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THIS MONTH we’re all about parent power: easy activities to try at home to boost your child’s education; healthy outdoor play; guiding you through the transition to Big School - and the chance to release your inner witch with a childsplay guide to making a Halloween pumpkin. Have fun.

LocalNews email your news to

Robina Cowan, editor

wn ups o r g r o f s w e N

2-3 Local News and Views A BIG books and arts festival is coming to Dulwich at the end of October; help for back pain sufferers; tantrum tips; and why having children can be good for your health

4-7 School Report Parent power in helping children develop and learn; your children’s next school, and Open Day dates


Book Review Page Justine Crow on great books to read aloud, to yourself, and to learn something new

9-13 What’s On Five pages packed with family events, exhibitions and family workshops

14-15 Happy Halloween Bats and hats ready: treat your little horrors to creepy crafts and spooky activities - with ne’er a plastic poundshop bucket in sight

16 Healthy and Active An active child is a healthy child. Encourage them to move more and do them a longterm favour

Green Buttons A new online shop has been set up to sell on outgrown clothing for babies to children aged six plus. Launched by a mother in Honor Oak, Green Buttons sells and buys pre-owned baby and children’s clothes, which are quality checked and given a simple ‘buttons’ rating to show their condition. Items can either be posted or collected from Honor Oak, or bought online. For more information, go to or email Sally at

Back for Good Increasing numbers of people are using Pilates to manage their low back pain, following the NICE guidelines published in 2009. A specialist ‘Back4Good’ programme is now available in Dulwich. Endorsed by the charity Backcare, the classes focus on movement quality and dynamic stability. At the end of the course, most people report an improvement in their mobility and strength, with a marked reduction in their back pain. The small classes are run in eight week blocks by a registered osteopath who has taught Pilates in Dulwich since the year 2000. For more information including class times and fees, go to

Tension, tears and tantrums 17 What’s New Our round-up of new products and useful sources of support

18 Mothers Mean Business Spotlighting two local mothers who offer an award-winning new calendar for children; and designer childrenswear at a fraction of the full price

19 Mothers’ Guilt “Our biggest mothering mistake is believing we shouldn’t be making any”, says Abi Foss

20 The Back Page Local business contacts to make your life easier

Front cover: Girlswear from Oilily, Next issue: Next issue out 3 November,

copy deadline mid October

Families South East PO Box 11591, London SE26 6WB 020 8699 7240 © 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.


families south east - october 2011

When your little treasure decides it’s her way or no way, you know you’re in for trouble. Dr Katrin Bain is a facilitator with over 10 years’ experience in the areas of personal, team and organisational development, a mother of two, and the founder of ‘mum-me-time’. “Mum-me-time offers no-childcare needed personal development classes and 1:1 coaching to mothers who want to reflect on their life, develop an authentic parenting style and master everyday time management” she told us. One of the most frequent questions asked in the classes is ‘How do I deal with tantrums?’, which Dr Bain tackles in a pocket-sized booklet containing practical tips to help parents remain calm, clear and connected when faced with a tiny tyrant. For a free copy, details of the Greenwich and Charlton courses, and to sign up to a weekly newsletter, log onto, or call 07981 456470.

Wheelie good idea Green and Pleasant fulfill their promise of ‘no more smelly bins’. Once every four weeks, the team turn up with a cheery smile and wash, deodorise and disinfect rubbish and recycling bins, leaving them fresh and fragrant. The service covers the Bromley area and is increasingly attracting customers in southeast London as word gets out. The cost is from £6.50 for two bins via direct debit, or you can pay by cash; and they clean recycling boxes and food bins too. For information, call 0800 612 7535 or email

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© Horst Petzold


hildren c r o f s ie it iv t Ac Word Up! family festival Make Runaways Safe The Children’s Society has launched Make Runaways Safe; a campaign dedicated to improving the services available for young people who run away from home; either through choice or because they are forced to do so by their parents. Recently, young people from the charity’s London Youth at Risk project in Peckham met Tim Loughton, Minister for Children and Families. They told him of their own experiences of running away and urged the government to put an action plan in place to help young runaways in London and across the country. London Youth at Risk project worker, Laura Poole, said: “We were delighted that the minister took time out to meet with our young people. It is incredibly important that Mr Loughton listens to the young people he met with today. No one knows better than them just how essential the need for a runaway’s action plan is. These young people have seen and experienced the dangers of running away first hand and I am incredibly proud of how they have spoken out to raise the profile of this important issue.” For more information, go to

