Our guide to the very best half term activities for children in London this May school holiday
1 Get Buzzzzy in the Garden
This May, Chelsea Physic Garden have teamed up with textile artist Amy Pliszka for a day of art activities all linked to bumble bees! Youngsters will have the opportunity to work with clay-modelling and beeswax, as well as making their own decorated seed packet along with identifying different types of bees. There will also be the chance to see Amy’s exhibition of bee hive sculptures which will be displayed around the garden as part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival.
Suitable for ages 7+. 30 May, 10.30am-2.30pm.
Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HS; chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk
2 Ready, Steady…Jelly!
Teamed with custard or hidden in a trifle, jelly has long been a British favourite, with the Georgians famously partial to this gelatinous sweet treat. Kew Palace will be celebrating Queen Charlotte’s birthday with a weekend dedicated to jelly mania and food historian Annie Gray will be on hand to reveal some of the extraordinary things our ancestors got up to with the wibbly-wobbly dessert! 31 May – June 1.
Price included in entry cost, adults £14.50, children under 16 are free as long as they’re accompanied by an adult.
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB; 0844 482 7777;
3 Animal Encounters
Animal lovers will be in their element at the Wetland Centre this half-term; throughout the week, the wildlife hub will be hosting talks, walks and events covering a wide range of furry friends. Every day you can meet the otters, help wardens feed the birds, or join in an ‘Animal Encounters’ session as well as taking part in bug hunts, reptile rambles, duckling walks and pond dipping.
Most events are free and open to children of all ages accompanied by an adult. 24 May – 1 June.
WWT London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT; 0208 409 4405; wwt.org.uk
4 Toe-tapping Time!
Winner of last year’s Olivier Audience Award, Billy Elliot is a must-see for fans of theatre. Set to music by Elton John, the heart-warming story follows Billy’s pursuit in his love of ballet, set against a backdrop of the 1980’s miner’s strike. Billy must defy all odds to follow his heart, while the community around him reaches breaking point…a great night out for adults with teens.
Contains adult humour; suitable for 12+.
Victoria Palace Theatre, Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5EA; 0844 248 5000; victoriapalacetheatre.co.uk
5 Shake, Rattle and Roll
An interactive play session for under-5s, with storytelling, crafts and refreshments. Parents can help little ones develop along with other local tots.
Free to all. Thursday, 1:30pm.
Brixton Library, Brixton Oval, SW2 1JQ; lambeth.gov.uk
6 Film Fun for Young Stars
For budding film directors, actors, or those just looking for something a bit different, Studio Film School are running a series of master classes for those who enjoy being both behind and in front of the camera. Based in Balham, the week of workshops cover a variety of skills including camera-work, performance, directing styles, special effects and editing. A team of trained filmmakers will guide groups through a range of one off workshops designed to enhance and develop creative filmmaking.
Youngsters can try their hand at a Camera Skills Master class or hone their drama skills in an Acting for Camera & Directing Workshop. For the Bruce Lee’s of the future there’s a session on screen combat while fans of fantasy can immerse themselves in a virtual world with a session on green screen acting. Filmtastic!
Ideal for ages 7-11. £60 per day or £215 for all four days.
Visit studiofilmschool.co.uk, call 0845 533 3763
7 Green-fingered gurus
Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses will be running a series of daily craft events across half-term, from a Printed Pots Work-shop where kids can design and decorate their own pot, to a Brollies and Brooms session where they can create hanging mobiles from recycled materials.
Booking essential. £5 per child. Discounts available for unwaged/low income.
Brockwell Park, Dulwich Rd, , SE24 0PA; 07427 685714; brockwellpark.com
8 Shakespeare Retold
Tim Crouch’s interpretations of Shakespeare’s classic plays A Midsummer’s Night Dream and The Tempest, re-tell these famous stories from the perspectives of characters consigned to the side-lines, mixing contemporary language with original text. I, Peaseblossom tells the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as re-lived through Shakespeare’s most neglected fairy, while I, Caliban tells a tale of injustice, inebriation and missing your mum….
Suitable for ages 8+. 28 May- 31 May, Shows can be viewed on the same day, times vary.
Polka Theatre, 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1SB; 020 8543 4888; polkatheatre.com
9 Let’s All Go To the Zoo Tomorrow
This month the Battersea Park Children’s Zoo are joining in with the BIAZA ‘Love Your Zoo’ week, offering up a jam-packed schedule of animal fun. Visitors can help zookeepers to prepare daily feeds, while animal story time will take place each day at 12.15 and 2.15pm. There will also be a chance to try out animal badge making, as well as dropping in on all the usual furry residents!
Usual entrance fee applies, adult’s £8.75, children, £6.50 (2-15 years). Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ; 0207 924 5826; batterseaparkzoo.co.uk
10 Scooby-Do comes to Wimbledon
Scooby-Doo and the gang are back, getting up to all their usual mischief and mayhem! Scooby and partners in crime Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne have arrived in Egypt where they must solve the mystery of Pharaoh Hatchepsout’s Pyramid. Watch the super-sleuth team deal with mysterious mummies and the wrath of the Pharaoh in their quest to uncover the truth…
27 – 29 May, Tue 6.30pm. Tickets £15.50-£19.50.
The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1QG; 020 8545 7918; atgtickets.com/wimbledon