Nobody (bar Mary Poppins) can pluck fun out of thin air, so there's no harm in looking for a little help when it comes to entertaining your family. We've gathered the best activities for children in London to make sure your little ones are kept captivated all week long.
Do you know of an event that's a family favourite but isn't listed? Tweet us your suggestion so that we can share the love!
Pick up a free copy of a new 12-page booklet by illustrator Ashley Amery and artist Sophy Rickett that launched this month. It’s designed to help visiting children engage with the history of the place and the many time-, tide- and navigation-themed artworks installed on the riverside site. It also contains a ‘kids eat free with a paying adult’ voucher (valid May 23-31) to use at Fatboys Diner or the Bow Creek Café over half term.Read more
Life drawing wouldn't ordinarily be suitable for families – there'd more than likely be some giggling – but when you replace the naked humans with fully feathered owls it suddenly becomes an altogether less blush-inducing activity. Larry the little owl and European Eagle Owl Big Eddie will pose for this artistic workshop in which grown-ups and children will be introduced to the birds, learning about a variety of species in a short pre-workshop talk. Fun drawing exercises will help participants get started on feathers, feet and faces, and experts in both owls and art will be on hand with hints and tips. Materials are provided and proceeds go towards the conservation and protection of the animals. Book tickets on the Somerset House website.Read more
Get arty and crafty at this artist-led afternoon of family-friendly workshops and activities inspired by the Whitchapel Gallery's current exhibition, 'Production Line of Happiness'. Create abstract sculptures, photocopy collages to make a flip book, watch films made by local children or use the activity trail to explore the exhibition itself. The day is free but visitors should book ahead on the Whitechapel Gallery website.Read more
London's Southbank is taken over for the fifith time in 2015 by some of the UK's leading female scientists for an afternoon of talks. Each speaker gets a chance to draw in a crowd, explain the ins and outs of their research and take questions from the audience. The selected experts come from a range of academic areas, and their talks ditch dull PowerPoint presentations and lecture-style presentations in favour of inspirational events designed to inspire young science fans. This year's topics include the use of atoms to study space, testing innovative technology to tackle illness and assessing the risk of extinction of a species.Read more
Avast! Those of you still trying to work out what the bejesus was going on in Punchdrunk’s cryptic odyssey ‘The Drowned Man’ will be relieved to discover that the latest show from the immersive theatre gurus ventures into calmer waters.There’s a catch, though: ‘Against Captain’s Orders’ is in fact the work of Punchdrunk Enrichment, the company’s learning-centric spin-off, and is running not in a hip abandoned warehouse but the basement of the Greenwich Maritime Museum. And the bad news for the nerdier elements of Punchdrunk’s fanbase is that entry is pretty much determined on whether you’ve successfully procreated: the show is for six-to-12-year-olds only, plus accompanying adults. And you can be assured that no men were drowned in the making of this show.If that all sounds alarmingly educational then fear ye not – Peter Higgin and Katy Balfour’s production of Simon Davies’ sturdy script is gently subversive, but defined by its unironic and wholehearted love of the idea of Going On An Adventure.It’d be rather spoilery to say what type of adventure. But you’d be right to be suspicious about the po-faced opening, in which affable guides Glan (Lowri James) and Arthur (Danny Millar) sit us down to study some old naval paraphernalia. Before long a secret hidden inside one of the objects knocks this dull presentation off course, and sends us ploughing into hidden rooms and zipping along on an adventure that’s two parts ‘Crystal Maze’ to one part ‘adult’ Punchdrunk, with a deliciousRead more
What's going on when you find yourself longing for a cheeseburger or feeling an irresistible urge to eat chocolate cake? That's the question this new exhibition at the Science Museum is asking. Although the displays – whose graphics borrow from the aesthetic of kids' picture books and the iconography of fast-food joints – occupy only a modest wedge of the museum's Antenna gallery, they offer plenty of food for thought.Read more
These family concerts are designed to create an informal environment in which families can enjoy classical music, with the chance to meet the musicians and take part in related activities after the concert. This performance will see 33 young musicians guide the audience through Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, explaining just what it takes to perform it perfectly and the ingredients that make it a musical masterpiece. The concert is suitable for children 5-11 years old and their families.Read more
Dennis Kelly does it again. Not content with unsettling us adults with his dark TV show ‘Utopia’, he’s decided to redress the balance and see how much the kids can take. Kelly’s sublimely naughty RSC adaptation of ‘Matilda’ showed how he understood that kids tend to love the grotesque aspects of a character. And with this new show, Kelly creates a horrible one of his own: a huge, galumphing, squawking, child-eating troll. Ages 7-plus.Read more
The Southbank Centre's having quite the love-in this summer with the return of their Festival of Love – two months' worth of installations, activities, pop-ups and performances that celebrate humankind's most overwhelming emotion. Installations include a pavilion called Arcadia, which is made from colourful, translucent plastic strips and aims to create a space for contemplation and peace, and Ludus Folly, an architectural sculpture which explores the chemistry of playful, flirtatious love with a maze, mirrored walls and a tower. The installations and a range of exhibitions will be revealed on the opening weekend (June 6-7), during which many family-friendly free events are also scheduled. Some weekends will explore specific themes; look out for Refugee Week (June 18-21), Mandela Weekend (July 18-19), Urban Weekend (Aug 8-9), and Big Wedding Weekend (29-10), which will involve a number of mass ceremonies in which couples may wed, renew their vows or convert their civil partnership into marriage. Other scheduled events include Folk with Altitude in the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden (July 22-August 29), the return of the play fountain installation Appearing Rooms, free singing and dancing performances and workshops by Love Larks (August 15) and free artist-led craft workshops, poetry and dance every Friday in the Royal Festival Hall (11am-4pm). An urban beach has been built beside the river for anybody inspired to build a sandcastle. A range of food pop-ups will be on sitRead more
These afternoon dance parties playing acid house classics allow the post-rave generation of parents to share the old-school dancefloor euphoria with their kids – and still be home by bedtime. With bubbles, confetti, glitterballs and manic movement, the energy of families cutting loose in the early afternoon isn't far from the primal delirium of a club in the early hours. There's a chill out/baby room for when the family disco gets overstimulating, as well as a cake stall to keep energy levels up.Read more