Children from six local primary schools will showcase their talents by opening a new books and arts festival in Dulwich at the end of October. Word Up! is a brand new family festival which is running from 22-24 October at Alleyn’s School in East Dulwich. A host of celebrated writers and poets will be talking about their writing and reading from their books; there will be live music performances and workshops, tempting food stalls and more; from 10.30am-9pm every day. For more details, see page 10, and the full programme online at

Half Term with Little Gems Children who love to dance, act and sing are invited to sign up to a five-day half term workshop with Little Gems. The classes will run in Sydenham from 9am-3.30pm, 24-28 October, for ages 3-16, with a performance for parents and friends on the last day. £125 per child; sibling discount available. For bookings or more information, call 07946 176 452 or email

Latino Bambino With Latino Bambino, mothers and babies enjoy the pulsating Latin American tempo together. New mothers can join in the Salsa Fun dance/ exercise classes with their babies in carriers or slings; while for mothers with 1-4 year-olds there area dance classes full of Latin/ Tropical rhythms enriched with props. The classes use a range of musical styles and have been designed to build confidence; develop motor skills, coordination and balance. Children’s birthday parties are available too. For more information on local classes, call Urska on 07961 838349 or visit

National Chocolate Week

10-16 October is National Chocolate Week, when a number of top London restaurants including the Almeida, Le Caprice, and Gaucho will be featuring special chocolate-themed events and menus. I say pah! - it’s Chocolate Day every day in my house - you’re talking my specialist subject. For example, did you know that: • Raw cacao bean is the most widely consumed nut in the world that paradoxically, nobody actually eats. It is massively processed: heated, cooked, roasted; and by the time it reaches us, all of its extraordinary properties have simply vanished into smoke • Raw cacao is the most chemically complex food in the world, with over 1,200 constituants of flavour alone (the next highest is royal jelly with 300 to 400 constituents) • The highest anti-oxidant food in the world, the cacao bean has more vitamin C than any other Becoming a parent is good for your health, nuts or beans. It is also the highest natural source according to new research findings. In a study of magnesium, iron and chromium, and is of 2,000 British parents: extremely high in zinc, copper and manganese, • 63 per cent believe they adopted a healthier which are some of the most deficient minerals in lifestyle following the birth of a child our world. • Just over half claim the added responsibility of So there you go - a little bit of what you fancy a new-born was the kick start they needed to does do you good (provided you opt for the raw pay more attention to their own well being stuff: nicking the children’s chocolate buttons • 46 per cent of new parents do more exercise doesn’t count). since having a child than they did before, and PS: Shortly after taking our 65 per cent pay closer attention to what they picture, I blissfully munched are eating my way through this slab of • 85 per cent of parents said they were aware it ‘Willie’s Delectable Cacao’, was important to set a good example for their sent to me by my delectable children to follow. sister-in-law, the last time I The study shows around one in three parents who was anaemic. It is (was) introduced a healthier regime after having a child 72% cacao and can be did so because they wanted to be around to see ordered online from their child grow up; or didn’t want their child to be

And finally





overweight. A similar number said they made changes due to needing more energy to keep up with the family, and 24 per cent said they simply didn’t have time to go out partying anymore. When it comes to mealtimes, 36 per cent paid more attention to their own diet after starting to cook healthy meals for their offspring. From cutting down on takeaway meals, unhealthy snacks and alcohol; to being more likely to cook from scratch and read food labels for ingredients when shopping, parents have introduced a range of healthier habits. Many have also started to adopt a ‘practise what you preach’ attitude to food, such as eating your greens. More than half of parents have eaten new foods they wouldn’t have tried prior to children; and over 40 per cent have eaten foods they don’t particularly like - such as sprouts and fish - to encourage their child to eat them.

