The Barn at-home guide

3rd Apr · Dawn Hawkins

I’ve put together some of our family’s favourites things to MAKE, WATCH, LISTEN and READ, to help beat boredom, get creative and build connections.

My name is Stephanie Fradette and I’ve been organising and shaping the creative learning programme at the Barn since 2018. I love engaging with the local artistic community in the North-East to bring our audience interactive ways to learn about art, craft and connecting with the natural world surrounding us.

Steph Family

Being the mother of two girls; Sienna (10) and Eva (7) I’ve had to put many hats on in the last few weeks, from math tutor to art teacher, although most of the time I’m feeling like a programming director! Each morning has been spent finding creative ways to fill our days and most importantly, establishing a sense of normalcy and calm in these unusual times.

I’ve put together some of our family’s favourites things to MAKE, WATCH, LISTEN and READ, to help beat boredom, get creative and build connections.


One of the best parts of my job at the Barn is engaging with the artists, makers and designers in dreaming up creative ways for our audience to introduce new and old techniques. At home, we’ve created a free space for the girls to learn and create confidently with art materials easily accessible and little worry about the mess for the sake of them unleashing their creative juices!

Our FOLD makers and workshop tutors have been keeping busy while in isolation, finding ways to keep all of us engaged by sharing tutorials and creative ideas! Here are a few easy ways to keep little hands busy.

Helen Greensmith, the designer and illustrator behind Helen Ruth has been busy illustrating a beautiful bespoke scarf colour-in sheets for the Barn’s audience. Colouring therapy for the young and old has never looked so lush.

It’s available to download free from her website

Helen Ruth

Tracey Johnston from Claremont Studios has many strings to her bow. Not only does she make her popular soy candles for FOLD, the artist and designer has put together an easy paper star making tutorial on her website. They can be done as stand-alone or create a beautiful string of stars that can be hung year-round, using only newspaper!

Paper Stars

I invited artist Jenny Blair to teach a botanical embroidery workshop last year after seeing her work on the cover of Mollie Makes Magazine. She has generously made available a cute and simple ‘stag and sashiko stars’ pattern via her website, as the perfect introduction to embroidery.

Jenny Blair


The Into Film Festival is a free, annual, UK-wide celebration of film and education for 5-19 year. The Barn welcomes pupils from local schools each November to a special film screening, while the festival itself offers resources, film clubs and training opportunities in the film industry.

Logo Into Film

Their website is a hub of activity with access to free resources, we especially love the careers in the film industry map! If you’re looking for at-home cinema ideas, they have gathered a comprehensive guide to the ‘Best 100 family films’ to watch.

You can also download one of their handy film guides as a great learning opportunity for the whole family.


We are a family of podcasts addicts; they provide distraction and entertain as an alternative to screen-time. There is something for all ages to be found, from funny stories, cool facts and insightful conversations all to enjoy as a family whilst in the comfort of our own home.

Storynory (+2yrs old)

Storynory brings you an audio story every week. Natasha's soothing voice will beguile you with classic fairy tales, new children's stories, poems and myths.

Kids Meditation & Sleep Stories (+2yrs old)

This relaxing podcast features short guided meditations and stories to help children relax and reset before bedtime. Created by the New Horizon centre, they help increase focus and reduce stress that can only be beneficial for children of all ages, especially now.

Brains On! (+6yrs old)

Co-hosted each week by different children, Brains On! Tackles important subjects such as ‘narwhals: unicorns of the sea’ and questions such as ‘how do airplanes fly?’ and ‘why we smell?’. Will keep kids and you entertained!

The Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl (+7yrs old)

Weekly 2hrs music show with a quirky indie sensibility that the whole family will enjoy, without driving the parents crazy. No baby shark renditions on this podcast!

Six minutes (+10yrs old)

Six Minutes is a suspense-filled adventure, told in six minutes, giving you cliffhanger after cliffhanger for almost two hundred episodes. Best for the tweens/teens in your household.

Fierce Girls (+8yrs old)

Fierce Girls Podcast

Being the mum to two girls, I can never get enough of showing them examples of strong minded and adventurous girls that have succeeded despite the odds. If you liked “Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls”, you’ll love this podcast.


Never have authors been as readily accessible to families as they are now. In the past weeks, we have seen a deluge of best selling authors doing readings, art and kid-friendly lessons during these testing times. I’ve listed a few of our go-to virtual story-time favourites.

One of the girl’s favourite books as a child was “Lost and Found” by Oliver Jeffers. He’s been reading through his wonderfully illustrated books everyday and has bravely committed to do so until it’s safe to go out again. He posts a new reading every night via his website. There’s also a great free resources section with crafts and activity sheets to download and print.

Oliver Jeffers Image

This one is for young budding illustrators and story lovers.

Join author Chris Haughton on his website for a sing-a-long, book reading and live art tutorial. His simply illustrated children books feature stories with a social conscience exploring themes such as climate change, gender and racial equality interwoven in the narrative. Home-schoolers, Chris has your art class covered!

Want more to do? Keep visiting this page as we continue to add creative ideas to our family blog over the next few months!