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Easter at Gracehill

Easter at Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena started with the children getting two weeks off school. Plans were made at club to have lots of Easter fun.

The children, with help from the staff got our new Easter bunny game ready. With aprons on and paint brushes at the ready they were set to get painting. A lovely colourful bunny was created. Easter Fun at Gracehill was ready to begin with lots of very competitive children.

The Easter fun continued at Gracehill Afterschool Club with some baking. The children really love the baking activities at club. Melted Chocolate and shredded wheat were mixed together. Bun cases were filled with the yummy mixture and mini eggs were added to the top. The children got to take these home to share with mummy and daddy!

Easter at Gracehill wouldn’t be the same without an Easter egg! At club the children used icing pens to decorate the chocolate egg. Jelly tots and smarties were used to decorate the eggs. Sprinkles were then put on to finish off the master pieces.

Gracehill Afterschool Club continued the Easter fun with water play. The children were very excited to have the water tray out for a mornings entertainment. The toy ducks, boats and the pouring cups were all used to provide great enjoyment. Even with the aprons on we had a few wet sleeves!

A lovely bright, colourful Easter display was also designed. The staff and children had a lot of Easter fun putting the display together. A beautiful apple blossom tree was painted. The children then added on bunny rabbits and chicks to make it complete. The display reminded us all that Spring was here!

Great Easter fun was had by all at Gracehill Afterschool Club.

February Half Term

Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena had an exciting February Half term. A well earned break from home schooling, and a lot of planned activities organised for the week. It was going to be a great half term week at Gracehill!

February half term started with nice new playdough. Carly was in charge of making the colourful playdough. The children really enjoyed making pretend buns and cakes. Each child then kept their own playdough in a bag. This then could be used by the child another day. This was great fun and so relaxing!

Gracehill February half term wouldn’t have been complete without yummy homemade pancakes. Pancake Tuesday was a great excuse for Shannon to get on her apron and get baking. Chocolate spread, butter and sugar or syrup were some of the toppings available. Everyone went home with full bellies. Staff included!

Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena also enjoyed a few lovely walks. Gracehill Village is a beautiful place to take a walk. Coats on and the sun in the sky made the walk very pleasant . The hot chocolate back in club was gladly received, not forgetting the marshmallows on top.

February Half Term Talent show was really enjoyable. With so many talented children the show could have gone on for ages. We had dancing, jokes, magic tricks, art and singing. The staff enjoyed watching the wonderful talents the children displayed.

Gracehill Afterschool Club always like to play games. A couple of new games were made. The heart game was popular and with valentines day in February it was very appropriate.

Baking also took place at February half term. Cornflake buns were made and fairy cakes were decorated. Yummy buns to take home and enjoy!

What a busy February half term at Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena!

Christmas Fun

Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena had lots of Christmas fun this year. In the run up to the Christmas holiday’s from school the children got busy making pom poms. Different colours of wool were got. The staff cut out the cardboard circles and that was the children ready to make a start on the pom poms. We had some lovely colourful pom poms to take home for Christmas.

The Christmas fun continued at Gracehill with a fantastic wall display. Who else would we have on the display but Santa Claus himself! And of course we couldn’t forget Mrs Claus. Carly, with a few little helpers got started into the display work. The children had great fun painting the finished Santa and Mrs Claus. They both looked brilliant while wearing their masks!

The children at Gracehill Afterschool Club also enjoyed making little elves. These were placed around our lovely wall display. This just gave it the final touch! Christmas pictures were popular for displaying as decorations.

Christmas Fun continued at Gracehill Afterschool Club with a party! Everyone loves a Christmas Party even the adults. With lots of lovely food to eat the children enjoyed some games. Pass the parcel and musical chairs are always a favourite. Lots of music and fun was enjoyed. Everyone likes to receive a present at Christmas. Party bags were given for the children to take home . Thank you to Flossy Treats for the lovely chocolate treats .

Gracehill afterschool Club had lots of Christmas Fun this year!

Autumn Lockdown Fun

Gracehill Afterschool club Ballymena had a great two weeks of Autumn Lockdown Fun. School’s closed early for half term, which allowed for extra fun at club. Lockdown Rocks was a great theme for the holiday fun weeks.

We started off our Autumn Lockdown Fun at Gracehill Afterschool with making a new pumpkin game. The children had great fun trying to get the highest score as they through the balls into the pumpkins mouth. We have a lot of competitive children! The swirly autumnal mobiles were made to decorate the room. Felt tips and colouring pencils were used to make these beautiful mobiles. A new display was made with a barn and the children had great fun helping to paint leaves and a barn owl.

