Mile End Children’s Park

A couple of weeks back, we went to Mile End Children’s Park and I wondered to myself, ‘Why don’t we come here more often?’. It’s not far. There’s loads to do and we had a great time, but let’s face it, we’re spoiled when it comes to parks…

… So what has Mile End Children’s Park got to offer?

If you’ve been, you’ll know it’s located a little further beyond the leisure centre. It’s secure – with gates all round – so there’s no fear of any little ones bolting.

On a sunny Friday morning, we had the whole playground pretty much to ourselves and there was plenty to explore. Only the water spray was out of action. There’s a sand pit, swings, a seesaw and climbing equipment that were suitable for the one-year-old and the four-year-old. There’s also plenty of green space for a game of hide and seek. And a nice slide set into the slope.

The one-year-old really enjoyed getting a stick and playing the musical instruments.

If you’ve been to Mile End Children’s Park, you’ll know there’s also a pavilion with a schedule of children’s activities. Check out the timetable here.

A visit to Mile End Children’s Park can be combined with a session in the pavilion, a swim at the leisure centre, a trip to the Ragged School museum, or simply a scoot through the rest of the rest of Mile End park.

And there are the links to some of the other small parks and playgrounds we’ve posted about.

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Sing-along at the British Library…

The British Library isn’t a place I’d rush into with two noisy pre-schoolers, but it turns out that in three weeks time, on Saturday 2nd June 2018, they’ll be welcome.

There’s a Moana Family Sing-along.

I wonder how far you’ll go for that?

It takes place in the Knowledge Centre Theatre at 2pm. It’s not cheap. Tickets are a shiny £8 for adults and £5 for children and you need to book.

All the details are here.

If you have older children, you might be interested to know there are also free activities every month at the British Library for children age 5-11.

Find out more here.

I think you’ll agree, this blog really does give you all you need.

Like the sound of this event? You’re welcome.

Craft activity

Cutting and sticking is very popular in this house.

Here’s a simple activity that we do together.

  1. Take a clothing catalogue that comes through the door with more regularity that our purchases warrant.

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2. Get out some paper dolls (or make your own)

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3. Decorate them with the clothes you like (this one was so lovely it went straight on the wall)

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You can adapt this activity to whatever you receive.

  • We’ve done an ‘Arts and crafts’ mood board (that’s all the things that the four-year-old sees in a kids’ crafts catalogue that she likes).
  • A treasure map with a museum newsletter that was full of gold coins and other shiny things.
  • A magic room (general homeware-type catalogue)

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.

A week at Poplar baths…

The last time I started writing this post I got three words in before the one-year-old woke up…

…Attempt 2

There are loads of toddler-friendly activities at Poplar baths. Here’s a week of drop-in activities, but it’s also a great place to book your little one onto a course in gymnastics, football, trampolining, swimming or other sports.

Tuesday

9.15-11.15am Toddler’s world – soft play

12noon-1.30pm Swimming for U5s (baby pool open)

Wednesday

12.30-1.15pm Tots waterworld

Thursday

10am-12 noon Toddler’s world – soft play

Friday

12.30-1.30pm Tots’ waterworld and it’s free swim Friday in Tower Hamlets.

Saturday

12.30-1.30pm Baby pool open and it’s free family swim day in Tower Hamlets.

1.30-2.30pm Aquasplash in the baby pool

Sunday

1.30-2.30pm Aquasplash in the baby pool

2.30-3.30pm Women and girls only in the baby pool

Information about free swimming is here.

There’s also an open evening this Wednesday 11th April (6.30-8.30pm) for women and girls (and boys under eight) to try various sports including tennis, badminton, football and table tennis for free. For more details, email or call.

Timetables change, so please contact Poplar baths to check the times if you fancy any of these activities.

 

The Singing Mermaid

 

TSM_wpbannerYou’ve got one more month to catch ‘The Singing Mermaid’ at the Little Angel Theatre – don’t miss it!

We went today and it brightened up a miserable, rainy day.

As you’ll probably know, ‘The Singing Mermaid’ is one of Julia Donaldson’s books. Without giving away the major plot twists, it’s about a mermaid who loves singing with her friends and swimming in the open sea. An unsavoury circus master chances upon her, and promises her fame and an appreciative audience if she joins his troupe.

Things don’t work out exactly as he promises, but an appreciative audience is what The Singing Mermaid (and the whole cast) finds at the Little Angel Theatre.

There are lovely songs as well as lots of laughs for toddlers and their older companions alike. A singing seagull, a circus master who struggles to count and the other circus acts including a fire-breathing boy – these are just parts of the show that caused lots of giggles with us.

The show is aimed at 3-8 years olds and lasts 55 minutes. We had a one-year-old (and four-year-old) in our group, who loved the lights, the puppets and the songs, but 55 minutes was a bit of a strain on her attention span.

Remember the Little Angel Theatre does a great offer. All tickets for the 5pm performance on a Friday are a fiver each.

All the details are here.