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Issue 65 January/February 2012




Local student Tahj Miles from Anna Fiorentini Theatre Cover photo by Michael Bourke

School wins role in Lion King!

The FREE pick-me-up for busy young families in East London

Local News & Readers Offers

Contact us: Families East Magazine P.O. Box 2358, Ilford, Essex IG1 8BD Tel: 07766 705655 Email: Printed by Bishops. Tel: 02392 334900 Designed by: Front Cover: ©Michael Bourke


Special 25% Discount for Families East readers to celebrate the opening of Anna Fiorentini’s new Bethnal Green School Due to popular demand, the award winning Anna Fiorentini Theatre & Film School is launching another branch in Bethnal Green on Tuesday evenings for 7 - 18 year olds. The Bethnal Green branch will be based at Oxford House on Derbyshire Street, E2 6HG and is only a 10-minute walk from Bethnal Green station. The school has been running for 10 years and has a great track record within the performing arts industry and has helped launch the careers of many young aspiring actors. It has also helped increase the confidence, self-esteem and social skills in most of its students regardless of whether they choose to enter the profession or not. Unlike many franchises, the school

prides itself on having the same Principal and trusted teaching staff across all its branches. This way it can guarantee you will receive the same top standards that have

Get your kids fit and active! As shown on BBC News in Nov 2011, Sports Medicine experts are concerned that many children do not get a proper workout; a vital factor in developing coordination, strength and agility skills At Kiddikicks toddler football classes, they go the extra mile to help children develop these skills whilst being super-fun. By using football as the theme, children are encouraged to let off steam and burn off energy as they learn skills. Ligasoccer U6 introduces small-sided Match play with

classes indoors from January to March. Kiddikicks now have a new Saturday venue at Queenbridge Sports Centre, 30 Holly Street, London, E8 3XW. With separate sessions from 9am-10am for Ligasoccer U6 Match Play, 10am10.30am for 18mths up to 30mths, 10.30am -11.15am for 2½ yrs up to 3½ yrs, and 11.15am -12 noon for 3½ to 5yrs. To book call: 020 7937 7965, email or visit

helped build up its reputation. Every week students will follow a timetable of drama, singing and dance all led by top industry professionals. Please see their advert on page 7 for more details about the school. Families East readers receive a special 25% discount off the first term at the new Bethnal Green School to celebrate its launch this January. To receive this discount just quote Families East when booking on 020 7682 1403 or visit You can also contact them on this number to reserve a space at one of their Free Taster Days on Tuesday 17th and 24th January. This gives children the perfect opportunity to experience classes before committing.

Win a family ticket for four to see “The Firework-Maker’s Daughter” at The Bloomsbury Theatre (see our Out & About listings) on Saturday 14 Jan at 2.30pm. Just answer the question : What are the popular hand held fireworks called? 1. sparklers 2. shiners 3. lightnings. Email us at


Super deals with Super Camps If you’re an organised parent already thinking ahead to Easter and summer holiday childcare, booking your children into Super Camps can cost less with their early booking rates. Super Camps is one of the leading activity camps in the UK, offering daylong sports, activities, arts and crafts at over 70 venues in the UK. By booking before 1

March, you can save up to £40 per week or up to £8 per day per child, and you can even use Childcare Vouchers towards the fees. Corporate discounts are available to organisations whose staff are looking for holiday childcare. For more information, visit or call 01235 832222.

Copyright and Disclaimer: We take every care preparing this magazine, but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequences. Any original material submitted for publication is sent at owner’s own risk and, while every care is taken, neither Families® nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage. Families® is one of a group of magazines established in 1990. It is a Families® franchise independently owned and operated under licence by Lesley Bishop.

Local News

Roll Up! Roll Up! As Perform invites you to the Greatest Show on Earth! Perform drama, dance and singing workshops in East London announce their most colourful and lively theme yet - The Circus! Principal Lucy Quick says, “We are inviting all local 4-8 year olds to enter the Big Top with us this term to discover the delights of the circus. Whether building confidence with the dashing Lion Tamer, developing hand-to-eye co-ordination with the Duelling Jugglers or discovering the magic of mime with the Clown with a Frown, our experienced team of actors,

singers and dancers will inspire and encourage your child to get swept up in the excitement.” Any interested 4-8 year old can try out the classes by attending a Free Trial Session. With classes running on Thursdays in Brentwood and Wanstead, Saturdays in Chigwell and Bishops Stortford, Tuesdays in Loughton and Wednesdays in Epping with a brand new school opening in South Woodford. Call: 0845 400 1271 to organise your free taster session.

Thinking about after-school study? With the start of a new year, many parents look at how to help their child in their Maths and English studies. Here are a few tips to make the right choice for your child. Firstly, any study or revision programme must be personalised to take account of your child’s learning needs and style. Secondly, the study programme must be systematic as Maths and English are skillbased subjects and skills are mastered through practice. This practice must be part of a structured programme so your child can recognise his or her achievement. Thirdly, the work must be relevant so any

study must be designed to meet the learning outcomes of the National Curriculum. This could involve specific exam revision, ongoing support or both but it must match the work studied at school and allow them to demonstrate competence when tested in these skills at school. First Class Learning meets all three of these essential requirements through its structured yet flexible programs, designed for UK children. They will help your child to achieve at school and grow in confidence. See their advert on page 16 or visit their website www. for more information.

Need a better work/ life balance? LIVE is returning to the Business Design Centre, Islington, London on Tuesday 27th March 2012. The event is free - and child friendly - and allows you to meet with family friendly employers, seek out flexible jobs, get CV tips and attend informative seminars on everything from returning to work to starting a new business or franchise. Register for your free ticket today at

Bring the family to Rich Mix this Winter 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA • Liverpool Street tube, Shoreditch High Street Station or Bethnal Green tube For more information & booking 020 7613 7498 Come along to Rich Mix this January and February and start 2012 off at one of its fantastic Family Events. This season, Rich Mix’s popular family events continue with activities including Wiggly Jigglers, StoryCraft Workshops and their revamped Kids’ Film Fun Workshops where children can learn a different animation technique each month. Also, as part of its year-long Snapshots Festival, running up to the Olympic Games, they’re hosting free monthly creative family workshops with each one focusing on a different theme. Or come and see Little Angel Theatre’s return with their new children’s theatre show - Goldilocks. Other family events include…. Wiggly Jigglers Mondays 9 Jan, 23 Jan & 6 Feb & 20 Feb / 1pm3pm/£3 / Ages 0 - 2 Creative Movement for Babies and Toddlers. In partnership with Little Oaks Children’s Centre. Children are full of life and leave us in no doubt that they need to move, and that we need plenty of energy to keep up with them. At these creative movement sessions they will get the space, the freedom and the time to move in ways that support their development, and that stimulate their imaginations. Jasmine Pasch, movement practitioner, leads these sessions. *Families registered with Little Oaks Children’s Centre attend FREE.

Mwalimu Express Sun 15 Jan / 2pm – 6pm

All aboard the Mwalimu Express as we pull in to African cities and bring you awesome music from around the continent. Come join in the stupendous storytelling

sessions, the Screen Station films and far out family arts workshops. You can play some great African games, read your young ones a book or browse a magazine while you unwind to super sounds against a backdrop of fabulous decor and market stalls.

StoryCraft with Apples and Snakes Mon 30 Jan & Mon 27 Feb /1.30pm – 2.30pm/£2/ Ages 2 - 5

StoryCraft Workshops are engaging, interactive and fun and will fire your child’s imagination. Led by a different storyteller or poet every month the sessions are at mums, dads and carers with children aged 2-5. They encourage families to enjoy stories together in an active and fun way using puppets and percussion instruments; stories are animated and involve actions, singing and discussion. All sessions feature a hands-on craft activity. Group bookings from nurseries and children’s centres are welcome.

Goldilocks Sat 11 Feb / 11am / 2pm/ Ages 2 – 5 / £5 per person*

Kids’ Film Fun Workshop Sun 22 Jan / 1pm – 3pm/£4 per child / £5.50 including Kids’ Cine Time screening/ Age range: 5 – 12*

This classic story is retold by Little Angel Theatre. As the Three Bears head out for a quiet family picnic in the countryside, wild-child Goldilocks mischievously explores their home. Compared to Goldilocks’ own simple home, the Bears’ house is full of beautiful riches that fascinate her. But what will happen when the Bears return and find her? * Tower Hamlets residents pay £4

Extend the fun after a visit to Kids’ Cine Time by joining our hugely popular film-making workshops where children have the opportunity to make their own short animated films. Learn a different animation technique each month in our new longer workshops! This week: Model Animation: Try your hand at claymation and create a 3D character using a range of art materials; then bring it to life with animation. * Please note that an adult must accompany children under 9 during these workshops.

