MAY 2012 ISSUE NO. 139
south east london
with working website links
Confidence, Communication and Concentration Book your FREE Drama Class today Watch your child’s self-esteem soar with Perform’s unique drama, dance and singing classes. Our Classes for weekly workshops will do wonders for their 4 – 8s and 8 – social, linguistic and physical development as Visit perform 12s. .o well as being the best fun they’ll have all week. to find your rg.uk nearest venue.
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families south east - may 2012
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MILLIONS OF tourists are booked to join in with the grand-style celebrations planned for London this summer (let’s hope they remember to pack their cagoules). Why should they have all the fun though? Whether Thameside, inside royal palaces or at special events in museums and parks - it’s all there for us to enjoy too. Plan ahead and be part of the action - we’ve whittled out some of the best, family-friendly spectaculars. Closer to home, with your own family birthdays to look forward to in the coming year, we have tips galore and brilliant local entertainers who really know how to party! Robina Cowan, editor
IN THIS ISSUE 3-4 Local News and Views Young southeast Londoners putting on a performance; three great local shops; toys for less at the Toy Library and Baby Fair; and a new student work scheme
5 Book Review Page Justine Crow’s top titles for children and parents
6-7 Education News Open day dates; SEN scholarships; year 1 phonic screening and GCSE changes
8-10 The Best Children’s Parties Dos and don’ts to ensure success; and entertainers galore to guarantee a good time is had by all
11 What’s New Our pick of this month’s new products and support for parents
12-13 Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Where to be involved with the country’s big summer events
14 Family Health Living with reflux - one family’s experience, and expert advice
LocalNews email your news to email@example.com
ildren h C r o f s ie it iv Act Freedom Academy students in the spotlight The southeast London choir 8Trax were the youngest of 24 groups chosen from thousands to appear on CBBC Does Glee Club in aid of Sports Relief. The group traveled to film at BBC Scotland in front of a studio audience. Judge David Grant said “Looking like the Jackson 8 and just blew the stage up, that was amazing”, and head judge Carrie Grant agreed, stating “8Trax that was amazing!” The choir all attend the Freedom Academy performing arts school at Goodrich School in East Dulwich. They are not the only Freedom Academy pupils to hit the big time - Pierre Hanson Johnson has been chosen to tour the country with the National production of ‘Oliver!’ Pierre will be on the road for a year appearing with comedian Brian Conley as Fagin. Meanwhile, Freedom Academy pupil Jahzeel Vassell Hamilton, who was chosen to train at the Lion King Cub School for six months, has been picked to play the lead role as Young Simba in the West End production. The Summer term will see all Freedom Academy pupils join together in a Summer Review at a 200 seat theatre after they’ve taken their LAMDA examinations in Drama and Musical Theatre. Freedom Academy run weekly classes in street dance, drama and performing arts in southeast London. For information, call Katherine or Steve on 020 8244 4873 or see www.freedomacademy.co.uk.
Little shipmates ahoy! Perform’s weekly classes are filled with mermaids and pirates this term, as 4-8 yearolds set sail on the good ship Jammy Dodger for a swashbuckling sea adventure, brought to life through drama, singing and drama. Local classes run after school and on Saturdays in Blackheath, Dulwich, Beckenham, Bromley and Petts Wood, and children are invited to a free trial session. For information, call 0845 400 1277 or go to www.perform.org.uk.
15-19 What’s On Gallery and museum events, theatre and music performances, free art activities and fun in the great outdoors
re What’s Insto
20 The Back Page Local business contacts to make your life easier
Front cover: Photography by Sarah Butters
Next issue out: 1 June, deadline 11 May
Families South East PO Box 11591, London SE26 6WB 020 8699 7240 www.familiesse.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
© Families South East. 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 consequence. Families South East is part of the Families group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence.
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Fourway’s facelift Customers in and around Herne Hill are benefitting from the shiny new refit at Fourway Pharmacy. The current owner, pharmacist Roger Humbles, has run the shop since 1999, providing a family-friendly community service that includes free advice on medicines and healthcare, passport photos for babies, children and adults, the best range of baby food, eco-friendly nappies and baby feeding kit in the area and TENS machine hire, NHS Health Checks, ‘flu vaccinations, medicines reviews and the new Electronic Prescription Service. The refit allows for a greater range of products, with organic toiletries and homeopathic and herbal remedies alongside baby products, health supplements, first aid products and toiletries. Access is a breeze for customers with pushchairs and wheelchairs, thanks to a fully automatic sliding door and wider aisles. Fourway Pharmacy is open from 9am-7pm every weekday and until 6pm on Saturdays, at 12 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill SE24 9HU, 020 7924 9344. Their website has a comprehensive list of health charities and support groups, at www.fourwaypharmacy.co.uk.
may 2012 - families south east
Mo’s Potting Shed blossoms
Fit for summer
Mother and daughter Ellie and Sara Ali are the proud new owners of Moe’s Potting Shed in West Dulwich. The shop is a veritable treasure trove of delights for children, and popular stop-off for local families with celebrations in mind. With over 80% of stock sourced from British companies, the shelves are stacked with wooden toys and puzzles from brands including Big Jigs, Green Toys, Melissa & Doug, alongside classics from the House of Marbles and Insect Lore. For the great outdoors, there are giant chess and draughts sets, boules, Backyard Bunch gardening kits, jolly Yeo wellies and children’s patio furniture. The solid toys and puzzles make perfect birthday presents, or for party bag fillers and ‘pocket money to spend’ treats, scores of delights such as light-up pirate rubber ducks, this pirate skittle set and bug sets for creepy-crawley lovers (there were even butterflies hatching instore when we dropped in). If you’re organising a ‘do’, the shop can supply bunting, cake stands, cupcake kits and party prizes. They even fill and deliver party bags and helium balloons - how helpful is that? Moe’s Potting Shed is open from 9am-5pm Mondays to Saturdays at 109 Rosendale Road, West Dulwich SE21 8EZ, 020 8761 2600.
Training Points in Crystal Palace are currently offering Families readers a free 30 minute trial, and we caught up with one reader who did just that, telling us: “As someone who tends to flit from one exercise idea to another and have problems making things stick, I was looking forward to some expert help! Where gyms can be big, daunting and impersonal, my experience at Training Points was quite the opposite. Because it’s a small space, you get to know the trainers and other users really well. The classes are a lot smaller, so you get a lot more personal attention to ensure that your workout is far more effective. There’s a range of clientèle, not just mums - although they do cater really well with targeted ante- and post-natal classes, such as their specialist class for mums with babies under eight months - it’s great you can bring baby along! Personally speaking, I’m really looking forward to the Hula Hoop post natal class on Monday morning in the park. I have never been able to Hula Hoop, but five minutes with Mathilde, and I’m virtually professional! It’s on Mondays at 10.15 in Crystal Palace Park, so do keep a look out for this one and other outdoor classes. If you grab some friends and book classes as a group, they’ll give you a discount. Training points can keep you on track with their personal training services (they are all qualified personal trainers) and sports or holistic massage sessions.” Training Points is at 85 Church Road in Crystal Palace. Join in by calling Mathilde on 07986 764 553 and see what’s on offer at www.trainingpoints.co.uk.
Free storytelling in Dulwich The award-winning Dulwich Books has recently expanded its children’s area, making space for twice weekly storytelling and activities for the under fives. The shop’s newly-appointed specialist children’s bookseller hosts the storytelling at 11am on Thursdays and Saturdays, as well as being available to offer advice and personal recommendations to inspire young bookworms. Drop in to find out more and join in - it’s free. Dulwich Books is at 6 Croxted Road, West Dulwich SE21 8SW, 020 8670 1920, www.dulwichbooksevents.com.
n Ups w o r G r o f s New
Student services We all know how hard it is for 16 and 17 year-olds to find work. When southeast London college students Carlene Bartley and Rhianne Newton found themselves in the same position, they took matters into their own hands and founded Student Services to provide services to the community, and jobs for students. They told us: “If you would like your dog walked, car washed, garden tidied or some chores that need doing around the house, then we have students who are very responsible and willing to do that for a bargain price!” The duo promise that all students are thoroughly interviewed, trained and specifically picked out for the job beforehand, and the prices are very reasonable. By hiring them to help you, you will help them with all-important experience on their CVs, so everyone wins. If you have an older child kicking his or her heels at home, this could be a good place for them to offer their skills and be paid for work experience. Check out the website at http://studentsservices.webs.com.
Baby and toddler fair
WIN tickets to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea Hold on to your biscuits - The Tiger Who Came To Tea is coming to town. Judith Kerr’s award winning picture book has been on the best seller lists for over 40 years, and is undisputedly one of the classic children’s books of the last century. Following on from last year’s highly successful tour, the tea-guzzling tiger is back on the road in a delightful family show; packed with oodles of magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos. The much-loved tale of teatime mayhem has been brought to life for the stage by David Wood OBE; the writer behind the hit stage versions of The BFG, Babe the Sheep Pig and Fantastic Mr Fox. For listing details, see our What’s On pages. READER COMPETITION: We have a fantastic family ticket (for four people) to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea this summer at the Lyric Theatre in London. It’s easy to enter online simply go to www.familiesse.co.uk and click ‘competitions’ in the toolbar.
Shenda is Wonder Woman Locals voted with their fingers when they were asked by The Wonder Women Network to nominate their most inspirational business woman. With over 60 hopefuls in the running, Shenda Falvey topped the league and was delighted when her victory was announced on International Women’s Day. Shenda runs personal training and bootcamps in Greenwich, offering motivational outdoor sessions, and guarantees to get results fast. She told us: “I have yet to replace my tubing bands and skipping ropes with a golden lasso or my gym kit with a sparkly corset and hot pants, but I feel very honoured to have won the title ‘Wonder Woman 2012’, especially as it was my clients who secured me the top spot!” The Wonder Women Network is a networking site for female entrepreneurs in the Greenwich and Lewisham boroughs, at www.thewonderwomennetwork.co.uk. For more information about Shenda’s bootcamps or personal traning, call 07887 827 335 or go to www.shendafalveypersonal training.co.uk.
families south east - may 2012
Sell it Mama! are bringing a Baby and Toddler Fair to Kingswood Halls in Blackheath on 26 May. It’s a great opportunity for local families to buy top quality second-hand baby goods, from prams, baby clothes and toys, to books nursery equipment and maternity wear. Local ‘mumpreneurs’ will also showcase their products and services for mothers and babies, there are free taster sessions with local mother and baby groups, plus a home-baked cake stall to keep up your energy levels. To book one, email email@example.com. For more information, go to www.sellitmama.com and see our What’s On listings.
Lewisham Toy Library Nearly new, recycling and upcycling are very much buzzwords these days but they’re not new - Lewisham Toy Library has been providing stimulating, educational fun toys and play equipment for 40 years. A local charity, the Toy Library is an invaluable resource for parents and those who care for children in the borough of Lewisham. The organisers told us: “We have a wide range of toys for children between 0 and 8 years to encourage educational development as well as promoting active physical play. Our toys include balance bikes, art and design toys, multicultural dressing up clothes and toys, story sacks, special needs toys, large toys, games, jigsaws and much much more. We also have a large collection of special needs toys with advice on hand to make the right choice.” Membership for a small fee per month is available to all families, carers and childminders living in the London borough of Lewisham and is free to families on income supports. Proof of address and benefits will be required. The Toy Library is based at the Old Coach House, 41 Rushey Green (entrance on Rosenthal Road), Catford SE6 4AS, 020 8698 7433, www.lewishamtoylibrary.org.uk.
