It’s nearly half-term and you’re looking for things to keep the kids happy, active and entertained. Here’s our selection of some of the best events for children in Sussex

1 The Midnight Gang by David Walliams

A bang on the head during a cricket match at his boarding school has landed 12-year-old Tom in the children’s ward of the spooky Lord Funt Hospital. Luckily, he’s not on his own with the child-hating Matron and the scary-looking Porter. George, Amber, Robin and Sally are in there too, and they’re not taking things lying down. When the lights go out and the clock strikes twelve, they’re off. But will they let new boy Tom join their forbidden midnight adventures through the hospital’s labyrinthine realm? This inventive tale of fun, friendship and the importance of kindness is adapted from the biggest-selling children’s book of 2016 by David Walliams (pictured below). This new stage version is by Bryony Lavery, with music and lyrics by renowned musician and composer Joe Stilgoe, and directed by Dale Rooks.

The Midnight Gang by David Walliams is at Chichester Festival Theatre, Oaklands Park, Chichester, at 2pm and 7pm from Saturday-Saturday October 13-November 3. Tickets from £10. Suitable for ages 7+. Phone 01243 781312 or visit cft.org.uk.

2 Brighton Science Festival

Curious kids with a passion for science will be in their element at half term when Brighton Science Festival opens with a scientific selection of entertaining talks, eye-opening shows and hands-on workshops.

Read our feature on Brighton Science Festival.

Brighton Science Festival is at various venues around Brighton and Hove from October 20-26. For the full programme, visit brightonscience.com.

3 Elizabeth Ilive’s Hair-Raising Laboratory Trail

Elizabeth Ilive’s science experiment has gone horribly wrong and she need your help. Journey around the Pleasure Grounds and help her find a solution to fix her experiment by solving creepy clues. Living at Petworth from the 1780s, Elizabeth Ilive built a laboratory at Petworth House and she was no stranger to experiments.Will you assist her in her work and solve this spine-tingling trail? Pick up the trail from the car park or Church Lodge reception. 

Elizabeth Ilive’s Hair-Raising Laboratory Trail is at Petworth House and Park, Petworth, from Saturday-Sunday October 20-28. Trails £3/normal admission prices apply. Age 5+. Phone 01798 342207 or visit nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house-and-park.

4 The Enormous Turnip

Living in their tiny shed among the garden tools, Mr and Mrs Chickweed’s prize-winning vegetables have taken over everything. But no one knew that a vegetable could grow bigger than the cat, bigger than the dog, bigger than you and me put together. It’s gigantic and it’s still growing! Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company return with live music and eccentric puppetry in this re-potted version of the famous children’s story.

The Enormous Turnip is at Connaught Theatre, Union Place, Worthing, at 1pm and 3pm on Saturday October 20. Tickets £9.50/family of 4 £32. Phone 01903 206206 or visit worthingtheatres.co.uk.

5 Blast Science: Steve’s Space-travaganza 

Join Steve from Blast Science and voyage round the planets, to the stars and beyond. With a rocket full of interactive demos, the show can be enjoyed by children and adults alike – there are loads of opportunities to come and help Steve… (he definitely can’t get into space without your help). This event is part of Brighton Science Festival.

Blast Science: Steve’s Space-travaganza is at Rialto Theatre, 11 Dyke Road, Brighton, at 11am-12noon, 1.30pm-2.30pm and 3pm-4pm on Monday October 22. Tickets £8/concs £6. Age 7+. Visit brightonscience.com.

6 Pocket Science Funfair

The funfair with a twist celebrates the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter by dealing out a little magic of our own. And why stop at Potter? There are also special effects from The Lord of the Rings and from Star Wars. There will be a chance to learn how to do magic with electrostatics – the magic that holds the universe together. You do it with a wand – not the clunky, Potteresque type, but one powerful enough to channel electrostatic forces into some pretty neat tricks: a plastic drinking straw.  And you can hear from a Star Wars actor how they made the sound of the storm-troopers’ guns. This event is part of Brighton Science Festival.

Pocket Science Funfair is at British Airways i360, Lower Kings Road, Brighton, from 10.30am-4pm from Monday-Wednesday October 22-24. Tickets £4/family £14/u7s free. Visit brightonscience.com.

7 Super Snails and other Bugs

Be inspired by the fabulous snails in the museum, which are part of the Martlets Snailspace trail in Brighton & Hove. Work in paper and paint to make your own creative creature. Picture: Martina Bellotto.

