There’s nothing we parents love more than a bit of multitasking, so how’s this for an activity to do with the kids on a rainy day in York: painting a plate (or mug, or Christmas bauble or almost anything else you can think of)? Not only will it keep the children happily occupied for a while, but you could also knock a few Christmas presents off the list at the same time. (Spoiler alert: grandparents of our little Vikings, look away now). Who wouldn’t want a hand-painted hedgehog or duck at the bottom of their stocking on December 25th?
So in an attempt to kill two birds with one stone – entertain the grumpy children on a dreary day and make some headway with the Christmas shopping – we headed to Rainbow Ceramics in Bootham last week. The last time we visited was just before Father’s Day when we created two lovely tiles, one with each of the kids’ handprints on. This time we had gifts for grandparents in our sights, and we were spoiled for choice. So here’s the deal: each person painting pays a £4 studio fee, and then chooses the item (or items) that they’d like to paint. There are loads of things to pick from, like little animals for £6, up to much larger items such as serving dishes and teapots.
Once you’ve chosen, it’s up to you to decorate them as you like; each table has a wide selection of colours and brushes. There are also stencils and sponges and other tools to help you create your masterpiece, as well as incredibly helpful and friendly staff who will help if you get stuck (they were absolutely brilliant when we did the handprint tiles – there’s no way I’d have managed to get the littlest Viking’s print looking as good if I’d been doing it on my own). Being artistic can be thirsty work, so it’s great that there’s a selection of hot and cold drinks to choose from, as well as a selection of snacks. We spent a happy hour ruining decorating a couple of Christmas tree decorations and some little ornaments, and we’ll pick them up this week when they’ve been fired.
Rainbow Ceramics is family-friendly. The staff are really good at helping squeeze the biggest of buggies into the smallest of spaces, and they are clearly used to dealing with small children. They even managed not to look alarmed as our rampaging toddler strode over to a shelf full of ceramics with her arms outstretched (the words ‘bull in a china shop’ have never been truer). This isn’t the ideal activity for smaller children (though the littlest Viking did enjoy painting my jacket and her own face) but for children of about four and over, it’s great fun.
Good to know: No need to book – just go in and see if there’s space to paint. Items will be fired and ready to collect in a week. If you don’t live in York but you do live in the UK, they can post the item(s) to you. Rainbow Ceramics hold birthday parties; see their website for more details.
Rainbow Ceramics, 15/17 Bootham, York YO30 7BW; visit their website here.