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The Bookseller Crow
is a fantastic, volume stuffed shop run by some of the most knowledgeable bookworms in the business. Call in for the feel of a real bookshop, or if you’re too busy, pick up the phone or point your mouse at their website for a fast mailorder service. Justine Crow recommends this month’s best titles. I USED TO rattle through the jobs, babe on hip and still find time to sit in a chum’s kitchen consuming gossip and cake (unlimited eclairs really is the best thing about breastfeeding - screw the convenience or nutritional imperative). Yet now I am unshackled from the children, their skills at self-feeding and perambulation perfected, I find I am Missus Unsociable. I never see anyone or do anything other than work or the washing any more. Last week, I caved and spent the evening drinking and scoffing with girlfriends. On a Thursday. Naughty I know. But ultimately, it was better than a back rub. CHARLES DICKENS, AN ADVENTURE FROM HISTORY - Ladybird rrp £4.99. And at this cheese and wine female therapy fest I discovered just how disconnected I had become. While they discussed their - can’t think why the word wobbly looms large in my mind - Zumba classes and en masse trips to see Lucien Freud’s mounds of flesh, I realised I had nothing to say and that, though I’ve said it before, I really did need to get out more. So I offered to take my daughters up to town ‘to see something’ and they, under the impression the ‘something’ had to be from H&M, agreed to come with me. We got as far as London Bridge before the entire Underground had signal failure. So it was either the Charles Dickens expo at the Museum of London within walking distance, or home. To my astonishment my girls chose the exhibition and forgot all about the joys of cheap fashion. And while I’d forgotten how much I knew already about the writer thanks to this iconic series published at 2/6 each back in the 60s (I still have the Florence Nightingale one), they had no idea and were thrilled to discover just how strong the literary connections were to the place they live in now. The reissued Ladybird makes no concession to today’s approach to research through reading and the text is quite dense for the age group it intends. Thank heck then for dear Terry Deary who continues to do his bit for British education by producing his idiosyncratic history primers. Indeed the rail accident that Dickens survived gets his brilliant treatment in TERROR ON THE TRAIN, Victorian Tales, A& C Black rrp £4.99. And coming soon, TWISTED TUNNELS, the tale of what happened when the Underground was built. I’ve been waiting for a Central line train ever since. HOW TO MAKE MONEY by Christopher Edge - Scholastic rrp £6.99. At the same girly get-together, about three glasses in, the subject of how to get boys to read also came up. I know that generalising is stupendously wrong but it seems nascent females are natural book clubbers - they collect and discuss and obsess their literary infatuations all the way into their teens, from Rainbow Fairies to Twilight. Most boys however do their clubbing in the playground and on Xbox Live. As the proud possessor of a lad not exactly fixated by the prospect of ‘sitting-down-and-reading-a-novel’ (let alone re-reading the same one several times) while there are balls to be kicked, games to be loaded and whole packets of Frosties to eat in one go, I know that boys do have their own common enthusiasms and thanks largely to football transfer fees and The Apprentice, the culture of making money is one of them. Here’s how. (And what’s that noise? Ah, that’ll be the sound of pages being turned). FLIGHT SCHOOL by Nick Barnard - T&H rrp £7.95. Who needs the technological complexity of a simulator when you can get it all in a book for less than the price of a sandwich on an Easyjet flight to Alicante? Step-by-step you get to master the controls, learn to de-code the dials on the flight deck and the lights on the runway, identify all the different types of plane and then take a test to get your licence. What else do boys refer to incessantly? Could it be the universally loathed by grown-ups telly prog, Come Fly With Me? CHOMP by Carl Hiaasen - Orion rrp £9.99. One of my guilty pleasures (along with One Born Every Minute and The Swimming Times - it is just so scintillating being me), his anarchic adult comic crime novels involve scandals, vulgarity and the sounds of many, many sacred cows being slaughtered, usually on the Florida Keys. The strong eco message survives in his children’s stories as does the anarchy. This latest begins:
“Mickey Cray had been out of work since a frozen iguana hit him on the head,” which funnily enough, got my son’s attention instantly... THE ONE DOLLAR HORSE by Lauren St John - Orion rrp £9.99. She’s building quite a fanbase, judging by the number of kids coming in for her books and this latest about an unlikely partnership apparently fulfils a dream from the animal loving author’s past. THE GREAT PIRATICAL RUMBISTIFICATION by Margaret Mahy - Orion rrp £4.99. For the younger reader, reissued from the 70s, eye-patches and peglegs never go out of fashion. I remember reading it to my little sister. Now she lives in a caravan and works at a petrol station, a modern day pirate if ever there was one. UNDER THE SPELL OF THE MOON - Frances Lincoln rrp £7.99. You will recognise many of the contributors in this collection of poems and riddles from all around the globe not necessarily by name but by their images; Quentin Blake and Anthony Browne feature alongside their (illustrious?) counterparts from as far afield as Russia and Nicaragua. Royalties go to IBBY, an organisation devoted to bringing picture books to children all over the world. Cue massive round of applause.. THE VERY HELPFUL HEDGEHOG by Rosie Wellesly Pavillion rrp £5.99. Onto a delicious picture book that name checks apple varieties. No, really it does. Takes me back to the big old house we shared with another family (cue much curtain twitching across the road) that had an ageing orchard and an apple shed that smelled so overwhelmingly sickly that we actually had to dare each other to go in. And when you were inside holding your breath, you found a crumbling treasure map on the back of the door identifying each of the thirty-six trees and the names of every apple or pear that grew on them. It all got steam-rollered in the name of progress, mindyou. Prime green belt land, you see. Now there’s a brace of new-builds where I used to lie in a hammock with tummy ache from eating too many unripe Pippins. DOODLEDAY by Ross Collins - Gullane rrp £5.99. There’s some cool freestyling art here when Harvey idly scribbles on the one day of the year that it is a good idea NOT to be creative. Fortunately, mum saves the day, if not dad. He was still trussed up to the lamp-post last time I looked. CHILL by Carol Thompson, Little Hare rrp £6.99, also has beautiful, sketchy illustrations and a friendship message that concludes with a piggy doing yoga and a bunny rabbit giving a massage. What else? ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET? by Ben Hatch rrp £8.99. A sort of road movie with museums, the author and a missus and two small kids tests out hotels, attractions and swear words so that you don’t have to. It’s lesson learned, albeit a very amusing one. Whereas you or I have endured a hellish week here or there with toddlers, safe in the knowledge we will be home soon, they deliberately suffer an 8000 mile journey for months IN ENGLAND, for the sake of a guide book. And I thought I was the ultimate underachiever. THE LITTLE BOOK OF NITS by Richard Jones & Justine Crow - Bloomsbury rrp £7.99. Speaking of which, in all the years I’ve been doing this page, I think it is fair to say I have never used it to blow my own trumpet. Such as it is. Finally however, though not quite the Booker prize short-listed novel my dad had hoped for, nor indeed the illiterate prison ravings my headmaster predicted, a BBC World Wildlife blogger and R4 Home Planet regular entomologist chum (every home should have one) and I have combined to create the ultimate guide to one of parenting’s most exasperating problems: head lice, and the eradication thereof. We figured the experience of all those hours spent de-fleaing the offspring had to be worth a few bob. Plus, it seemed a shame not to share the fascinating facts, tips and itchy anecdotes we’ve accrued along the way. So here it is. Proof of why I definitely need to get out more.
The Bookseller Crow, 50 Westow St. Crystal Palace, London SE19 3AF Telephone: 020 8771 8831 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.booksellercrow.co.uk awwwwww. .f faam mi il li ieessssee. .ccoo. .uukk
may 2012 - families south east
Education News Jubilee curator goes back to school
Nursery & Junior School
Tue 15 May 2 - 3.30 pm
Independent education for girls Nursery & Junior School (3-11)
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SCHS Nursery & Junior School, 6@UDQSQDD1N@C 2621 NEE2SQD@SG@L'HKK DL@HKDMPTHQXRGI FCRS MDS
A former student of Streatham & Clapham High School is now Curator of Photographs at the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is currently exhibiting photographs of Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton as a celebration of the Diamond Jubilee. Susanna Brown (centre) returned to her former school to speak to sixth form students as part of the Head Masterâ€™s Lecture Series. She told the girls about her career path, culminating in her present position which she described as her â€˜dream jobâ€™. Susanna explained a little about her curatorial role at the V&A Museum, emphasising the care with which this national, prestigious and highly important collection is treated. The photographic archive ranges from the notebooks of Henry Fox Talbot, a Victorian pioneer of photography, right through to contemporary prints by young, cutting edge photographers of the twenty-first century. The students were amazed at the degree of forward planning required in preparing for an exhibition, and her inspirational talk elicited a great deal of enthusiasm from the audience. Streatham & Clapham High School GDST is holding junior school open afternoons on 15 May and 26 June. For admissions information, call 020 8677 8400 or see www.schs.gdst.net.
Open day dates
Develop your childâ€™s independence
Kumonâ€™s maths and English study programmes are tailored to your childâ€™s individual needs, nurturing their independence and enthusiasm for learning. To unlock your childâ€™s potential, contact your local Instructor for a Free Assessment:
Blackheath Rizwana Arain 020 8239 0093
South Bermondsey Abby Abiodun-Tijani 020 8395 4596
Forest Hill Ann Rolfe 020 8699 0264
Thamesmead Kemi Olomo 020 8316 7516 kumon.co.uk
Fees vary. Please refer to your local study centre.
families south east - may 2012
The following independent schools are welcoming prospective parents and pupils for 2013 entry. For more schools features and information and more open day dates, go to www.familiesse.co.uk: Bromley High School GDST 14 May Juniors and Seniors. Blackbrook Lane BR1, 020 8781 7000, www.bromleyhigh.gdst.net Eltham College Age 11+ Saturday 16 June, ages 7+ and 11+ Saturday 15 September. Grove Park Road, Mottingham, London SE9 4QF. 020 8857 1455, www.eltham-college.org.uk Rosemead Preparatory School 24 May and 14 June, Prep 70 Thurlow Park Road SE21 8HZ, Pre-Prep Elmcourt Road, London SE27 9BZ, 020 8670 5865, www.rosemeadprepschool.org.uk Streatham & Clapham High School GDST Junior School Tuesday 15 May and 26 June. Wavertree Road SW2, 020 8674 6912, www.schs.gdst.net Colfeâ€™s School Nursery to Prep 15 May, 020 8463 8240, Senior School 19 June 2012. Horn Park Lane SE12, 020 8852 2283, www.colfes.com Croydon High School GDST Nursery and Reception 16 May, Junior and Senior Schools 17 May. Old Farleigh Road CR2, 020 8260 7508, www.croydonhigh.gdst.net.
Scholarships for SEN supporters Hundreds of school support staff are to get degree-level and specialist training in helping children with special educational needs and/ or disabilities (SEND), under a new ÂŁ500,000 programme set out in April by Childrenâ€™s Minister Sarah Teather. The annual SEN support scholarship programme will boost the skills of talented teaching assistants and school staff who work with children with SEND by funding staff through rigorous, specialist courses and qualifications. Sarah Teather said: â€œWe know that support staff can make a real difference to the achievement of pupils with SEN and disabilities. They are never a substitute for a qualified teacher - but we know that when used effectively, they are vital to giving the most vulnerable pupils the support they need to get the most out of school. The scholarship programme will fund 50 per cent of the total course costs - up to a ceiling of ÂŁ2,000 each. Applications close on 17 May, with the first scholarships awarded later this year.
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Beautiful fundraisers at Bromley High A beautiful spring day provided the perfect backdrop for Easter Bonnet parades up and down the country. At Bromley High Junior School, the celebrations also raised money for Brain Tumour Research as every girl sporting a bonnet donated a pound to the charity to support their work in finding cures for brain tumours. The ‘Best Bonnet’ winner was 11 year-old Anis Stainsbury, who said “I really enjoyed making my hat, even though it kept slipping off my head!All the hats were amazing - I was really impressed by the hats made by the younger ones. It was a lovely event and I wish I could do it again next year”. Head teacher Penny Jones added: “We are so proud of our girls and their families for going the extra mile to raise money for such a worthwhile cause whilst enjoying the challenge of millinery!”. Bromley High School GDST is holding a Taster Day for prospective Junior and Senior school girls on 14 May. For more information, call 020 8781 7000 or go to www.bromleyhigh.gdst.net.
Summer Swimming Courses Intensive half hour crash courses for children 4 years plus 6 – 10th August & 20 – 24th August at St Dunstan’s College, Catford Bookings taken until 24th June – places are limited
020 8651 2002 email@example.com
www.superkidsswimmingschool.co.uk We also run weekly lessons during term time at Catford, Dulwich & Nunhead
BROMLEY HIGH SCHOOL
New checks for children Following on from a pilot scheme last year, new phonics tests are to be introduced to all Year 1 pupils this summer. The Year 1 phonics screening check is a short assessment to confirm whether children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard, and will apply to all Year 1 pupils in maintained schools, academies and Free Schools. The test will take place between 18 and 22 June, with the aim of identifying children who need extra help and who can then be given support by their school to improve their reading skills. According to the Department of Education, the check will comprise a list of 40 words and non-words or nonsense words, which a child will read one-to-one with a teacher. Half of the words cover phonics skills that tend to be learnt in Reception, while the other half are based on Year 1 phonics skills. Word from the DfE is that the tests will not be daunting, but are merely there to check that children at the end of Year 1 have the foundations they need to learn to read, such as skills for blending sounds into words and the phonic knowledge of recognising the sounds for basic letters and letter combinations.
