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
Lead image: Kidzania
1 Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre
Imagine Children’s Festival returns to Southbank Centre for 12 days of February half-term fun run by kids for kids. Taking place from 13-24 February 2019, the festival features children’s theatre, music, workshops and inspirational authors. Highlights include Noisy Notes, an interactive concert of familiar songs for children with Orion Orchestra, led by special guest conductor and presenter Sue Perkins (24 February), and Bedtime Stories, where special guests will read one of their favourite children’s stories every afternoon during the festival (on Saturday 23 February at 3.30pm, Cressida Cowell will show you how her books became films, with live illustration).
Belvedere Road SE1 8XX; southbankcentre.co.uk
2 Brick Wonders at Horniman Museum and Gardens, Forest Hill
What would you build with half a million LEGO bricks? Find out what’s possible at the Horniman’s new Brick Wonders exhibition, opening this month. Brick Wonders has used 500,000 bricks to create amazing wonders from around the world, from an ancient Egyptian pyramid to Old London Bridge. The exhibition sees more than 50 models will be on show, from individual pieces that will inspire visitors to build them at home, to awe-inspiring dioramas and mosaics. Tickets start at £5 for children and £9 for adults. Running until 27 October.
100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ; horniman.ac.uk
Mr Men & Little Miss and Haliborange have teamed up to teach kids about nutrition through games in Woolwich this February half term. The Mr Chef event will be a fun day for kids and parents, with fun activities focusing on food and nutrition, including the chance to take part in a free cookery classes with Mr Strong, where kids can learn essential kitchen skills and create a healthy dish from scratch to take home and enjoy. Parents can also take part in a Q&A with a nutritionist, and there will also be goody bags for every child. 21-22 February, 10am-4pm.
Under 1 Roof, The I O Centre, 9, Skeffington Street, Woolwich SE18 6SR. To book see eventbrite.co.uk
4 Boom Cycle x The Kids’ Table, Battersea & Hammersmith
Boom Cycle has joined forces with parenting brand of the moment, The Kids’ Table, to offer riders a ‘parent package’. Boom Cycle recognises that many parents strive to integrate fitness into their daily regime but can’t find or afford childcare. Enter The Kids’ Table – a creative pop-up children’s corner for 3-10 year olds with supervised arts & crafts, face-painting and creative games lead by DBS checked professionals, leaving parents get their workout on. Kick starting on 18 February 2019, Boom Cycle will be integrating The Kids’ Table service into their timetables at various times throughout the week at their Hammersmith and Battersea studios. £25 including one ride and one The Kids’ Table credit (for one child aged 3-10).
1&3 Arches Lane, Battersea Power Station Circus SW11 8AB & 10 Hammersmith Grove, Hammersmith W6 7AP; boomcycle.co.uk
5 Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station is hosting a number of activities for the kids this February half term. From 20-21 February, Skewbald Theatre will sweep the little ones away to a tropical island in interactive storytelling adventure The King Who Wanted To Touch The Moon (ages 3+, 11am-2.45pm, tickets £7.50, The Village Hall). From 19-21 February, Mother is hosting a Children’s Pizza Making Club, where kids can learn the secrets of making their favourite food. Parents are invited to sit back and relax with a glass of wine and enjoy a pizza themselves (12noon-3pm, tickets £19, including the pizza making class, chef hat, apron, organic juice, pizza and a Nutella calzone). Then, from 23-24 February, family favourite Sharky & George will transform The Village Hall into a glow-in-the-dark playground for the whole family. Play with UV slime, create potions, build a solar system, rockets and get your face painted with glow-in-the-dark paint (10.30am & 2pm on both days, tickets £5).
