Wondering what to do with the kids this February half term? Keep the little ones entertained with The Resident’s pick of the best half-term activities in London
1 Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre
Imagine Children’s Festival returns to Southbank Centre for 12 days of half-term fun run by kids for kids. Taking place from from 7 February to 18 February 2018, the festival features children’s theatre, fun activities and inspirational authors. Highlights include Harry Hill presents Matt Millz, where he introduces his new book, starring Britain’s youngest and funniest comedian, the 12-year-old Matt (17 February, 11am, adults £14, kids £7); Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, an animated adaptation of Dahl’s mischievously twisted fairytales with live music performed by Southbank Sinfonia (12 February, 2pm, adults £20, kids £10); and Ben Shires, presenter of CBBC’s Officially Amazing, MOTD Kickabout and Shout Out Saturday, hosting free events in The Clore Ballroom throughout the festival. Ages 0-12.
Belvedere Road SE1 8XX; southbankcentre.co.uk
2 Kids Activities at Hackney City Farm
Hackney City Farm is a fantastic way to get the kids outdoors and into the fresh air this half term. As well as learning about working farm life and hanging out with animals like pigs, goats, donkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs and sheep, the kids can take part in various activities throughout the week. Try kids pottery drop-in classes on Sundays (11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm, £5), there are baby music classes on Wednesday (10am-10.45am and 11am-11.45am, £5). Check out our roundup of London’s city farms here.
1a Goldsmiths Row, Hackney E2 8QA; hackneycityfarm.co.uk
3 Storystock, Battersea Power Station
Storystock is a travelling circus which lands in unusual spaces to bring families stories. After launching in 2013 with a sell-out festival of stories over four days at the Bush Theatre in West London, it is back for more half-term madness, but this time at Battersea Power Station. There’ll be plenty of storytelling, with The Cat in the Hat, The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Charlie & Lola, as well as Once Upon a Yoga Mat, a brand new and entirely immersive way of introducing yoga to children (have you ever done a sun salutation with a Gruffalo?). Storystock will be at The Village Hall at Battersea Power Station from 12-14 February 2018. Storytelling sessions £5. Once Upon a Yoga Mat, £8. Times and age ranges vary, check the website for details.
4 Colour: The Rainbow Revealed, The Horniman Museum
Colour: The Rainbow Revealed at The Horniman Museum & Gardens is an award-winning exhibition exploring how colour shapes our world. Be dazzled by how colours are made and perceived, discover how animals use colour to attract mates or hide from predators, and see how different colours mean different things in different cultures. Opening on 10 February, the exhibition has family-friendly interactive games, such as an Art Machine where you can create your own vibrant masterpiece, a Mood Room with multi-coloured lights and a Colour Café to learn which colours tempt our taste buds. Ticket are £4.40 for kids and £7.70 for adults (family ticket £18.70). Running until 28 October.
100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ; horniman.ac.uk
5 Chinese New Year Workshops at Westfield
Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City are offering free Chinese New Year workshops for kids this February half term. From traditional red envelope decorating to fortune cookie decorating, there will be plenty of ways to experience this ancient holiday. The theme will be around ‘finding your Fu’ – welcoming all good things in life – with five supporting elements: Good Food, Good Looks, Good Family Times, Good Living and Good Health. Running from Thursday 15 February to Sunday 18 February, Westfield will host free hourly 30-minute drop-in workshops, from money tree seed planting to face painting, taking place at Westfield London on the first floor outside lululemon and at Westfield Stratford City on the first floor outside John Lewis. First come, first served.
