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London theatre for toddlers and young children

Let a trained professional do the entertaining at these theatre shows for toddlers and little ones

Dog Don't Do Ballet, Little Angel Theatre
There's no way they can sit still for two hours, but that doesn't mean we can't treat them to a trip to the theatre. Here are London's best shows for the very young ones. If you're planning ahead for the school holidays, you can also check out top 10 children's theatre shows this half-term and our 101 things to do in London with kids

Theatre for young children

How To Hide A Lion

Iris has a brand new friend, but she knows her family and friends won't love him quite as much as she does. This story of a girl trying to hide a lion in all sorts of devious ways is adapted by Peter Glanville from Helen Stephen's children's story, and will feature songs by singer-songwriter Barb Jungr. There are two versions: one for todders ages 1-2, and another for kids ages 3-6. Check the Polka Theatre website for full details. 

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Polka Theatre , South Wimbledon Until Sunday February 26 2017


The Little Angel's winter spectacular for toddlers is the story of a tiny penguin in a huge snowy world. As storms come, she tries to find her feet. 'Me...' is an adaptation of Emma Dodd's picture book, which is a cosy story of family love. Ages two to six.

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Little Angel Theatre , Islington Until Sunday January 29 2017

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

Little kids will wriggle in excitement at this festive treat, based on Eric Carle's gorgeous watercolour picture books. As well as 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar', Jonathan Rockefeller's family-friendly stage show will adapt three lesser known stories: 'The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse', 'Mister Seahorse', and 'The Very Lonely Firefly'.  The production started out in Australia before touring to New York's Broadway, where it scooped up plaudits for its agile cast of 75 puppets.  

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Ambassadors Theatre , Covent Garden Until Saturday January 7 2017


Discover Children's Story Centre creates a magical, glittery, shiny winter haven for babies and toddlers. This 20-minute performance features glitterbug-themed stories, puppets and songs for children aged 0-3.

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Discover Children's Story Centre , Stratford Until Sunday January 15 2017

Sponge: Turned On Its Head

This show for toddlers by Turned On Its Head is inspired by all things squishy, squashy and spongey. The company use a simple toolbox of homespun materials to create a tactile physical word for babies and small children to explore. Liz Clark and Oksana Tyminska will dance to an original '70s-inspired score by Tayo Akinbode that's perfect for under-fives.

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Barbican Centre , Barbican Tuesday December 13 2016 - Wednesday December 21 2016

Ready Steady Colour's Christmas Feast

Families are treated to a banquet with a difference at this lip-smacking interactive show from A Line Art. Every guest will make their own make-believe meal, choosing from traditional Christmas meals with all the trimmings. The waiters will deliver colourful plates of imaginary ingredients, before launching into a musical journey that everyone can get involved in. Suitable for everyone aged 3-plus.

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Discover Children's Story Centre , Stratford Until Friday December 23 2016

The Night That Autumn Turned To Winter

Little Bulb have been delighting Battersea Arts Centre audiences with their characteristic blend of comedy, high whimsy and devised theatre for a few years now. Their Christmas show for children is a woodland story, starring a lively cast of forest animals. For kids aged three to seven. 

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Battersea Arts Centre , Battersea Until Sunday January 8 2017


A piece of dance theatre from Champloo Dance Company, Travelling Light and Bristol Old Vic that tries to capture the magic of staying up waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. Ages 3+

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Unicorn Theatre , London Bridge Until Saturday December 31 2016

We're Going On A Bear Hunt

Acclaimed director Sally Cookson is the brains behind the National Theatre's 'Peter Pan' - and this long-running adaptation of Michael Rosen's story for younger kids, 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt', which calls in at ArtsDepot this Christmas. A brave troupe of adventurers set out to catch a grizzly, accompanied by their musical dog. There's real mud and interactive silliness in this quirky, hands on musical show. Ages three-plus. 

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Artsdepot , North Finchley Until Monday January 2 2017

Extra Yarn

The Orange Tree's cosy-sounding Christmas show is the family-friendly story of a girl with a talent for knitting. Elinor Cook adapts Mac Barnett's tale of a girl who escapes her grey town by covering it in bright multicoloured knitwear, after she discovers a brightly-coloured box of wool. This warm-hearted yarn is aimed at families and children aged 3-plus.

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Orange Tree Theatre , Richmond Friday December 16 2016 - Saturday January 7 2017
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Russell M
Russell M

'The English National Ballet School's attempting to get the kids into ballet with this production of 'Swan Lake' - and failing by the looks of it. Having just left my wife and 3 year old son, who travelled 2 hours across London standing at the door having been told the shows cancelled, no email notice, no extra performance being put on, and him asking 'why wont that man let us see the show?'.

A refund has been offered but it's not about the money. As an entry level experience to the ballet for my son this has left a bitter taste for him, and they wonder why kids would rather sit on an xbox or read about Kim Kardashian's hair colour. 

Very very disappointing.

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