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Schools Learning Programme

We are currently redeveloping our schools workshops in line with the curriculum changes for September 2014. Please contact us to book your favourite workshops and look out for new ones!

Imaginative hands-on & curriculum-based workshops and self-led learning resources at nine historic sites. Find out what we offer!​


Select site:
Select key stage:
Select subject area:

Christmas Toys and Games


Father Christmas at Abbey House Museum

Site: Abbey House Museum

Key stages:
KS1

Subject areas:
History, Art

This workshop is led by museums staff.

What's involved?

What toys did children get in their stockings in the past? What did it mean if you got coal in your stocking?

The workshop is divided into a festive toys and games object handling session and a craft activity session making a Christmas toy and a festive hat which takes place in our seasonally decorated Victorian Streets.

Classes will be split into two groups for the workshop, each group spending 45 minutes in the workshop and 45 minutes exploring the Museum galleries with their responsible adult. Workshops are available in December and are led by a member of the Museum's freelance learning staff.

For more information, contact the Learning & Access Officer on 0113 2305492.

History: What was it like for children living in Victorian Britain & How did life change in our locality in Victorian times? What was it like to live here in the past?

Cost: £55 per class

Maximum numbers: Class of 30

WorkshopSiteKey Stages
  • Christmas Crafts at Thwaite Mills Watermill

    Did you know Henry VIII was the first person to have turkey for Christmas dinner? What else do we associate with Christmas? Investigate Christmas traditions and get creative at Thwaite Mills!

    Thwaite Mills
    KS1, KS2
  • Waterforce!

    What happens when fossil fuels run out? Look at a sustainable way to generate power at Thwaite Mills Watermill.

    Thwaite Mills
    KS2
  • Wartime at Thwaite Mills Watermill

    Bomb blasts and no bananas! What was life like during the Second World War at Thwaite Mills?

    Thwaite Mills
    KS2
  • Guided tours of Thwaite Mills for all key stages

    Guides are available to take pre-booked groups around the working waterpowered mill. We can focus the tour to your topics - just ask!

    Thwaite Mills
    KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4
  • Marvellous Materials Trail

    Follow Cathy the Curator on this printed trail for KS2 pupils! This self-led resource complements the materials workshop at the museum but can be used on its own.

    Armley Mills
    KS1, KS2
  • Maths at the Mill Trail

    Explore numeracy in different galleries of Armley Mills with this self-led trail.

    Armley Mills
    KS1, KS2
  • The Mill Children

    Through an interactive, object based session, students will be able to experience what it might have been like to live, dress and work as a Victorian child.

    Armley Mills
    KS1, KS2
  • Customer Services in a Museum Setting

    Armley Mills is a business within the tourism sector. Visit the Museum and find out how it meets different customer's needs.

    Armley Mills
    KS4
  • Getting to Know You

    What kind of people had their portraits painted? Pupils will compare and contrast different Gasgoigne family portraits by looking at costume, hobbies and traditions, and create their own portrait.

    Lotherton Hall
    KS1
  • Me, Myself and I

    Explore personalities, poses, portraits while discovering how colour and composition provide clues about the artist and the sitter.

    Temple Newsam
    KS1
  • Dress to Impress

    Become a Tudor for the day! Discover life in Tudor times through games, storytelling and role play.

    Temple Newsam
    KS2
  • Tudor Time Travellers

    How do we know how the Tudors lived? Become a Tudor Historian and explore real and replica objects to understand more about Tudor life!

    Temple Newsam
    KS2
  • Victorian Daily Life

    Do you know what will remove an ink stain? Lemon juice? Urine? Onion juice? You and your pupils can find out about Victorian wash day during the Victorian Daily Life workshop at Thwaite Mills!

    Thwaite Mills
    KS1, KS2
  • Marvellous Materials

    Explore & experiment with different materials in the Museum. Children will use their senses and develop vocabulary by investigating the properties of wool and other materials.

    Armley Mills
    KS1, KS2
  • The Victorian Schoolroom

    The Schoolroom brings history to life at the Armley Mill Industrial Museum by allowing classes to experience Victorian or 1940’s lessons in role.