Exam boards get tough Exams regulator Ofqual has announced that it will be making changes to GCSEs in English literature, maths, history and geography, tightening them up and ensuring students study the whole curriculum. This comes amid concerns that pupils are only studying topics likely to come up in exams, rather than the entire course. “We are tightening GCSEs in these key subjects to make sure students cover the whole curriculum,” says Ofqual chief executive Glenys Stacey. “We want our young people to have the best possible educational experience, with qualifications that prepare them for the future. The exam boards have welcomed this steer from the regulator and are to look again at these qualifications and how the rules are interpreted, to make sure that young people taking them have to study an appropriate range and depth of the subject.” The announcement is part of a move away from ‘teaching to the exam’ and to encourage wider study. Changes to GCSE geography will be introduced for teaching from this September, with maths from November and history and English literature papers from September 2013. “It is vital confidence is restored in the exams system,” added a Department for Education spokesman. “We are committed to raising standards for all pupils and are pleased Ofqual is taking action to ensure that GCSEs in these subjects are more challenging.”
Win educational resources for your school or nursery Gibsons is inviting Key Stage 1 children to draw a colourful creature of their choice for the chance to win £250 worth of valuable resources for their school or nursery. Gibsons’ My World jigsaw puzzles and games are a fabulous range of educational, fun resources designed in conjunction with child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer, with each element linked to early learning goals. Gibsons provide schools with a pack containing everything they need to take part including drawing sheets, an ideas leaflet and product sample. The closing date for entries is 22 June and the winning school and pupil will be announced on 2 July. Read more at www.myworldtoys.co.uk or call 020 8661 8866.
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“Bromley High helps you succeed in anything you want to do in life” Eve, Year 7
A GDST School
OPEN EVENTS MAY 14TH AND SEPTEMBER 29TH 2012
JUNIOR AND SENIOR FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LIFE AT BROMLEY HIGH SCHOOL 4+, 7+, 11+ AND 16+ Fees Assistance & Scholarships available firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 8781 7000
The Education Centre TEC A vibrant tuition establishment • 11+ & 12+ entrance preparation for Grammar schools • Common entrance preparation for Independent schools • Maths & English for KS1, KS2 & KS3 • GCSE Maths, English & Science • AS and A2 Level for all Sciences, Mathematics & English • Individual Tuition
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Best Children’s Birt ★ Great fun for girls and boys of all ages and all abilities ★ Choose your own dance style and music, or leave it to us ★ Learn, rehearse and perform your personalised routine ★ Party games ★ Trophy for birthday child ★ Parents can relax! Phone: 020 8265 4634
What What will will you you discover discover Inside Inside the the Story Story Sock? Sock? What do you What do you think think is is hiding? hiding? Why don’t you have Why don’t you have a a look? look? There could be a fun game to play Or even something arty Things to sing, things to see Come on and book a party! Story Sock parties are a great way of keeping the little ones entertained at any occasion. With the use of a story (brought to life with characters and props), songs,games and art, we can tailor a party to any theme in an original and exciting way.
Age range: 2-6 years firstname.lastname@example.org | 07957 136270
IF YOU’RE ENERGETIC, creative, an ace magician or puppeteer, have a vast house and actually like Other People’s Children, you probably rub your hands with glee when your precious poppet’s birthday comes around again. Or maybe you’re like the rest of us, who roll our eyes as we envisage a classful of overexcited children romping through the house at full scream. The devil’s in the detail and with Sarah Butters' dos and don'ts for birthday parties you could have so much fun you’ll be counting the days until you can do it all again in 2103. in the playground. Up to the age of seven, it’s best to stick to either a full class party, or one where you simply invite all the girls, or all the boys. Tempting as it is to leave off the class troublemaker or the girl who leaves your daughter out, this is an approach that will only cause future heartache. A party invitation not sent is an invitation not received. Teach your child to be inclusive. For nursery aged children and over sevens, it’s fine to be selective. Parties tend to become more expensive as children get older and taking 30 children bowling, the cinema or a pizza restaurant could break the bank.
DO plan early If you think you can book your first choice entertainer and venue a fortnight before your child’s party, think again. The best people and places are fully booked months in advance and if they’re not, ask yourself why not. It’s a question I wish I had posed the year I left it late and introduced a knife juggling IES PERFORM PART circus act to my four year-old. It’s not a mistake I made twice. Danny Nutt, who runs Nutty’s Children’s Parties told us “I’m usually booked six to eight weeks ahead. We do get last minute requests though which we accommodate wherever we can.” The early bird really does get the best entertainer!
DON’T be afraid to chase late replies
DO consider a joint party Instead of entering into a ‘Who can get the invitation out first’ race with other parents, join forces and funds. If your child has a friend whose birthday falls around the same time, why not organise a party together. If you’re going to invite the same group of friends and even opt for the same sort of party, this is a great option that halves the cost and the stress. Make sure you and your party partner are clear about the planning and the expectations.
DON’T let your child decide the guest list If you let your little one take charge of who they’re inviting, they’ll leave out the friend they’ve fallen out with
families south east - may 2012
There are few things more irritating than chasing the parents who haven’t bothered to respond to a party invitation. Experience has taught me that parents who don’t respond within the first few days either haven’t received it, or have forgotten. Give yourself a helping hand by putting an RSVP date on the invitation. After that, don’t be afraid to ‘remind’ via text or over a pick up time chat in the playground. Avoid involving bewildered Dads at drop off. Unless they are in charge of childcare, you’ll be disappointed. For those replies that never arrive, and there will be some, head to your party venue armed with some extra food and a few unmarked party bags. Don’t let the unexpected guests catch you out!
DO check for allergies In a group of 20 children, chances are there will be some allergies, and some children who can’t eat certain food for religious reasons. Don’t presume parents will inform you. Ask about allergies when you know who is coming along.
DON’T over cater You are feeding a group of children, not an army of
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hday Parties - ever! Imagination for the Everyday Early years Drama www.theatretots.com
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starving soldiers. Appetites shrink as excitement builds so there is no need to provide a smorgasbord of sandwiches. Stick to the tried and tested trio of party favourites - ham, jam and cheese. Throw in a selection of crisps and colourful bowls of grapes, cucumber sticks and tomatoes, plus retro jammy dodgers and iced gems for sweet treats. Forget leftovers. Peckish parents will clear the plates, often while their children are still eating.
DO consider your party date It’s heartbreaking to receive a steady stream of ‘nos’ after you’ve spent weeks securing an entertainer and a venue on a particular date. Give yourself half a chance by avoiding key dates such as Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day, and religious holidays such as Easter Saturday and Yom Kippur. Parents tend to take off on holiday as soon as school’s out, or just before term begins again so avoid weekends at either end of the school holidays.
DON’T invite too make children This is a mistake you’ll only make once. Thirty children and 30 parents will fill even the most generous church hall. Add a bouncy castle and some uninvited siblings and you are nearly on riot watch. “Siblings can dramatically increase numbers,” says mother of three Caroline. “I’d never dream of taking all three of mine to attend a party where only one has been invited - but it happens. It creates a problem with party food, with party bags and with space. I have no problem with asking about siblings on our invitations so we’re not caught out on the day.”
DON’T obsess over 5 a day There are certain things you can depend on. If you’re having a party in your garden, it will rain. If you’ve made 15 party bags, 17 children will turn up and ALL of your carefully cut cucumber, tomatoes and grapes will remain untouched on the table by the end of the party tea. Be honest. You only put them out to make sure the Annabel Karmel fan club in the corner didn’t fall out with you. Remember that it’s one meal, on one day and if all the birthday boy eats is a handful of Hula Hoops, a jam sandwich and a pack of Smarties then so what? You can force feed him broccoli for breakfast tomorrow.
DON’T make it too long The length of your party is very much dependent on the age of your children. But there is one consistent
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rule. Make sure you put a finish time on your invitations. Our party experts say one hour of entertainment is about as much as the average 2-4 year-old can take, followed by half an hour for food and farewells. You can increase that to a two hour party once children turn five years old. For larger groups and older children, 90 minutes of party entertainment works, followed by a half hour party tea. When the party is over, it can be difficult to get guests moving out of the venue. That’s where the bribes come in - be ready to hand over party bags and balloons at the door.
DO party bags
YOUR CHILD deserves the best, while YOU take a rest
PARTIES TO REMEMBER Traditional fun, planned with you & your child, food & pinatas optional Age 3 to 12yrs
Usually found in the back of your car a week after the party, just as the buttercream icing from the napkin wrapped cake is going rancid. But woe betide the mother who thinks she’s above a party bag. It’s a sure fire way to get your guests sobbing or sarcastic as they leave. Don’t fight it, simply be creative and accept that simplicity is the key. “We make up party bags to match clients budgets and interests, and can deliver them too”, says Sara Ali at Moe’s Potting Shed (020 8761 2600). “Bubble pots, pirate bath ducks or bug kits are longer lasting and more engaging than lots of plastic. Our helium balloons always go down a storm too.” Other suggestions include popping in a children’s magazine, a packet of seeds in the Spring or a personalised chocolate bar with the birthday child’s picture on it (www.itsyourchoc.co.uk). And if you want to impress by being the ultimate organised mum, include a pre-prepared thank you note. Bribing a child to write notes is easier with the reminder that ‘polite children are more likely to be invited again.’
020 7249 3242 www.partiestoremember.co.uk
DO enjoy it There are times during the planning you will find this the most absurd piece of advice. How on earth can you expect to enjoy it? Remember that this is one of those ‘gone too quickly’ milestones and if you don’t press the pause button and enjoy the sight of your child laughing with the entertainer or bouncing with his friends then the stress simply isn’t worth it. When the balloons have been jumped on and the cake is just crumbs in the carpet, it’s those memories that will make you do it all again next year!
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may 2012 - families south east
The entertainers Our hats are off to party entertainers, having seen a fair few in action over the years. Pick the right one and they’ll have your guests entranced or in stitches while you enjoy their fun from a backseat, reassured that they are in the hands of experts. Children’s entertainers usually have vast experience and contacts which you can tap into. Ask them about local venues for hire, pick their brains about a realistic timetable and suitable prizes as well as tailoring the entertainment itself to your child’s interests. When phoning entertainers, find out their preferred age range and the maximum number of children they can cope with - too many and you’ll not get the best out of them. Write down everything you’ve agreed together so there is no doubt on the day. PERFORM PARTIES are high energy, fun and totally infectious. Choose from a favourite theme such as Mamma Mia, High School Musical, In the Night Garden, mermaids and pirates, superheroes and more, and watch the guests enjoy lots of lively games, songs and improvisations. There are packages to suit all age groups from 1 to 12 year-olds, and even the invitations are included. For bookings or information, call 0845 400 1277 or see a party in action online at www.perform.org.uk/parties. THEATRE TOTS can provide an hour of entertainment including songs, drama games and pass the parcel, all designed around a chosen theme. The main event is an story which the little ones dress up and act out with a party leader. To remember their day they get a certificate and a piece of costume from the story to continue the fun at home. 0780 107 2776, www.theatretots.com. STORYSOCK parties for under 5s bring a story of your choice together with songs, games and art until the cake arrives. There’s even the option for each child to take home a wholesome book as a reminder of your child’s special day, solving the party bag problem as well. For more information and bookings, call Katy on 07957 136270 or email email@example.com, www.storysock.co.uk. DIDDI DANCE bring parties to your choice of location. Little ones, aged 2+, enjoy an hour of great activities including dancing games, action songs, hoops, dance ribbons, bubbles, balloons, bells and lots of fun. The parties promise fun and affordable entertainment which will ensure your party is the talk of the tots. Find out more from Anne-Marie on 0797 3982790, www.diddidance.com. THE BEDLAM BUNCH is a group of professionally-trained theatre actors who specialise in children’s interactive party adventures. Characters are sent from Bedlam Island with the express mission to celebrate your special day, BUT! they need the children’s help! Expect lots of crazy diversions along the way towards full-scale festivity and prizes. Games, balloon-modelling, magic, races, dressing up and challenges throughout. With Rocket Ron, you even get to build your own space rocket! Bedlam Bunch characters actively encourage lively and loud behaviour. We bring out children’s energy in the best possible way and leave them happy and inspired. Popular adventures are: Fairy Fidget’s Magic Medley; Pirate Pete’s Treasure Adventure; Sally Spin’s Circus Parade; Rocket Ron’s Intergalactic Mission; Silly Billy’s Bonkers Adventure. All entertainers are CRB checked and insured. 07846 068 583, www.thebedlambunch.co.uk MONKEY MUSIC parties are great entertainment and brilliant fun for all ages, at home or at your chosen venue. The parties include up to an hour’s musical fun including the classic favourites. There is lots of 020 8764 5185 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. GYMBOREE offer creative, interactive and engaging parties shaped around exactly what your child would love best. Choose from a range of themes and Gymboree will create the special details to make your 1-5 year old’s party a unique, exciting experience. You can book the gorgeous Herne Hill premises with purpose-built equipment and props, or Gymboree can bring the party to you. Teacher-led excitement, imagination, music, movement and lots of bubbles give your guests an amazing experience to take away. 020 8123 8423, www.gymboree-uk.com, or email email@example.com. LATINO BAMBINO parties are affordable, high-energy, physical extravaganzas involving Latin/ tropical music, dancing games, colourful props and lots of fun. Children are soon up and moving with maracas, pompoms, ribbons, hula hoops, bubbles, scarves and more for a real Fiesta time! Read more at www.latinobambino.co.uk or call 07961 838 349. CRAWLEY STUDIOS welcome arty guests, providing blank pottery to decorate, including animals, ornaments, plates and cups. The studio glaze and fire them to create professionally finished items to collect later.
families south east - may 2012
Woodvale, Forest Hill SE23. 020 8516 0002, www.crawleystudios.co.uk.