6 Sharky & George at Whole Foods Market, Kensington
London based party planners Sharky & George is offering a host of themed activities at Whole Foods Market on High Street Kensington over February half term. From 13-15 February, the kids can learn about the oceans, rainforests and the Arctic and Antarctic regions in fun, educational two-hour activity sessions running each day from 10am-12pm. On Tuesday 13 January, it’s Ocean Rescue, where the kids will get an insight into life in deep waters through crafts and high-energy games. On Wednesday 14 February it’s time for fearless explorers to head out on a Rainforest Mission, and on Thursday 15 February the S&G team ill battle through the elements on an Arctic Quest to discover how are humans affecting the coldest places on earth. Drop and shop’ knowing your children will be fully entertained and immersed in a Sharky & George adventure. Tickets are £20 (click here to book). Suitable ages 5-10.
Room with a View, Whole Foods Market, 63-97 Kensington High Street W8 5SE
7 Half Term Activities at The Postal Museum and Mail Rail
As well as Sorted!, The Postal Museum’s indoor play area for children aged 8 and under, The Postal Museum has plenty of drop-in arts and crafts workshops, storytelling fun, mask-making and more activities lined up for February half term for visitors with kids. Activities include The Legend of the Lioness, where storyteller Olivia Armstrong takes kids on an immersive journey through curious tales of the postal past, meeting an escaped lioness along the way (12 February); and The Bear, the Toad and the Rabbit, an arts and crafts workshop inspired by the museum’s brand-new display of stamp design, including original BFG artwork by Quentin Blake (Tuesday 13 February). Activities take place daily from 12-17 February and are included in the ticket price (except for Sorted! only tickets) on a first come, first served basis. A ride on The Postal Museum’s 100 year old railway, Mail Rail, can also be added to the price of a ticket, but must be booked in advance.
Phoenix Place, Clerkenwell WC1X 0DA; postalmuseum.org
8 Become a cricketer and WWE Superstar at KidZania London
Children can now join the first-ever WWE Academy and transform into their very own WWE Superstar at KidZania London, the indoor city run by kids. Kids can choose from a range of WWE props and ring gear, practice their own catchphrases, develop a persona, and create a promo video to become their favourite wrestling superstar. Also new to KidZania is the new Lord’s Cricket Ground, where kids can pick up a bat and take part in Middlesex Cricket’s brand new mini home of cricket. Designed to look just like the real iconic Lord’s venue, kids can take part in the game and learn about the importance of teamwork and good sportsmanship. KidZania London offers 4-14 year olds more than 60 real life activities, so there’s plenty for those pre-teens and just teens too.
Westfield London, Ariel Way W12 7GA; kidzania.co.uk
9 SoundsCreative Ensemble Workshops for Young Musicians, Dalston
SoundsCreative Ensemble, the creative band composition workshop project for 8-14 year olds who can play any instrument at Grade 1 or above, returns to Vortex Jazz Club this February half-term. The two-day workshop, running 12-13 February, will be led by Filipe Sousa, creative workshop leader and member of the Quest Ensemble, and Tara Franks, founder and creative director of SoundsCreative Projects. Notation reading is not required, just plenty of ideas, enthusiasm and the players’ own instruments. The workshops run 10am-4pm each day, ending with an informal performance of the composed piece to friends and family. £90 per player or £150 for two players signing up as a pair.
10 Half Term at The Conservatoire, Blackheath
The Conservatoire in Blackheath is running a huge programme of arts, music and drama activities for kids this February half term. Running 12-18 February, all courses are drop-off, and the theme this half term is food and drink. activities range from Food Face Expressions where, after looking at the seasonal portraits of the artist Arcimbaldo, made entirely of fruit, kids will create their own by printing with fruits and vegetables (Monday 12 February, ages 3-5, 10am-12pm, £20) to The Conservatoire Singing Choir, where kids will learn how to use British Sign Language within music to perform songs relating to food and drink (Wednesday 14 February, ages 5–11, 10am-4pm, £50) and a One-Day Guitar Workshop where kids will learn and play songs based around food and drink (Friday 16 February, ages 6-9, 9.30am-3.30pm, £50).
19-21 Lee Road, Blackheath SE3 9RQ; conservatoire.org.uk