Super Snails and other Bugs is at Hove Museum & Art Gallery, 19 New Church Road, Hove, from 10am-3pm on Tuesday and Thursday October 23 and 25. £2.50. 3+ years. Phone 0300 029 0900 or visit brightonmuseums.org.uk/hove.

8 Woods Mill Wild Woodies Autumn Holiday Club

Explore the colourful woodland during walks among the trees. Learn about the animals that call Woods Mill home and help them prepare for the winter ahead by filling up bird feeders and making animal shelters. Spend time at the camp site and practice safe fire lighting to make your own hot drink. Learn how to use hand tools to make wooden models to take home.

Woods Mill Wild Woodies Autumn Holiday Club is at Woods Mill, Henfield, from 9am-4pm on Tuesday October 23. Child member £25/child non-member £35. Ages 6-11. Visit sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk.

9 Tilgate Park Wild Woodies Autumn Holiday Club

Light a fire to make your own hot drink, build a den, use hand tools to make things out of natural materials, explore the woods and discover what animals live in the wild. The day will involve a campfire, bushcraft activities and hot chocolate.

Tilgate Park Wild Woodies Autumn Holiday Club is at Titmus Drive, Tilgate, Crawley, from 10am-3pm on Tuesday October 23. Child member £20/child non-member £28. Visit sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk.

10 Come and Meet The Gruffalo

“Oh help! Oh no! It’s a gruffalo!” Come to Drusillas Park, the small zoo, and see the mystical monster who lives in the deep dark wood. The fearsome favourite will be meeting brave visitors in the Events Arena at intervals throughout the day.

Come and Meet The Gruffalo is at Drusillas Park, Alfriston, at intervals all day on Wednesday October 24. Visit drusillas.co.uk.

11 Seven Sisters Wild Woodies Autumn Holiday Club

Light a fire to make your own hot drink, build a den, use hand tools to make things out of natural materials, explore the woods and discover what animals live in the forest. Each day has a different theme and activities.

Seven Sisters Wild Woodies Autumn Holiday Club is at the Pump Barn behind the Visitor Centre, Seven Sisters Country Park Exceat, near Seaford, from 10am-3pm on Wednesday October 24. Child member £20/child non-member £28. Ages 6-11. Visit sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk.

12 Stanmer Park Wild Woodies Autumn Holiday Club

Explore the colourful woodland during a walk among the trees. Learn about the animals that call the park home and help them prepare for the winter ahead by collecting natural materials to make animal shelters. Spend time at the camp site and practice safe fire lighting to make your own hot drink. Learn how to use hand tools to make wooden models to take home.

Stanmer Park Wild Woodies Autumn Holiday Club is at the green between Stanmer House and Church, Stanmer Park, Lewes Road, Brighton, from 10.30am-3pm on Wednesday October 24. Child member £20/child non-member £28. Ages 6-11. Visit sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk.

13 Watersports at Hove Lagoon

Kids age 8+ can try windsurfing, sailing and standup paddle boarding with tuition and all equipment provided.

Kids Taster Half Day is at Hove Lagoon, seafront, Hove, from 1pm-4pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday October 24, 25 and 26. £45. Visit lagoon.co.uk.

14 Family Fun Time Magic with Jonathan Cann

Jonathan Cann presents a fun-filled family show of magic and illusion – but most of all, fun! He will need lots of helpers so who knows, you may end up being part of the show. Part science, part magic – but which is which?

Family Fun Time Magic with Jonathan Cann is at Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, at 2pm on Wednesday October 24. Tickets £7/family of 4 £26. Phone 01273 464440 or visit ropetacklecentre.co.uk.

15 The Ugly Animal Roadshow

Simon Watt, a writer, science communicator and TV presenter who also runs the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, a comedy night with a conservation twist, asks why pandas should get all the praise. The Ugly Animal Roadshow is all about raising the profile of the world’s most aesthetically challenged endangered species. This is a family-friendly performance that celebrates and explores the incredible biology of the animal kingdom’s most monstrous species. The show features videos, demonstrations and audience participation. The event is part of Brighton Science Festival.

The Ugly Animal Roadshow is at Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton, from 2pm-3pm on Wednesday October 24. Tickets £6/concs £3. Age 6+. Visit brightonscience.com.

16 Look Up! with Simon Watt

Simon Watt, a biologist, writer, science communicator and TV presenter, explores some of the science behind space exploration. Which planet is hottest? Which would float in a swimming pool? Which is the most studied? And just how much space is in space? Join him in this live show to see what experiments you can recreate at home or school and learn about what you can see if you only look up. The event is part of Brighton Science Festival.

Look Up! with Simon Watt is at Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton, at 4pm on Wednesday October 24. Tickets £6/concs £3. Age 6+. Visit brightonscience.com.