    Armley Mills
    KS1, KS2
  • Skulls, Skeletons and Sustenance

    The leg bone’s connected to... Students get up close and personal with animal skulls and skeletons from our natural history collection

    Discovery Centre
    KS1, KS2
  • Abbey House Murder Mystery

    There has been a murder at Abbey House Museum! This engaging cross curricular workshop encourages pupils to think analytically and build arguments using evidence.

    Abbey House Museum
    KS2
  • A House Fit for a King

    Become a historical detective! Explore differences and similarities between homes old and new.

    Temple Newsam
    KS1
  • Revival: a textile project opportunity

    Got the next Vivienne Westwood or Wayne Hemmingway in the class? Want to set them a real-life challenge to solve? Your school could participate in this annual competition where the winning student's design is displayed for the year at Lotherton Hall.

    Lotherton Hall
    KS4, KS5
  • Romans in Residence!

    Investigate life in Roman Britain beyond swords and soldiers! How do we know how they lived? What did they do for fun? What did they eat?

    Discovery Centre
    KS2
  • A Victorian Christmas at the Mill

    Celebrate Christmas 'Victorian Style'! Pupils get the chance to see how both the rich and poor might have spent Christmas.

    Armley Mills
    KS1, KS2
  • Toys and Games

    A chance to handle old and new toys from the museum’s nationally important collection and to discover how children played in the past.

    Abbey House Museum
    KS1
  • Marvellous Myths and Lively Legends

    Is a unicorn real? What has an eleplant skull got to do with anything? Get hands on with real museum artefacts from around the world to discover some less-well known myths, legends and fables from around the world.

    Discovery Centre
    KS2
  • Houses and Homes

    A fantastic opportunity to investigate and handle original household objects from the past two centuries!

    Abbey House Museum
    KS1
  • Teacher INSET training at Leeds Art Gallery

    Come to a free teacher familiarisation session on the second Wednesday of each month 4-6pm to discuss your visit from the needs of your group to health and safety.

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS3, KS4, Early Years, KS1, KS2, KS5
  • Young Entrepreneurs

    Want to be multi-millionaire by this time next year? Apply your decision making and problem solving skills to form a textile business and learn from the mistakes of the past!

    Armley Mills
    KS2
  • No Place Like Home

    Explore the inside and outside of the wealthy Gascoigne family home. Is it differnt to yours? Look at the different types of rooms, objects and furniture and handle historic household objects.

    Lotherton Hall
    KS1
  • Playtime!

    A variety of activities that can be themed for your nursery or reception group. Can include the dressing up box, drawing activities and storytelling.

    Lotherton Hall
    Early Years, KS1
  • Ancient Egypt: A Day in the Life

    Forget pharaohs and pyramids – see how the common man lived! Use real artefacts and archaeological discoveries to find out about daily life in Ancient Egypt.

    Discovery Centre
    KS2
  • Rocks and Fossils

    Have a go at being a geologist! Pupils use enquiry based learning to discover about the Rock Cycle using museum specimens,and investigate the evidence fossils give us about life on earth.

    Discovery Centre
    KS2, KS3
  • Meet the Victorians

    A chance to meet a Victorian visitor from the past!

    Abbey House Museum
    KS1, KS2
  • Bah Humbug!

    Discover how the Victorians invented many of our Christmas traditions and compare how rich and poor Victorians celebrated Christmas.

    Abbey House Museum
    KS2
  • Self-guided visits to Abbey House

    Plan a visit to Abbey House Museum on one of a number of themes and curriculum topics.

    Abbey House Museum
    KS1, KS2
  • Maths at the Monastery

    This workshops gives an excellent opportunity to put classroom maths into action. We will use a range of medieval but still relevant techniques to estimate and calculate length area and height.

    Kirkstall Abbey
    KS2
  • Rage Against the Machine

    Using historical campaigns and museum collections as inspiration pupils are encouraged to explore ways of campaigning today.

