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+)
Only three words feature in this bonkers comedy for young children. Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore are at the beach. But the kids theatre cliches stop there. This is the handiwork of rising star playwright Gary Owen and experimental theatremaker Tim Crouch, and they've come up with a gloriously original show about what language can do.
Sophie tries to get her parents to remember how they first fell in love, in this new spin on 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' for young people. Toby Hulse's play mixes the magic of the enchanted forest with Shakespeare's themes of love and hilarious befuddlement. Ages seven-plus.
Fairytale's most famous fibber, Pinocchio, comes to life in this storytelling performance featuring Cbeebies star Patrick Lynch. Marcello Chiarenza's new approach to the story uses quirky props and simple staging to entrall kids with Pinocchio's curious adventures. Ages four-plus.
Do aliens really exist? Ripstop Theatre help kids find out, in the thrilling space show 'A Real Alien Adventure'. Miss Amelia Buttersnap and her amazing array of gadgets will set out with her cat Tibbles on a mission to prove that there really is someone out there. Ages three to nine.
Two elderly neighbours in a tiny fishing village go on an adventure in this daytime kids' show, which is pitching up at The Old Vic over the Easter hols. Created by Mark Arends for Make Mend and Do, 'The Missing Light' uses puppetry and film to tell the story using quirky live animation. Ages seven-plus.
Entertain your kids the old-fashioned way with time-honoured circus mongers Zippo's. Their primary-coloured big top tent is hitting London's green spaces with their latest show 'Jigit!', which includes clowning, acrobatics, Cossack riders from Kahzakstan and motorcycle daredevilry. Tigers, lions and elephants might be a thing of the past, but standards are kept up with performing pets, including canine quartet the Hot Dogs and trained budgies.
Theatre for young children (0-4)
'Glisten' is an interactive show for babies is inspired by the marvellous world of shiny, shiny foil. It's the result of a collaboration between artists Daniel Naddafy and Phoebe Stubbs. A dark theatre will fill with rustly, reflective surfaces, creating a gentle sensory landscape for them to explore. Ages 0-18 months.
CBeebies stars 'Sarah & Duck' hit the stage for the first time at Wimbledon's Polka Theatre. They're holding a big top birthday party for the scarf lady who lives in the garden, in a giggle-worthy adventure with puppets, stories and songs. Aimed at ages three to six, all ages welcome.
Theatre for all the family
'My mummy says I'm a miracle,' lisps a pampered mini-me at a purgatorial kiddies' birthday party at the outset of this delicious, treacly-dark family show. The obnoxious ma and pa of its titular, gifted, pint-sized heroine are not, of course, quite so doting. But 'Matilda' must be making its creators, playwright Dennis Kelly and comedian-songsmith Tim Minchin, a very pair of proud parents. Opening to rave reviews in Stratford-upon Avon before transferring to the West End in 2011 and snatching up Olivier Awards with all the alacrity of a sticky-fingered child in a sweetshop, Matthew Warchus's RSC production remains a treat. With hindsight, Kelly and Minchin's musical, born of the 1988 novel by that master of the splendidly grotesque Roald Dahl, is a little too long and, dramatically, a tad wayward. But like 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. The past few months have seen some cast changes, including, alas, the departure of Bertie Carvel's tremendous Miss Trunchbull, headmistress of the dread Crunchem Hall School, former Olympic hammer-thrower and a gorgon of monumental nastiness, complete with scarily Thatcher-esque tics of purse-lipped gentility and faux concern. David Leonard doesn't quite match the squirm-inducing, hair-raising detail of Carvel in the role, but his more butch, granite-faced version is fantastically horrible nonetheless. And if Paul Kaye as Matilda's loathsom