Summer 2018 has been pretty short on rain so far, but it pays to have some rainy day rescues up your sleeve – or perhaps you just want a bit of shelter from the heat – either way, our rainy day rescue blog, complete with suggestions from parent carers, is just the ticket!

Don’t forget, the best way to check Compass Card offers while you’re out and about is our free Compass Card app and you can rate and review offers on the app too. If you’re planning a trip in advance at home, or if you want to see the offers on a tablet, you can also see all our offers on our offers page.

When staying at home makes perfect sense
There are days when this just works – and a little preparation goes a long way.

Go to the movies from the comfort of your own sofa

You know the Compass Card means you can borrow movies from your local library for free? Get yourself down there with the card and stock up – you never know when a few movie options will come in handy. Buy in generous supplies of popcorn and, if you’re feeling particularly magnanimous, movie-style tubs of ice cream. Voila!

Go Kid Music could be music to your ears

If you like a good sing-song, you’re bound to like Go Kid Music Club, an online music club run by Brighton-based musician and Compass Card parent,  Al Start.Al Start from Go Kids Music on illustrated background The club is recommended for primary age kids, as well as those with special educational needs, hearing impairments and speech and language delay, and it could be great for a day indoors. It’s a subscription-based service (£3.96 a month for Compass Card holders) that includes a weekly video with Al singing and signing a new song and a signing video of the month that teaches Makaton signing. Compass Card holders get subscription and live gig discounts, as well as being able to claim two free digital music albums when they register. For more information about Go Kid Music Club, click here

Get crafty

Some of us (parents too!) love the opportunity to get stuck in with paint, Close up of child's hands playing with playdough.scissors, magazines, glue and a few cardboard toilet roll tubes. “We love a bit of play dough and colouring, and even make up and nail painting at home when it’s all too much to go out” says Compass Card parent, Christina.

How about a homemade marble run out of toilet roll tubes, an aeroplane made out of a clothes peg or ‘homemade microwave puffy paint’? These are just some of the ideas on happinessishomemade’s ‘45+ 15 minute crafts for kids’.

Ann from the Compass Team remembers a day when her son was small. “One rainy day, I printed out face shots of different family members and we stuck them onto photos from magazines. I became a prima ballerina and my son was a giraffe – it kept us entertained all afternoon. I’m going to do the same thing this summer with my friend’s kids, but this time we’re going to make super hero versions of ourselves, using toilet roll tubes for bodies, pipe cleaners for arms and bits of material for capes”.

Books can be a winner

It’s worth stocking up on books and signing up for the summer Animal Agents characters for summer reading challenge.reading challenge in your local library. Libraries in West Sussex and Brighton and Hove are inviting young members to celebrate the 80th anniversary of The Beano comic with the ‘Mischief Makers’ challenge. You’ve got until 15 September to complete the challenge by solving the mystery and reading six books. There are books for all ages and abilities, including multi-sensory stories, graphic novels, e-books for your iPad or tablet and audiobooks (great for long car journeys!). Drop in to your local library to find out more.

“It’s always fun to join in with the library summer reading challenge- this encourages children to borrow and read books – and [some] libraries run free events on certain dates in summer holidays relating to these, for example, a craft workshop. Ideal if it’s raining or too hot outside!” says Compass Card parent, Alyson.

Getting out and getting undercover

Soft play

There are more than a dozen Compass Card soft play offers – and they can be a great way of kids running off steam while you grab a well-earned coffee. You can see all of them on the Compass Card app – set the filter to ‘soft play’ on the ‘leisure’ filter!

“Our failsafe place to go to is soft play – for example Activus , Out of Bounds and Amazon Adventure. This purely because I know my children are safe …and I know they can’t escape” says Compass Card parent, Cheryl.

Flying Fortress – it can be busy and loud, but there’s stuff for my 6 year old and 19 month old” recommends Samantha.

“This is my go to when the kids need entertaining quickly. I don’t need to ‘plan’ my visit. My 2 and 6 year old are both happy here for a good couple of hours! We can always swim before or after too!!” Parent carer who gave Oscar’s Soft Play at Arun Leisure Centre a five star rating on the Compass Card app.

Funplex in Brighton and Monkey Bizness in Lewes are popular soft play options in East Sussex. It’s also worth mentioning Amazon Adventure’s new sensory area at Worthing Leisure Centre which is particularly good for children and young people with complex needs and others who benefit from a sensory environment – plus there’s a Changing Places facility on site.

Littlehampton Interactive Room

It’s hard to beat the Compass Card deal at Littlehampton Interactive Room, so you’ll have to forgive us for banging on about it. Based at Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre, this interactive audio and visual games room costs just a fiver an hour to hire exclusively for the whole Compass Card group. It’s fully accessible with hoist-assisted changing and a hoist in the interactive room and there’s even a food preparation area. Indoor deal of the summer, surely?!

Down to the Base in Bognor

Base Skatepark is an indoor skate park and there’s a café and shop for mums and dads if the thought of skidding round on a set of wheels is a step too far. Compass Card holders get ‘membership rates’ at the skate park, as well as the café and shop. Please note, the café is upstairs and isn’t wheelchair accessible.

Learn to climb

We’ve got three climbing deals on the Compass Card, one at High Sports at Young man on climbing wall.Withdean Sports Complex, one at Boulder Brighton in Portslade and a recent new offer at High Places at The Triangle in Burgess Hill. Staff at Withdean have plenty of experience working with additional needs and can include physically disabled children and young people with the help of full or partial hoists (call in advance to explain your child’s needs).

“At the time my son was a bit anxious and it took him a while to get into it, but the staff at High Sports were very patient and accommodating with his need for a more gentle approach and the other children who were a bit more gung-ho had a great time – so all very inclusive – what more could you want!” says Compass Card parent, Emma.