Everyone brought their wellies for an adventure around Gracehill village. The garden square was full of lovely crisp autumn leaves and these were great to walk and jump in. The children collected large stones from the garden. These were washed and painted by the children. They were then added to the snake at the Moravian Church Gracehill.

At the end of the first week of Autumn Lockdown Fun we had our very own Afterschool’s Got Talent. What a talented bunch we have. We had singers, comedians, gymnasts and fitness experts as well as an artist. Pumpkin carving is always popular. John and Lily chose what pumpkin faces were to be carved.

The second week of Autumn Lockdown Fun was as exciting as the first week. We had a movie and treat day, with the usual popcorn and crisps to enjoy while watching Mr Peabody and Sherman. Baking was also on the agenda. The children enjoyed making Top Hats and decorating a digestive biscuit with yummy sweets to take home.

Gracehill Afterschool Club look forward to Christmas!

Re opening of Afterschool Club

Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena re opened in August 2020 after being closed for 5 months due to Covid-19. The staff spent a lot of time and effort making the club safe for everyone. Before re opening the club, a Covid-19 policy was put in place along with a risk assessment. New child friendly posters were ordered to display in the club. These posters were to remind everyone about social distancing and the importance of hand washing. Arrows were put on the stairs so everyone would know what side to walk up and down. Gracehill Afterschool club also got new hand sanitizing dispensers from Galgorm Group Ballymena.

On the 3rd August 2020 Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena re opened with all the new safety measures in place. The children were happy to be back to club and enjoyed meeting up with their friends again. The Lego, once again became the favourite, with some children building wonderful master pieces. The children decided to make a display of a rainbow, as this was the symbol used over lockdown to support all those working in the front line.

After careful planning ,the children, assisted by staff members, decided to make the rainbow using handprints. After getting aprons on, the children got their own tray of coloured paint. The children dipped their hands into the paint and then made handprints. After drying off the handprints they were cut out and a lovely colourful rainbow was created.

Gracehill Afterschool club are glad to be re opened and providing a childcare service again to all children and parents. Full time and part time spaces are still available at club. If you would like to enquire about spaces please email office@gracehillafterschoolclub.com or ring the club on 028 25638099.

Gracehill bake off

This new year has been all about baking for everyone at Gracehill Afterschool Club. Our theme was about winter so of course we had to make some snowball buns. We started with crushing digestive biscuits in a bag (a great stress reliever). We then mixed the biscuit with cocoa powder, condensed milk and melted butter. Taking a marshmallow, we made a ball of the mixture and wrapped it around. Finishing off with rolling in coconut.

Chinese New Year

On 27th January we had rice and curry sauce with crunchy prawn crackers for break. This was to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Most of the children had a taste of it all and some were asking for seconds!

Valentines Day

Gracehill bake off continued for Valentines Day when we made yummy Jammy Dodger biscuits. These are made by mixing butter and sugar together in a bowl. Then we added the egg and continued to beat until it was all well mixed. Next we added the flour and folded it all together to make a dough. After the dough was ready the children enjoyed rolling out the pastry. As it was for Valentines Day we cut out heart shapes to make our lovely biscuits. After removing from the oven and cooled slightly, each child jammed the biscuits together to make our Jammy Dodger.

Pancake Day

On Tuesday 25th February Shrove Tuesday was celebrated at Gracehill with homemade pancakes. Sharon and Shannon were the cooks for the day and after making up the pancake batter of soda bread self raising flour, buttermilk, caster sugar and eggs they were to put on the hot griddle. The children had a choice of toppings which consisted of strawberries, blueberries, bananas, grapes along with either syrup, chocolate spread, sugar and butter or jam. As you can see by our photos they were really enjoyable. Gracehill bake off went down a real treat and was thoroughly enjoyed.

Christmas at Gracehill

This month we have had lots and lots of fun and excitement getting ready for Christmas at Gracehill. The children enjoyed getting the Christmas display prepared. Carly made Santa’s sleigh and his reindeers which the children decorated by painting, sticking and lots of lovely glitter (everywhere). Santa is shown flying over the rooftops in the night starry sky! Lots of lovely baubles were decorated to finish off our display.

Christmas at Gracehill continued with all the children helping to put up the Christmas trees and decorations all around the room. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a treat bag. Each child made up a bag with chocolate treats and Christmas pencils. These went home or hopefully not eaten in the car on the way home!

To help us celebrate Christmas at Gracehill we made delicious snowmen. These were made of giant marshmallows and chocolate coins and rolos were used to make his top hat. Strawberry laces gave him a nice scarf and chocolate chips for eyes! Everyone was pleased at how well they turned out and how tasty they were.