Circus West Village, Battersea SW11 8AB; batterseapowerstation.co.uk
More for London Parents
Science Gallery is hosting its first MAKESHOP this February half term, offering the opportunity to get hands-on making your own gadgets, gizmos and original artworks. This brilliant activity for under-fives engages younger minds with science, art and technology. Workshops, running 21-23 February, include exciting activities such as creating a ‘jiggling doodlebot’ – a doodle that comes to life and doodles its own art – and the chance to make your own circuits from electro dough that can be shaped into different shapes and patterns. Tickets are £10. No booking necessary but places are limited so turn up n good time for your session (session times vary, see website).
Great Maze Pond, London Bridge SE1 9GU; london.sciencegallery.com
7 KidZania, Shepherd’s Bush
This half term, plan a trip to KidZania London, the indoor city run by kids at Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush. Alongside some exciting new additions to the real-life adventures on offer, KidZania has introduced some half-term activities that teach kids new life skills and prioritising healthy eating during the holidays, while being fun, of course! The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) will be at KidZania from 19-21 February teaching kids how to create their own bird feeders. Then, from 20-21 February, Mavericks Snacks, the healthy, junk-free snacking brand for kids, will host the Snacks Labz, where kids can create their own healthy snack. Activities free with entry tickets (from £18 for kids and £15 for adults).
Westfield London, Ariel Way, Shpeherd’s Bush W12 7GA; KidZania.co.uk
8 Sky Studios at The O2, Greenwich Peninsula
Step into an interactive news studio and sit behind the desk to read the latest Sky News or Sky Sports headlines at Sky Studios. Keen football fans can choose their favourite team, don the shirt and pose while the pundits celebrate them as the Sky Sports Player of the Match. There’s also the fully immersive Virtual Reality content from Sky’s VR app, which puts you at the heart of the action like never before in a range of 360-degree videos across sport, film and the arts. Sky Studios is free and open daily. No need to book. Why not travel by boat? MBNA Thames Clippers offers a family river roamer ticket where up to three kids go free with two paying adults.
Peninsula Square, North Greenwich SE10 0DX; rewards.sky.com
9 Illuminated Musical Seesaws at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross
Wave-Field, Variation F – illuminated music seesaws that burst into a symphony of sound when in motion – are great fun for both kids and grown ups, and a great reason to discover Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, if you haven’t already. They’re in situ until 17 March, and just one of many things to do at the new shopping and restaurant district throughout half term. There’s MWFitness – Baby Bootcamp, where you can get fit with the kids (every morning from 10am and 11.15am on Saturdays), slime workshops at STORE Store (18-24 February from 10am-5pm), and KX Play for younger children, where kids can get creative with a rainbow of colours and fairy wings at the Crossing Space (Tues-Sat from 11.15am-5pm.
Stable Street, Kings Cross N1C 4DQ; coaldropsyard.com
10 Half Term Fun at Hamley’s Regent Street
Hamleys’ flagship Regent Street will be transformed into a giant playground from 16 February-3 March. Kids can meet Emmett, Wildstyle and General Mayhem from The LEGO Movie 2, and join in with the Hamleys’ LEGO Building Workshops, where toy prizes will be awarded to the best builders. Or dress up as a viking and have your picture taken with Astrid and Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World. Other activities include Scalextric time trial racing with the Hamleys Race Team; the chance for kids to take part in Quidditch Training and a Sorting Hat ceremony; plus, the chance to challenge Hamleys’ Board Game Expert. Live entertainment will include finger-popping puppet shows, Story Time sessions and Fortnite dance sessions, as well as a daily parade of some of Hamleys’ best-loved characters through the store at 4pm.