17 Norman Knights in the Keep at Arundel Castle

Visitors will be transported back to the start of the Cousins War, a turbulent and often forgotten era in the Middle Ages, with thrilling 12th century combat, replica weapons, costumes and craft displays. An early encounter in this succession crisis, known today as The Anarchy, saw King Stephen surround the stronghold with his army and force Empress Matilda, his first cousin and a competing claimant to the throne of England, to surrender.  Visitors will see Norman knights preparing the Keep’s defences for the King’s attack and engaging in combat. Atop the oldest part of the Castle, in addition to the breath-taking view, guests will see how the stronghold was strategically positioned between River Arun, the sea and the South Downs to be virtually impregnable. Men-at-arms and archers will demonstrate the intense combat training of Norman soldiers on the American Lawn. The Stone Hall will host an immersive display of the workmanship and artistry of the Middle Ages including leatherwork and naal binding (an early form of knitting). Picture: Victoria Dawe.

Norman Knights in the Keep is at Arundel Castle, Arundel, on Wednesday and Thursday October 24-25. Visit arundelcastle.org.

18 Hello Kitty

Jen Pringle stars in this hair-larious family adventure featuring familiar songs and original compositions. Rapunzel features magical songs, beautiful costumes and scenery, plus a host of colourful characters to create an enchanting and exciting production that captures the spirit and joy of this wonderful story. In a far off land and in a lonely tower lives the beautiful princess Rapunzel. Captured as a child by Mother Gothel, she uses Rapunzel’s magical hair to upkeep her youth and beauty. When a handsome Prince stumbles upon the tower and wishes to help free Rapunzel, will Mother Gothel’s plans be ruined for good?

Rapunzel is at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre, 108-112 Seaside Road, Eastbourne, at 5.30pm on Sunday November 4. Tickets £13.50-£48. Phone 01323 802020 or visit royalhippodrome.com.

19 Wild Woodland Holiday Club – Rye Harbour

Children can enjoy foresty fun as they learn to light a campfire, build dens, play games and learn woodcrafts.

Wild Woodland Holiday Club at Rye Harbour meets at Swallowtail Hill Farm, Hobbs Lane, Beckley, from 10am-3pm on Thursday October 25. Child members £18/child non-members £23. Age 6-11. Visit sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk.

20 Gatwick Wild Woodies Holiday Club

Light a fire to make your own hot drink, build a den, use hand tools to make things out of natural materials, explore the woods and discover what animals live in the wild. Each day will have a different theme but all will involve a campfire, bushcraft activities and hot chocolate!

Gatwick Wild Woodies Holiday Club is at Rolls Field parking area, off Thames Water access track, Radford Road, Tinsley Green, Crawley, from 10.30am-3pm on Thursday October 25. Free. Age 6-11. Visit sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk.

21 Ian B Dunne: The Wrong Stuff

Ian B Dunne, the Science Showman, takes a series of sideways leaps through the dead ends of the history of science with an emphasis on entertainment, amusement and changing the way you look at the world. It’s a whistle-stop tour of some of the wackier theories that have added colour and weirdness to our understanding of our fantastic universe. The event is part of Brighton Science Festival.

Ian B Dunne: The Wrong Stuff is at Latest Music Bar, 14-17 Manchester Street, Brighton, at 7.30pm on Thursday October 25. Tickets £10/concs £8. Age 12+. Visit brightonscience.com.

22 Rocket Factory

Ever wanted to build and fly your own rocket? This is an opportunity to design, build and test fly one for yourself. Work on your own or as a family to build the best rocket, and then fly them on the beach. Starting with some basic science, this workshop shows you how to design an aerodynamic rocket that will really fly. Everyone gets to build and fly a rocket that they can take home. The event is part of Brighton Science Festival.

Rocket Factory is at British Airways i360, Lower Kings Road, Brighton, at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on Thursday and Friday October 25 and 26. Tickets £6. Age 11+ or 6+ with adult. Visit brightonscience.com.

23 The Wind in the Willows

In this new staging of Kenneth Grahame’s family classic The Wind in the Willows, meet favourite characters including loyal Mole, faithful Ratty and wise old Badger as they do their best to keep the mischievous Mr Toad out of trouble. Will they be able to stop the Wicked Weasel from taking over Toad Hall? This playful take on the tale features a professional cast of energetic performers, catchy new songs and lots of humour.

The Wind in the Willows is at Chequer Mead Community Arts Centre, De La Warr Road, East Grinstead, at 2pm and 5pm on Friday October 26. Tickets £15/concs £13/Premium Club £12.50. Phone 01342 302000 or visit chequermead.org.uk.