NO LATINO BAMBI
AMIGO’S MAGIC brings a magical show for all ages from 3 - 99+. With over 17 years’ experience across the world (and a member of the Magic Circle), Simon encourages the children to come up and help (as it all ‘goes wrong’ for him). The more they get involved, the more things begin to happen - making for a fast, exciting and interactive entertainment. At the end of a one hour show all the children receive balloon models. The two hour show includes plate spinning, interactive and non elimination games all to music with a bubble machine at the end. Mini Disco and Karaoke are also available. For adult parties there’s close up magic (table hopping/ mix and mingle) and a cabaret. 020 8480 8176, www.amigosmagic.co.uk. BEA’S BABY MUSIC parties are a singalong hour of fun with puppets and bubbles. Bea and her guitarist come to your venue equipped with instruments for your guests to play, and the most beautiful puppets. You can include all your favourite children’s songs to customise the party. 020 8670 9378, www.babymusic.co.uk. NUTTY’S CHILDREN’S PARTIES is a popular, original and exciting children’s entertainment company offering their trademark Adventure Parties for children aged 3-9 and Drama Workshop Parties for ages 7-11. Aimed at kids with active imaginations, bags of physical energy and a sense of adventure and fun! Their many themes include: Pirate Dan’s Treasure Hunt, Super Dan (for super hero fans), Wizard Dee (for Harry Potter fans), Daniel The Space Warrior (for Star Wars fans), Racing Car Dan (for fans of the Cars films) and the Princess Adventure, plus many more. Nutty’s also offer a disco for ages 7-11.
IC AMIGO’S MAG
Run and owned by actor, father, DJ and voice-over artist, Danny Nutt (who featured as the first Fathers Mean Business in our Jan-Feb issue), the company uses professional actors to run the parties and all themes can be catered for. For more info visit-www.nuttyschildrensparties.co.uk or email Danny at danny@nuttyschildrensparties or you can call Danny direct on 07884050954. LET’S ALL DANCE parties are fab fun! You or your child can choose the dance style and music and they do the rest. With a professionally choreographed routine, games and mini-makeovers, the lively, experienced dancer/ teachers create the perfect party for the birthday child and all their friends. You can also book Let’s All Dance balloons, invitations, t-shirts, party bags and even the birthday cake, making this year that little bit easier. Here’s what one parent said: “Rebecca was brilliant and the girls loved the way she interacted with them. We had a few locals pass the hall to see what all the fun and high energy was about - I think they would have joined in if I gave them a chance!” Call 020 8265 4634 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your party, or go to www.lets-all-dance.co.uk. PARTIES TO REMEMBER grew from when founder Rowena organised her own child’s parties. They were so popular that her friends and the parents of attending children told her to start up a traditional party business. That was 16 years ago and Rowena has never tired of hearing the children laugh while hunting, singing and playing team games during that time. The games that have proved popular for many years and the cry “Can we play that game again?” is reward enough to know that the children are enjoying themselves. It’s a party, there needs to be laughter, a little shouting and running, a few slightly scary games and a couple of quiet games. The mixture means the children rarely get bored. Rowena arranges a consultation, so as not to be a stranger on the big day, a week or so before the party and provides all the prizes including a material party bag. Read her blog for more insight to her ethos. 020 7249 3242, www.partiestoremember.co.uk. CRAFTY COOKS Cooking Parties - whether you have a child into witches and wizards, creepy crawlies, pirates and princesses, or they’d just like to have fun making their own pizzas and cakes from scratch, Crafty Cooks can promise you a party to remember. Suitable for ages 3-13, email email@example.com or call 0781 110 8523.
S DREN’S PARTIE NUTTY’S CHIL
MEMBER PARTIES TO RE
GAMBADO in Beckenham is an indoor play centre which can be booked for two hour parties which include play, a party buffet, unlimited drinks, balloons and a party host to help out. Laser parties are also available. 020 8662 6915, www.gambado.com. THE GOLDEN HINDE offers pirate parties for up to 30 five to ten year-olds on Sundays. Two pirate hosts engage in two hours of activities such as cannon firing, hide and seek and a treasure hunt, with time for a birthday meal. St Mary’s Overie Dock SE1, 020 7403 0123, www.goldenhinde.com. PROFESSOR PALMERMOFF conjures up magic shows that are great entertainment for guests of all ages. At children’s parties, the prof’s show features an array of stunning tricks and illusions which amaze and delight all those who see it. The show is full of comedy and interaction but the prof is a magician and is best where children want to see a classic magic show. He can adjust his show with different routines depending on the ages of the children so he can be equally entertaining to the really little ones right up to teenagers and adults. Stunning magic tricks are mainly what he performs but he does include a bit of balloon modelling and some stunning circus skills, just because he can. The show is great for parties and also for schools, festivals, cabaret, fayres and fetes. 020 8691 4533 or 0793 904 7780, www.palmermoff.com.
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What’sNew Family Health
s New Product London in your pocket
A brighter future with Home-Start Raising children can be challenging, and at times it can feel overwhelming. For some parents, that might mean feeling isolated with no friends or family nearby; others are struggling to cope with illness or disability; or simply feeling low and needing someone to talk to without judgment. If you have a child under five, there is help available. Home-Start recruits and trains volunteers to support families with young children to help them build a brighter future. The volunteers have parenting experience, so they understand the challenges. They can be contacted directly, or by referral from your GP or Health Visitor. Home-Start Southwark are currently training new volunteers to offer support and friendship. The are looking for people with parenting experience who are able to offer a few hours making a difference to a local family. To contact Home-Start Southwark, call 020 7358 6698, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or read more online at www.homestartsouthwark.org.uk.
Expert hay fever advice With the season of sniffs and sneezes now upon us there are millions looking for the best way of relieving their symptoms of hay fever, an allergic condition which affects two out of every 10 people in the UK. Is medication the answer, or is self-help lifestyle management the most effective treatment? Standing by with expert advice online for just one week is a top medical team from King’s College London Allergy Academy - which provides education in the field of allergy to patients and their families as well as health care professionals. An open clinic on hay fever will be launched by www.talkallergy.com on Friday May 20 for seven days, in partnership with NHS Choices and patient support charity Action Against Allergy. Taking part will be Dr Adam Fox, paediatric allergy consultant; Dr Rubaiyat Haque, consultant allergist; Dr Helen Brough, clinical lecturer in paediatric allergy and Dr Joanna Lukawska, specialist registrar in allergy. They are all with the allergy team at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and will answer questions concerning hay fever problems suffered both by adults and children. The workshop forum is free to access after registering as a member on www.talkallergy.com or any of its sister sites. All the questions and the experts’ answers given will be available for site visitors to view during the week and after it has closed.
Rich in information with around 40 unmissable sights and activities to enjoy as a family, this Kids Crumpled London City Map is untearable and waterproof and can just be crumpled up and easily slipped into a bag - no need for tricky folding. The clever map enables encourages children to find their way around London while having fun locating places to visit on the map. It is £8.95 from Folly a stylish internet boutique which offers design-led gifts, homewares and vintage finds. Go to www.follyhome.co.uk or call 01455 631984 for orders.
Munch time Little ones love exploring the great outdoors and Ella’s Kitchen scrumptious new organic snacks are perfect for parents to pop in their bag to keep little ones running about in the fresh air this summer. The new snacks have 100% organic ingredients with absolutely no concentrates or refined sugars. Munchy Biccies come in three flavours: cheese and apples; cinammon and orange; and bananas, while the Nibbly Fingers come in strawberries and apples; bananas and raisins, and mangoes and carrots. Look out for them now in major supermarkets.
Milk on the move iiamo Go is a jolly clever self-heating bottle that heats up to 180ml of milk to 37 degrees in less than four minutes. The ergonomically designed, BPA-free re-usable bottle is easy to take apart and sterilise, and the heating process works by activating a disposable one-use heating cartridge and then inserting it in the bottom of the bottle. Designed to be used anywhere without the need for electricity, batteries or microwave ovens, iiamo go is perfect for days out, night feeds or when travelling. The bottle comes in four funky colours and is £24.99, with the cartridges £4.49 for a set of five, from www.littlesaints.co.uk, 020 8392 2665. To see how it works, there’s a demo on www.iiamo.com/how-it-works/
Street party chic If your little princess is dropping hints about a new outfit for the Jubilee celebrations, look no further than south London-based Half-Pint Chic. The free-to-join designer fashion website brings parents beautiful childrenswear from around the world at a fraction of the usual price. Catering for fashionistas from newborn to nine years old, Half-Pint Chic updates its stock weekly and features collections from a number of designer names whilst guaranteeing an affordable and stress-free shopping experience for parents. Register at www.halfpintchic.com.
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may 2012 - families south east
Luca & Maya make...
families south east - may 2012
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The Official Central Weekend 2-5 June Sunday 3 June - Big Jubilee Lunch Building on the popular Big Lunch initiative, enjoy lunch with neighbours and friends. Organise your own street party or share a picnic - it’s all about the community coming together for food, music and good old-fashioned fun. Local Big Lunches are taking place at parks across London. www.thebiglunch.com Sunday 3 June - Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant See the Queen lead a flotilla of 1000 boats from across the UK, Commonwealth and the rest of the world. Steam boats, tall ships, cruisers, kayaks, Dunkirk little ships and Dragon boats - the flotilla will be the largest fleet of ships to assemble on the Thames in 350 years, continuing a royal tradition which dates back to Anne Boleyn’s coronation. The Pageant will begin in Putney and culminate at Tower Bridge. www.thamesdiamondjubileepageant.org Sunday 3 June - Diamond Jubilee Festival Battersea Park, Albert Bridge Road, SW11 4NJ Watch the Flotilla as it passes by Battersea Park. The Festival will feature music, dance, crafts and a funfair, plus a pop-up pub, giant cake stand, village fete, storytelling, outdoor cinema, old-fashioned steam fair, fancy-dress flotilla on the Boating Lake and a mini-museum of royal memorabilia at the Pump House Gallery. Monday 4 June - BBC Concert at the Palace Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA Join in the fun at the Diamond Jubilee Concert with artists including Elton John, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and Annie Lennox. Don’t worry if you didn’t get a ticket - there’s room for 500,000 people in St James’s and Green Parks and the Mall to watch on giant screens. www.bbc.co.uk/diamondjubilee Monday 4 June - Diamond Jubilee Beacons Various venues, www.diamondjubileebeacons.co.uk Between 10 and 10.30pm in the evening, a spectacular network over 3000 beacons will be lit throughout the UK and Commonwealth. London venues include The Tower of London, St James’s Palace and Lambeth Palace. Tuesday 5 June - Service of Thanksgiving and Carriage Procession St Paul’s Cathedral, EC4M 8AD The final day of official celebrations includes a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral before the Queen travels in a procession through the streets of London.
By Joanna Parry
More Jubilee Events 28 May - 8 June - Union Flags Regent Street, London W1 A breathtaking display of union flags will be suspended from red, white and blue bunting from the BBC building north of Oxford Circus down to Piccadilly Circus in the south. The gigantic flags were hugely popular when first displayed to celebrate the Royal Wedding of William and Kate in 2011, and are a fitting and patriotic tribute to one of London’s most iconic shopping streets in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. 4 May to 31 August - Big British Bang Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB, www.selfridges.com Pop up shops, in-store events and fashion exhibitions combine to create retail theatre. Until 9 September - Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames National Maritime Museum, Greenwich SE10 9NF, www.nmm.ac.uk Guest-curated by historian David Starkey, the exhibition explores the relationship between monarch, city and people as played out on the Thames. Read more in our What’s On listings. 17 May to 21 October - The Queen: Art and Image National Portrait Gallery, WC2H 0HE, www.npg.org.uk Bringing together images of Elizabeth II from throughout her reign, this exhibition shows the way she has been portrayed down the decades, ranging from official paintings to works by Lucian Freud, Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz and Gilbert and George. 24 May to 4 November - At Home with the Queen Museum of London, EC2M 5UU, www.museumoflondon.org.uk Featuring Londoners photographed in their homes, this exhibition explores cherished mementoes of Her Majesty’s reign. 31 May - Royal Philharmonic Jubilee Gala Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP, www.royalalberthall.com The acclaimed orchestra will be joined by some of the UK’s most talented female musicians for a special concert. 2 June - A Gala for the Queen’s Jubilee Royal Albert Hall, www.royalalberthall.com Starring Russell Watson, and celebrating the Jubilee with a sensational programme of stirring favourites.