Boulder Brighton in Portslade specialises in ‘bouldering’, a stripped down form of climbing that substitutes ropes and harnesses for climbing shoes, safety mats and a bag of chalk to help you grip.

The Triangle’s High Places climbing wall is just a fiver for Compass Card holders if you book with the climbing manager direct and there’s a partial hoist for people who can’t support their full body weight on the climbing wall.

Nature undercover

Earnley Butterflies, Birds and Beasts near Chichester is a great choice Close up of butterfly.if the weather is iffy, or just too hot to handle. Although Earnley is all about nature, most things are undercover – including no less than 17 covered, themed gardens, a tropical butterfly house and a walk-through aviary.

Compass Card parent, Louise is a big fan. “I think the Compass Card app I carry on my mobile is brilliant as it was there we discovered a new place had popped on the news feed one day called ‘Earnley Butterflies Birds and Beasts’. it looked so interesting we decided to check it out there and then – so glad we did, what a fascinating little gem of a place where you can get really close to nature. We as a family loved it and having a child on the spectrum was ideal as very quiet on each occasion (we’ve been three times now) and quite spacious too” she says. There’s a Compass Card offer here too…

Jump in!

 Trampolining is a great way to bounce off excess energy and there are Compass Card offers in place at three trampolining parks, two in Chichester and one in Peacehaven. The Compass Card holder may be happy to join the general sessions, or you’ll find there are specific sessions for children and young people with additional needs – but please note, they do have to be booked in advance. At Sky High in Peacehaven, there are regular sessions for children and young people with additional needs on Tuesdays at 6pm, but you’ll definitely need to book. Wheelchair accessibility here is limited. At Flip Out in Chichester, the building is wheelchair accessible, there are regular sessions for children and young people with additional needs and you can book one-to-one Rebound sessions, which are suitable for those with physical disabilities. Air Arena, also in Chichester, runs regular ‘Helping Hands’ sessions, but wheelchair access is limited.

Swim, swim

 There are loads of Compass Card offers for swimming, so this is a real winner for a rainy day. The Triangle in Burgess Hill is always popular, there’s an outdoor pool if the weather clears up, and the leisure pool costs just a quid with a free carer ticket. At the three Freedom Leisure  swimming pools in Brighton and Hove – King Alfred Leisure, Prince Regent Swimming Complex and St. Luke’s Swimming Pool – Compass Card holders, one carer and up to three others swim for free. Other top picks are Freedom Leisure centres at K2 in Crawley and in Littlehampton and Bognor where there’s a free ticket for the Compass Card holder and one carer.

Compass Card parent, Lisa, says “It’s relatively low cost, great exercise and fun and kids and adults enjoy some quality time splashing about!”

“I took the kids to Littlehampton swimming pool today and it was amazing! We’ve been before but not as Compass Card holders… staff as always were so friendly, but I was astounded to find out that both of the Compass Card holders swim for free plus one carer so we only paid for one child :) Happy days! :) A big bonus for us since exercise is one of the big keys to keeping their lungs as clear as we can!”  says Compass Card parent, Carla.

A trip to the movies

 Watching a movie on a rainy day can be a great way to while away a Picture of the Picturedrome Cinemacouple of hours. There are Compass Card offers in place at no less than nine cinemas: The OdeonDuke of York’s and Duke’s at Komedia cinemas in Brighton. The Windmill in Littlehampton, The Connaught and The Dome in Worthing, The Capitol in Horsham, Picturedrome in Bognor and Scott Cinema in East Grinstead. You’ll usually find the offer is a free carer ticket, although this may not apply to Autism-friendly screenings which tend to be subsidised already. Autism-friendly screenings welcome people with the full range of additional needs and are a regular feature at all three cinemas in Brighton, The Dome in Worthing and Scott Cinemas in East Grinstead.

“Our failsafe leisure activity is usually the cinema, there is usually something on that the kids like – the weekend morning movies are great value and brilliant for kids. Even better with the Compass Card we can both go, get drinks and popcorn for under a tenner!” says Lisa.

Compass Card parent Samantha recommends Picturedrome in Bognor. “£3.50 a ticket maximum, kids munchbox, and always a friendly experience!”

Ice, baby

It may be over in Gosport, but if ice skating is your thing, we think Planet Ice – a full-size, purpose-built ice rink –  is well worth clocking up the miles for. There’s a good Compass Card discount in place and manual and electric wheelchairs are allowed on the ice during all public skating sessions.

Musing at the museum

Cart horse standing outside old fashioned cottages So many museums, so little time. If you have a Compass Card holder who enjoys history, there are lots of museums to choose from with Compass Card discounts. Set in 40 glorious acres of Sussex downland, Weald and Downland Living Museum near Chichester has a café and shop and charts the rural history of families that have lived on the downs over the last thousand years or so.  The museum’s running ‘Wonderful Wednesdays’, fun-packed activity days for children and young people every Wednesday in August from 11am to 4pm. Take the Compass Card with you to get discounted entry of £4.50, which includes one carer.  There’s accessible parking and toilets here, but some steep slopes may be tricky for wheelchair users to negotiate. Other museums range from the unique Priest House in West Hoathley and the opulent Royal Pavilion in Brighton, to the maritime-themed Look and Sea Centre in Littlehampton and Marlipins in Shoreham. And don’t forget the disability-friendly Morning Explorer sessions at Lewes Castle – there’s one on Monday 23 July and another on Monday 6 August.

Game of badders, anyone?

An hour on the badminton court at Hassocks Sports Centre for up to four people costs just £6 with a Compass Card (usual price £12.40), so this is a great deal. The centre also has a few spare racquets to hand and they lend them out for free, so don’t worry too much if you haven’t got your own.