Even the smallest members of the family enjoy the odd stage show. Here are the Time Out theatre team's recommendations for kids' theatre and which performances will suit the very little ones, the nearly big ones, and the grown ups too. If you're planning ahead for the school holidays, check out top 10 children's theatre shows this half-term and our 101 things to do in London with kids. Or for treats the whole family can enjoy, have a look at our favourite West End theatre shows.
Theatre for children (5+)
As the kiddie-baiting title amply demonstrates, Aussie circus group Circus Trick Tease like a joke. 'Children are Stinky' is a family comedy show that mixes zany humour and amazing feats of dare-devilry, including acrobatics, chair-balancing, and hula-hooping that'll put the most talented ten-year-old to shame.
Kids are invited on an underground odyssey in this immersive show inspired by 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. Playing alongside its older sister 'Alice's Adventures Underground', it lets kids weave their way through a host of fantastically decorated rooms. There's also a chance to join in a big topsy-turvey tea party, and to play croquet with the Queen of Hearts. Ages five-plus.
The teeny tiny family who live under floorboards are going on a life-sized adventure at the Polka Theatre this summer. Charles Way's adaptation of Mary Norton's book 'The Borrowers' is a story of what happens when Arrietty and her family are discovered by humans - and have to flee to find a new home. Staged using puppetry, new songs, and plenty of excitement. Ages five to eleven.
What could be Grimm-er then a show in a graveyard? Pandemonium Performance are back in Stoke Newington's Abney Park Cemetery with an outdoor promenade play inspired by classic tales including 'Hansel & Gretel', 'Rumpelstiltskin' and 'Red Riding Hood'. Recommended for ages ten-plus.
Theatre for young children (0-4)
The Royal Opera are teaming up with Polka Theatre to create this musical feast for kids. It's the handiwork of Brazilian percussionist and composer Adriano Adewale, whose music tells the story of an egg who discovers a world of incredible sounds for the first time. 'Hatch' is a joyful multi-sensory show for children aged two to five.
Theatre for all the family
'Matilda' must be making its creators, playwright Dennis Kelly and comedian-songsmith Tim Minchin, a very pair of proud parents. Like the curly-haired little girl in the famous nursery rhyme, when it is good, it is very, very good. And it's even better when it's horrid.
Nothing prepares you for the sheer impact of 'The Lion King's opening sequence. With the surge of 'Circle Of Life' reverberating through your chest, Julie Taymor's animal creations march on, species by species. For a global blockbuster, 'The Lion King's absolute theatricality is astonishing. It's perfect for a musical, allowing both distinct flavours and an eclectic carnival spirit.
A ragtag crew of adventurers set out to catch the mysterious Snark in this musical version of Lewis Carroll's famous nonsense poem. It opened in Cardiff last year, where it landed strong reviews for its up-to-date approach and quirky cast of puppets. 'The Hunting of the Snark' is adapted by playwright Annabel Wigoder from Lewis Carroll's poem. It also features an acoustic guitar soundtrack by Gareth Cooper, and is directed by Gemma Colclough. Suitable for the whole family.
Flying carpets, magic lamps, beautiful maidens and adventuring sailors: the stories of the Arabian Nights have captured kids' imaginations for centures before Disney's 'Aladdin'. This outdoor promenade show from London Bubble will tell some of Scheherazade's best stories in two South London parks, Greenwich Park and Southwark Park. 'Tales from the Arabian Nights' is the handiwork of playwright Farhana Sheikh, who first created it for community-focused company London Bubble. This revival, directed by Jonathan Petherbridge, with designs by Yasuko Hasegawa, is a welcoming show for all ages - and you can even bring the family mutt along