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3 June - The Queens Diamond Jubilee Sing-a-long Royal Albert Hall, www.royalalberthall.com Get ready for a right old knees-up. Showman Jonathan Cohen will lead you through toe-tapping, hand-clapping songs to sing... sing... singalong! 2 + 3 June - Jubilee Family Festival Hyde Park, W2 2UH, www.seatwave.com/hyde-park-tickets Hosted by Sainsbury’s, this two-day festival will culminate in a finale on both days including Disney songs and characters. Plus equestrian events, death-defying motorbike stunts and children’s television characters. With giant screens covering the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on Sunday, the festival will showcase Britain throughout the decades.
Union flag bunting from www.wingreen.co.uk
GET READY for the celebrations across London this summer! 2012 not only marks the Queen’s 60th year as Monarch, but she is also the first to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee since Queen Victoria in 1897. London will play host to many exciting events, so put up the bunting and prepare to wave the flag.
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee 2012
30 June to 8 July and 31 July to 7 October Palace Summer Opening Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA, www.royalcollection.org.uk Visit the lavishly decorated State Rooms furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection. 31 July to 30 September - Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA, www.royalcollection.org.uk/ This spectacular exhibition shows the many ways in which diamonds have been used by British monarchs over the last 200 years. It includes the necklace made for Queen Victoria’s coronation, a crown worn by Victoria for her Diamond Jubilee portrait and a set of diamonds given to her by the Sultan of Turkey. Find out more at www.royal.gov.uk, www.direct.gov.uk/diamondjubilee and www.thamesdiamondjubileepageant.org.
may 2012 - families south east
Living with reflux Before you have a baby, you’re told to see feeding time as a time of bonding. But for some mothers, it’s anything but. Families looks at how living with a baby with reflux can drive you to the very brink of despair. Vicki Gilbert is a third time mother. To see pictures of her, her husband Sean and her happy smiling children in the early stages of baby Joe’s life, it’s hard to believe what was going on every time she closed the front door. “From being a couple of weeks old, Joe would scream and scream,” Vicki remembers. “At one point, the screaming went on for 18 hours a day. He was hysterical when you laid him down for a nappy change. He screamed through every car journey. The only respite we got was a five hour stretch at night when he literally passed out from exhaustion. It pushed us to the end of our tethers.”
What is reflux? Reflux is the contents of the stomach coming back up into the gullet. The acid causes a burning sensation which can make babies vomit, arch their back and cry inconsolably. It’s thought about half of all babies have reflux in the first three months of their lives to some degree, with most developing it at about two months. That figure reduces to five per cent by the time babies are ten months old. Babies get reflux because the stomach valve hasn’t developed properly. That valve keeps the food and the acid, in the stomach. When it’s not working properly and baby is full, that food and acid comes back up. Symptoms vary dependent on the child and the severity of the case, but the inconsolable crying described by Vicki is common. “Nothing worked. It was utterly heartbreaking. I remember being in my bedroom and shouting to my husband to call an ambulance. We never actually did it, but we were so near on so many occasions.”
Driven to the brink Vicki’s story is repeated on forums and in chat rooms across the internet. There are stories of families who have been driven to the brink by their babies’ suffering. Many turn to Alison Scott-Wright, an expert in reflux also known as The Magic Sleep Fairy. “New mothers assume that feeding their newborn
will be a positive experience,” explains Alison. “Sadly this isn’t true for those whose babies suffer from reflux. Reflux can’t be cured, but it can be controlled. We have to crack the ‘reflux code’ for each baby to find out what helps relieve the individual symptoms.” Those symptoms vary. For some it’s excessive vomiting, irritability, a white coating on the tongue, excessive mucus, refusal to feed and poor sleep habits. These sleep habits are a product of the pain your child is experiencing, and it’s those habits that can remain long after the baby has outgrown the reflux. For babies with ‘silent’ reflux - that’s all the pain and irritability, without the vomiting - diagnosis is more difficult. But Alison Scott-Wright says it’s vital parents listen to even the youngest of babies. “Babies cry to communicate. If they are crying for long periods of time, then there’s something wrong and, in my experience, it’s usually a digestive issue.”
Professional support Vicki Gilbert found support from her local GP and says without that, she’s not sure how she would have coped. He listened, explained and prescribed medication that has, after seven months, eased Joe’s pain. Consultant paediatric surgeon Emma Sidebottom says it is important to consult with your health care professionals about treatments - such as products to thicken milk which helps baby keep it down, as well as acid blockers. “Some parents experiment with the hungry baby milks. These are designed to stay in the stomach for longer. But if you have a baby with reflux, milks like that will make it worse.” If you’re not getting the support you need from your GP, Emma says you can ask to be referred to your local hospital’s Paediatric Clinic. The specialists there will be able to see children at much shorter notice than waiting for a GP refererral. “Remember that 99% of babies with reflux will outgrow It completely without any treatment,” adds Emma Sidebottom. “Reflux is made better by your baby growing. The two milestones are starting on solids - which stay down better than milk - and children becoming more upright. It will get better.” And it is getting better for Vicki Gilbert and seven month old Joe. He’s on a cocktail of medication that has brought his symptoms under control. For the past
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families south east - may 2012
month, life has been a little more normal. Like many children with reflux, he’s developed poor sleep habits but that’s a battle for later. The sleep he does take is in a cot propped up at an angle. Vicki says it’s been incredibly tough, but she hopes other parents of babies with reflux will take strength from her experience. “If your instinct tells you something is wrong, don’t listen to those who say your baby is ‘unsettled’ or ‘ colicky’. Seek help from your GP. If they won’t listen, see another GP in the practice. It is NOT normal for babies to scream for hours on end.”
Alison’s expert tips 1. Research, research, research. Go on online forums and chat to others mums. Look at www.livingwithreflux.org or www.littlerefluxers.co.uk Also, join my Facebook page and get advice from other parents. 2. Keep a journal. Include videos of any reflux episodes by your baby and photos. Use these when visiting health care professionals. 3. Go to your GP and make them listen. This may mean you returning time and again. 4. Get someone to come along to the GP with you. If you are suffering from a lack of sleep and are emotionally charged, you may need support to get your case across. 5. Remember, you are your baby’s only voice. That inconsolable cry is trying to tell you something. Trust your instinct and don’t be fobbed off. Alison Scott-Wright is author of The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan and an expert in infant reflux, www.alisonscott-wright.com
Spotting the symptoms Does your baby... * Vomit * Have bouts of inconsolable crying * Arch their back * Have frequent hiccups and excess dribble * Have a white coating in their tongue * Refuse to feed * Have poor sleep patterns * Have excess mucus * Display signs of pain and irritability
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THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA
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Diary Dates for Grownups NEARLY NEW SALE 12 May, St JOHN’S CHURCH, 251 Eden Park Avenue, Beckenham, www.nct.org Baby and children’s toys and equipment at knock-down prices. Organised by Beckenham NCT. 11.30am-1pm.
BUSINESSMUMS NETWORKING GROUP 17 May, Chapters in BLACKHEATH, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.selondonmumpreneurs.blogspot.com Meet like-minded mothers in business, brainstorm any issues you may have and make new connections. £15 to trial the group, includes coffee and croissants.
EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS TRAINING DAY 22 May, SPRING PROJECT, 100 Vauxhall Walk, London SE11 5EL, 020 7735 4900, www.springproject.co.uk The Spring Project has joined forces with STEP and the employers of a global employer to offer a day’s valuable job skills and employability training. The training will cover personal development, self-awareness and insight workshops designed to show delegates how to be of service, develop responsibility and unlock hidden strengths. You will also get to hear from and meet employees working for a major graduate recruiter. The day is for adults who have graduated in the last five years, are currently unemployed and have a willingness to learn and engage with the day’s challenges. 9am-5pm, free, book first.
SELL IT MAMA! MOTHER AND BABY FAIR 26 May, KINGSWOOD HALLS, Blackheath SE3, www.selondonmumpreneurs.blogspot.com and www.sellitmama.com Visit the Mother and Baby Fair for quality second-hand baby goods anything from prams, baby clothes and toys to books, nursery equipment and maternity wear. There will also be a pop up cafe, entertainment for the children and local businesses will also be showcasing their products and services with a mother and/ or baby theme. 1.30-4.30pm, admission free for children, £2 adults.
DOULA TRAINING COURSE 24-26 May in LONDON, 020 3441 6951, www.paramanadoula.com If you are a mother or a grandmother, are you drawn to help other women as a doula? A doula draws on her own positive experience of giving birth and of post birth baby nurture to provide support through pregnancy and the early stages with new baby. Paramana’s three day course includes what doulas should know about pregnancy, breastfeeding and birth physiology, building on their own practical knowledge. The course also covers ‘hot topics’ such as ultrasound scans, early multiple vaccinations and nutrition during pregnancy.
RAW AND LIVING FOOD CLASSES From 28 May, THE GROVE CENTRE, 2 Jews Walk, Sydenham SE26, 020 8776 9473, www.livingpassions.co.uk Learn how to create delicious, natural, living raw vegan dishes such as juices, snacks, main courses, salads and deserts. The weekly classes are run by Cathy Green Di.Health.N, who is passionate about spreading the word about veganism and living foods.
Fourway Pharmacy 12 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, London SE24 9HU • Moltex, Nature, Bambo and Tushies eco-friendly nappies • Buggiboards • Baby passport photos • Green toiletries, homeopathy, aromatherapy • Friendly and free health advice
Theatre, Shows and Music JAZZ, GROOVE AND FUNK: INTERACTIVE CONCERT 12 May, 9 June and 14 July, St JOSEPH’S CHURCH, 103 Pelton Road, Greenwich SE10 9AN, 07855 916496, www.boppinbunnies.co.uk A series of join-in concerts for families with children of all ages, led by Henry, Anna & Tim from Boppin’ Bunnies, with the support of Jools Holland. As people arrive they are given an ‘instrument pack’ and at various points in the concert everyone plays with the performers, and sings together (hopefully in harmony!). Concerts start 10.30am, tickets £3 children, £5 adults on the door.
MAD ABOUT THE BOY 12-19 May, UNICORN THEATRE, 147 Tooley Street, Southwark, London SE1 2HZ 020 7645 0560 www.unicorntheatre.com Winner of an Edinburgh Fringe First Award 2011, this timely, urgent, razor-sharp drama sees a teenage boy fighting to save his reputation. On 16 May, there will be a talk by writer Gbolahan Obisesan Wed. Ages 14+ years.
GREENWICH THEATRE PRODUCTIONS GREENWICH THEATRE, Crooms Hill, Greenwich SE10 8ES, 020 8858 7755, www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk THE SELFISH CROCODILE, 26 May. Deep in the forest, by the banks of a great river, lived a large crocodile. He was a very selfish crocodile and he wouldn’t share the river with any of the other creatures. This is a funny, heart-warming tale with songs, music, puppets, and a very happy ending. Ages 3-7, performances 11am and 1pm, tickets £7.50 children, £10 adults. THE GRUFFALO, 8-10 June. Join Mouse on an adventure through the deep, dark wood in this magical, musical adaptation of the award-winning picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Ages 3+ tickets £8.50 children, £11 adults..
IN THE NIGHT GARDEN LIVE 24 May - 9 June, THE O2, Entertainment Avenue, Greenwich SE10 0DX, 0333 300 0023, www.nightgardenlive.co.uk Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka and friends take to the stage for a spectacular musical theatre experience for the whole family. The show takes place in an all-weather, purpose built inflatable dome with many family-friendly facilities, which is on a UK tour for 2012. Tickets from £10.
LEGENDARY HISTORIES Until 24 June, COLOUR HOUSE THEATRE, Merton Abbey Mills, Merantun Way, London SW19 2RD, 020 8542 5511, wwwlcolourhousetheatre.co.uk
A festival of highly entertaining and interactive theatre, featuring shows straight from the pages of history. Find the silly bits from the past with the Tudors, ancient Greeks, Victorians, Egyptians, Invaders, and exploring from the pages of the Beano Derek the Sheep in The Quest for the Googly Glasses. Weekend shows, tickets £7 children, £8 adults.