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money matters

The start of a new year is often a good time to look at our finances especially after all the financial outlay of Christmas. Families East speaks to two specialist, local companies about how to get your finances back in shape for 2012.

Vanessa Harris is a Financial Adviser at Chigwell Financial Solutions and offers free and friendly advice on Mortgages, Pensions, Investments and Insurance. Vanessa takes us through some key areas.

1. Review your mortgage NOW to see how much you could save We could all do with saving money, especially in these challenging times. One very simple way to save thousands of pounds over the next couple of years may be staring you in the face – your mortgage. What to do? Well first check your current mortgage deal to see what rate you are on and see if you are tied into that product for a set period. If you are tied in, check what penalty you would have to pay to come out early (the Early Repayment Charge) – you could still save money paying this penalty if it allows you to go onto a cheaper deal. If you have a fixed rate mortgage when it comes to the end of this deal you will usually be switched on to the lenders’ internal rate known as the Standard Variable Rate (SVR). This is a variable rate that can increase at any time regardless of what happens to the Bank of England base rate (currently 0.5%). These SVRs can often be much higher at around 4

- 6% and offer no security as the lender can put the rate up whenever they wish. Many leading economists are predicting that interest rates are set to stay low for the foreseeable future so mortgage lenders are feeling more confident about offering cheap fixed deals. So take advantage! Most rates are between 2 - 3% so there are excellent savings to be made. For example – many borrowers sitting on Santander’s SVR (and those sold as previously as Abbey mortgages) of 4.24% could potentially remortgage onto a rate of 2.89% saving them around £3,500 in interest payments over the next 2 years alone.

2. Consolidate Loans and Credit Cards Many homeowners are paying 20 - 30% interest on their credit cards and around 10% on personal loans. But you could consolidate these repayments into your mortgage and potentially pay around 2.89% interest rate. However, be careful – mortgage debt is generally paid over a much longer term than personal loans and if the debt is left on the mortgage for say 20 years then you could end up paying more interest in the long term. Mortgage debt is also secured against your home,so if you fail to meet your monthly payments your home may be repossessed. But in the short term and in responsible hands it remains an excellent way to swap expensive debt for cheap borrowing. Most lenders will often let you overpay on your mortgage by up to 10% per year of the

outstanding debt. If you pay the same amount you were spending on credit cards and loans then your debts will be paid off much quicker - saving you a small fortune in interest payments.

3. Worried about being made redundant? For many people, the threat of being made redundant is a real risk so it is even more crucial you protect yourself and your family home. Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance is an excellent, cost effective product that will pay your monthly mortgage payment and associated bills for between 12-24 months if you are made redundant or cannot work due to an illness or accident. Insurers are currently paying out millions of pounds every week on redundancy claims with the only criteria for such claims being that you did not know about an impending redundancy before you took the insurance out and that you have signed on at a job centre. This protection represents a small monthly premium but it could save your family’s home against repossession and the associated stress of not being able to make the monthly bills. Chigwell Financial Solutions, Unit 1 Alexander Charles House, Station Passage, South Woodford E18 1JL Tel: 0845 123 6446

Financial Planning for your children’s Further Education For many families hoping to send their children to university, upcoming changes to funding mean it will be a tougher dream to realise.

From September 2012, universities in England will be allowed to raise tuition fees up to a maximum of £9,000 per year. This has already resulted in a 9% fall in applications for university courses in London and it is predicted this number will be worse

next year. Furthermore, the higherranking universities have already raised their fees to the maximum figure, which may result in a selective and elitist university system in England. For some this may mean making the tough decision as to whether they can afford to send a child to university let alone all of their children. However, having made the decision to help fund your child’s higher education course the next obstacle is deciding which university will be affordable.If you do not want your choice of university, or your bank account, to suffer there are ways that good financial planning can help you send your child to the university of their choice. One of the best ways to financially plan for your child’s education is to create a Trust. What is a Trust? A Trust is a vehicle where property and monies are held by one party (“a Trustee”) for the benefit of another (“a Beneficiary”). Trusts can be “discretionary”; this means the Trustees have discretion to apply the monies in the Trust either for the benefit of one person or a number of beneficiaries.

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What goes into a Trust? A Trust can hold any assets including cash, property and/or investments and these are known as the “Trust Fund”. Who are the Trustees? There should at least be two Trustees who have the ability and power to run the day-to-day administration of the Trust Fund.What’s the value of creating a Trust? It allows you to ring fence your money and guarantee it is readily available. It also reduces your inheritance tax liability and at the same time provides protection for your loved one’s education. Mullis and Peake LLP can advise you on the type of Trust that is appropriate and the taxation consequences. They can also assist in drafting and preparing a Trust Deed on your behalf. Mullis and Peake LLP, 8-10 Eastern Road, Romford, Essex, RM1 3PJ. Tel: 01708 784000

Drama - the lifelon Jeremy Gibbard is a specialist drama teacher at Christchurch Primary School, Ilford recognised by Ofsted as an “Outstanding” school. Jeremy has been a driving force in the school being awarded a Gold Artsmark by Arts Council England for its commitment to arts. Jeremy talks to us about the importance and value of drama as a highly effective method for developing our children’s understanding of the world and their personal abilities. In order to teach children well there are many things to consider, good subject knowledge, the ability to control a class, ensuring the work we set is challenging but not too challenging - for our pupils, the list could go on and on, but teachers, in my opinion, have one responsibility that outweighs all others and that is to engage and excite their class. Unless the children are interested and enthused by the work that is presented to them teachers will always be facing an uphill battle to get the best from their pupils. Drama is the best single tool teachers have at their disposal to stimulate children. Are you unsure what life as a pharaoh would have been like? Don’t worry, become Tutankhamen! Finding it difficult to imagine the great plague? Transport yourself there via the miracle of drama! Children’s imaginations are enormously powerful and it is drama that really allows them to open up any and

Anna Fiorentini, founder and principal of her own award-winning Theatre and Film School, talks to us about some of the benefits of drama for children. Its benefits for young people can be witnessed in every local hall, playground and classroom across the country. I have seen shy, retiring little boys and girls join us, who wouldn’t say boo to a goose, who become confident and graceful young men and

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all possibilities, drama is a universal key that can unlock any curriculum area, a passport to greater understanding and the development of language, discussion and cooperation. These are not just skills that are valuable in the classroom or the drama studio these are skills that shape who we are and our place in the world. The two reasons for dramas success in the primary school are simple, from the children’s point of view it is learning through entertainment, carefully thought

out, structured entertainment yes, but entertainment nonetheless. Children enjoy ‘playing’ at being someone else, they love putting themselves in different situations and exploring possibilities. Most children enjoy practical learning. From a teachers point of view we are creating an environment whereby we are able to offer a real context to their learning, lessons become memorable, and if children are remembering what we are teaching them we are being successful. As parents we are already aware of what a powerful tool drama is, think about the presents we buy our children and the games they play, whether it’s dressing up clothes, dolls or computer games, most toys require some degree of role play or imagination, this is the way many children choose to spend their leisure time, by using drama in school we are tapping in to the way in which our children work and a type of learning with which they are already familiar. In primary schools we are privileged to teach children when they are both enormously creative and uninhibited about performing, as adults we understand the unease that can be involved in standing up in front of an audience but, for the most part, young children express themselves with enthusiasm not anxiety, and if we can foster this in the early years of education we give our children the life long gift of confidence. That is the power of drama.

women who know how to speak their mind and present themselves properly. Drama and creativity in general can broaden a child’s horizons and make them aware of skills and talents they never even knew they had. Not only do they have fun playing games and using their imagination, but also they’re able to learn vital social skills and the ability to work in a team. I have been passionate about providing arts education to children for over 15 years now as I believe it teaches them as adults of tomorrow how to communicate effectively, present themselves professionally and respond appropriately to constructive discipline. Children from whatever background regardless of their financial or social status need these skills. Not only are the arts beneficial for older students when embarking on a life of college and job interviews, but also research shows that early years development is crucially effected by the inclusion of constructive play, social development and awareness of their own bodies. Dr. Penelope Leach, a wellrespected childcare guru has gone as far to say: “Imaginative play matters more than anything else and is a huge plus in parenting”.