The annual dinner for Christmas at Gracehill had a great turn out as usual. We all had a feast of turkey with all the trimmings to fill us all up for the rest of the day! The children had great fun playing pass the parcel and musical chairs with the winners taking home a little treat!

We would like to congratulate Amber on her graduation in December. We are very proud of your achievements and wish you all the best in your new post!!

Christmas at Gracehill was fantastic for everyone. Thanks to all who gave us many lovely gifts and we want to wish you all a Happy New Year!

Half term break

Over the half term break at Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena, we have been busy doing lots of exciting activities and lots of outdoor fun! As the weather has been so good, we took the opportunity get outside. The children collected leaves and acorns to use for our beautiful Autumn display. They also enjoyed playing out in the garden catching the leaves as they blew off the trees with the wind. We enjoyed walking through the crispy leaves and discovering the lovely colours of Autumn.

Half term break saw everyone off school for a full week! The staff took the chance to entertain the children by helping them make tasty witches hats. The children made these by dipping an ice cream cone in melted chocolate and placing onto a biscuit base. Sprinkles and mini sweets were added to decorate the hats. The best part was being able to lick up all the chocolate off our hands and most of them were ate before they left Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena.

Some of the children helped with carving out pumpkins during the half term break. Not everyone enjoyed the smell or cleaning out the gooey insides of the pumpkins. What a messy job but some really loved it! Samantha had great fun carving out bats with her group of kids. Shannon, our new member of staff, helped with a group to make a Harry Potter themed carving.

Some of you may have noticed a new face at Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena. We would like to welcome Shannon to our team and we hope everyone will make her feel welcome and get to know her .

Birthday Celebrations

Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena has been enjoying our birthday celebrations! Everyone has settled back into school life again and the homework has got well underway. The club is celebrating 10 YEARS in business, having opened in September 2009. Since then we have had lots of children through our door and have had the joy of seeing children grow and mature from Primary 1 to Primary 7.

Party time

To celebrate our 10 years we had a party with lots of yummy food. With sausages, sausage rolls and chicken dippers, and sweets and treats, no-one went home hungry. We think the buns we made at club for the birthday celebrations went down a real treat with everyone, including the staff. The children enjoyed a few party games of musical statues and musical chairs. We have found a few very competitive children in our club!

No birthday celebrations would be complete without a party bag. Each child and staff member received a bag to take home. Flossy treats provided a beautiful bar of chocolate and Toast Cullybackey made us delicious cupcakes. Thanks to Flossy Treats and Toast for such a good job and helping us for our birthday celebrations. We received many compliments from parents and staff for these delicious treats.

The birthday celebrations continued with a fantastic write up in the Ballymena Guardian. It showed some of our great activities and lovely pictures of some of our children and staff. The article covered the day to day running of the club and all the services we provide. Thanks to Ballymena Guardian for a great article and to all the local businesses who wished us well on our birthday celebrations.

Gracehill Afterschool Club Ballymena would also like to thank all the parents and children who have supported us in the last 10 years. We appreciate your business and have enjoyed caring for all the fantastic children.

Holiday fun

Jet Centre

During August we had lots of holiday fun starting with a trip to the Jet Centre. Our plans to Carnfunnock Park were abandoned due to our typical Northern Irish weather!! At the Jet Centre we started with a game of bowls where the kids were in a few teams. They showed their competitive sides as everyone wanted to win! After working up an appetite during bowling we enjoyed a lovely, tasty picnic lunch. With our tummies full we enjoyed watching the Queens Corgi in the cinema.The holiday fun continued with a dance off to the jukebox where they showed their best moves to everyone in the Jet Centre. They also had a ball spending their money and redeeming their tokens for lovely treats with sweets being the most popular!

Mini Medics

Holiday fun continued in August with a visit from Danny from Mini Medics in Ballymena. The children were split into two groups (young and old) and spent an hour each learning about inside human bodies. He talked about the importance of blood flowing around our bodies and how our organs work. Then we had fun with Annie (resuscitation doll) and learnt CPR and the recovery position. The children found this really good fun but was also a learning curve of what to do in an emergency.

Danny also showed us how a defibrillator works. This was very interesting, not only for the children, but also for the staff. Some lucky children got to wear a special T-shirt which showed up funny parts of inside our bodies on the I-pad.

Danny very kindly gave the children an activity book and a pen like a syringe. All the kids loved these and got to take them home to show off to Mums and Dads.

We had great holiday fun at Gracehill Afterschool Club this summer and now its back to school time!!!