POLKA THEATRE EVENTS POLKA THEATRE, 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon, London SW19 1SB, 020 8543 4888 www.polkatheatre.com VIDEK’S SHIRT, 18+19 May. Join Videk and his animal friends and learn how sheep’s wool is made into a new warm shirt. With puppetry, songs, live music and lots of joining in. Ages 2-5 years, tickets £7 children, £9 adults. THE LITTLE RED HEN, 25+26 May. Lend a hand in making a delicious loaf. An intimate interactive storytelling piece involving puppetry, song, live music and play. Ages 2-5 years, tickets £7 children, £9 adults. THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER, 1+2 June. The much-loved, re-heeled tale featuring a beautifully crafted set and puppets, with a kaleidoscope of miniature shoes and a comic mouse. Ages 4-7years, tickets £7 children, £9 adults. RUN - A SPORTS DAY MUSICAL, 1-30 June. It’s Ella’s last day at primary school and her last chance to show she’s more than just the shy girl. This funny, heart-warming musical follows four students and their teacher, Mr Budge, in a story of falling over, getting up and carrying on. With original music and dance. Ages 7-11 years, tickets £8 children, £12 adults. POP-UP POLKA FAIR, first Sunday of every month. With handmade crafts, gifts and delicious treats. Young people can enjoy Polka’s playground and the café will be open as usual. 11am-4pm.
STARLIGHT EXPRESS 10-19 May, NEW WIMBLEDON THEATRE, The Broadway, Wimbledon, London, SW19 1QG 0844 871 7646 www.ambassadortickets.com/wimbledon Two hours of speed, spectacle, energy and turbo charged excitement, combined with an electrifying sound track, dazzling sets and costumes and extraordinary roller-choreography. A memorable musical hit. Tickets from £19.50.
WAR HORSE NEW LONDON THEATRE, Drury Lane, London WC2, 0844 755 0017, www.warhorselondon.nationaltheatre.org.uk Experience the emotional journey that charges through the battlefields of
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NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
MoreWhat’sOn Find even more activities: www.familiesse.co.uk then click What's On HMS BELFAST
history straight to the hearts of audiences around the world. Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, War Horse is a powerfully moving and imaginative drama, filled with stirring music and magnificent artistry. Handspring Puppet Company brings breathing, galloping, full-scale horses to life on the stage. Ages 10+, tickets from £15.
LITTLE PRINCESS LIVE ON STAGE 24-26 May, NEW WIMBLEDON THEATRE, The Broadway, Wimbledon, London, SW19 1QG 0844 871 7646 www.ambassadortickets.com/wimbledon Join in the celebration with Little Princess in the theatrical premiere of the hit children’s story and favourite TV character. Ages 2+ years, tickets from £9.
E4 UDDERBELLY FESTIVAL AT THE SOUTHBANK CENTRE Until 8 July, SOUTHBANK, London SE1, 08744 5458282, www.underbelly.co.uk and www.southbankcentre.co.uk Taking place in and around a giant inflatable theatre space, Udderbelly is one of the best places to meet friends and socialise in Central London. THE VOCAL ORCHESTRA, until 27 May. Combining jaw dropping human beatboxing, glorious vocal harmonies and floor-wobbling baselines, this show will leave you clapping and dancing all the way home. CLAYTIME, 3-5 June. A place where the earth’s natural materials meets the children’s imagination. With live musical accompaniment. Ages 3+ years, tickets from £10. COMEDY CLUB 4 KIDS, 4+13 May, 17 June. Cracking entertainment for everyone over the age of six, with the best comedians on the UK circuit. Tickets from £10. IMPROPERA, 7+12 May. Great music, surreal comedy and sublime silliness in a family friendly show. Tickets from £10. THE ADVENTURERS’ CLUB, 6+27 May. A smash hit sell-out of Edinburgh Festival Fringe and an afternoon of sheer hilarious adventure. Family show, tickets from £10. LITTLE HOWARD’S BIG SHOW, 19+20 May. The nation’s favourite human/ animated double act mix jokes, songs and just enough cheek to amuse the entire family. Ages 3yrs+, tickets from £10.
SUITCASE CIRCUS 2 June, MICHAEL CROFT THEATRE, Dulwich, 0781 020 4071, www.michaelcrofttheatre.org.uk
Meet Wobulous Discombobulous, the anarchic sock as he presents a line up of extraordinarily talented performing objects, all with their own unique and captivating storylines. Suitcase Circus features the most unlikely of performers including the world’s only acrobatic potato sack, a daredevil ski glove, an incredible dancing milkshake straw, the hypnotic tie snake Windsor Knot, and the lovable yet bizarre magical Mexican hat Timrek. As with all quality circuses there is wonderful musical accompaniment. Tickets £8 children, £11 adults.
THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA 4+5 June at the FAIRFIELD, Croydon 020 8688 9291, 25-27 June at the CHURCHILL THEATRE, Bromley 0844 871 7620, 4 July - 2 September at the LYRIC THEATRE, 29 Shaftsbury Avenue, London W1D 7ES, 0844 412 4661, www.thetigerwhocametotealive.com The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don’t expect to see at the door is a big, stripy tiger! Following on from the highly successful 2011 tour, the loveable tea-guzzling tiger appears in this delightful family show; packed with oodles of magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos! David Wood’s stunning stage adaptation of Judith Kerr’s picture book is fun for youngsters everywhere, and their grownups. Ages 3+.
HORRIBLE HISTORIES BARMY BRITAIN Until 1 September, GARRICK THEATRE, 2 Charing Cross Road, London WC2 0HH, 08444 12 4662, www.barmybritainlive.com British history is full of barmy people who did nasty things to each other. With blood, battles, murder and mayhem, the show explores stories from Roman, Tudor, Stuart, Georgian, Victorian and the wars, featuring famous figures such as Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, Florence Nightingale and General Earl Haig. Ages 6+, tickets from £10.
MATILDA THE MUSICAL Until 17 February 2013, CAMBRIDGE THEATRE, 32 Earlham Street WC2, 0844 412 4652, www.matildaathemusical.com Roald Dahl’s much-loved classic comes alive in an award-winning musical. Tired of being teased by her couch potato parents and horrible teacher Miss Trunchball, little Matilda discovers that she has a very special gift and sets out to teach the grown-ups a lesson. Tickets from £20, child discounts available. Audio-described and captioned performances are available for some dates.
COVENT GARDEN MAY FAYRE 13 May, COVENT GARDEN, London WC2, www.alternativearts.co.uk A grand procession in the garden of St Paul’s Church starts the celebrations at 11am, lead by the Superior Brass Band with a toast to Mr Punch by the commemorative plaque in the Piazza. From 12.30-5pm there will be Punch & Judy puppet shows, puppet workshops, stalls, folk music, maypole dancing and clowns to entertain visitors.
MUSEUMS AT NIGHT 18-May, VARIOUS VENUES, www.culture24.org.uk/museumatnight An exciting line up of nocturnal activities in museums and galleries throughout the city, as part of a huge programme of events right across Europe. Some of London’s most famous institutions open their doors with art, live music and performances. London participants include the Petrie Museum, Apsley House, The National Portrait Gallery, The Bank of England, The National Army Museum and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.
FAMILY EVENTS AT THE HORNIMAN HORNIMAN MUSEUM and gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23, 020 8699 1872, www.horniman.ac.uk Museum open 10.30am-5.30pm daily, general admission free, charges
families south east - may 2012
BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM FUN BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R, 020 7601 5545, www.bankofengland.co.uk/museum The Bank of England Museum tells the story of the Bank of England from its foundation in 1694 to its role today as the UK’s central bank. Examine intricately-designed banknotes, feel the weight of a genuine gold bar and see the pikes and muskets that were once used to defend the Bank. Children’s activity sheets provide fun for younger visitors. Open 10am-5pm Mondays to Fridays, admission free. MUSEUMS AT NIGHT, 19 May. The museum will stay open later with a rare opportunity to see special presentations of banknotes, and bank staff will also be on hand to answer question about gold. 5.30-9pm. CROWNING GLORY, 6-8 June. Celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by finding examples of crowns, enter a competition quiz about monarchs and the bank, and create your own crown to take home. The activities are part of the Museum’s ‘Royal Connections’ exhibition, which highlights the many connections between the monarch and the bank, tracing the development of the royal portrait on banknotes. 10am4.30pm, free.
GEFFRYE MUSEUM EVENTS
Events & Exhibitions 11-20 May, VARIOUS VENUES, www.dulwichfestival.co.uk Ten days of events celebrating art, music, theatre and outdoor events for people living in and around Dulwich. Family friendly events include Young Art at the Francis Peek Centre, artists’ open houses on both weekends, a Festival Fair on Goose Green on 13 May, a Gala Youth Concert at Kingsdale School on 17 May, and Dulwich Park Fair and Fun Day on 20 May. For full details, see the website or notices in local shops.
This gem of a museum is fascinating for families with young children. The collection includes dolls, dolls’ houses, puppets, teddy bears, games, childcare, clothing, furniture and art and photography. Everyday drop-in activities include storytelling, arts and crafts, and trails. There’s dressing-up, role play and an under 3’s area, an indoor sandpit, and regular special events. If it’s sunny there’s an outdoor space to enjoy a picnic. Open 10am-5.45pm daily, admission free. WONDERTOTS, 4, 11 and 18 May. Ready, steady and off we go! Get energetic with sporty workshops in celebration of the museum’s beautiful Games exhibition. Ages 0-5, book first. MONTESSORI FOR FAMILIES, 19 May. Montessori educators lead a practical workshop teaching fun, creative and useful techniques to use at home to help your child’s learning. 11am-4pm, free drop-in. MASCOTS OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES, 19 May - 28 October. A showcase of over 50 mascots from the last 44 years of summer and winter Olympic Games including the London 2012 mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville. BEAUTIFUL GAMES, until 9 September. What makes an athlete successful? How does the latest technology help us to become faster and stronger; and where do we draw the line between fair play and downright cheating? As part of the exhibition, visitors young and old can get their own blood pumping with a white knuckle ride in a virtual skeleton bobsleigh, measure their reaction time with a ‘beat the clock’ test, and throw some moves on an electronic dance floor.
apply for special exhibitions and the aquarium. The museum’s music gallery and hands-on base, regular weekend and holiday drop-ins and workshops allow family visitors to explore the collection through arts and crafts, music, stories and hands-on sessions. All this within 16 acres of beautiful green space. MUMMERS, MAYPOLES AND MILKMAIDS. Until 9 September. An exhibition of over 50 photographs depicting regional rituals from all over England. Costumed processions, symbolic dramatisations, traditional dances and fire ceremonies mark the changing seasons and celebrate nature’s bounty. Many of these customs claim an ancient origin such as traditions like Jack-in-the-Green, or have a pagan heritage like the Celtic festival of Beltane, and are kept alive today by local communities. Award-winning photographer Sara Hannant’s vibrant images offer a captivating and surprising glimpse of contemporary ‘Merrie England’. Free.
TRANSPORT MUSEUM EVENTS LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM, 39 Wellington Street, Covent Garden WC2E 7BB, 020 7379 6433, www.ltmuseum.co.uk Museum open 10am-6pm Mondays to Thursdays and weekends, from 11am Fridays. Admission free for under 16s, £13 adults. Tickets are valid for 12 months’ unlimited admission. ALL ABOARD! Let your under 6 ‘drive’ a scaled-down bus, train, tube or taxi , complete with passengers. They can also take control of the transport system, moving buses and trains around the museum’s miniature London. INTERCHANGE. The interactive area for 7-11 year-olds has replica costumes to try on, mystery objects to discover, and the chance to drive an Optare bus.
V&A MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green E2 9PA, 020 8983 5200, www.museumofchildhood.org.uk
GEFFRYE MUSEUM, Kingsland Road E2 8EA, 020 7739 9893, www.geffrye-museum.org.uk Special workshops and quizzes inspire creativity and provide amusement for accompanied 5-11 year-olds on the first Saturday of each month and during school holidays. Places allocated 30 minutes in advance of each workshop. Museum open 10am-5pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, from noon Sundays. HISTORIC ALMSHOUSES, 5, 8 and 22 May, 2, 6 and 20 June. Visit one of the Geffrye’s 18th-century almshouses which has been fully restored to its original condition, offering a rare glimpse into the lives of London’s poor and elderly in former times. Timed entries at 11, 12, 2 and 3pm, admission £2.50, accompanied under 16s free.
CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS, Clive Steps, King Charles Street SW1A, iwm.org.uk Visit the Churchill War Rooms, part of Imperial War Museums, to discover the original Cabinet War Rooms, the wartime bunker which sheltered Churchill and his staff during the Blitz. Explore the historic rooms to experience the secret history that lives on underground. Look through the lens of history into the Map Room where the books and charts have remained exactly where they were left when the door was locked in 1945. Discover the stories of those who worked underground as London was being bombed above them, and explore the life and legacy of Winston Churchill in the interactive Churchill Museum. Open 9.30am-6pm, last admission 5pm. Entry free for under 16s, £16.50 adults.