MA DRA AGES 12 - 19





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october 2011 - families south east


School Report Not ready for school? By Joanne Parry

New research shows that thousands of children are not ready for school by the time they reach the age of five. The blunt findings are that up to 50% of fiveyear-olds are not ‘ready for school’, and as a consequence they are unable to learn properly when they start. Moreover, a recent Ofsted report found an increasing number of children are being diagnosed as having special needs. Sally Goddard Blythe, a child development expert and director of the Institute for NeuroPhysiological Psychology in Chester, claims that children are failing to develop vital physical and communication skills after being denied interaction with their parents during their early years - as many parents are not engaging them in games, rhymes, music and books. “It’s alarming the proportion of children with immature motor skills when they start school, regardless of intelligence,” says Sally, who has

published a new book, The Genius of Natural Childhood. “A significant percentage of children have problems they don’t need to have. They seem to have missed out on early stages of development.” She believes that much of the reason for this is parents using electronic toys to keep toddlers occupied, rather than interacting with them in a more traditional manner, and that this can affect a child’sdevelopment even to the point of the child being wrongly thought to have behavioural problems. “Parents are tired and stressed and you can understand the temptation to put a fretful child in front of the TV or givethem an electronic game to keep them quiet for two hours. But what that means is that the baby isn’t socially interacting, listening and learning to take turns when it comes to communicating.” She added: “If they have immature motor skills, it will affect their ability to sit still, pay attention, hold a pencil and even grip a knife and fork properly.”

A headstart at home By Elisabeth Dolton

Most of us want our children to do well at school and a parent’s role in that success cannot be underestimated. Studies in Britain have shown that children who are supported by their families with homework are likely to perform significantly better in academic examinations at 16 years old and beyond, than those who do not. Recent reports show boys are still having difficulties with literacy (reading, writing or spelling), and girls are having difficulties with numeracy, despite improvements in primary school results. Even the best and brightest teachers can be hard pressed to address the individual needs of every child, especially in a crowded classroom. And what if your child shows a particular interest or aptitude towards a certain topic? A love of physics can start at any age. Similarly, if your child finds a topic difficult, your interest as a parent will help, no matter how well or how fast your child understands what they are being taught. Parents’ small actions can plug these gaps, support children and really boost their development.

Where to start

• Get number crunching - talk about numbers and show them how useful numbers are in almost everything we do. Measure their height and work out how much they have grown; spot speed signs and funny number plates; say the time out loud and how long before the next bus stop; compare the prices of vegetables in the supermarket and how much money you will need to pay; how long tea will take to cook, how much milk you pour on your cornflakes, etc • Problem solving - encourage your children to think things through and work things out for themselves. Ask them why they think metal goes rusty; why the sky is grey; why the police car makes a noise, etc. Point out things that are different from home - buildings, accents, clothes, food, and customs. Experts suggest giving your child a simple map of where they are going, or following a recipe together are great techniques to boost concentration • Keep talking - new experiences and discoveries are always stimulating, so encourage your child to try new things. Look for opportunities to talk to your child about their day - children enjoy sharing what they are learning

• Put a pen in their hands - help them develop their handwriting skills by writing words and sentences for them to copy. Point out examples of lovely handwriting and pictures when you see them, encourage them to ‘sign’ birthday and Christmas cards to their friends, and always get them to sign their own artwork • Download free games, activities, and worksheets online - there are many websites offering free activities that encourage basic skill development for children and keep it fun. Overall, making sure your activities with them are fun will make a real difference. Children thrive on encouragement from someone who will listen to them when they are struggling as well as achieving. Giving them a little personal attention that they can’t get in the classroom, all adds up to fun learning for your child and peace of mind for you that they are achieving the best they can.


families south east - october 2011

All products/ images Early Learning Centre

Activities that involve reading, listening, writing, number awareness, sequencing, counting and learning to become aware of the world that surrounds them are perfect. They will help encourage a love and understanding of language, maths and science; which are basic tools to boost any child’s education. • Keep a library - a few books placed in reach of your children to pick up any time for browsing or talking about. A recent study conducted in the US found that children coming from a ‘bookish’ home remained in education for around three years longer than young people born into families with empty bookshelves • Read to your children - sharing stories and reading together are vital to the development of literacy skills. Just ten minutes at the start or end of the day will help children acquire the skills they need to develop as a reader

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Junior School

Independent day school for boys and girls aged 4 –11 Townley Road, Dulwich, London SE22 8SU

Co-educational Excellence


Thursday 3 and Tuesday 15 November 1.30 – 3.00pm The Headmaster will give a short talk during the afternoon, and visitors may look around the school. It is not necessary to book for Open Days. For further details please see our website We look forward to welcoming you to Alleyn’s Junior School. Please email or call 020 8557 1519 to obtain a prospectus or for any other information.