Paediatricians, child psychologists and educational experts all agree that children develop more fully and quickly if music, drama and dance play an integral part in their upbringing and day-to-day existence. In the past few decades it appears that the government has started catching up with these important findings and supports the move towards arts in education. The National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education believe that ‘creativity is possible in all areas of human activity and all young people have creative capacities…we need a broad, flexible and motivating education that recognises the different talents of all children”. This means we’re now able to see arts-driven literacy projects, debating competitions and racial tolerance programmes popping up in schools all over the country. We have found a way to make learning fun, engaging and - and most importantly relevant to the real lives of the young people of today. Long may it continue! Anna Fiorentini is the Founder and Principle of the award winning part-time Anna Fiorentini Theatre & Film School for 7 – 18 year olds and Fiorentini Weenies for 4 – 6 year olds. Please visit for more details.

ng gift of confidence

Hanneke Rauch is a Drama Teacher at the well-known children’s drama school Perform. We speak to her about the value of their approach to teaching drama to children I can account first hand for the undoubted value Drama brings to the children’s lives I teach every week. All children are beautifully imaginative and playful, whether they are shy or self-

assured. Drama taps into what they all have in common, their imaginations. It creates a common ground between them, no matter what their personality, playing together in a magical make-believe world. The group games provide the best fun all week, in a world that is putting ever more pressure on children. They blossom as they develop their singing, dancing and performance skills but far more importantly they gain social skills that will serve them throughout their lives. It is a proven fact that through Drama based activities children are able to gain confidence because they are continually encouraged to express themselves in the safe, fun Drama space in front of their peers and eventually in front of an audience. Drama encourages physical and verbal expression and as a result parents report about their children: better coordination in movement, improved concentration throughout activities, stronger communication with peers and adults and overall increased confidence. Through the group orientated activities children learn how to recognise emotions in themselves and others. They learn how to follow directions and instructions. They

become overall more independent. Research shows that children who have taken part in regular drama classes have better reading and writing skills. This may be because they have learnt to create images in their minds while reading or developed their imagination thereby improving their creative writing. Drama is now seen as essential in teaching literacy skills and giving children a lasting love of books and language. Perform actively and consciously work towards the development of what we call our four C’s - Concentration, Communication, Coordination and Confidence. Children are led through a fun packed hour of games, songs and dancing by a team of especially trained teachers with the workshop themes changing each term – this term a Circus adventure. Call 0845 400 1271 or email enquiries@ to book a free trial session at Perform.

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Get involved with your Local Theatre Queen’s Q Youth and Q Dance groups

Pictures by Nobby Clark

Other ways to become involved in drama include opportunities like the Education Programme run by the Queen’s Theatre at Hornchurch, Essex. Their Education Programme is accessed by thousands of young people each year. At the heart of this programme are the Theatrein-Education productions that are performed by the Queen’s professional actor-musicians group - cut to the chase… who perform both in schools and at the Theatre. Their forthcoming production of the children’s classic, The Happy Prince, is aimed at ages 4-8, with performances from 3rd - 5th April. The Theatre runs monthly, Saturday morning storytelling workshops for children aged 3-7 and these are based on popular children’s tales followed by theatrical games. They also run the Jesters Drama Club each Saturday for older children aged 7-11 along with school holiday workshops for ages 7-14. Activities also include theatre groups for children aged 7–14, a dance group for ages 13–19 as well as the Cut 2 group for teenagers between the ages 14–19. This last group being an audition-only training scheme fostering the potential of older teenagers committed to theatre. Education Manager Patrick O’Sullivan says: “We give youngsters the opportunity to discover and nurture their performing arts talents, assisting them in developing their confidence and team-work skills, while helping schools deliver the curriculum in a fun, innovative way.” Visit or call 01708 443333 for more information.

Everyone Welcome at Theatretrain Theatretrain is open to anyone aged between 6 and 18 years. There are no auditions so no threat of rejection and children of all abilities are welcome and can benefit from expressing their own creativity. What’s more, all students take part in Theatretrain’s shows. Self-confidence, selfdetermination, personal fulfilment - all these things can flow from the experience of working creatively within an expertly supervised group to bring to life a performance which each member of the team has helped to shape, mould and perfect. Through drama, dance and singing, each group moves

towards a performance at local, national or even international level, whilst coming to see the world through a new perspective. Come along for a free trial session and see what they are all about, make new friends, have fun and build your confidence and self-esteem! Ilford and Waltham Forest centres are both performing in a Theatretrain show at Sadler’s Wells in 2012 so join now to take part.

Theatre in Education - The Little Mermaid (2011)

For more information contact Ilford: 01277 364955 or and Waltham Forest: 01992 812668 or

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Museum of London

Focus On

Focus On...The

Families East covers such a wide and varied part of London with access to such a fantastic variety of places to go and enjoy as a family. We are keen to share this knowledge and let you find out a bit more about what’s on offer. In this issue, we focus on the Museum of London, which is perfect if you’re looking for something fun and free for all the family to do at weekends or during holidays.

The Museum of London has two venues that are easy to get to – the Museum of London, which is centrally located in the City near to St Paul’s and the Museum of London Docklands that is only a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Canary Wharf. Museum of London 150 London Wall, near St Paul’s Open 7 days a week, 10am - 6pm FREE 020 7001 9844 Step inside the Museum of London for an unforgettable journey through the capital’s amazing past. Find out why people from all over the world came to settle in London. Travel back half a million years to a time when lions and hippos roamed Trafalgar Square! Discover characters from London’s past, see treasures from a Roman temple, witness the fear of Museum of London Docklands West India Quay, Canary Wharf Open 7 days a week, 10am - 6pm FREE 020 7001 9844 From Roman settlement to Docklands’ regeneration, come inside this 200-year-old warehouse that reveals the long history of London as a port through stories of trade, migration and commerce.

the Black Death and find out the real stories behind the Great Fire of London. Downstairs in the Galleries of Modern London you can experience life as a debtor in an 18th century prison cell, take a stroll in recreated pleasure gardens or window shop in the Victorian Walk. Wonder at the magnificent Lord Mayor’s Coach, see inside a 250-year-old doll’s house or explore the concerns of 21st century Londoners. Every Sunday and during the school holidays the Museum hosts FREE family events that support learning at school as part of a great day out together so see as much or as little as you like, as remember its free so you can come back any time. Discover a wealth of objects from enormous whalebones to World War II gas masks in its stateof-the-art galleries, which include Mudlarks, an interactive area for children, and Sailortown, an atmospheric recreation of 19th century riverside Wapping. Take cover in a bomb shelter, see what London Bridge was like in medieval times and discover the gruesome fate of captured pirates! Most Saturdays and during the school holidays the Museum hosts FREE family events.

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Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS 020 7638 8891 Family Film Club Discover a world of film together with your family on most Saturday mornings. Membership is free, and you can join via the website


15 Gordon Street, WC1H 0AH 020 7388 8822 The Firework Maker’s Daughter Mon 9 - Sat 21 Jan 10.30am 1.30pm 2.30pm £19.50/£14.50 Family £64 Philip Pullman’s brilliant and inspiring story about Lila, whose dreams of becoming a firework-maker are dashed when her father tells her it’s no job for a girl


Broadway, Barking IG11 7LS 020 8507 5607 Red Riding Hood Thu 9 Feb 10.30am £5 A young girl, a hungry wolf, and a walk through the woods - it sounds like a recipe for disaster, but Red Riding Hood’s not scared… well maybe she’s a little bit scared. A story that everyone knows, or do they? Theo the Mouse - Magical Mayhem Sat 18 Feb 2pm £10/£8 Family £32 From the writer of TV favourites Sooty and The Basil Brush Show comes the UK’s funniest children’s character, Theo the Mouse. Join him in his fun show for all the family, packed with magic, laughter and music


Earlham Street, WC2H 9HU 0844 412 4652/0844 800 1110 Matilda The Musical To Sun 12 Feb £20 - £59.50 The Royal Shakespeare Company’s world premiere of Roald Dahl’s magical story about a girl with extraordinary powers


2 Charing Cross Rd WC2 0HH 0844 412 4662 Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain Written by Terry Deary, Neal Foster and Ciaran McConville From Tue 14 Feb Wed - Fri 1pm, Sat 10.30am & 12noon, Sun 3pm & 5pm £14.50, £12.50, £10 6yrs+ British history is full of barmy people who did nasty things to each other. Roman, Tudor, Stuart, Georgian, Victorian and WW1 periods and features famous characters such as Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, Florence Nightingale and General Earl Haig are investigated with blood, battles, murder and mayhem


Your guide to the best entertainment and local events London has to offer.

