Autumnal Times


I’m calling it. The heating’s on and I’ve just comfort-eaten half a packet of chocolate digestives. It’s Autumn. Which traditionally means we’ll get the best weather of the year so far but just  in case we don’t here are some ideas of stuff you can do with the kids. It’s a mix of things I forgot to blog about over the summer and things I keep meaning to blog about.

Firstly, here’s something new we found over the summer – the basement of the Natural History Museum. I mean, I knew it was there in theory and that there was picnicking space down there but I never realised there was a whole interactive discovery centre down there. I find the NHM a bit hands off sometimes, but this room had trays of bones, rocks and other artefacts that kids could study in as much detail as they wanted. There were tape measures and microscopes and computer factfiles to find out more about the items in the trays. It’s like schoolkid stuff rather than toddler but the three schoolkids we took certainly enjoyed it.


There’s also been a bit of a change of scene in the main entrance hall. We’re all sad about Dippy but actually, the flow of people is much easier in that space now without a giant dinosaur replica there. Pity the front doors were shut and we had to get in through the side instead. And also a pity that it was a spontaneous visit and I’d forgotten I was meant to be babysitting a friend’s child on the other side of London. We may have made a hasty exit.


Here’s another summer jaunt out – the Lego Store in Leicester Square. I meant to go there at Christmas but the queues were way too intimidating. The hype has died down a little now, so you can just walk in and gaze in wonder at the giant Lego sculptures. It was when our Young People were staying, and it was a pretty perfect thing to do with a mix of kids and teens. And if you can believe it, I got away with not spending any money. I know, I can’t quite believe it either.


And so on to some exciting things that are happening right here, right now. Not right here, obviously. All that’s happening is biscuit eating. But in London this month. Our friends at Chickenshed have been enjoying a residency at the Old Vic every Thursday in September and I’m sad to say there’s only one day left. But it’s not too late – tickets for Tales From The Shed are still available for this Thursday, 5th October. Click here for more details. Or as ever, you can catch the Chickenshedders in their usual home every Friday and Saturday till 28th October. Here’s the link for the Southgate theatre. There’s also an appearance from Chickenshed at the V&A’s Family Art Fun Day on 27th October, where parents and children can share a day of drama and art. It sounds like fun! So fun, in fact that I’ve just booked our (free) tickets. Gotta make it worthwhile taking annual leave over half term!

Talking of half term, that leads me smoothly on to the Walthamstow Children’s Festival which is taking place at Mirth, Marvel and Maud in Walthamstow, between 23rd and 27th Oct. There’s a packed programme of theatre, from “Little Maestros’ Music”, for the 0-4s, to “Captain Cauliflower and Marvin the Mischievous Moose”. See here for more details.

Credit Benjamin Ealovega, Science Museum

Credit Benjamin Ealovega, Science Museum

What’s more, the Science Museum are running “Power Up” again – the exhibition of computer gaming that I darn near lost Nathan and Roo in last year. You can check out my review here and get booking – it’s on from 20th till 31st Oct and you can find out more information here.

As ever, our old friends at Big Fish Little Fish are throwing some exciting parties in the next few weeks. They’re back at the Museum of London Docklands but that looks to have sold out already, so get booking NOW! for their November parties. They’re always fun, especially if you like glitter cannons and giant balloons, and really November’s the kind of month that needs some glitter in it. Booking link here.


There’s also fun to be had at the Institute of Imagination, who this week are hosting a “Okido Crazy Drawing Party” (8th Oct, 10-40. I have no idea what that is, but I want in. They also have one of their “Lab Life” family workshops next weekend, focussing on coding for 5-12 year olds. More details to be found here.

And something a bit whimsical to end on – it’s been a long time since I last went to the Tate Modern but the new installation looks intriguing – they’ve filled the Turbine Hall with giant swings, in what the Guardian describes as “an adult playground”. I’m sure it’s more wholesome than it sounds and I’m also pretty sure kids will be allowed to play alongside the adults. But interesting, huh? And perfect for a wander across the wobbly bridge afterwards. Obviously we haven’t visited yet, but here’s what it might look like. Only not in swimwear:


Happy Autumn!




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