Rosemead Preparatory School Independent-Co-educational-3-11 years. Founded 1942. ISA & IAPS

OPEN MORNINGS Saturday 15th October 9.30am-12.30pm Tuesday 8th November 9-11 am Monday 14th November 9-11am Tours of the school held on Tuesday mornings during term time Bursaries available Please call 020-8670 5865 for further information Prep Department, 70 Thurlow Park Road, SE21 8HZ Pre Prep Department, Elmcourt Road, SE27 9BZ email:

Nursery & Junior School Open Days 2011 Saturday

5 November

10 am - 12 noon


6 December

2 - 3.30 pm

For an individual tour please ring or email:

020 8674 6912 Wavertree Road Streatham Hill London SW2 3SR

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A dynamic secondary scho ol where high achievers thrive

Deptford Green School Open events 2011 Saturday 1 October 10.30am–12.30pm Tuesday 4 October 9.15–11.15am Wednesday 5 October 6:30–8pm Amersham Vale, SE14 6LQ october 2011 - families south east


Education news Changes to SEN Special Educational Needs statements are being replaced with a ‘health and care’ plan, with parents receiving a personal budget to spend on implementing it, under new government proposals. The aim is to give parents whose children have SEN more power over their care, and some ministers also believe it will reduce the number of children labelled as having SEN, as they believe too many children are currently given SEN status. The new plans are currently being piloted for 18 months in advance of a national rollout in 2013.

Top marks at Sydenham High School Pupils at Sydenham High School GDST achieved best-ever GCSE grades this summer, averaging ten GCSEs per student and two thirds of all subjects graded A/A*. All students took sciences and a foreign language as well as maths and English to provide them with a rigorous academic foundation for their A level studies and preparation for university, and 90% of them combined these studies with GCSEs in art, music, sport, DT and drama. Kathryn Pullen, headteacher commented “I am delighted with the girls’ achievements and congratulate them on this outstanding performance as well as thanking both parents and teaching staff for their commitment to supporting our students. “We’re pleased that 73% of girls would qualify under the EBacc measure but four of our highest performing students would not, despite taking all the sciences and two languages. That’s why we will continue to champion a broad, academic education that we believes develops the whole person and why we are more proud of the fact that 90% of our students also took subjects like art, music, sport, DT and drama at GCSE.” See our Open Day listings for when to visit the school for yourself, or log on to

Independent schools If they could afford it, over half of the UK’s parents would choose to ‘go private’ with their children’s schooling, citing the promise of smaller class sizes, higher academic expectations and better exam grades. And not without reason: while just 7% of children are educated in independent schools (10% in London), 30% of this summer’s A* A’level grades were awarded to independent school pupils. Do explore your options and visit the schools if you are interested, as scholarships and means-tested bursaries are available.


families south east - october 2011

Moving on – where next?

One moment you’re waving your first wistful farewell at the nursery gates and then, in what seems like a blink of an eye, it’s time to think about secondary schools. Where did all those years go? It’s that time of year again, with open days now happening and application deadlines fast approaching. If your child is nearing the end of primary school, you’ll find you talk of little else from now until you know where they’ll be going next. Here are some starting points to keep you sane as the secondary transfer season gets underway.

Start early Get ahead of the game. If your son or daughter has just entered year 5, now is a good time to begin your research without the pressure of application forms and entry tests to contend with this term. Start in the comfort of your own home. Visit the government advice website for an explanation of the choices of school on offer - it is particularly helpful if you are looking to understand what’s in a name when it comes to community schools, free schools, academies, colleges, federations, faith-based and specialist schools.

