I don’t know why the school holidays always catch me by surprise but, once again, they have. The kids finish this week and I’m not allowed to hand them back over till September. If you’re in a similar position, you may be looking for some things to fill those long weeks and I might be able to help you out. Of course, if it’s this glorious then you can probably hang out in the park for a full month and a bit but just in case, here are a few rainy day things to plan in.
We’ve talked about the Institute of Imagination before but this summer they’re teaming up with my old employer the Wellcome Collection to run a series of free workshops on how our brains work. You can book either for a morning or afternoon session over three days 25th-27th July but it’s explained better here. Knowing Wellcome, it’ll be medically frank but very educational and interactive.
More interactiveness over at the Horniman Museum, who are still running their Rainbow exhibition, exploring how colour shapes our world and why some colours “taste” better than others. They also have a host of other things going on, including crazy golf in the gardens, so it’s probably worth planning to hang out for the full day if you’re heading down there.
We still haven’t been to the refurbished Postal Museum but there’s loads going on there over the summer as well – craft workshops and storytelling plus the sorting office play area and the mail train. I will review it one day, honest. A bit more familiar to us is the Discover Centre in Stratford and they have a packed summer programme, including screenings of films of Donaldson/Scheffler books. If you’re a Newham resident they often have deals going for locals, so worth signing up to their mailing list. Nearby is the Olympic Park, which is always fun to hang out, and the new IQL (International Quarter London) has some activities planned. Their Lego City Workshop seems to be sold out, which is a pity but again it’s probably good to keep an eye on the website in case they run more sessions.
Of course, we always recommend a bit of kids’ theatre on this blog and one of our favourite places to go is Chickenshed. This summer they’re staging Mr Stink by David Walliams, starring Jeremy Vine. It opens this week, 18th July, and is running til 6th August (booking and details here). Chickenshed are also hosting a instrument making workshop in Hyde Park on 4th August, which sounds like lots of fun – have a look here for more info.
We seem to have segued neatly into sunny-day things to do which, for once feels like we’re not tempting fate. So let’s talk about some super fun festivals coming to London this summer. First on the calendar is Monstrous Festival, which takes place on 29th July at the Printworks, Surrey Quays, and features activities for all ages of child – I reckon Reuben will love Arcade Alley, with 1000 video games, and The Beast – a giant inflatable obstacle course (pictured below). Eva is probably going to be more interested in the Prince and Princess Unicorn Land, obvs.
Later on in the summer, and with a folksier vibe, is Wild Child Festival in Dulwich (17-19th August). Here you’ll find storytelling in the woods, theatre and ballet shows and more unicorns. Eva’s gonna have the best time this summer. Tickets for Wild Child have to be bought in advance, as they’re not sold on the door, but they include everything like crafts and face painting and all the performances. It should be super fun.
Two more things to tell you about and you probably know about them already – Udderbelly Festival at the South Bank Centre featuring such shows as “Morgan & West’s Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show For Kids (and Childish Grown-ups)!” – and London Theatre Kids Week, where kids go free with the purchase of any adult ticket. More information here.
Phew! Is that enough to keep you busy? Don’t worry if it isn’t…more tips and ideas will be coming soon…