SCIENCE MUSEUM HIGHLIGHTS SCIENCE MUSEUM, Exhibition Road SW7 2DD, 0870 870 4868, www.sciencemuseum.org.uk Aiming to be the best place in the world for people to enjoy science, the Science Museum makes sense of the science that shapes our lives, sparking curiosity, releasing creativity and changing the future by engaging people of all generations and backgrounds in science,
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! VE GE LISTA ON
The Tiger Who Came to Tea a musical play by DAVID WOOD based on the book by JUDITH KERR
NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM
engineering, medicine, technology, design and enterprise. Open daily 10am-6pm except 24-26 December. HIDDEN HEROES, until 5 June. Could you be bothered to brew leaf tea five times a day or fish the beans out of your morning coffee? Hidden Heroes shines the spotlight on the overlooked inventions we couldn’t live without. TEN CLIMATE STORIES, until 28 September. Take a long view of our climate changing world - where all is not what it seems. LAUNCHPAD SCIENCE SHOWS. The largest free interactive science gallery in the UK is packed with exhibits which allow visitors to launch a rocket, turn their head into a sound box and control a magnetic cloud. Ages 8-14, free. WHO AM I? Find out what makes you special through interactive activities which use the latest in brain science and genetics. Free.
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Box Office: 0844 412 4661 www.thetigerwhocametotealive.com
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, Cromwell Road SW7 5BD, 020 7942 5000, www.nhm.ac.uk Dinosaurs, volcanoes, precious gems and creepy crawlies - discover the diversity of the natural world through the nation’s finest collection of natural history specimens. Fascinating exhibitions display up to 70 million plants, animals, fossils, rocks and minerals, with a hands-on education centre where you can meet real scientists at work. Museum open 10am-5.50pm, admission free. ANIMAL INSIDE OUT, Until 16 September. A new blockbuster exhibition explores the intricate biology and physiology of some of the world’s most spectacular creatures. The exhibition is the UK premiere from the team behind the famous Body Worlds shows and includes over 80 plastinate and blood vessel specimens, from goats and giraffe to octopuses and ostriches. Highlights include a 3.2 tonne Asian elephant plastinate, an adult gorilla plastinate, and a blood vessel plastinate specimen of a metre long shark. Admission free for under 3s, £6 children, £9 adults. BIG NATURE DAY, 27 May. The museum’s grounds will be a celebration of outdoors, nature and the environment. Visitors will be able to examine specimens, take part in experiments and chat to nature experts. The museum’s wildlife garden is home to foxes, a bee colony and a variety of invertebrates and plants, and there’ll be over fifty nature groups attending with a range of activities throughout the day for families and visitors. right in the heart of Kensington. Make a bird or bug box, examine bat sonograms, learn how to attract stag beetles to your garden, and find out why there’s more to nettles than their sting. Admission free.
TOWER OF LONDON TOWER OF LONDON, EC3N 4AB, 0844 482 7777, www.hrp.org.uk/toweroflondon Tower open 9am-5.30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 10am Sundays and Mondays. Admission free for under 5s, children £10.45, adults £20.80; book for less online. ARCHEOLOGY WEEKEND, 26+27 May. A fun weekend of activities on Tower Beach and Tower Wharf. Hunt for treasure on the foreshore of the Thames, discover the secrets of archaeology and conservation at stalls on the wharf and take part in art activities. All ages, free. FIT FOR A KING. Discover 500 years of spectacular arms and armour worn by kings and royal princes in this stunning exhibition on the first floor of the White Tower. Learn about the personalities, power and physical size of our nation’s kings, from the Tudors, and the notorious Henry VIII, to today’s royal family through the historic collection. POWER HOUSE. Discover the stories and personalities behind the major organisations of state, who took care of royal business behind the mighty Tower walls, from 1100 to the present day. The exhibition showcases the roles of the major organisations that provided the bedrock of England’s power throughout the centuries. ROYAL BEASTS. Find out about the Tower’s imperial Royal Menagerie. Founded during the reign of King John in the early 1200s, it became a regular feature of the Tower for over 600 years. Visitors can encounter a diverse cast of former Tower residents through arresting modern animal sculpture by artist Kendra Haste and new interactive sensory displays. The recently restored north wall walk and the never before opened Brick Tower will host some of the displays, including sights, sounds and smells of some of the animals.
FIREPOWER - THE ROYAL ARTILLERY MUSEUM ROYAL ARSENAL, Woolwich SE18 6ST, 020 8855 7755, www.firepower.org.uk Firepower, the Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich tells the powerful and dramatic story of artillery, scientific discoveries made through warfare and human stories of courage and endeavour. The ‘ground shaking’ Field of Fire audio-visual show puts you in the midst of battle as shells whizz overhead and guns roar. The Royal Arsenal was one of the most important centres in the world for munitions manufacture and until recently was a well kept secret from the public. Many of the guns and carriages on display were made in the Arsenal, making it a significant part of the local heritage. Together with a world class collection of artillery and associated weapons, uniforms, drawings, displays of diaries and medals bring together some 700 years of world artillery history, Open 10.30am-6pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays and Mondays. Admission £2.50 children, £5.30 adults, £12.50 families.
School’s out! Half term fun 6 – 8 June 10:00am – 4:30pm
Crowning Glory Find examples of crowns in our exhibition to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and in the pictures of Kings and Queens in the Museum. Create your own crown to take home. Enter our competition quiz about monarchs and the Bank with prizes to be won.
Admission free 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Closed weekends and public holidays. Entrance in Bartholomew Lane, London EC2R 8AH. Tel: 020 7601 5545 www.bankofengland.co.uk/museum
NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM, Royal Hospital Road SW3 4HT, 020 7881 6606, www.nam.ac.uk The history of British land forces from 1485 to the present day, with costumes, paintings, artefacts and special displays telling the stories of men and women who served in British armies across the globe. Open 10am-5.30pm daily, admission free. WAR HORSE: FACT & FICTION, until 31 August. A hands-on exhibition exploring the true history behind the hugely popular ‘War Horse’ novel by Michael Morpugo. Free. ACTIONS ZONES: VICTORIAN SOLDIERS. Quizzes, games and hands-on activities help you learn about life as a Victorian Soldier and the part they played in the shaping of Britain’s Empire. Free. KID’S ZONE. A play area where children can explore aspects of army life from camping to clothing, including a dedicated soft play space for babies, plus art and crafts, dressing-up costumes, books, interactive toys and panels, and a dedicated soft play space for babies. DRAW YOUR WEAPONS. A colourful and dynamic exhibition exploring the history of the war comic, in partnership with leading publisher DC Thomson.
CUMING MUSEUM EVENTS CUMING MUSEUM, 151 Walworth Road SE17 1RY, 020 7525 2096, www.southwark.gov.uk/cumingmuseum Thursdays, FAMILY CLUB. Explore and play with the Cuming explorers. 10am-11.15am for under 5s and their parents/ carers.
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10am-5pm daily. General admission is free; some buildings, special exhibitions and events have an admission fee.
MoreWhat’sOn Find even more activities: www.familiesse.co.uk then click What's On ELEPHANT TO CAMBERWELL, until 29 October. An exhibition exploring the history of the area through the voices of its residents. Paintings, photographs and prints drawn from the Southwark Art Collection and local history library include images of buildings now lost to development or reused in new ways.
HMS BELFAST HMS BELFAST, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2JH, www.iwm.org.uk Iconic London landmark, HMS Belfast will be ready to welcome visitors back onto her historic decks on 18 May 2012. A weekend extravaganza of family activities and events on the 26 and 27 May will mark the re-opening of the ship that made history during her service in the Second World War and Korean War and for the past 40 years has been a much loved visitor attraction, located in the heart of the capital. Discover the exciting stories of those who served HMS Belfast; exploring the nine decks where sailors once hurried up and down its ladders, or take a look at the mess desk where her 950-strong crew ate and slept. Open 10am-6pm daily, admission free for under 16s, £14 adults. SIGNALS AT SEA, 26-27 May. Learn about signalling in the navy and participate in sending and decoding messages. Free drop-in starting at 11am and 2pm. TATTOO T-SHIRTS, 26-27 May. Get creative designing your own tattoo designs on t-shirts and learn all about the traditions behind original naval tattoos. From 11am and 2pm, entry included in general admission price. GUN TURRET EXPERIENCE. Immerse yourself in the new Gun Turret Experience, a chance to see what fighting at sea would have really been like. Overlooking the front of the ship, or Fo’c’sle, is the forward most of HMS Belfast’s Triple Gun Turrets. Lights, audio, videos and projections will recreate the experience, highlighting the hectic and cramped conditions that would have seen twenty-six men in this confined space at any one time. The guns are trained and elevated onto a target some 12.5 miles (20 kilometres) away in north-west London - the London Gateway Motorway Services Area on the M1 - a reminder of the awesome power of naval gunnery in the Second World War. Entry included in general admission price.
Bank, London SE1, 020 7620 0347, www.florence-nightingale.co.uk Uncover the lady behind the legend at the brand new Florence Nightingale Museum on London’s South Bank. The museum presents a vivid retelling of her story and how modern nursing began. The museum’s unparalleled collection features highlights such as Florence’s pet little owl Athena as well as her lamp and medicine chest from the Crimean War. Engaging interactive exhibits as well as regular contemporary art exhibitions enhance the experience, visitors even use stethoscopes to hear the audio tour. Admission £4.80 child, £5.80 adults, £16 families.
IWM LONDON IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, Lambeth Road, London SE1, 020 7416 5000, iwm.org.uk Museum open daily 10am-6pm, admission free. Special exhibitions may charge an admission fee. A FAMILY IN WARTIME. Take a step back in time to the Second World War and experience life on the Home Front, through the eyes of one London family, the Allpress’. BUILD THE TRUCE, from 24 May. This new interactive display looks at the concepts of truce, conflict and resolution and how they are relevant to us in the twenty-first century. Build the Truce, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, showcases for the first time films, interviews and insights collected as part of an IWM learning project. There will be free drop-in discussion, art and writing activities on 26-27 May.
CHILDREN AT THE V&A
V&A MUSEUM, Cromwell Road SW7 2RL, 020 7942 2000, www.vam.ac.uk/families During any visit, families can pick up a trail from the Information Desk and explore the museum through puzzles, drawing and observation. Suitable for 7-12 year-olds. There are also hundreds of exciting hands-on exhibits containing plenty to touch and try out. Museum open 10am5.45pm daily, admission free Saturday BACK-PACKS. Pick up a back pack and explore the museum with fantastic jigsaws, stories, puzzles and games. 10.30am-5pm.
THE BRITISH MUSEUM, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG, 020 7323 8299, www.britishmuseum.org Founded in 1753, the British Museum was the first national public museum in the world, granting free admission to all ‘studious and curious persons’. There are free digital workshops every weekend for children aged 7+, and free trails, backpacks and object handling sessions available for any visit. Museum open 10am-5.30pm daily, admission free.
MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS, West India Quay E14, 020 7001 9844, www.museumoflondon.org.uk/docklands Open daily 10am-6pm, admission free. Regular programmes of weekend and holiday events and workshops help visitors find out more about London’s history, covering events such as the Great Plague, Londoners’ jobs and occupations, and Roman life.
FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE MUSEUM FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE MUSEUM, 2 Lambeth Palace Road, South
MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS
MUSEUM OF LONDON EVENTS MUSEUM OF LONDON, London Wall EC2Y 5HN, 020 7001 9844, www.museumoflondon.org.uk Open daily 10am-6pm, admission free. Regular programmes of weekend and holiday events and workshops help visitors find out more about London’s history, covering events such as the Great Plague, Londoners’ jobs and occupations, and Roman life.
ROYAL RIVER: POWER, PAGEANTRY AND THE THAMES, until 9 September at the National Maritime Museum. Magnificent gilded barges, liverymen in their finest uniforms, the splendour of lavish celebrations: the Thames is the 'royal river', used for centuries by British monarchs to involve the people in ceremony and festivities displaying their regal status. For hundreds of years this famous royal river has been host to the pageantry of coronations, processions of boats, and other events which helped tie people closer to the Crown and to London as Britain's capital. 'Royal River' brings together nearly 400 beautiful, fascinating and often unique objects, including one of the largest-ever loans of Royal Collection objects to any museum. Created to mark Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and guest-curated by historian David Starkey, the exhibition presents the historic Thames in all its glory, from British royal and City events to London's famous watermen, and the river's transformation after the notorious 'Great Stink'. Family tickets from £14.50. CUTTY SARK. The world's famous 19th century tea clipper has reopened to the public following an extensive refurbishment. Four levels offer visitors the chance to take in the views from the main deck and steer at the ship's wheel, meet the crew who worked on board, explore the various cargoes from wool to whiskey, and see how tea was loaded on board through interactive displays, props, information boards and animations. Family friendly events run at weekends and during school holidays. Open 10am-5pm Tuesdays to Sundays, admission £6.50 children, £12 adults, from £20 families. Bundled tickets are available with the other Royal Museum Greenwich attractions. 020 8858 2698. THE SECRET LIFE OF STARS at the Royal Observatory. A spectacular show, narrated by Patrick Stewart, explores the fascinating life history of the stars, from the smallest red dwarf to the largest blue giant. Using state-of-the-art digital simulation, it charts the life of a star from birth to death and beyond, and looks at what impact this has on the universe around us. Ages 5+, tickets £4.50 chidren, £6.50 adults, £17.50 families. SPACE SAFARI, weekends and holiday weekdays at the Royal Observatory. Join teddy bear Ted for live music and rhyme as he journeys throughout the solar system looking for the Great Bear in the sky in a show designed especially for younger children and presented by a real astronomer. Tickets £4.50 children, £6.50 adults, £17.50 families.
