Half term activities

The playdough activity station at the Ragged School in the Easter hols

As usual, there’s loads on in for kids in east London over half term. Here’s a few that caught my attention because they cater for toddlers:

Boys having lunch, Copperfield Rd School, 1879
Victorian classroom, image from the Ragged School Museum website

The Ragged School Museum on the canal near Mile End offers free holiday activities. They’ve a big under-5s room with lots of toys and playdough. This half term they are hosting the launch of Jacqueline Wilson’s new book. Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th, 10-5 pm.  See here for more information. Continue reading “Half term activities”

Stories in Stratford…

I’ve never been to Stratford library, but I’m planning a visit next week because the Discover Children’s Story Centre is hosting a series of storytelling sessions with authors there – Monday 24 October – Thursday 27 October at 2pm.

Two seem to be particularly appealing to toddlers:

Continue reading “Stories in Stratford…”

A visual calendar

Finn’s visual calendar

My older child ‘Finn’ is 2-and-a-half. Like lots of toddlers, he enjoys feeling in control and making his own choices. Over the summer he was asking lots of questions about ‘when’ things were happening. And of course, if he’s looking forward to seeing a friend or going somewhere special, he expects it to happen immediately, even if it’s days away.

There’s also been a lot of change and probably from his point of view, a fair bit of loss of control in Finn’s life recently as he now has a little brother, bringing a (charming) unpredictability to pretty much everything…

And, I wanted Finn to understand when his nursery days were, as he was about to start a couple of days a week. I thought this might make him calmer about this change in his life.

So to help with all this, I explored the idea of a visual calendar. There are loads of ideas online but I based mine roughly on this one. I simplified it though, with only one, main activity represented per day as Finn is probably not old enough to get his head round more than that. I also gave each day a different colour. Continue reading “A visual calendar”

Fun (Palaces) this weekend…

A weekend of indoor activities – a godsend if it happens to be rainy…

Looking for something to do with your toddler this weekend? Well, October 1st and 2nd is Fun Palaces weekend with free arts and sciences events (mostly drop-in) throughout the country, including here in East London.

You can find all the details here, including:

Saturday 1st October 12.30-5pm, at Discover Children’s Story Centre, Stratford

Although you usually have to pay to Discover from what I can make out it’s free to visit their Fun Palace. They’ll be making a Giant Story Machine with your help…

There’s also a chance to attend The Fantastic World of Dr Seuss, but you need to call first on 020 8536 5555.

Find out more here

Saturday 1st October 10am-3pm, at Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Stratford

At Stratford Circus, there’s a chance to search for hidden animals in the jungle, play games, try out musical instruments, get messy and more.

Find out more here


Saturday 1st October 10am-4pm, at Half Moon theatre, Limehouse

Pop in and enjoy free performances, arts and crafts activities and science demonstrations.

Find out more here

Depending on where you live, you might also be interested in events at Aberfeldy Street, Poplar or the Boundary Estate, Bethnal Green.


Valentines Mansion

Cooking pretend food in the Valentines kitchens.

Valentines Mansion is open today for Open House weekend, but it’s also open every Tuesday and Sunday from 11am-3pm (check here for updated opening times).

And it’s free.

I mention it because it’s definitely one of the best equipped old-house-type places I’ve ever been to for young children, making it a good option for a rainy Sunday. And surely we are going to have some of those this Autumn… Continue reading “Valentines Mansion”

New swimming pool!

My toddler is (nearly) swimming like a fish

One of the best things that’s happened this year is seeing my two-year-old change from someone who didn’t seem to care for swimming to someone who loves it, and is confident in the water. Weirdly, the process began when we stopped going to swimming lessons, and started to swim regularly with her friends. She went from clinging onto mummy to leaping into the water, laughing and smiling.

We usually swim at the London Aquatics Centre, but in the post-Olympics glow, a couple of times we’ve found sessions to be full at weekends when we’ve come to book.

It was a blessing in disguise because it got us to try the new Poplar baths, which recently reopened after being closed for more than 30 years.

It’s been completely refurbished. Everything is clean and new, and it’s great for toddlers.

Continue reading “New swimming pool!”

Free Sing-and-Sign tasters this week (and more ways to learn baby signing)

Just a quick post to let you know about free Sing-and-Sign baby sign language taster sessions that are happening in various East London locations over the next week, including tomorrow in the Isle of Dogs and next Thursday in Dalston. Click here and select ‘special events/tasters’ from the drop-down menu. You have to book but the sessions are free.

I found baby signing amazingly useful with my older child (see here for my experience of baby signing) and we did a term of Sing and Sign, which was really fun to go to with a baby, with songs that helped to learn the signs while entertaining everyone.

However, Sing & Sign isn’t free (though the tasters are) and if you want to do baby signing you definitely don’t have to do a paid class. Here are some other ideas if a class isn’t for you – or if you want to mix and match:

Continue reading “Free Sing-and-Sign tasters this week (and more ways to learn baby signing)”