Wedding celebrations

If your invitation to Meghan Markle’s wedding to some bloke called Harry hasn’t arrived in the post yet, it might be time to make alternative plans for Saturday 19th May 2018.

It turns out the real party is happening in Mile End park from 12 noon until 4pm, and it’s free.

With a coconut shy, arts and crafts activities, face paints and sports for kids, it sounds like a lot more fun that whatever’s going on in Windsor at the same time. So all you need to do is pack a right royal picnic, hope for clement weather, and get yourself and your little one(s) to Mile End park.

Events take place in the area of the park near Haverfield road (opposite the Victoria pub and behind the yummy fish and chip shop).

Check out the details here

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Little Swifts

The RAF museum in Colindale is a vast indoor space that’s full of flying machines. They come in all shapes and sizes – from the terrifyingly fragile to the scarily powerful. Some are made of wood. Others of beautiful shiny silver panels. There are carefully camouflaged planes, bright yellow ones and one that’s decorated like a shark. The idea of taking to the skies in these amazing aeroplanes and helicopters is likely to spark the imaginations of most toddlers and pre-schoolers.

Continue reading “Little Swifts”

Little Feet at the British Museum

At the start of the year, I wrote about free activities for under fives at the British Museum in large part because I was determined to finally go and try them out (with a little help from the one-year-old and four-year-old).

A few weeks ago, we went to a Little Feet session for the first time and that means I can now whole-heartedly recommend them to you. And flag up that the next ones are coming up soon:

On Friday 20 April 2018, Little Feet go disco dancing at 10.30am. The music and movement session is free and takes place in the studio.

On Thursday 3 May 2018, the session is called Exhibition Explorer and takes place in room 30 at 10.30am. It relates to the Rodin and the art of Greece exhibition.

And on Saturday 26 May 2018, Little Feet is all about animal sounds. Sounds Grrrrr-eat. There are hourly sessions in room 1 between 11am and 3.30pm.

All the details are here.

The session we went to remains a high point of the last dreary weeks weather-wise. For a start, we were heading somewhere new. We went as a family and there was something for us all to enjoy.

For the one-year-old, there was a little ball pit to crawl in, as well as some interesting cuddly toys to play with.

For the four-year-old (who happened to be dressed as a unicorn) there was a lovely session that taught her the difference between ‘mythical animals’ and ones that exist on planet earth.

At the start, each of the children reached into a bag and pulled out a cuddly animal and they worked out if it was mythical or not. I don’t know what the chances were of this happening, but you guessed it, my DD pulled a unicorn out of the bag and she was utterly delighted although it didn’t entail admitting they aren’t actually real.

After that, armed with some photos of peculiar creatures (like half fish/half bear stone carvings) and a tablet, she got to search round the room until she found them all and photographed the evidence.

The organisers were really engaging and everyone aged between one and five seemed to enjoy themselves. The parents looked pretty pleased too.

We didn’t hang around for long afterwards because it was a Saturday and the museum was busy. But here are a few things to bear in mind.

  • It’s worth looking up which room you’re going to and where it is before you head to the museum – it’s not fun searching for the right place with kids in tow especially if you’re running late.
  • When we visited, there were bag searches outside, but you go in the members’ queue if you have a pushchair – nice touch.
  • The museum gets really crowded at weekends so it might be quite stressful to visit other rooms or galleries with toddlers.
  • There are cafes, toilets, baby changing rooms and all the facilities you need at the museum.

Stepney City Farm

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I hear there are piglets at Stepney City Farm and that means a visit is essential. If you’re free this Thursday 12 April there are craft activities for children aged four months to eight years old.

It sounds like fun and it’s free. Visit between 11am-2.30pm

Details here

There are some other great reasons to make your way to the farm.

Crafts for kids Sunday 29 April 1-3.30pm: Free craft activities in the classroom – this happens every last Sunday of the month.

Yoga for families Saturday 5 May 11am-12noon: Yoga for parents and children – this happens every first Saturday of the month.

May Day festival Monday 7 May 10am-4pm Traditional music, dancing, crafts, food and drink all day. See the sheep take off their woolly coats ready for  Summer and help George and Dustan, the donkeys, turn 20.

And don’t forget the Frog Prince holds baby music sessions every Friday 10-11am, and 11am-12noon. £5 per adult.

 

Tonkotsu park

We’ve eased off the small parks and playgrounds thread due to the freezing cold, but let’s make an exception for the new little playground that you can find opposite the London Aquatics Centre.

To find it, walk from Westfield, past The Cow, along Stratford Walk. Before the bridge over to the Aquatics Centre, turn left at the edge of the building that says it’s soon to be a Tonkotsu (yum). This area now has flats and the lucky residents have a small playground that you might like to visit if you want to escape Westfield or still have some energy after swimming.

Here’s what you’ll find:

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Things to climb 
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Things to whizz round on
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Something to slide down
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Not one, not two, but three things to bounce on (plus basket ball court in the background).

There are two much bigger playgrounds in the QEOP (and a nice one in Westfield), but it’s always nice to explore somewhere new, and small play areas like this have the advantage of offering a quick change of scene. You can try everything in it pretty fast so there’s no chance to tears/tantrums when it’s time to leave.

As mentioned, this combines well with:

  • A visit to the Aquatics Centre
  • A trip to Westfield
  • A scooter trip round the QEOP
  • A play area safari of the QEOP

I don’t know if this playground has a name, so I’m officially naming it Tonkotsu playground and it joins the list of little parks that I’ve posted about.

Here are the others:

With Spring on the way, there’ll be more…

Diary dates

Did you know the British Museum has monthly activity sessions called Little Feet for under fives? I did, but I’ve never been despite being a big fan of the museum and having a membership I haven’t used for years.

My problem is I find it impossible to retain random dates in my sleep-deprived head and Little Feat seems to be held fairly randomly.

So, as much as for myself as for you, here are the Little Feet dates for the next three months. As the first date is four days away, it’s possible I might remember this one…

  • Friday 26 January 2018, 10.30am-12 noon – Little Feet: Celebrate China Room 33
  • Friday 9 February 2018, two sessions starting 10.30am and 12.30pm – Little Feet: Explore Your Senses. Studio, booking required (when I looked, it said it was all booked but it might be worth enquiring about returns).
  • Thursday 29 March 2018, 10.30-12 noon – Little Feet: Happy Feet. Studio, booking required.

All sessions are free.

To find out more, and keep track of other events at the British Museum, click here.

Walthamstow Wetlands – part 2

A few days ago, I wrote about a visit to the newly opened Walthamstow Wetlands. Did you know there are special activity days for children under fives and their adult companions on Mondays and Wednesdays, 10am-3pm?

There’s the promise of story-telling, crafts and wildlife activities – and it’s all free.

You can find the details here, where you’ll also find information about other sessions that the London Wildlife Trust offers at various sites.