Nine reasons to visit Hackney City Farm

Birdie, a substantial Gloucester Old Spot pig, has recently given birth to nine piglets. Count them – nine. When I saw her milk-filled teats trailing along the ground, I thought, ‘Now there’s an animal I can empathise with…’ We’re not frequent visitors to Hackney City Farm, but the new arrivals have given my toddler and I a new reason to call in. Maybe you want to say hello to this amazing family too?

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Free dance and drama sessions for under 5s

Just a quick one – today, I received an email I thought I’d share. It’s definitely for you if you live near Stepney Green, east London, and are looking for something to do with your toddler on a Thursday morning. For the next few weeks, until 14 July 2016, there are free dance and drama sessions, but you do need to book!

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The Astronomy Centre, Greenwich (or: the sun exploded)

This was not one of my better-planned days out, but now I’ve done it all wrong I can tell you what you *should* do if you want to visit the Planetarium and Astronomy Centre with a small person. I went with my two littleys (2 years 3 months & 3 months) and a friend with two of similar ages, without so much as checking their website in advance.
So here are my tips:
1. The Astronomy Centre is for babies, not toddlers.
It turns out The Astronomy Centre isn’t designed with toddlers in mind at all, which is fine (but a little surprising, as the other Greenwich Museums go out of their way to cater for families).
The exhibits are mainly visual, with a lot of detailed text, and much of the ‘interaction’ consists of pressing buttons to get a head to appear on a screen and talk (inaudibly, because the toddlers are talking at the same time). The rooms are dark, because stuff to look at is on lit up screens, so my toddler was a bit scared and wanted to go home…

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Leisure pools…

Photo from

I love swimming, but the pool at the Waterfront Leisure Centre, Woolwich, is close to my idea of hell – it’s noisy, a bit rundown and, most importantly, it’s not really a swimming pool (although there is a bit that allows for lane swimming).

It’s a ‘leisure pool’. We went because I thought my toddler would like it.

I miscalculated – she absolutely loved it. And seeing her excitement and delight kind of got me over my own instinctive dislike of the whole experience.

So – yes – we’ll be going again soon (or more likely trying the one in Leytonstone to see how it compares).

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The Girl and the Giraffe is one of the toddler-friendly plays you can see at the Canary Wharf roof garden.

In the last few weeks, I’ve written a few posts about some of the lovely theatre performances we’ve been lucky enough to see locally but, each time, I’ve been conscious that tickets cost a few quid and, if you’ve got several kids, it soon adds up.

So if you want your child to see a toddler-friendly play, don’t miss out on this chance to do it for FREE. Continue reading “FREE THEATRE”

Opera, shiny pots and ping pong balls…

A few months ago, a lovely mum friend sent me a text with a couple of things she’d booked to go to at Stratford Circus with her toddler. Being a bit of a sheep, I got some tickets for me and mine, without really reading what either event was all about – until the night before…

On Saturday morning, when we made our way to the venue, I couldn’t help feeling a bit worried. I wasn’t at all sure of what my toddler was going to make of Spitalfields music’s Musical Rumpus on Tour: Run, Rindle Rill.

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Not so messy play

The paint’s mainly on the paper… so far.

My little girl, like most toddlers, likes painting, but there are days when I can’t quite face removing it from the inside of her ears and rooms we haven’t even been in. So we’ve built up a collection of not-so-messy alternatives.

There’s tons of things to try: play dough (Rachel explains how to make your own here), glitter pens, sticking little bits of coloured paper, feathers etc. And here’s a few maybe you haven’t tried yet… Continue reading “Not so messy play”