Casting your net Recent years have seen huge investments in maintained schools; resulting in impressive buildings with state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities. With catchment areas no longer restricted to the borough you live in, you can cast your net wide in researching schools for your shortlist. The website has a wealth of information including a schools finder with links to their websites, contact details and inspection reports. While most of the information is free, there is also a paid-for GSG advisory service which is personalised to your child and will include a list of recommended schools to consider, insiders’ information, and tips to improve your child’s chances of securing a place. Also try the Independent Schools Council, which represents nearly 1300 fee-paying schools in Britain and offers plenty of generic advice on choosing schools on

Picking up the pace If your child has already started his or her final year in primary school, don’t panic! There is still time to gather prospectuses, read inspection reports online and, most importantly, visit the open days together. It is your child, after all, who will be spending most of their teenage years in those buildings, so while you’re admiring the shiny IT suite and firm handshake of the history teacher, she’ll be checking out the canteen and friendliness of existing pupils their views count too. Think about what you want to get out of the open day and don’t be sucked into the spin. Look beyond the glossy prospectus photos of fresh-faced youngsters carrying clarinet cases and ask some tough interview-type questions of current parents and pupils such as, “if there was one thing the school could do better, what would it be?” You might get some interesting insights that way. .

Open Days Alleyn’s School, Townley Road SE22, Junior school, 3 and 15 November 2011, 020 8557 1519. Senior school 8 October, 8 + 9 November, 020 8557 1500 Bromley High School GDST, 1 October 2011, Blackbrook Lane BR1, 020 8781 7000, Blackheath High School GDST, Juniors 8 + 13 October , 8 + 16 November 2011, Wemyss Road SE3 020 8852 1537. Seniors Vanbrugh Road SE3 020 8853 2929 Colfe’s School, Horn Park Lane SE12, senior school 020 8852 2283, pre-prep and prep 020 8463 8240, Croydon High School GDST, 1 October 2011. Old Farleigh Road CR2, 020 8260 7500, Deptford Green School, 1, 4 and 5 October 2011. Amersham Vale, New Cross SE14 6LQ, 020 8691 3236, Dulwich College, year 7 1 October 2011, 020 8299 9263, years 3-6 8 October. Dulwich Common, London SE21 7LD, 020 8299 8432,

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Rush to the finish line Once you’ve made the decision, you have a small window of opportunity to apply - a very small window in the case of state school applications which close from the end of the October before your child is due to move on. But, do be reassured that, despite the hype, you’d be surprised by how many excellent private schools may still have places just weeks before the start of the academic year. So remember, the earlier you start gathering information the better, but all is most definitely not lost if you don’t pin down your preferred choices years in advance

What the inspectors say Visiting schools for yourself gives you a proper feel for day-to-day life. It’s also well worth having a look at their official inspection reports: • The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulate and inspect all local authority schools and independent schools that are not members of the Associations of the Independent Schools Council. • The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) and School Inspection Service (SIS) inspect schools who are members of the Associations of the Independent Schools Council. • The Bridge Schools Inspectorate inspects schools belonging to the Christian Schools’ Trust and the Association of Muslim Schools throughout England. All publish their reports on their websites:

Senior School Open Mornings 2011 Wednesday 5 October Tuesday 8 November

10 am – 12 noon 10 am – 12 noon

For more information please ring or email: 020 8677 8400 42 Abbotswood Road London SW16 1AW

Read more For more education articles such as helping your child with homework; independent school entry exams; separation anxiety; and making the most of open days, go to our website and choose the Education and Schools section, or type the subject you want to know more about into the search box.

If the next date is not yet listed, contact the school for a prospectus and admissions information: Eltham College, Grove Park Road, Mottingham, London SE9 4QF. 020 8857 1455,

Thames, because small schools build big futures

Herne Hill School, The Old Vicarage, 127 Herne Hill SE24 9LY, 020 7274 6336, James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS), senior department East Dulwich Grove SE22, 020 8693 1181, JAPS, 1 October. Pre-prep, 2 Dulwich Village SE21, 020 8693 3465. Prep department 144 East Dulwich Grove SE22, 020 8693 0374, Old Palace of John Whitgift, Old Palace Road, Croydon CR0, 020 8688 2027, Junior school 5 October, Senior school 8 October 2011. Rosemead Preparatory School, 15 October 2011 and tours on Tuesday mornings (book first). Prep 70 Thurlow Park Road SE21 8HZ, Pre-Prep Elmcourt Road, London SE27 9BZ, 020 8670 5865,

OPEN DAYS Wednesday 28 September 10.15-12.15 Saturday 1 October 10.00-13.00

Exceptional independent secondary school for boys & girls For enrolment and all inclusive fee details call 020 7228 3933 Thames Christian College, Wye Street, London SW11 2HB