To list an event contact

Croom’s Hill SE10 8ES 020 8858 7755 Miki Sat 14 & Sun 15 Jan 11am 2pm £10/£7.50 Family £30 3 yrs+ “I wish I could catch a star. A star would shine forever.” Said Miki as she fished for her supper. Miki embarks on a magical adventure… in search of a star. Featuring amazing underwater creatures, songs to sing along to and extraordinary puppetry, Miki is an inspiring story about friendship, courage and adventure

secrets out? English and French are used to tell this interactive tale. After the audience are invited to join the puppets with their own magical pen Spin Sat 18 Feb 11am 2pm 3-7 yrs Whirling, twirling, twisting tales, reeling rhythm, giddy rhymes. Join Apples & Snakes’ word-wizards as they cook up wonderful ways to play with words, showing just what you can do with them. Top-class rappers, poets and storytellers each with their own distinct style will send you spiralling into a poetry revolution Just A Bit Of Paper Sat 25 Feb 11am 1pm 3pm 3-5 yrs Join Scribble and Scraps invite you into their world of paper to fold, tear, scrumple, scrunch, scribble and imagine! An extraordinary visual and highly interactive theatre journey The Owl & The Pussycat Sat 3 Mar 3-7 yrs 11am & 2pm Enjoy this absurd hogwash of nonsense, featuring silly songs, babbling puppets and smaller than life characters



93-95 Mile End Road, Whitechapel, E1 4UJ Book on line www.genesis-cinema. or call 020 7780 2000 Baby changing facilities available, space for prams, buggies and free car parking – call to reserve Parent and Baby Screenings Weds 11am £5. Weekend Fun for Kids 11am £2 Check web site for details in 2012


43 White Horse Road, E1 0ND 020 7709 8900 All tickets £6 – adult ticket includes babies less than 12 months old A Bird in Your Ear Sat 14 Jan 11am & 2pm 3yrs+ Genies in teapots and hat-munching squirrels in fantastical exploits and daring quests! A chance to enjoy a collection of stories you won’t find anywhere else brought to life with puppets, original songs and plenty of opportunities to join in The Little Red Hen Sat 21 Jan 11am 1pm 3pm 2-5 yrs The Little Red Hen lives in the farmyard. One day she finds some grains of wheat and decides to make some bread. But who will help her? Come and join in with this intimate interactive storytelling piece involving puppetry, song and live music From Here to There Sat 28 Jan 11am 1pm 3pm 18 months - 4 yrs Some children love to build things up. Others like to knock them down! This is an intimate show and a fabulous introduction to theatre for the very young What Became of the Red Shoes Sat 4 Feb 11am 2pm 3 yrs+ Granny Flo’s attic is full of old junk… or is it? On a rainy day, Ruby explores the attic, discovering forgotten treasures, including an interesting pair of shoes. She embarks on a magical journey, meeting a pirate, some animals and even has a trip into space Little Hippo and His Magic Pen Sat 11 Feb 11am 1pm 3pm 2-5 yrs It’s Little Hippo’s birthday. He has lots of great presents, but likes Daddy Hippo’s present best which is a magical red pen filled with the most amazing things in the world. But how can he get these wonderful

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Oakfield Rd, Ilford IG1 1BT 0208 553 4466 Jack and the Beanstalk Until Sun 22 Jan Peak £14.50/£11.50 Family £48 Off peak £13.50/£10.50 Family £44 See website as times vary Come and see this traditional family pantomime


Lyric Square, King St, W6 0OL 0871 22117 20 A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare 9 Feb-17 Mar 11 yrs+ Exhilarating theatre company FILTER returns to remix, rework and revitalise Shakespeare’s much-loved story. Expect something sensational!


Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7ES 0844 412 4661 The Gruffalo To Sun 15 Jan £12.50/£15.50 3yrs+ A musical adaptation of the awardwinning picture book by Julia Donalson and Alex Scheffler. Follow the quickthinking Mouse into the deep, dark wood in this magical and musical modern classic. Songs, laughs and scary fun for children and their families


52 Billet Lane, Hornchurch, RM11 1QT 01708 443333 Cinderella Until Sat 14 Jan Peak £21/£16.50 Family £67 Off peak £19.50/£14 Family £59 See website as times and prices vary

Join Cinderella on a magical adventure from rags to riches as The Fairy Godmother transforms her into a dazzling beauty fit for a Prince! With magic, mayhem and comedy capers! EDITOR’S NOTE: We thoroughly recommend this fun filled panto – great value for money! Magical Mel’s Pirate Patch Sat 7 Jan 11.30am £5 adult & £5 child Interactive magic, games, dancing, balloon modelling and much more. All Pirate and princesses welcome Saturday fun for kids Music Hall Tues 17 Jan 2.30pm (prices vary – see website for details) A fun-packed programme of the best variety entertainers – from song and dance to ukuleles and cockney comedy!

SHAKESPEARE GLOBE THEATRE New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT 020 7902 1400 Bookings: 020 7401 9919/020 7087 7398 Open: daily 10am-5pm, £6.50/£8.50/£10.50, Family £28 Watch out for “GLOBE TO GLOBE” in April. 37 plays in weeks!


Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX 0844 875 0073 Goodbye Mr Muffin Fri 27 Jan 11am 1pm & Sat 28 Jan 10.15am 12 noon £8/£4, 6 yrs+ Using puppetry, animation and music, Goodbye Mr Muffin tells an uplifting story about the last days in the life of a much-loved guinea pig, Mr Muffin


Theatre Square, Stratford, E15 1BX 0844 357 2625 Sparkle Sat 21 Jan 10.30am 12.15pm 0-2yrs 3pm 3-4yrs £7/£5 Family £20 Under a shimmering carousel, a magical world opens up. Welcome to Sparkle, an interactive performance and creative play session for young children in a wonderful, immersive environment. This performance is non-verbal and takes place in a darkened environment The Balloon Gardener Sat 25 Feb 3pm £7/£5 Family £20, 4 yrs+ Danny the Wild Balloon Tamer has run out of balloons so he turns gardener and tries to cultivate bold, colourful, latex shapes in pots. Blooming marvellous


Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford, E15 1BN 0208 534 0310 Cinderella Until Sat 21 Jan £22-10 See website as times and prices vary A whirlwind of lost slippers, a

Out & About handsome prince, and not just one but 3 delicious dames…


Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 020 7928 3535 The Disney 50 £6.75/£9.50, family £20 Some of the world’s most celebrated family films of all time are showing on the big screen Sat 7 Jan 1.30pm Treasure Planet Sat 14 Jan 2pm Sun 22 Jan 4.10pm Brother Bear Sun 15 Jan 4pm Sat 28 Jan 1.30pm Chicken Little Sat 21 Jan 1.50pm Sun 29 Jan 4.10pm Home on the Range


147 Tooley St, Southwark, SE1 2HZ 020 7645 0560 See website for post show discussions, family days, audio described, sign language and autistic friendly performances See website for show times as these vary each day The Snow Queen Until Sun 8 Jan, 7yrs+ This magical story is set in India where after a freak snowstorm Kumar disappears and his best friend Gowri sets out to find him and save him from the Snow Queen Scarecrow Wed 18 – Sun 29 Jan 11am 2pm £11/£9 Family £32, 5 yrs+ In a furrowed field stands a lonely scarecrow who is confused and fed up. Nobody takes any notice of him until ... his field is taken over by a family of noisy squabbling crows. The story follows them over a year using movement, puppetry, music and fun Into the Grim Forest Sat 4 – Sun 26 Feb £7/£10 The Three Snake-Leaves Sat 4 Feb 14yrs+ The Company of Storytellers journey deep into a realm of grown-up myths, and unpick a rich tangle of stories that are humorous, dark and moving by turn Grimm’s Sheeha Tues 7 – Mon 13 Feb 8yrs+ Many of the Grimms’ tales first arrived in Europe from the East, via the mouths of merchants, travellers and migrants. This exciting journey reveals a vibrant and alternative worldview of the stories we think we know Grim Grimms: Three Drops of Blood Tues 14 – Sun 19 Feb 8yrs+ Grimm by name, grim by nature, these tales are packed with humour, sneaky tricks, daring exploits and dramatic adventure A Year In The Forest Tues 21 – Sun 26 Feb 5yrs+ Younger listeners will be taken on a journey through the forest’s seasons. Listen out for elves, forest gnomes, a talking bird, a cottage, a palace and a witch casting spells


