Free family friendly festival

It’s been raining all day today, but it’s got to stop soon – hasn’t it? If it doesn’t, this weekend may be best spent crafting an ark, but if by any chance the sun is shining, perhaps you’ll want to head to Springfield Park E5 for Disco Loco’s free festival for families.

It’s all happening between the toddler-friendly hours of 11am and 7pm – you can expect live music, theatre, comedy, food and a bar. Or alternatively, the chance to dance, laugh, eat, drink and have fun.

You’ll find more information here.

 

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Abbey Lane Park

This is the third post in an occasional series featuring smaller local parks and playgrounds which you may have passed by, but never visited. So far, we’ve covered Rounton Park, Bow and Victory Park, Stratford.

If you live nearby, these are the places you go to once, twice, three times a day sometimes when you need to get your toddler out into the fresh air – to use up some energy or get a change in mood. You really depend on them.

This time, we’re obeying the urge we’ve had for some time to investigate the rather fantastic slide that can be glimpsed to the right, near the Greenway, from the upper deck of the bus on the way to Stratford shortly after Bow Flyover.

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Another free thing to do this Thursday

Just a quick one to make sure you know that the Unity Festival is being held at Bob’s Park, by the Bromley by Bow centre this Thursday 27th July, 2pm-8pm.

There’ll be food, music, a bouncy castle, games from around the world, face painting and much more.

Everyone is encouraged to dress colourfully and, if possible, in the traditional clothing of a country of their heritage.

Details here.

Do you have a superhero?

Are you free on Wednesday or Thursday mornings, and are you somewhere near the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park? Do you have a small superhero (age 3-7) who needs a run about?

If so, you might be interested in the Our Parks Superhero Fitness session (it’s free). I’ve written about Our Parks ages and ages ago (here) but, briefly, there are a whole range of fitness classes on offer across several London boroughs. I’ve attended some myself locally and got a brilliant work out for free in the fresh air.

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Proof that robins are bravest

I’ve been reluctant to put up bird feeders in the past because of the presence in our household of an ageing but wiley cat who, after barely moving through winter, comes back to life in Spring at the sound of baby birds tweeting.

But then I saw these feeders that you attach directly to your window, removing any possibility of the cat being able to intercept any feathered visitors on route. With great excitement, my three-year-old and I attached it to the window, filled it with a bird banquet, and waited…

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Let there be light!

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Photo from last year’s festival

My toddler and I have loved looking at the twinkling Christmas lights in the local area and there was something a little sad when they all come down during the first week of January (“Why do the lights have to go, mum? I want it to be Christmas for nine years”). We miss them, so thank goodness for the Canary Wharf Winter Lights festival, which starts on Monday (16 January).

We went last year and it made for a nice evening adventure (although as it’s dark by 4pm you can visit late afternoon instead). This year, there are 30 art installations around Canary Wharf and, judging by the photos on the website and the leaflet, they look great!

I have a feeling that Angels of Freedom (which involves hunting for the five angels and becoming an angel yourself) is going to appeal to my little one. The Cathedral of Mirrors, which responds to people’s movements, also sounds like a crowd-pleaser.

The great thing about this event is that it appeals to people of all ages. We’ll be putting the baby in the sling so she can enjoy it too. And if we don’t manage all 30 exhibits on our first visit we’ll be back.

The festival runs from Monday 16-Friday 27 January 4-9pm. You can download a map here and plan your route. Oh and, best of all – after Christmas – it’s free.

Paddling and splashing!

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The paddling pool at West Ham Park.

At last… At long last… The chance to complain about being too hot, instead of it being too rainy or too cold or too something else. This weekend has been all about being outdoors in the park and the paddling pool (as well as doing battle with sun cream and hats and unwilling toddlers).

Here are two parks I’ve posted about before, but without previously having tried out their very fine paddling pools.

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