    Armley Mills
    KS3
  • The Art Team

    Who you gonna call...? Call the Art Team! Want your students to work with a real-life artist? Are you working on the Arts Award? We have a team of DBS checked freelance artists waiting to work with you!

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, Early Years, KS5
  • Tudor Portraits

    If they could talk, what would the Tudor portraits say about life at Temple Newsam? Find out in our practical and investigative activity into portraits at Temple Newsam House.

    Temple Newsam
    KS2
  • WWII Evacuation Role Play

    Take your class back in time to the Second World War. Learn how to use Morse Code, train with a nurse for first aid and draw up a plan for how you will share the Hall with wounded soldiers.

    Lotherton Hall
    KS2
  • Going Green

    Discover recycling at Thwaite Mills! Find out about what was recycled in the past, how it was done and compare it to now. Look at renewable sources of energy with our wonderful waterwheel.

    Thwaite Mills
    KS2
  • Secondary Learning Pack for self-led visits to Armley Mills

    Want to support your visit with self-led, curriculum linked activities resources? Then download our Secondary Learning Pack. It's crammed full of student trails, ideas and accompanying teacher's notes.

    Armley Mills
    KS3, KS4
  • Going to the Seaside with Souvenir Craft Activity Workshop

    Pupils compare seaside holidays in the recent past with those taken a long time ago!

    Abbey House Museum
    KS1
  • If Stones could Speak

    Using a range of fun practical activities involving puppets, rubbings and dressing up, this workshop will help pupils to understand the different materials used in old buildings and how buildings change over time.

    Kirkstall Abbey
    KS1
  • Brother Gilbert's Day

    This hands on interactive workshop will help to bring medieval life in Kirkstall to life for your pupils. Working in groups pupils will investigate different aspects of medieval and monastic life.

    Kirkstall Abbey
    KS2
  • Sculpture Skills

    Investigate three dimensional art to find out what it can be made from and the ideas behind it. Look at different materials then make an imaginative sculpture from card, paper clips, elastic bands and string.

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS1, KS2
  • Portrait Skills

    Explore portraiture as more than just a likeness by investigating selected artworks in the Gallery and then drawing a portrait of a friend and favourite objects in a novel way.

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS1, KS2
  • Be an Art Detective

    Use looking, thinking and note-taking skills to investigate collection or exhibition artworks, sharing ideas in small groups and with the whole class.

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS1, KS2
  • Ways of Seeing

    Structured analysis of Gallery artworks to develop confident observation, critical and cultural understanding and thinking skills. Ideas are captured as visual and written notes or mind maps.

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS3, KS4
  • Secondary Learning Pack for self-led visits

    Want to explore Temple Newsam with your group? The Learning Pack provides workshop and curriculum linked resources to help you focus your visit, including experimental drawing

    Temple Newsam
    KS3, KS4
  • Power and Politics

    This workshop will develop pupils’ interpretation and enquiry skills through exploring aspects of medieval life in the abbey and the power of the Church.

    Kirkstall Abbey
    KS3, KS4
  • Primary Learning Pack for self-led visits to Armley Mills

    Want to support your visit with curriculum linked activities? Download our Learning Pack full of self led visit information, resources and activity sheets for the museum with pre/post visit activities.

    Armley Mills
    KS1, KS2
  • Kings and Queens

    Become a King or Queen for the day! Find clues in our mystery bags, make a glittering crown and perform a popular court dance.

    Temple Newsam
    Early Years, KS1
  • Bringing The Ancient Egyptians to Life: Death on the Nile

    Who were the Ancient Egyptians? What did they believe? Why are we so fascinated by their culture today? Find out more and meet Nesyamun, our Leeds Mummy.

    City Museum
    KS2
  • Primary and Secondary Learning Packs for self-led visits to City Museum

    Come and explore Leeds and the wider world through leeds City Museum. We can support topics on local history, the ancient civilisations of the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians.

    City Museum
    KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, Early Years, KS5
  • Bringing the Romans to Life: Soldiers and Invaders

    Find out more about the Romans in Leeds. How we can use objects and other things that were left behind to learn about the Romans?