Mon 23 Jan Chinese New Year – The Year of the Dragon Events will be taking place mainly on Sun 29 Jan with celebrations based around Chinatown, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Shaftesbury Avenue. Festivities begin at noon with an official opening ceremony in Trafalgar Square, followed by a variety of performances featuring music, dance, Chinese dragons, lions, acrobatics and firecrackers. Chinatown will be filled with cultural and food stalls so visit www. for more information


Sun 1 Jan – Fri 10 Feb 0871 230 1548 Amazing activities led by casts and creatives, plus tantalising ticket deals from just £10! You can choose from over 50 top shows including musicals, plays, dance, opera and entertainment


Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX 0844 875 0073

Imagine Children’s Festival

Sat 11 Feb - Sun 26 Feb Children run the festival as part of Kids Takeover, but they also feature in the performances. Visitors to the Festival include children’s writers Francesca Simon, Cressida Cowell, Jacqueline Wilson and Jeremy Strong. There are day-long opportunities to make things, look at things, eat things and do things – the choice is yours. See the website for full details of over 40 events including: Voicelab’s Superpower Family Sing Fri 17 Feb 3pm free Don your capes, masks and best Superhero outfits and come and discover the power of song. Power ballads become Superpower ballads in this fun-packed singing extravaganza for all the family LPO FUNharmonics Family Concert Sun 19 Feb £18-£10 12 noon (children half price) This family concert includes Miklós Rózsa’s concert suite from The Jungle Book narrated by Chris Jarvis whilst in the foyer try your hand at playing an orchestral instrument in one of the Have-a-Go sessions or join the Human Orchestra workshops from 10.30am to 2.30pm Piano Takeover for Families Sat 25 Feb 4pm £5 An inspiring family concert featuring some of our youngest pianists


Wed 11 – Sun 29 Jan Start your year with some of the most thought provoking theatre from around the world. Venues include the

Barbican, Southbank, Royal Opera House, Roundhouse and many more for this annual selection of entertaining events LPO FUNharmonics Family Concert Sun 19 Feb £18-£10 12 noon (children half price) This family concert includes Miklós Rózsa’s concert suite from The Jungle Book narrated by Chris Jarvis whilst in the foyer try your hand at playing an orchestral instrument in one of the Have-a-Go sessions or join the Human Orchestra workshops from 10.30am to 2.30pm Voicelab’s Superpower Family Sing Fri 17 Feb 3pm free Don your capes, masks and best Superhero outfits and come and discover the power of song. Power ballads become Superpower ballads in this fun-packed singing extravaganza for all the family


St Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE 020 7306 0055 Open: daily 10am-6pm, Thu & Fri 10am-9pm. Family Events: Meet in the Ondaatje Wing Main Hall Storytelling with Art for Families Sat 21 Jan & Sat 18 Feb 10.30am 1.30pm free 3yrs+ In China, a woman cut magical things out of paper. In England, a family invented a machine that continuously made paper. Come and discover the link between them and then make a paper dragon Family Art Workshop Paper Magic Sat 21 Jan & Sat 18 Feb 11.30am 2.30pm free 5yrs+ Snip, fold, tear and create a fantastic paper cut portrait inspired by portraits in the Collection


Strand, WC2 1LA 020 78454600 Holiday Drop-Ins: Ice Palaces Sat 7 & Sat 14 Jan 11am-1pm & 2pm4pm free Holiday Drop-ins are suitable for families with children of all ages; children must be accompanied by an adult. If the workshop is full, families are welcome to wait until spaces become available, and the activity lasts about half an hour Family Workshops Every Saturday free 6-12 yrs Collect your ticket at 1pm, workshop starts at 2pm Sat 21 Jan The Lay of the Land Sat 28 Jan A Sense of Place Under 5s Mini Make Believe Workshops Sat 7 & Sun 8 Jan 11.30-12.30 free Collect your ticket at 11am limited spaces Ice Adventure It’s frosty outside, but when snowmen try to come inside they start to melt. Get them in a chilly mood once more with some freezing fun and snowy songs


Millbank, SW1P 4RG 020 7887 8888 Open: daily 10am-5.50pm until 10pm the first Friday of the month Art Trolley Weekend Sessions 10am 3pm free all ages Unleash your creativity with a visit to the Art Trolley, where kids are encouraged to imagine and explore with paper-based activities to use in the galleries Family Multimedia Guide £3.50 6yrs+ available anytime during gallery hours What makes a portrait? Join this tour of seven artworks in the gallery and decide for yourself. Strange soundscapes, funny film clips, and some great games – there’s lots to do, see, hear and discuss Family Reading Area Every weekend free for all ages Lots of books for families in the Rotunda reading area


Bankside, SE1 9TG 020 7887 8888 Open Sun-Thu 10am-6pm Fri & Sat 10am-10pm What’s going on Here? February Half Term Family Activities Sat 11, Sun 12, Thu 16, Fri 17, Sat 18, Sun 19 Feb 11.00–16.00 free Drop in to the Welcome Room to pick up free new activities, display your own creation, build a plinth for a very small sculpture Under 5s Zone Level 5 Concourse free This is a new play space for Under 5’s Zone invites children on a creative, physical and sensory exploration of themes inspired by Cubist artworks Children Multimedia Guide Daily from the Information Desks on Levels 3 £4.50 5yrs+ Keep youngsters captivated and animate artworks through music, video clips and entertaining games – a sensory experience for all the family to enjoy Weekend Sessions Every weekend 11am-4pm Level 3 Concourse free, 5yrs+ With the help of a friendly Start Team, stimulate your weekend with games, map-making or clue-matching Tate Modern Family Resources Available daily from the Info Desks on Levels 1 and 2 free for all ages Pick up a free families resource and set off to explore the Galleries with paper-based activities that will help you look, enjoy and learn about art


Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN 020 7747 2885 Open daily 10am - 6pm Fri until 9pm free Family Sundays Every Sunday free (except 25 Dec & 1 Jan – Gallery closed) Meet in the Education Centre Foyer for all events. Places are limited and allocated on arrival. Children must be accompanied by an adult

January/February 2012 Families East | 11

Out & About Art workshops 11am & 2pm Magic Carpet for Storytelling 10.30am & 11.30am (under 5 yrs) Family Walk and Talk Sun 8 Jan 12.30–1.30pm all ages


77-82 Whitechapel High St, E1 7QX 020 7522 7888 Family Day Sat 4 Feb 12 noon – 4pm free Join artists Juneau Projects and take part in animation, projections, music activities and workshops inspired by Zarina Bhimji’s films and photography Half Term Art Course Tue 14 & Wed 15 Feb 11am–3pm £45 5-8yrs Fun and inspirational skills-based courses led by artists and inspired by the current exhibition Zarina Bhimji Crib Notes: Zarina Bhimji Wed 15 Feb 10am £3 See and discuss the exhibition with Assistant Curator Shamita Sharmacharja with your baby in tow. For parents with infants (includes refreshments)


Entrance in Bartholomew Street, off Threadneedle St, EC2R 8AH 020 7601 5545 Open: Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm, free The Museum tells the story of the Bank, from its foundation in 1694 to its role today as the UK’s central bank. Among the exhibits are Roman and modern gold bars (visitors are invited to lift a genuine gold bar), the country’s oldest paper money, pikes and muskets once used to defend the Bank and many other objects. Interactive displays give visitors the opportunity to explore the intricate, changing designs and evolving security features contained within banknotes Secure by Design – The Boulton & Watt £50 note. To Fri 23 Mar To mark the introduction of the new £50 note, this exhibition will explore the design of the new note and its security features. Using a powerful microscope camera, visitors can examine the intricate design details and security features on the new note, including the new motion thread, holograms and fluorescent inks. For children, answering 3 questions correctly about the new note will reveal a code to open a safe containing a prize. BRITISH MUSEUM Great Russell St, WC1B 3DG 020 7323 8000/8299 Open: daily 10am-5.30pm, free For a full list of free family activities please see the website – here are some highlights Teddy Time Traveller Sat 14 Jan Sat 21 Jan Sat 4 Feb 11.30am Greeks Alive! Animation Workshop Sun 15 Jan 11am 2pm Create a Comic Sun 22 Jan 11.30am