St Dunstan’s College, 3 November 2011. Seniors 1 October and 5 November. Stanstead Road, London SE6 4TY, 020 8516 7022, Streatham & Clapham High School GDST, juniors 5 November + 6 December, Wavertree Road SW2, 020 8674 6912, seniors 5 October + 8 November, Abbotswood Road SW16, 020 8677 8400, Sydenham High School GDST, 020 8557 7000, Junior school 11 October and 10 November, 15 Westwood Hill SE26. Senior school 4 + 13 October, 15 + 24 November, 19 Westwood Hill SE26 6BL Thames Christian College, 1 October 2011. Wye Street SW11, 020 7228 3933,

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october 2011 - families south east


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. SO THE AUTUMN term is underway and the little darlings in the pool have got over their disappointment at discovering they'd got me again as their swimming teacher. There's nothing quite like that coy smile, while mum tucks hair into a rubber hat, that conveys recognition but not acceptance. Until the lesson begins both parent and child are hoping that Caprice, or indeed Conan, has improved sufficiently to warrant a change of class. If it's any consolation, I sometimes want to scream: I wish I didn't have you back again either! Instead, the shock of the cold shuts me up and we muddle on with me hoping that the child will finally stop coughing like a cat being sick whenever he goes under water and the parent hoping they'll finally see some results for their money. Meanwhile Conan is still convinced that learning to swim includes pulling down the trunks of the five year-old standing next to him in the shallow end. A TASTE OF CHLORINE by Bastien Vives - Jonathan Cape rrp £16.99. When my children were babies, swimming kept me sane. That and the crèche at Crystal Palace Sports Centre. But the interminable drudgery of nappies and an encrusted kitchen, the stink of dummies in Milton solution, toys under foot, Blue's Clues on a loop and the feeling that everything was only ever half accomplished (including a career) would vanish the minute I was set free in the water. What was I thinking when I took up teaching? This excellent graphic novel in aqua tones throughout captures the dappled calm of a workaday pool and with each page, I kept my fingers crossed there would be no sudden clatter of school kids to spoil the mood. With the rhythmic slosh of toiling limbs stitching back and forth and sparse dialogue featuring the occasional swear word but no smut, the tale of burgeoning physical confidence with a hint of sensuality unfolds at a realistic pace amidst the tiled and glassed high ceiling acoustics. There are even credible tips on technique. Go on, get in. You know you want to… SCENES FROM AN IMPENDING MARRIAGE by Adrian Tomine - Faber & Faber rrp £7.99. And while I have my lip in for a little light bandes dessinées - there's not so many words on the page to have to concentrate on - this sweet "prenuptial memoir" charts the hectic emotional politicking that characterises the build up to the big day, complete with unscripted (anti)climax, depicted with compelling fondness. Ahhh. What a pair of saps… LISA LOEB'S SILLY SING-ALONG, THE DISAPPOINTING PANCAKE & OTHER ZANY SONGS Sterling rrp £10.99. There's nuthin' sappy about this grammy nominated singer/ songwriter's mission to inject some zip into the daily routine from breakfast to bedtime. Clearly influenced by the fantastic Woody Guthrie family album, Grow Big, it also comes with a CD so there's no excuse for not joining in. Even daddy could manage some spirited air banjo if he puts his mind to it. THE GIANT BOOK OF GIANTS by Saviour Pirotta & Mark Roberton - Egmont rrp £14.99. We like this because somewhat appropriately, you get a lot of giant for your money. With six stories that include Jack & the Beanstalk and Sinbad, comes one great big fold-out fella that's nearly as tall as me. Hiya handsome..! MY BEAR GRIZ by Suzanne McGinness - Frances Lincoln rrp £11.99. I saw this book in production many moons passim on one of my few visits to a publisher - us bookselling-swimming teachers miss most of the perks of the trade, forsaking the marketing dept lunches for the shop counter in the daytime and the fancy evening book launches because we have to be in the pool after school - and I remember thinking how very beautifully hairy the bear was, and how very enormous, and how un-scary, as I gratefully sipped my gratis coffee and I thumbed the promo material, giddied by a working environment inhabited entirely by grown-ups, with not tantrum in sight. STUCK by Oliver Jeffers - Harpercollins rrp £10.99. How does this bloke produce such exquisite picture books? Each page of artwork is a delight, each narrated in that gauche guy handwriting imbued with bright innocence. Even in the dark

