FAMILIES can have a cracking time this Easter – with two weeks of holiday fun at one of the North East’s most popular visitor centres.

From 8 to 19 April, The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, South Shields, is running a packed programme of activities from arts and crafts, to games and stories.

And visitors can also try their hands at code breaking at The Word’s latest free exhibition, Cracked! Secret Codes and Communication.

Cracked! gives a fascinating glimpse into the world of covert communications, with the chance to crack a secret code using a Caesar Wheel, communicate with friends using Flag Semaphore and take part in a code-themed trail around the building.

A trail of a different sort will take place on Wednesday 17 April when The Word will be going on a bear hunt, with two Bears in the Woods sessions, from 10.30am to 12 noon and from 2pm to 3.30pm.

Under sevens and their families will help the bear rangers to tackle obstacles as they follow the tale of popular children’s story, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen.

And there will be dancing, bear-themed songs to sing along to, fun party games and crafts with tickets priced at £4 per child.

On Monday 8 and 15 and Thursday 11 and 18 April, craft sessions will take place twice daily where children can enjoy making a range of jungle and Easter-themed crafts at just £1 per child.

Visitors of all ages can get creative with free Lego® drop-in sessions on Wednesday 10 and 17 April, between 10am and 12 noon and, from 1pm to 3pm, they can learn how to play chess or get expert tips to improve their game.

At a special, hands-on Animal Stories workshop on Wednesday, 10 April, from 11am to 12 noon and 1pm-2pm, children can get close to some cute and curious creatures, such as tortoises, lizards and giant bugs.

Then, on Friday, 12 April, at 10.30am, 12.45pm and 2.15pm, youngsters can hear about animals from around the world at Tales from the Jungle.

These storytelling sessions will be held in The Word’s immersive StoryWorld and will also feature animal-themed songs, crafts and games.

Tickets for Animal Stories and Tales from the Jungle cost £3.50 per child, £2.50 per adult, £10.50 family of four, £1 children under one.

For a full list of events and to book tickets for those with an entrance fee, visit www.theworduk.org.