Olympic Champions Sat 28 Jan 11.30am Hajj Sleepover Fri 4 6.15pm – Sat 5 Feb 9am Arabian Encounters Mon 12 – Fri 17 Feb 11am-4pm Other free family activities Hamlyn family trails: Dancing with Shiva - a counting trail for young children; activity backpacks with puzzles and games (deposit required), both available from the Paul Hamlyn Library


Clive Steps, King Charles St, SW1A 2AQ 020 7930 6961 Open: 9.30am-6pm £12.80/£15.95, under 16s free After Hours at the Churchill War Rooms Fri 10 Feb 6.30pm Dance the night away in London’s secret wartime bunker with an evening of special events and activities at the Churchill War Rooms. Featuring live music, a film screening and the London Swing Dance Society, who will be on hand to help you master the Charleston, Jitterbug and the Lindy Hop. Advanced booking required Undercover – Life in Churchill’s Bunker Extended until 2013 due to popular demand - Visitors can hear the firsthand personal accounts of those who worked in the Cabinet War Rooms during the war. Learn what life and conditions were like underground Britons at War 1938 Sat 14 & Sun 15 Jan, Sat 18 & Sun 19 Feb drop in 11am-12.30pm & 2pm4pm (suitable for all ages with parental supervision Visitors are encouraged to consider the fear felt by Britons before war even broke out


Shad Thames, SE1 2YD 020 7940 8787, Mini-Worlds Sun 15 Jan 5-11yrs £11/£4.50 As the museum celebrates the legacy of Terence Conran, be inspired by his visionary interiors to model a creative and imaginative mini-interior of your own to take home


136 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, E2 8EA 020 7739 9893 Open: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm5pm free Saturday Specials Bean Kings and Pea Queens Sat 7 Jan 10.30am-12.30pm & 2pm-4pm Craft an Epiphany crown and really regal accessories Tea Time Tick Tocks Sat 4 Feb 10.30am-12.30pm & 2pm-4pm Construct a teacup-shaped clock to tell the time

12 | Families East January/February 2012


100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ 020 8699 1872 Open: daily 10.30am-5.30pm, free Busy Bees Under 5’s. Every Wed & Fri 10.30am 11.15am 12 noon Creative play, enchanting stories from around the world, museum objects and simple craft activities, changing every week African Drumming Every Sun 10.45am-11.15am 5-12 yrs £25 for 10 sessions African Drumming Every Sun 11.15am-11.45am 5-12 yrs £25 for 10 session Hands on Family Workshops Every Sat 11.45am 1pm 3 yrs+ Use all your senses to explore the animal kingdom, musical instruments, costume, toys and puppets from all over the world ; the animal kingdom, toys and puppets Artmakers Every Sat 1.30pm 2.45pm Have fun with art skills and exciting techniques to create something fabulous to take home Tales from the Horniman Every Sun 2.15pm 3.30pm free drop in 3 yrs+


Lambeth Road, SE1 6HZ 020 7416 5320/5321 Open: daily 10am-6pm, free When should I talk to my children about the Holocaust? Sat 28 & Sun 29 Jan Sat 11 & Sun 12 Feb 11.30am 2.30pm Recommended for children aged 14 years and above. This free family session is a useful starting point for families who wish to learn more about the Holocaust.


150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN 020 7001 9844 Open: daily 10am-6pm, free See website for full details of regular groups held at Museum of London for “Mini Moles” (6 months – walking) and Little Moles (walkers – 5 yrs) and a full list of family activities highlights include Perfect Pattern Sun 15 Jan 12.30 2pm 3.30pm 5yrs+ free Using digital technology in our e-Learning Studio, design a pattern for a cushion or T-shirt, based on some of the colourful clothes on display in our Galleries of Modern London Characters from History - meet a Roman servant Sun 29 Jan 1pm 2pm 3pm 5yrs+ free What would London have been like 2000 years ago? Meet Martia Martina, a servant for a wealthy merchant and hear her stories about stuffed dormice and the exotic goods arriving from all over the Empire Under 5’s Storytime Tue 24 Jan 3pm Join us in our galleries for stories,

music and fun on the last Tuesday of the month for an interactive storytelling session for children under 5s and their carers


West India Quay, Canary Wharf, E14 4AL 020 7001 9844 Open: daily 10am-6pm, £5 annual adult pass, kids free. See website for full details of regular groups held at Museum of London Docklands for “Mini Mudlarks” (6 months – walking) and Little Mudlarks (walkers – 5 yrs) and a full list of family activities Chinese New Year Celebrations Sat 21 & Sun 22 Jan 11am–5.30pm Make a Dragon Mask Sat 21 Jan 12.30pm 2.30pm 4yrs+ free Discover the legends behind the Chinese dragon and create your very own mask to wear during our unique adaptation of the famous Chinese Dragon Dance Chinese Water colour painting Sun 22 Jan 3yrs+ 11.30am–3.30pm free Create watercolour masterpieces to celebrate the Chinese New Year Dragon tales Sun 2 Jan 12.30pm 2.30pm 3.30pm 5yrs+ free Not all dragons breathe fire, and not all dragons eat people… but some do. Join us to hear stories of these mythical, magical creatures Under 5s Storytime Thur 12, 19 & 26 Jan 3pm free Join in for stories, music and fun. An interactive storytelling session for children under 5 and their carers


Romney Road, Greenwich, SE10 9NF 020 8858 4422 Open: daily 10am-5pm, free Chinese New Year Sat 18 Feb 11am – 6pm Celebrate Chinese New Year in the Year of the Dragon, and British East Asian heritage at the National Maritime Museum with a day of music, workshops and performances for all the family, culminating in a spectacular outdoor procession Play Tuesdays Jan & Feb 10.30am 11.30am 1pm 2pm under 5 yrs free Young children can have fun with their families as they explore the Museum through making, music, dance and stories Explore Saturdays Jan & Feb 12 noon 1pm 2pm 3pm 6yrs+ free Meet a character from the past and take part in an exciting performance that will bring maritime history to life Discover Sundays Jan & Feb 11.30am 2pm all ages free Be inspired by our maritime past and explore your personal connections to the sea


Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD 020 7938 9123, Info 020 7942 5000 Open: Mon-Sat 10am–5.50pm, Sun 11am-5.50pm free Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 Until Sun 11 Mar Marvel at the best nature photographs on the planet in this celebrated annual wildlife photography exhibition The Natural History Museum Ice Rink - Until Sun 8 Jan Explorer Back Pack Mon- Fri 11am-5pm Younger visitors can pick up an Explorer backpack and take a mini adventure around the Museum. Don’t miss the Dippy floor puzzle, perfect for under 8’s. Complete the puzzle of the 26-metre long “diplodocus” and you’ll get a funky Dippy sticker!


Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD 0870 870 4868 Open daily 10am-6pm, free (charges for special exhibitions, IMAX cinema and simulator rides) The Garden The Garden is an interactive gallery created especially for 3–6 year olds to discover science by playing in an exciting, multi-sensory environment. Inquisitive children are free to explore floating and sinking, shadows and reflections, music, giant building blocks and much more while developing the skills of observing, predicting, testing and drawing conclusions Pattern Pod Pattern Pod is a hands-on gallery that was created especially for children from 5–8 years old. Like scientists, children explore the world by trying to make predictions about events happening around them. Using truly amazing multi-sensory exhibits this contemporary gallery looks at the many types of patterns in the world and encourages children to recognise and copy patterns – or create entirely new ones of their own Launchpad Science Shows Daily free 8 yrs + Kids will love learning in our Launchpad gallery, packed with over 50 interactive exhibits, plus electrifying shows and lively demonstrations, while there’s plenty to keep the adults occupied too


13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP 020 7405 2107 Open: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, free Junior Audio Tour Introduced by Stephen Fry and read by Eleanor Bron In this atmospheric tour lasts 59 minutes, guiding the listener through Soane’s Museum, accompanied by sound effects and music


Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL 020 7942 2000

Open daily 10am – 5.45pm, until 10pm Fri free Family Backpacks. Ages 5-12 yrs Choose from: The Emperor’s Party, Chinese Treasures, Metal Detector, The Antique Detective, Magic Glasses, Fancy Furnishings, Time Traveller, Middle East Marvels and the new Agent Animal bag for under 5s and search for creatures in the Museum using fabric cubes and animal noises Family Trails also available in the museum and on line – including one by Jacqueline Wilson


Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 9PA 020 8983 5200 Open: daily 10am-5.45pm, free A variety of free activities every day, including storytelling, arts and crafts, tours and treasure hunts. Activities are tailored to children aged 3-12 yrs unless otherwise stated. Children under 12 must be accompanied by a parent or carer Magic Worlds Until Sun 4 March Delve into the realms of fantasy, illusion and enchantment which reveals how magic has been embraced for hundreds of years Goblins and Gremlins Fri 6, 13, 20, 27 Jan & 3 Feb 10.30am 1pm under 5’s Learn all about mythical beasts with art, drama and storytelling inspired by fairytale exhibition Magic Worlds Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day Sat 28 Jan 12 noon 1pm 2.15pm Storytelling and workshops in celebration of Clara February Half Term: Fairytale Fiends Mon 13 - Fri 17 Feb 11am- 4pm free drop in all ages A fiendish week of storytelling, arts & crafts and treasure hunts. Enjoy an active re-telling of Rumpelstiltskin, make a goblin hand puppet and embark on a trail to find fairytale mischief-makers hiding in the Museum


Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1U 3BN 020 7563 9500/ 9551 Open 10am-5pm, free Family Activities: Children must be accompanied by an adult Family Public Tour Sat 4 Feb 2.30pm all ages The young curators from St. Vincent’s Primary School will be guiding this exciting, creative, thrilling and interactive journey around the collection Drop in Art Work Shop: The Little Draw Sun 5 Feb 1.30pm all ages Come and meet our new Little Draw Artist Julia Iwasz whose work explores the connections between photography and drawing Daily: Family Multimedia Tour with interactive games (small fee) Free Armour Handling Find out what a brigandine is and how

January/February 2012 Families East | 13

Out & About heavy a bulletproof breastplate really was Family Trails Themed family trails available from the information desk at the front Entrance


Blizard Building, 4 Newark St, Whitechapel, E1 2AT 020 7882 2562 Free admission but booking essential. Content suitable for 9yrs+ but everyone welcome Centre of the Cell is an exciting science education centre. It is the first science education centre in the world to be sited in biomedical research laboratories with digital interactive games; body parts; films and microscopes


383-387 High Street, Stratford, E15 4QZ 020 8536 5555 Open: daily Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm, Sat & Sun 11am-5pm, £4.50, family £16 Welcome to Monsterville Until Mar 2012 Play, smell and taste the mankiest exhibition ever! The Troll by Julia Donaldson & David Roberts Thu 5 Jan 11.30am 2.30pm 3yrs+ A great take on a classic tale – enjoy this rendition including pirates and a wonderful trip trap bridge Not Now, Bernard by David McKee Fri 6 Jan 11.30am 2.30pm & Wed 15 Feb 12 noon 1.30pm & 3pm 3yrs+ Bernard’s parents are so busy doing their own thing that a monster can eat Bernard’s dinner, break his toys and even eat Bernard, without being noticed! The Monster Who Ate Darkness by Joyce Dunbar & Jimmy Liao Sat 7 Jan & Sun 15 Jan 11.30am 2.30pm & Sat 18 Feb 12.30pm 3yrs+ There is a tiny monster under Jo-Jo’s bed who discovers he likes to eat darkness: and the more darkness he eats, the bigger and hungrier he grows The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler Sun 8 Jan 11.30am 2.30pm & Thu 16 Feb 12 noon 1.30pm & 3pm 3yrs+ Come and watch Story Builders perform this incredible shadow puppet show Get Well Friends with Kes Gray Author Event Sat 14 Jan 2.30pm 2yrs Meet the adorable Pedro the Penguin and Zoe the Zebra as they get better with the help of the wonderful Nurse Nibbles Mouldy Monsters by Anna Laura Cantone Sat 21 Jan 11.30am 2.30pm 3yrs+ Are you scared of monsters? This tale will amuse and delight children who love all things yucky! Shrek! by William Steig Sun 22 Jan & Sun 29 Jan 11.30am 2.30pm 3yrs+ Before Shrek made it big on film, there was William Steig’s SHREK! A book about an ordinary ogre who

leaves his swampy childhood home to go out and see the world Morris the Mankiest Monster by Sarah McIntyre & Giles Andreae Sat 28 Jan 11.30am 2.30pm & Mon 13 Feb 12 noon 1.30pm 3pm 3yrs+ The most revolting picture book ever! The Story Builders present this book full of earwax, snot and goo. Morris is a must. Tots and Tales 11am Tues & Fri, 11.30am Sat & Sun every week (except half term) 6 months to walking Hands-on creative session to give your baby a long-term love of reading Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak Sat 4 & Sun 5 Feb 12.30pm 2.30pm & Fri 17 Feb 12 noon 1.30pm 3pm 3yrs+ An all-time classic is brought to you by Story Builders – enjoy the rumpus! Mighty Mega Fun Day Sat 11 Feb 11.30am & 2.30pm All Ages Celebrate the end of Mighty Mega Sounds by hopping aboard their brand new time machine! Monstersaurus! by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort Sun 12 Feb 12.30pm 2.30pm 3yrs+ Fabulous storytelling by the creators of the Aliens Love Underpants series Half Term Mini Monsters 11am Mon – Fri 6 months + Enjoy monster-themed rhymes and stories for little ones Mucky Monsters! All day Mon – Fri 3yrs+ Drop by and have fun making monsters from an array of gooey materials Two Left Feet by Adam Stower Tue 14 Feb 12 noon 1.30pm 3pm 3yrs+ Listen to the story of Rufus, the little monster with two left feet then practice some monster moves of your own World of Happy with Janet Cronin Sat 18 Feb 2.30pm 5yrs+ Giles Andreae’s warm and charming World of Happy stories now a brilliant CBBC TV series. Come and meet illustrator Janet Cronin and her animal tales including The Little Penguin, The Elephant and the Spider and Two Monkeys. Event costs an additional £1.50 for the craft activity The Troll by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts Sun 19 & Sun 26 Feb 12.30 & 2.30pm 3yrs+ A great take on a classic tale – enjoy this rendition including pirates and a wonderful trip trap bridge London Children’s Book Swap Sat 25 Feb 11am – 5pm free All ages Bored of the children’s books you’ve read over and over again? Then come along and exchange your old stories for new exciting ones from their second hand library, write to the letter monster, win prizes and enjoy the author and illustrator events


Morgan’s Lane, Tooley Street, SE1 2JH 020 7403 6246 Open: 10am-6pm, £12.95, under 16s free CURRENTLY CLOSED

14 | Families East January/February 2012


08456 770600 See website for full list of activities, here are some highlights: Bittern Roost Watch Sun 15 Jan 3.30pm-5.00pm, for all the family, free Fishers Green Car Park, Stubbins Hall Lane, Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 2EF The Bittern is one of Britain’s rarest birds and Lee Valley Regional Park supports approximately 10% of the UK winter population. Enjoy a short-guided walk followed by a roost watch with hot drinks and biscuits. We may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this elusive bird. The Bittern Information Point is signposted from the car park and affords excellent views across Seventy Acres Lake, one of 10 flooded former gravel pits in the area. The Big Garden Birdwatch For more information visit or call 020 8525 0547. Sat 28 Jan 11.00am2.00pm, for all the family, free Myddelton House Gardens, Bulls Cross, Enfield, Middlesex EN2 9HG Get wild and head to the beautifully restored Myddelton House Gardens in Enfield to support the Big Garden Birdwatch – the world’s biggest wildlife survey. All you will need is a pen, some paper and an hour or more to spend bird watching in your garden or at a range of locations around Lee Valley Regional Park. Simply make a note of the highest number of each bird species seen on the ground (not flying over) at any one time, and report back to tell what you saw. Get involved and start counting! A Walk in the Park Sun 5 Feb 10.30am–12.30pm free Enjoy a leisurely paced walk in the scenic 1,000-acre River Lee Country Park. This month’s walk has a focus on Orchids and is one in a series of free-guided walks taking place on the first Sunday of every month. Meet in Pindar Car Park, Windmill Lane, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire EN8 9AJ Opening Weekend Lee Valley Park Farms Lee Valley Park Farms, Stubbins Hall Lane, Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 2EF Tel: 01992 892 781 Sat 11 Feb 10am–5pm £7.50/£6 Meet all the animals, including meerkats, pigs and goats as well as llamas, sheep, giant rabbits and chinchillas. The whole family can play in the tractor barn, piglets’ paradise, the soft play area Bundle Barn and there’s the Jumping Pillow to bounce on and incredible Spider Tower to climb. There is also the Orchard Café to keep the whole family going, offering a wide range of hot and cold food Family Cycle Ride Sun 12 Feb 10am–12 noon (booking required) A three mile guided cycle ride through the scenic River Lee Country Park. Bring a puncture repair kit. Meet in Pindar Car Park, Windmill Lane, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire EN8 9AJ Star Track Lee Valley Athletics Centre, Meridian Way, Edmonton, London N9 OAR

