Top ten half-term activities
Spend the week with the kids doing some of the coolest and quirkiest activities London has to offer
Arts and crafts at the Geffrye Museum
As much as we love telly and video games, we have to admit: a half-term spent hunched on the sofa is one wholly wasted. With that in mind, here’s our round-up of London’s best events, activities and more this half-term (May 28-31). Batteries not included – or necessary.
Ten things to do with the kids in London this half-term
A week of arts activities at the museum includes the drop-in Family Art Fun days (May 27-31 11am-3.30pm) in which children over three can make a butterfly or moth finger puppet, or create underwater scene full of swimmers and shimmers. At 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm ‘Life Under the Sea’ will offer children the opportunity to take part in half-hour crafts sessions in which they can make giant British pond animals for a craft display that will go on show on June 1.
Pack your picnic hamper for a day of live entertainment, games and family craft activities on the Palace's East Front Gardens, including hands-on activities inspired by the gruesome stories brought to life in Lucy Worsley's TV series 'Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History'.
Explosive fun for the kids this half term as children get a chance each day to launch rockets at a model of Fort McHenry, recreating the moment in 1812 when Congreve fired rockets at the fort. Kids can also take a tour to learn about early military rockets , experience mad science propulsion demonstrations using household items, and take part in rocket-craft worshops.
Creepy crawlies, bugs and pests come under the microscope at the wonderful Grant Museum this half term. Children can examine scorpions, octopi and sea mice in a range of hands-on specimen-based activities, and then design their own insect. This drop-in session runs between 1pm and 5pm and no booking is required.
London’s museum about childhood takes its latest exhibition, War Games (opening on May 25), as the inspiration for this half term’s series of workshops and family events. ‘Spy Kids’ (May 27-31) offers a day-long drop-in session that includes storytelling and unravelling secret messages; and the ‘Eye Spy’ workshop (May 27, 29 and 31) enables participants to create puppets and art using a range of arts and crafts.
Tieing in with 'The Garden of England' series of new works by major British textile artist Alice Kettle, Queen's House offers a range of family activities over the holidays, including the two-hour workshop 'Stitch Up' (twice daily May 27-31) which invites children to turn colourful threads into pictures and contribute to a giant textile installation, and more.
- Royal Museums Greenwich (including National Maritime Museum) Romney Rd, SE10 9NF
- Mon May 27 - Fri May 31
Meet the owls that played Hedwig and Pigwidgeon, one of the cats that played the stealthy Mrs Norris, and another that played Hermione’s ginger cat Crookshanks. Unlike some of their human counterparts, these animal actors will happily pose for pictures, stalking the original sets they once frequented during the making of the films. ‘Harry Potter’ Head Trainer Julie Tottman and her team of animal handlers will also be on hand. Advance booking required.
As ever, the V&A offers some inventive creativity choices for kids this half term, with a range of events inspired by the current David Bowie exhibition. There's the chance for children to use Garage band music to create their own track for an album in 'Digital Kids', and create their own album cover using a variety of materials in 'The Imagination Station' (both drop-in, May 25-June 2), before getting a pop star makeover in 'Make It: Music Icon' (May 27-31).
Visit a magical garden tucked away in the middle of Hyde Park – and usually closed to the public – at this Chelsea Fringe Discovery Day. The garden at the Isis Discovery Centre is home to fragrant herbs, beautiful buddleias and lovely lavenders, all buzzing with insect life. Drop in to explore the plants and their inhabitants, then get your hands dirty with some crafting activities.
Half-term family events have a theme of 'high-rise living' and include the chance to create cityscapes, animal homes, dream spaces and gardens in the sky (Tue-Fri 10.30am-12.30pm, 2-4pm; age 5-16). There's also 'Homes in the Sky' nursery rhyme time for the very young (Tue-Fri 10.30-11.30am, noon-1pm; age 2-5).