchairs but this is a wooded trail with uneven ground. Dogs welcome on leads. Runs until February 27, book your time slot at bluepooltearooms.co.uk. 

Monkey World: Kid’s tickets to Monkey World are half price over half-term week (February 19 –27). Get your little monkeys outside and into the fresh air at this 65-acre park at Wool, home to over 250 rescued and endangered monkeys and apes. As well as seeing the stars of TV’s Monkey Life, visitors can enjoy large play areas, cafes and picnic areas, and even watch video keeper talks to hear about the residents’ personalities and rescue stories from the people who know them best. To enjoy this fantastic offer, book online at monkeyworld.org .  

Kingston Lacy Trail: Grab your wellies and explore the woodlands of this fabulous National Trust estate near Wimborne to discover the life-cycle of a snowdrop on their '50 things' activity trail. Join the celebrations of the seasonal delight of the snowdrop with a range of activities in the Old Laundry including creating a papercraft snowdrop out of your handprint to help turn the laundry into an indoor woodland. nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy 

Snowdrops in the sunshine

Look out for snowdrops at Kingston Lacy - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Fancy some more snowdrop walks? Click here to find more in Dorset 

A Castle Quest at Corfe: Celebrating 40 years since the bequest of the Bankes estate to the National Trust, this trail takes participants on a journey of discovery around the historic ruins of Corfe Castle, the home of the Bankes family until it was destroyed during the Civil War. From dinosaur footprints in the Purbeck countryside to the earthwork remains of the Durotriges Celtic settlement, discover these fun facts and more throughout February and March at Corfe Castle. Trail is suitable for children and adults alike and is free, though regular admission applies. nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle 

Tank Zoo: The Tank Museum at Bovington is always a great day out. The award-winning venue, which is also Dorset’s largest indoor attraction, covers over 100 years of history through its 300 tanks and has plenty of kids’ activities. Enjoy animal-themed activities throughout half-term week with Tank Zoo! Find out about the brave furry and feathered friends in the Animals at War game, colouring and craft activities, plus trails and talks. tankmuseum.org

And finally... 

NT Live: The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage  
I know this doesn’t strictly fall into half-term, its a few days before it starts, but if your youngster has enjoyed the BBC television series His Dark Materials – this is a must. Set 12 years before the epic His Dark Materials trilogy, this gripping adaptation revisits Philip Pullman’s fantastical world in which waters are rising, storms are brewing, and baby Lyra is in grave danger. 18 years after his ground-breaking production of His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, director Nicholas Hytner returns to Pullman’s parallel universe in this live broadcast from London’s Bridge Theatre. Screenings are on February 17 at Lighthouse Poole, Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis, Electric Palace in Bridport, Regent Centre in Christchurch.