20 Nov 2017

Digital Kids Show, Manchester

It was our first time at the Digital Kids Show, and I was not sure what to expect. Was J too young to attend? Will there be enough to keep his attention through the day? What will we parents do while the child is having fun?

Turns out, the Digital Kids Show surpassed all expectation. We spent the entire day trying out a variety of toys, games and gadgets and generally having a good time.

The Digital Kids Show, Manchester, is a fun and fantastic family day out. It is where you get a chance to play with all the latest gadgets, tech toys and games. If you are planning a visit, here are things to know before you go.

We arrived at Event City nice and early to try and beat the rush. Good job too, for there were lots of people with similar ideas! It was about 45 minutes before we could get inside. Judging by the crowds outside I imagined it would be incredibly busy inside. Luckily, the venue is large enough to accommodate large numbers and at no point did it feel overcrowded.

The Digital Kids Show was divided into sections, which made it easy to make our way around.  You could Watch It, Play It, Make It, Secure It. Plus there was the main stage with live shows through the day and the Move It zone where kids could let off some steam. Some sections were obviously more popular than others, so we had to pick and choose what we did and when.

We started the day in the Watch It zone. Here, we tried to make our own animation film with Stikbots. I have downloaded the app, so we can carry on with our animation experiments at home. Manchester City were in attendance with a play area to practice football and table tennis. We also watched Air Hogs Micro Race Drone in action. J would have wanted a more hands-on experience, but had to be content with watching from a distance.

The main draw for us in the Play It zone was the new X-box. Both M and J had a fabulous time playing some Disney-themed games. The highlight had to be J playing the Forza Motorsport. The child could barely reach the pedals in the car, but was determined to race. He managed okay, but we had to give up before the allotted 2 laps were done because we were taking far too long! The child is all about cars and speed, for next up was Anki Overdrive circuit. He’s tried this at the Science Festival, so knew exactly what he was doing.

J was in his element in the Make It zone. We spent a lot of time playing with Hexbugs Battlebots. 

My favourite activity was coding with Junior STEM where we built a Lego roundabout using a motor and battery.  We then had fun making it rotate, change colour and play music using a coding programme.

The best part of the day as far as my 6 year old was concerned was the ice-skating rink. It was his first time on ice-skates and he absolutely loved it! He started off using the penguin and frame for support, but by the end of the day was skating confidently without using aids.

The Secure It zone saw Stagecoach and Barclays talking about online bullying and how to stay safe online. 

The Live Stage had performances throughout the day. So if you missed meeting your favourite YouTubers in the meet and greet, you still got to see them on stage.

The main draw for me had to be Diversity. UK’s biggest dance act performed live and it was nothing short of spectacular. Plus, Jordan and Perri doubled up as guest presenters, taking part in Mad Science experiments and interviewing Oli White.

Oli White had this fantastic advice for all budding YouTubers:

Find out what you like.
Think about how you can be different from everyone else.
Make sure your parents know what you are uploading.
Practice makes perfect.

The Digital Kids Show turned out to be a fun and fantastic family day out. If you are planning a visit, here are things to know before you go.

  • Buying tickets online and in advance can save you money. Keep an eye out for early bird offers.
  • Get there nice and early to avoid queues in the car park. Parking can get incredibly busy, as the Event City is right next door to the Trafford Centre and its Christmas shoppers.
  • Be prepared to queue for entry. The wait can be long and tiring for kids. So keep something like this Rubik’s puzzle on hand to pass the time. 
  • Have your printed or digital tickets on hand at the entrance.
  • The kids get a wristband and everyone has their hands stamped. You can then leave and re-enter the venue throughout the day if you need to.
  • We were given a map with the programme schedule and floor plan at the entrance. I took a photo of it on my mobile as a handy reference.
  • Take a picnic and a backpack full of snacks and drinks. It will save you time and money. There is enough seating at the venue where you can eat your picnic. You can always buy a hot drink or a treat like popcorn at the venue.
  • The meet and greet area is extremely popular, making long waiting times inevitable. You can book some slots in advance if purchasing a VIP ticket, but others are on a first-come-first-served basis. So do check if you are especially keen to meet a particular celebrity.
  • The toilets on one end that we visited were unisex. I believe the ones on the other end were segregated, but I can’t be entirely sure as we did not use those. Just something to bear in mind if you are particular about that sort of thing.
  • You had the option to check in your coats for a nominal fee. We preferred to wear them as it was a bit cool for us.
  • Driving out of the car park at the end of the day is a hassle. Everybody tends to leave around the same time, leading to long queues leading out of the car park. The congestion tends to ease somewhat once you are on the motorway.

We hope Digital Kids Show is back next year and we get another opportunity to represent them as family bloggers.

Disclosure: We were given a family ticket to visit the Digital Kids Show and blog about it. All opinions are my own.

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