188-196 Regent Street, Soho W1B 5BT; hamleys.com
11 Kids’ Sci-Fi Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel, South Kensington
The Ampersand Hotel’s new Kids’ Sci-Fi Tea adds an interactive twist to the hotel’s award-winning Science Afternoon Tea (Best Themed Afternoon Tea at the 2018 Afternoon Tea Awards), inspired by the neighbouring Natural History and Science Museums. Served on brightly coloured rocket stands, the Kid’s Sci-Fi Tea offers a selection of mini hot dogs, rocket cheese straws and brioche & jam sandwiches. Kids are encouraged to experiment by topping white chocolate & cranberry scones with lemon curd served in squeeze tubes, freeze-dried raspberry pieces & crunchy caramel balls, and you can even dust for mini dinosaur biscuit ‘fossils’ hidden beneath chocolate soil. The menu is washed down with ‘spaceman’ hot chocolate with marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles. Available Mon-Sat from 12.30-9pm and Sun 12.30-6pm, priced £29.50 per person.
10 Harrington Road, Kensington SW7 3ER; ampersandhotel.com
12 Virtual Reality Experiences at London Designer Outlet, Wembley
ImmotionVR is offering two virtual reality adventures for kids at London Designer Outlet, Wembley, this February Half Term. Rather than going stir crazy at home, why not blast off into outer space, the deep sea, or fly off with dragons… all from the comfort and safety of ImmotionVR’s experience centre. Choose from experiences such as DeltaZero, where Base Zero has received a distress signal from its mining planet, so Delta Squadron is sent on a dangerous mission across distant galaxies to discover why – and you’re a key member of the team. Alternatively, there’s the Legend of Lusca, an amazing sub-sea adventure in your very own mini-sub. Experiences start from £5 (advanced booking recommended).
Wembley Park Boulevard (by the Clarks Outlet) HA9 0RX; immotionvr.com
13 Teddy Bears’ Picnic Afternoon Tea at London Hilton Park Lane
The new Teddy Bears’ Picnic Afternoon Tea at London Hilton on Park Lane includes bite-sized delicacies, finger food and treats crafted by Executive Chef Anthony Marshall and recent winner of C4’s Bake Off: The Professionals, Pastry Chef Emmanuel Bonneau. It also comes with a cuddly Hamley’s teddy bear for the kids to take home! Colourful and fun, the Afternoon Tea features scrumptious Teddy Bear sandwiches – including ham and tomato, chicken, cucumber and mayonnaise and tuna and sweetcorn – freshly baked plain, raisin and chocolate chip mini scones served with strawberry jam, whipped cream and Nutella, as well as pastries and miniature fancies such as meringue mushroom, teddy and puzzle biscuits and a chocolate sponge cake pop. Available for £24 per child on weekdays from 2pm-5pm and weekends from 12.30pm-5pm.
22 Park Lane, Mayfair W1K 1BE; podiumrestaurant.com
14 3 Little Pig Tails at Little Angel Studios, Islington
Little Angel Theatre and Garlic Theatre present a brand new version of the classic story of the three little pigs, this time set in Paris, for February half term. A grumpy old wolf is a chef who wants some pigs’ tails for his soup. Will the little pigs outwit the wolf and what kind of house will they build? This funny, warmhearted and interactive rustic tale, featuring beautifully crafted puppets, music and a garlicky French twist to the tale, will have the little ones squealing with laughter. Aimed at ages 3-8 and running 20-24 February. Adults £13, kids £11. Note, this performance takes place at Little Angle Studios, a short walk from Little Angel Theatre.
Sebbon Street Community Centre, Sebbon Street N1 2EH; littleangeltheatre.com
15 Other Worlds Craft Workshops, Dulwich Picture Gallery
Drop into Dulwich Picture Gallery’s art-making workshops, inspired by the mysterious underwater world in Mariele Neudecker’s tank installation, And Then The World Changed Colour: Breathing Yellow – on display in the Mausoleum as part of Harald Sohlberg: Painting Norway. On Thursday 21 and Friday 22 February, the workshop theme is Mer-Magic, where the little ones can design and draw their own merperson, inspired by Sohlberg’s mermaid drawings. Decorate the merperson’s tail using a variety of colourful collage materials, including sequins, cellophane and feathers. Suitable for children aged 4–12 years priced £8 for adults (kids go free).
Gallery Road, Dulwich Village SE21 7AD; dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk