ONE small step for parents will be a giant leap for youngsters, as The Word kicks off a summer of space-themed fun.

Throughout the school holidays, The National Centre for the Written Word, South Shields, is running a family friendly programme of activities from arts and crafts, to games and stories.

And, to tie in with the venue’s current Amazing Space exhibition – and the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing – they feature aliens, planets, rockets and all things extra-terrestrial.

On Friday 26 July and 9 and 23 August, the venue’s StoryWorld – which is fully immersive, with light and sound – will be the setting for children under seven.

Along with stories about Alien Adventures, Tales from Outer Space and Elmer and Friends, there will be singing, games and craft activities.

Tales will give way to technology on Wednesday 31 July, at 10am and 2pm, when children aged from seven to 11 can design their own space-themed pixel art and have it laser cut into a keyring or coaster at FabLab @ The Word.

Then, on Wednesday 7 August, youngsters can have fun – and develop their computing skills – at two special, space-inspired sessions.

From 10am to 12noon and from 2-4pm, eight to 12 -year-olds can take part in Star Wars Coding, taking a trip to a galaxy far, far away and learning how coding can control a droid in a game.

The following week, 14 August, at the same times, seven to 11-year-olds can learn all about programming robots at Space Robotics and, at 11am and 2pm, The Word is hosting Big Bang Science Party.

Not only can children aged four and over enjoy building spinning galaxies and see space light and sound demonstrations, but they can also join in with other out-of-this-world experiments.

And, from 21 August to 1 November, The Word’s very own Elmer the Elephant sculpture – inspired by the first man to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong – will be on display as part of the public art trail, Elmer’s Great North Parade.

Then on Wednesday 28 August, at 10am and 1.30pm, there will be Space Chase Movie Makers.

Designed to help children explore characters, location and plot, the sessions will help them create a space-themed story, entirely from their own ideas, through improvisation, games and tasks before they bring it to life using costumes and props.

For a full list of all events, timings and ticket prices visit www.theworduk.org.