DISCOVER GREENWICH OLD ROYAL NAVAL COLLEGE (next to the Cutty Sark), Greenwich SE10, www.greenwichwhs.org.uk Unlock the history of Maritime Greenwich, through artefacts, artwork, film and stories of former lives to bring the past to life. A permanent exhibition takes visitors on a journey from the College’s Tudor beginnings, through its naval past, as the Royal Hospital for Seamen and Royal Navy Staff College, right up to the present day. Special objects, including personal items from Henry VIII’s palace, as well as fascinating stories from monarchs, admirals and architects help chart the historic town’s development. Activities for children and families play a significant part in the new destination, enabling families to maximise their visit to Maritime Greenwich and for children to explore and understand the history of the magnificent site.
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National Maritime Museum, Queen's House, Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark, Greenwich SE10, 020 8858 4422, www.rmg.co.uk. Royal Museums Greenwich holds the world's largest maritime collection. It is housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site and incorporates the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 17th-century Queen's House, and Cutty Sark. The Museums work to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people, and is also a major centre of education and research. Explore Saturdays, Discover Sundays and Play Tuesdays are family-friendly regulars, when costumed characters, free art activities and music workshops provide join-in fun for younger visitors. Museums open
SEA LIFE LONDON AQUARIUM, County Hall, Southbank SE1, 0871 663 1678, www.visitsealife.com/london Explore the world’s rivers, oceans and reefs and come face to face with the life that inhabits them. Open 10am-7pm daily, admission from £12.96 children, £17.82 adults, family tickets available. BEHIND THE SCENES TOURS whisk visitors right into the heart of the aquarium to discover what it takes to keep everything running smoothly. You can see the dedicated aquarists at work on research and breeding programmes, caring for sick creatures and new arrivals, preparing food and monitoring the sophisticated water management systems. Tickets can be booked online or purchased on entry; £5 children, £7.50 adults. SHARK REEF ENCOUNTER features a stunning shoal of over twenty magnificent creatures - including two impressive 2.8m long brown sharks and a ten strong group of sleek black tip reef Sharks. Visitors step onto a 5m long glass walkway and witness the unique spectacle of sharks swimming literally inches beneath their feet. Next, they come face to fin through the aquarium’s gigantic 19.6m by 12m pacific reef display where the striking creatures circle a dramatic shipwreck scene dominated by huge floor to ceiling Easter Island heads. On the upper level, the shark academy area has plenty of touchy feely, fun interactives telling fascinating shark stories - from their 450 million year evolution to the modern horrors of shark finning.
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The Great Outdoors THE COURT OF THE MAY QUEEN May weekends, DOVER CASTLE, Castle Hill Road, Dover, Kent CT16 1HU, 0870 333 1181, www.english-heritage.co.uk Visitors to Dover Castle in May will need to practise their curtsies and brush up on their bows as they come face to face with King Henry II and his headstrong, ambitious wife Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. The powerful royal pair will be in residence to welcome guests to the sumptuous rooms of the Great Tower... but all is not as it seems as intrigue and betrayal seethe below the surface of this, the 12th-century’s most influential family. Visitors can revel in all the luxury of the medieval palace and join the cut-throat world of family politics, where son plots against father, wife against husband, and brother against brother. Witness one of the greatest power games in history and discover what really went on in the House of Plantagenet. Castle open 10am-6pm daily. Admission £16.50 adults, £9.90 children, £42.90 families, English Heritage members free.
MOTORSPORT AT THE PALACE 26+27 May, CRYSTAL PALACE PARK, Upper Norwood, London SE19 www.motorsportatthepalace.co.uk A great day out for lovers of cars and speed. Meet the racing drivers and cheer on your favourite as they battle for the finish line in over 200 classic and modern sports cars. The Classic Racing Motorcycle Club will be in attendance with a range of beautiful vintage bikes to admire. Young visitors will be able to get behind the wheel of the London Karting Company’s child-friendly karts, while Diggerland will offer the chance to have a go on some heavy-duty earth-moving equipment, just like Bob The Builder. Adult tickets £10 on the gate, accompanied under 16s free.
THE HOP FARM FAMILY PARK HOP FARM, Maidstone Road, Beltring, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge TN12 6PY, 01622 872 068, www.thehopfarm.co.uk ONLY PAWS AND HORSES, 26+27 May. An equine and dog show right in the heart of Kent. A host of exciting arena displays, quality competitions and attractions make for a fantastic day out for families. Admission £7.10 children, £8.15 adults, £27.30 families. JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, 2-10 June. The Hop Squad will be hosting a fun packed timetable of exciting games and activities for the ones. Children can come dressed up as their favourite story book character for a chance to win the Best Dressed competition. Entry £10.20 children, £14.90 adults, £44.95 families.
OPEN GARDENS WEEKEND 9+10 June, VARIOUS VENUES, www.opensquares.org Around 200 communal gardens, many that are not usually opento the public, take part each year, ranging from the historic to the traditional through to roof gardens and allotments. Among the green spaces open for 2012 in southeast London are Charlton Manor Primary School, Culverly Green in Catford, the Secret Orchard in Lewisham, Sydenham Garden and Winsford Gardens in Penge. For the first time, Open Garden Squares Weekend and Slow London have joined forces to encourage Londoners to step back from the hubbub to explore the pleasures of slowing down. At 2pm on the Sunday, Slow London volunteers will be in selected gardens and squares for a session on slowing down and developing mindfulness - giving visitors the opportunity
to explore their senses by listening, looking and smelling the world around them. In addition there will be a variety of guided tours - both walking and cycling. For those who want to discover the gardens independently, two podcasts and self-guided bike rides can be downloaded from the website. One ticket allows entry to all venues over the entire weekend. Tickets bought in advance cost just £9 and £12 during the weekend.
LONDON GREEN FAIR 9+10 June, Cumberland Green, REGENTS PARK, Camden, 020 7324 4693, www.londongreenfair.org London’s favourite ‘all things green’ festival is celebrating its 20th birthday and returning to Regents Park. The event reflects the green aspirations and achievements of London as a whole, celebrating, educating and empowering all who take part. High profile speakers lead debates; London’s global communities provide poetry and spoken word performances, there are two full festival stages, a permaculture area, dedicated exhibitions areas, campaigning stalls, boutique market stalls, organic bars and global cuisine, and serious environmental education and entertainment. Families are catered for through children’s dance classes and theatrical performances, walkabout performers, baby changing and a picnic area with daily performances from an 80-piece symphonic orchestra. Opens midday, admission free.
FAMILY ARTS IN DULWICH
JEWISH MUSEUM EVENTS JEWISH MUSEUM, Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street, Camden Town NW1 7NB, 020 7284 7324, www.jewishmuseum.org.uk The museum houses internationally acclaimed collections where visitors can explore Jewish culture, heritage and identity within the wider context of British history. Open 10am-5pm daily, Fridays to 2pm. Admission £3.50 children, £7.50 adults, £18 families.
ART AT SIR JOHN SOANE’S HOUSE SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields WC2A 3PB, 020 7440 4263, www.soane.org Tucked away in Lincoln’s Inn Fields at the heart of London, this magical, mysterious museum encourages young visitors to explore Soane’s treasures and develop new skills with specialist guidance. Sir John Soane (1753- 1737) was an inveterate collector, filling every nook and cranny of his beautiful home with items that fascinated him. From fossils to classical fragments from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome and from contemporary paintings to architectural models, drawings and literature, he intended that after his death both his house and its extraordinary contents should be used to educate and inspire. Free drop-in activities run on the third Saturday of every month, with activities for all ages and families can take part together from 1.30-4.40pm.
SOMERSET HOUSE FAMILY EVENTS SOMERSET HOUSE, Strand WC2, 020 7845 4600, www.somersethouse.org.uk
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW Until 21 October, LEEDS CASTLE, Maidstone, Kent ME17 1PL, 01622 767865, www.leeds-castle.co.uk As Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs return to our screens this year, a new exhibition at Leeds Castle tells the real stories of life at ‘the loveliest castle in the world’. Leeds Castle was a playground for the rich and famous, as Lady Baillie entertained high society at weekends in the run up to the Second World War. She was supported by over 30 servants in the castle who met the needs of the family and their guests. Discover how former owner Lady Baillie’s life in London society and her household in the country is mirrored in the current popular television dramatisations. Leeds Castle has plenty to entertain visitors, including falconry displays, hot air balloon flights, a land train, Go Ape! and beautiful grounds to explore. Grounds open 10am, castle opens 10.30am, admission £12.50 children, £19.75 adults. ‘Key to the Castle’ tickets are valid for one year from the date of purchase.
WWW WETLAND CENTRE WWT LONDON WETLAND CENTRE, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes SW13 9WR, 020 8409 4412, www.wwt.org.uk Take a springtime walk around the centre, listen out for singing birds and see new baby animals taking their first steps, first flight or first swim, and make an animal finger puppet to take home. Nature crafts focus on animal lifecycles, or you can go pond dipping to see what’s swimming underwater. Open 9.30am-6pm, admission free for under 4s, children £6.10, adults £10.99, families £30.60. MEET THE OTTERS, From 2 June. Visitors can watch otters playing, foraging, feeding, swimming and grooming. Join the wardens at twice daily feeding sessions.
Art Activities DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village SE21 7AD, 020 8693 5254, www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk Museum open 10am-5pm Tuesdays to Fridays, from 11am weekends and bank holidays. Listed activities free for families with a gallery ticket or £3 per child. ARTPLAY, first and last Sunday of each month. Creative drop-in workshops for adults and children, with a different activity each session. Make anything and everything from bunting to block printing and all things in between. 2-3.45pm.
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Free family workshops run on Saturdays from 2-3.30pm. Tickets available from 1pm from the information desk. Children aged 6-12 years must be accompanied by an adult.
LEARN YOUNG HAVE FUN Rally round for a smashing time. A fun ﬁlled introduction to tennis for 2-8 yr olds. Played indoors with small rackets, sponge balls and scaled-down court. Aids agility, co-ordination and balance. A positive introduction to tennis with lots of fun. Weekend and weekday sessions now available. For further details ring Gordon on 07877391005 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
THE NATIONAL GALLERY TRAFALGAR SQUARE WC2N 5DN, 020 7747 2894, www.nationalgallery.org.uk Open daily 10am-6pm, Fridays to 9pm, admission free. With over 2,300 paintings in the collection, there are hundreds of reasons to visit the gallery, along with free hands-on art workshops for families at weekends and during school holidays. No need to book, but places are limited and allocated on arrival up to one hour before the start. FAMILY SUNDAYS. Free hands-on art workshops at 11am and 2pm every Sunday, offering fun activities designed especially for families to enjoy and learn together. Free. MAGIC CARPET STORYTELLING. Fly away on the magic carpet, which comes to land in front of a different painting each Sunday. Ages 2-5 years, 10.30am and 11.30am starts. TAKE ONE PICTURE, 9 May - 16 September. How can a single painting ignite the imagination and curiosity of young people? This display captures a range of creative responses to Veronese’s “Family of Darius before Alexander”, produced by primary school children.
FAMILIES AT THE TATE TATE BRITAIN, Millbank SW1, 020 7887 8888, www.tate.org.uk/britain Open daily 10am-5.50pm, and until 10pm the first Friday of the month. Family trails are available daily from the Information Desks and are free for 5yrs and under. Go on a journey around Tate Britain and post your discoveries into your ‘Post it’ box as you go. When you get home, open up the box and show your friends what you found. Or you could follow the ‘Join up’ trail: play the listening game, search for shapes, patterns and talking hands, and make your own sculptures. Every weekend the free Art Trolley encourages children to imagine and create, make colourful collages, style a wonderful sculpture or perhaps make a sketchbook and fill it with great ideas.
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families south east - may 2012
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Published on Apr 29, 2012