bits. This time he takes the traditional house-that-jack-built add on and repetition format and chucks everything at the tree to dislodge a kite, including the milkman, a rhino, a lighthouse, and a ship. Everything including the kitchen sink! KATIE & THE WATERLILY POND by James Mayhew - Orchard rrp £5.99. I can never resist the opportunity to punt the magical Mister Mayhew because as staples of our children's section, the Katie stories are both beautiful AND useful, a rare combination in picture book land. And I haven't been this close to Impressionism since the day we shot past the turn-off for Giverny on the autoroute having been appallingly lost in Versailles, when we'd alternated map-reading insults with gasps of wonder at the surrounding splendour. Later, over a drink, we promised we’d go back. For now, Mayhew will suffice. MONSTER DAY AT WORK by Sarah Dyer, Frances Lincoln rrp £6.99 shamelessly perpetuates familial stereotypes, albeit in the guise of cheery monsters (possibly someone needs therapy here but I'm not sure who) and the kid goes to the office with dad to experience how hard he works at meetings, at the canteen and the gym before struggling back home through rush hour to an uncomplaining domestic goddess of a mum who has prepared dinner, done the dishes, ironing, dusting and mopping and has time to fix a necklace round her monster neck, all with tongue firmly in a monster cheek. Hmm. The more I saw of BABBIT by Lydia Monks, Egmont rrp £5.99, the more I preferred him tied to the tree with a yikes expression. Talk about stereotypes - blonde ditzy little girls good; small green-faced witch with her chums, dragon, crocodile and bear, "naughty". I know whose side I was on.. COLOURS; NUMBERS both by Orla Kiely – Egmont, rrp £9.99. Really by her? Personally? These board books are rather gorgeous though, and very stylishly bound. I do hope however, as I eye my expensive purse (a gift!) in the top of my bag, that she/ they don't over-expose the designs so that we end up awash with ubiquity in a Kath Kidson way, where no household item, cosmetic, garment or accessory is safe from tearoom chic. Conversely, the vast Kidson fast-track warehouse on the A1 is completely drab - talk about a missed marketing opportunity. LET'S CELEBRATE, edited by Debjani Chatterjee & Brian D'Arcy, illustrated by Shirin Adl, FL, rrp £12.99 is an exhilarating teaching resource that makes for a fine poetry anthology for the home too that celebrates world holidays from Chinese New Year to Christmas via Ireland, India, Japan, Latin America and the USA. My favourite is Ode to Tomatoes, naturally.. Meanwhile, A PARENT'S SURVIVAL GUIDE TO PHONICS & SPELLING by Andrew Brodie, A&C Black, rrp £9.99 is a not quite so, er, exhilarating but nonetheless welcome parental resource to aid navigation through the choppy waters of the Foundation Stage. According to the news this morning, they'll be testing all six year olds on phonics from next year (like they need more tests) so your average reception age tyke will be expected to know what a 'grapheme' is. Do you? In RUBY REDFORT, LOOK INTO MY EYES by Lauren Child, Harpercollins rrp £12.99, the Clarice Bean touch comes to chapter books once more with a new series and a new, wordier, even lippier heroine. I still haven't discovered where Anerley Girls School stood, alma mater of our very own Baroness of Beckenham. In SEA OF TEARS by Floella Benjamin, FL, rrp £6.99, a very different sort of heroine struggles to adjust to a new life in Barbados after the streetwise hustle and bustle of her old home in this city. Though it sounds like a bit of a no brainer to me - sunshine and beaches of the Caribbean or, the chilly depths of South London? Though I admit, as I trudge back to the car dripping wet having accidentally caught my bag of floats on the press-button in the boys showers as I took a sneaky shortcut through fully clothed - aarrgghh! - I'm probably biased...