    City Museum
    KS2
  • Bringing the Ancient Greeks to Life: How do we know about the Ancient Greeks?

    Explore the Ancient Greeks! How do we know about their lives? Use objects and images as evidence sources to learn about Ancient Greece.

    City Museum
    KS2
  • Introductory talks for secondary schools to Leeds Art Gallery

    Want to explore the Gallery under your own steam, but need an initial steer? Then use our themed 45 minute introduction to the Gallery and the artworks as part of a self-led visit.

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS3, KS4, KS5
  • Tudor Time Capsule

    Support your visit with this self-led resource. Investigate what life was like in a Tudor house by handling objects and archive documents to create a Tudor time capsule.

    Temple Newsam
    KS1, KS2
  • Discovery Tours

    Become an explorer! Travel around this grand Tudor-Jacobean mansion house with an expert guide who will bring to the people and the history of the house to life.

    Temple Newsam
    KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4
  • Colour Skills

    What is colour? What does it mean to you? Explore Gallery artworks for colours and think about how different colours mean different things to different people across cultures.

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS1, KS2
  • Mellow Monks

    Are your Yr 6 pupils stressed about their SAT’s? Or do you have a class that just can’t focus? Help them keep calm with yoga in the peaceful setting of Kirkstall Abbey.

    Kirkstall Abbey
    KS2
  • Introductory talks for primary schools to Leeds Art Gallery

    Running a self-led visit, but want a focus for your students? Then use our themed 45 minute introduction to the Gallery and the artworks to spark ideas and thinking.

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS1, KS2
  • Objects of Inspiration

    Do you have an idea of how the million objects in our store can inspire your students?

    Discovery Centre
    KS3, KS4, KS5, Early Years, KS1, KS2
  • Outreach opportunities - we can bring objects to you!

    We can lead any of the sessions from the Discovery Centre in your school! Our team will bring treasures for the students to explore and lead a session at school.

    Discovery Centre
    KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5, As agreed
  • Experimental Drawing Skills

    Work in groups to experiment with different drawing materials and produce large-scale layered paper works based on observation and imaginative drawing.

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS3, KS4
  • From Fleece to Fashion

    How are your clothes made? Find out about the textile process from raw fleece to finished garment in what was once the biggest woollen mill in the world.

    Armley Mills
    KS1, KS2
  • Baubles - A Festive Workshop

    Inspired by the originality of the Northern Art Prize artists, half-day workshops to make unusual contemporary art decorations from an eclectic materials.

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS1, KS2
  • Contemporary Art Skills

    Explore contemporary art and consider the properties of ready-made objects and then arrange them in new and interesting ways to communicate an important idea.

    Leeds Art Gallery
    KS3, KS4
  • Guided tours for schools

    Give pupils the opportunity to get inside knowledge of the Abbey.

    Kirkstall Abbey
    KS1, KS2, KS3
  • Christmas Toys and Games

    What toys did children get in their stockings in the past? What did it mean if you got coal in your stocking? Find out in this creative workshop.

    Abbey House Museum
    KS1
  • Father Christmas for nursery schools

    Meet Father Christmas and do a Christmas craft activity in our seasonally decorated Victorian Streets.

    Abbey House Museum
    Early Years
  • Abbey House Bear Hunt

    We are putting on our pith helmets to hunt for Albert the Abbey House Bear through the Victorian Streets. Will we find him?

    Abbey House Museum
    Early Years, KS1
  • Jelly and Gingerbread

    Wobble like a jelly and tip like a tea pot to explore our Victorian Streets using nursery rhymes inspired by our new Taste exhibition.

    Abbey House Museum
    Early Years, KS1
  • Professor Pickle and the Mysterious Materials

    Professor Pickle needs to identify all of the different materials in the museum but he doesn’t know where to start. Can you help?

    Abbey House Museum
    KS1, Early Years
  • Behind the Scenes - Science in the Workplace!

    Find out about Science in the Workplace! See how Science is integral to museums from storage to object preservation and cleaning.

    Discovery Centre
    KS2, KS3