Mon 13 - Fri 17 Feb 8-12 yrs (booking required) Prices and times to be confirmed The award winning Lee Valley Athletics Centre is the training ground for many of the UK’s top athletes and 2012 hopefuls. Athletics coaches from the state of the art centre will be providing tuition in different sporting disciplines to all children in the star track scheme. To book one of these courses, contact 020 8344 7230 or visit


35-47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA 020 7613 7498 Offers a broad range of arts-based activities and performances for children aged 0 to 12 years and their parents/ carers. Many of our events are free or low-priced supporting families who are on a low income and who may find it difficult to access arts and cultural activities – see website for details Wiggly Jigglers Creative Movement for Babies and Toddlers Mon 9 & Mon 23 Jan 1pm -3pm £3 per child* 0 – 2 yrs Children are full of life and leave us in no doubt that they need to move, and that we need plenty of energy to keep up with them. At these creative movement sessions they will get the space, the freedom and the time to move in ways that support their development and that stimulate their imaginations *Families registered with Little Oaks Children’s Centre attend free StoryCraft Workshops with Apples and Snakes Mon 30 Jan 1.30pm – 2 £2 per child Age range: 2 – 5 yrs Led by a different storyteller or poet every month the sessions encourage families to enjoy stories together in an active and fun way. Using puppets and percussion instruments, stories are animated and involve actions, singing and discussion. All sessions feature a hands-on craft activity. Group bookings from nurseries and children’s centres welcome Kids’ Film Fun Workshops Sun 19 Feb 1pm–3pm Child £4 or £5.50 inc. Kids’ Cine Time screening 5–12yrs under 9yrs must be accompanied by an adult Extend the fun after a visit to Kids’ Cine Time by joining our hugely popular filmmaking workshops where children have the opportunity to make their own short animated films. Sessions include experimenting with editing, learning about stop-motion animation, sound effects and more Kids’ Cine Time Enjoy a collection of films for all the family every Saturday and Sunday at 12 noon (11am on Kids’ Film Fun Workshop days)


01708 899840. Open: daily Sun 1 NovWed 31 Mar open 9.30am-4.30pm, 1 Apr-31 Oct open 9.30am-5pm Unique wetland reserve with innovative visitor centre, shop, café, wildlife garden, and children’s


Giraffe @ Westfield Stratford City The latest Giraffe restaurant has opened at Westfield Stratford City. Its modern design interior offers lots of seating options with its ‘floating’ lily pad mezzanine level taking centre stage. Giraffe is a perfect choice to cater for families with a separate Kid’s Menu for under 7s that includes tomato pasta, breaded chicken fingers, burgers, pizza along with a Young Adult’s menu – being a little more exotic if they don’t want to order from the main menu. We were welcomed by Kate, our ultra friendly waitress, and quickly chose Nachos Nirvana (£6.95) for starters - home fried tortilla chips topped with melted jack cheese, guacamole, sour cream, fresh tomato salsa & jalapenos - that tasted as freshly cooked as it looked especially with the optional crispy chorizo on the top – very naughty! For mains, we continued our culinary world trip with the kids choosing BBQ Chicken &

adventure play area - boardwalks throughout for wheelchair and pushchair access Entrance charges: Free to RSPB members and residents of Havering & Thurrock. Non-members: £2.50 adult, £1 child, £7 family (2 adults and up to 4 children) Kids’ Birdwatching Club Sat 14 Jan & Sat 11 Feb 10am £5 Are you a budding birdwatcher? Then why not join us on these special days held once a month? Explore the reserve through the seasons, watching and learning about the birds that visit and live here. Children must be accompanied by an adult. No need to book


Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, SE10 8XJ 020 8858 4422 Open: daily 10am-5pm, free Space Safari This is a special planetarium show for under-7s see website for times as these vary. Join Ted the Teddy Bear as he journeys throughout the solar

Smoked Cheddar Quesadilla (£8.45) – toasted flour tortilla filled with shredded BBQ chicken, black bean chilli & oozing with melted smoked cheddar, served with dips; Sushi Rice Salad with Grilled Yakitori Chicken on crispy nori with a wasabi & soy dressing (£9.95); and a Cheese & Bacon Burger with potato skins (£5.25) from

system looking for the Great Big Bear in the sky. With interactivity, music and rhyme, the show is a must for pre-school children Explore Saturdays Sat 14, 21, 28 Jan 12 noon 1pm 2pm 3pm free 6 yrs+ Hear about the world-changing discoveries in time and navigation made at this historic site


Emerson Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4XA 020 8708 8100 Open: Tues & Wed 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm Story Puppets Sun 5 Feb 11.30am all ages drop in Create your own set of special Valentines Mansion finger puppets with special visitors from Discover Children’s Story Centre. Take your puppets round the mansion with you and create your own stories and adventures for them How Does Your Garden Grow? Tue 14 Feb 2-5 yrs 10.30am 1.30pm £2.50 per child (parents and carers free)

the Young Adults menu – which was generously sized and absolutely delicious. For the adults, I picked the Double Roast Crispy Duck on green chilli & potato hash with mango & cranberry relish from the seasonal Christmas menu and my partner one of our favourites, Hot “Thai” Duck Stir Fry (£10.25) – a fantastic mass of shredded BBQ duck, egg noodles topped with chilli jam and crispy shallots that hits the spot perfectly. Giraffe has a simple ethos of freshly cooked food for everyone served to the sound of great music — guaranteed to make you feel good! Well throw in a fantastic variety of cuisines and really friendly staff too as Giraffe always delivers a special treat! 304-305 The Loft, The Gallery Westfield Stratford City, E20 1ET 020 3463 9808 Open 9.30am except Sat 9am & Sun 10am

Join in with songs and stories about the gardens at Valentines Mansion and celebrate (hopefully!) the first signs of spring. Make your own tissue flowers to take away Wonderful Water Gardens Wed 15 Feb 5-12yrs 10.30am 1.30pm £2.50 per child (parents and carers free) Design your own mini-model based on the historic water garden features of Valentines Mansion complete with a shell-covered grotto, flowers and wildlife Under 5’s Explore, Make & Do Tue 21 Feb 11am to 2pm 1-5 yrs and families free drop in Play musical instruments and make your own shaker to take home MARKETS


E8 4PH Open: Saturdays 9am-5pm Nearest Underground Station: Hackney Central Diverse range of shops and restaurants

COLUMBIA ROAD FLOWER MARKET Columbia Road, E2 Open: Sundays 8am-3pm Nearest Underground Station: Old Street, Bethnal Green Flower Market selling plants, flowers, shrubs, trees and accessories for the garden


Leadenhall Market, EC3V 1LR 020 7621 0709 Open: Mon-Fri 7am-4pm Nearest Underground Station: Bank, Monument Fine food and clothing

OLD SPITALFIELDS MARKET 105a Commercial Street, Spitalfields, E1 6BG Open: Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sun 9am-5pm Nearest Underground Station: Liverpool Street, Aldgate East Fashion, clothes, antiques, art, records, books

January/February 2012 Families East | 15


New Alpine Adventure coming to Lee Valley Park Farms A new Alpine Adventure area at Hayes Hill Farm and an interactive dairy at neighbouring Holyfield Hall Farm are part of a £84,000 scheme to make Lee Valley Park Farms even more fun to young visitors in 2012. This will include a thrilling toboggan run, reindeer attraction, a new ‘World of Farming’ exhibit to educate visitors about farming in different regions of the world and an interactive herd of cows. Work starts in December 2011 and is due to complete by April 2012. “The Alpine Adventure will be unashamedly great fun; we’re aiming the 30m-long toboggan at 5-12 year olds. They’ll scoot down the slope - made of similar material to artificial ski slopes – on huge lorry tyre inner tubes!” said Alan Butler of the Regional Park Authority as he outlined the plans. “The other half of the project is to install a herd of interactive full sized cows with milkable udders, which will give children an unbeatable insight into where their milk comes from.” Lee Valley Park Farms Stubbins Hall Lane, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 2EF

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Families London East Issue 65 January/February  

Magazine for Families London East Issue 65 January/February