24 Peppa Pig’s Adventure

Join Peppa as she gets ready to go on an exciting camping trip to the woods with George and her school friends. With lunch-boxes packed and Daddy Pig driving the bus, Peppa and friends are excited about their outdoor adventure, full of games, laughter and live music.

Peppa Pig’s Adventure is at Devonshire Park Theatre, Compton Street, Eastbourne, at 4pm on Friday October 26 and 10am, 1pm & 4pm on Saturday October 27. Tickets £11, £16, £18 and £21/family of 4 £64/u16s £2 off/babes in arms require a ticket for admission. Phone 01323 412000 or visit eastbournetheatres.co.uk.

25 Big Science Saturday

This is a whole day of direct and engaging talks aimed at adults. A variety of topical subjects will be covered by a bill of top experts including bestselling science author Brian Clegg and Tom Whipple, science editor for The Times. There will be a look at the linguistic conflicts that divide the English and American languages; the 16th century origins of quantum physics; and how scientific discoveries are changing the gender debate. And Isabella Tree, from the Knepp rewilding project who has overseen an extraordinary increase of wildlife on what was once an unsustainable West Sussex farm, will also be there. This event is part of Brighton Science Festival.

Big Science Saturday is at One Church, Gloucester Road, Brighton, from 10am-6pm on Saturday October 27. Tickets £10/concs £3. Age 16+. Visit brightonscience.com.

26 Three Little Pig Tails

This is a new version of the classic story of the three little pigs set in Paris. A grumpy old wolf is a chef who sets out to find some pigs’ tails for his soup. Funny and warmhearted to make you squeal with laughter, the production is bristling with puppets, live music and a garlicky French twist to the tale.

Three Little Pig Tails is at The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, at 11am on Saturday October 27. Tickets £7/family of 4 £26. Age 3-7. Phone 01293 553636 or visit parkwoodtheatres.co.uk.

27 Now That’s What I Call A Lot Of Songs About Science

Singer-songwriter John Hinton presents a compilation of songs from his internationally successful science comedies: the award-winning Scientrilogy, in which he plays Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, and Ensonglopedia shows, which have taken alphabetical science songwriting to new heights. He has also written songs for the Natural History Museum, Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Eden Project and the National Railway Museum. This event is part of Brighton Science Festival.

Now That’s What I Call A Lot Of Songs About Science is at Komedia Studio, 44-47 Gardner Street, Brighton, at 4pm on Saturday October 27. Tickets £8. Age 7+. Visit brightonscience.com.

28 The Monstrous Day

Marking the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, this day of events explores the ramifications of Mary Shelley’s startling prophecy: designer babies, body donation, transhumanism, robots, artificial intelligence and the cloud-monsters of Google and Facebook. Michael Brooks, the former editor of New Scientist magazine, joins a selection of engaging pop science presenters to investigate what makes us human with mini talks and open discussions. Getting involved is the best way to grasp the issues, but visitors will leave with a brain full of new questions. This event is part of Brighton Science Festival.

The Monstrous Day is at Sallis Benney Theatre, 58-67 Grand Parade, Brighton, from 12noon-6pm on Sunday October 28. Tickets £14/concs £12/students £3. Age 16+.  Visit brightonscience.com.

29 Picture It with Woody

Young artists/authors can learn simple techniques for character development and planning short stories on paper. Create colour schemes and use rough sketches to help you create your own completed character and/or mini story with illustrator Woody.

Picture It with Woody is at the Founders Room, Church Street, Brighton, at 10am-11.15am and 11.30am-12.45pm on Saturday November 3. Tickets £5 per child. Age 5-10. Phone 01273 709709 or visit brightondome.org.

30 Rapunzel

Jen Pringle stars in this hair-larious family adventure featuring familiar songs and original compositions. Rapunzel features magical songs, beautiful costumes and scenery, plus a host of colourful characters to create an enchanting and exciting production that captures the spirit and joy of this wonderful story. In a far off land and in a lonely tower lives the beautiful princess Rapunzel. Captured as a child by Mother Gothel, she uses Rapunzel’s magical hair to upkeep her youth and beauty. When a handsome Prince stumbles upon the tower and wishes to help free Rapunzel, will Mother Gothel’s plans be ruined for good?

Rapunzel is at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre, 108-112 Seaside Road, Eastbourne, at 5.30pm on Sunday November 4. Tickets £13.50-£48. Phone 01323 802020 or visit royalhippodrome.com.

For loads more things for children to do, check out these events.