The Bookseller Crow, 50 Westow St. Crystal Palace, London SE19 3AF Telephone: 020 8771 8831 email: 8

families south east - october 2011

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What’sOn See our online listings for MORE activities: then click What’s On

Diary Dates for Grownups ADULT CROCHET CLASSES 5, 12 and 19 October, ALHAMBRA HOME & GARDEN, 148 Kirkdale, Sydenham SE26 4BB, 020 3417 6385,, Lindy Zubairy will be running a six-hour mixed ability course taught over three workshops. £55, all materials provided. Book through the shop or email

CHRISTOPHER BOWDEN: ‘THE RED HOUSE’ 13 October, DULWICH BOOKS, 6 Croxted Road, West Dulwich SE21 8SW, 020 8670 1920, Following the success of his previous books “The Red House” is a powerful and gripping piece of literary fiction that has already been praised by Derek Jacobi. Dulwich Books is hosting the launch party for Christopher Bowden’s third novel - an engrossing story of artifice and hidden secrets, rich with theatrical detail and compelling characters. From 7.30pm, free admission.

CHILDREN’S TABLE TOP SALE 15 October, St MICHAEL’S & ALL SAINTS CHURCH HALL, Pond Road, Blackheath SE3, Clothes, toys, books, equipment, tea and cake; run by Greenwich & Lewisham Twinsclub Plus - so there’ll be at least twice as many bargains! 5-5pm.

ONE DAY AUTISM WORKSHOP 15 October, NOVOTEL LONDON, 113 Lambeth Road SE1 7LS, 0333 440 201, A workshop for parents, carers and teachers to help get started with teaching children with autism or a developmental delay. The day will cover child assessments, setting up a successful learning environment, making learning fun, monitoring learning and Q&A sessions. 9.30am-5pm, £185 includes refreshments and a full teaching manual to take home.

LUNCH FOR MUMPRENEURS SE LONDON MUMPRENEURS 07909 691605, email The South East London Mumpreneur Network, in association with Motivating Mum, offers affordable opportunities where mothers in business or with business ideas meet each other for support and inspiration, while networking, sharing experiences, ideas and developing confidence. BUSINESS MUM OF THE YEAR, 18 October. Tap into the experiences of like-minded mothers and hear from guest speaker Antonia Chitty, founder of ACPR, editor of Family Friendly Working and author of ‘The Mumpreneur Guide’. Lunch at the Exhibition Rooms in Crystal Palace. Booking includes a two course meal and tea or coffee.

NUTS 19-22 October, Edward Alleyn Theatre, DULWICH COLLEGE SE21, box office 020 8693 4830 and The Dulwich Stationers, Dulwich Village Originally a Broadway hit, ‘Nuts’ has been called the best courtroom melodrama since ‘Witness for the Prosecution’. Set in a courtroom in New York’s Bellevue Hospital, the story follows a high-priced call girl incarcerated

on a charge for killing a violent client. An appointed psychiatrist battling against an aggressive prosecutor will unveil Claudia Faith Draper’s psyche as she attempts to prove that she isn’t ‘nuts’ and claims the right to trial for manslaughter - to the dismay of her family. The play is staged by The Dulwich Players, a leading amateur theatre group which was founded in 1969. The theatre group now has over 100 members who perform a very varied programme of comedy and drama from Aycknourne to Chekhov. Find out more at

SPECIAL ED NEEDS TRIBUNALS WORKSHOP 28 October, NATIONAL CENTRE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WITH EPILEPSY, Lingfield, Surrey, Children’s rights lawyer Steve Broach hosts a free half day worskshop about special educational needs funding. Learn more about tribunals, and the experiences other parents have faced securing funding for their child’s special educational needs. For more information or to register for a place, email

THE BABY SHOW 28-30 October, EARLS COURT, Warwick Road, London SW5 9TA, 0871 231 0844, All you need to know about pregnancy and early life, all under one roof. Meet midwives and health visitors; watch fashion shows and product demonstrations, enter competitions, pick up free samples and see what’s new from hundreds of exhibitors. Open 9.30am-5.30pm, tickets from £20 on the door, from £13.50 bought in advance.

We are looking for babies and children between the ages of 0 and 12 years to assist us in a range of fun activities investigating how children see. The Child Vision Lab is based at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in Central London. We will refund any travelling costs up to £20.


020 7608 6819

First Saturday of each month, THE OLD NUNS HEAD, 15 Nunhead Green SE15 3QQ Stalls are inside this vibrant family-friendly pub sell a variey of vintage ceramics, pre-loved labels, recyled toys & bags, organic skin care, cup cakes and hot crepes, life art, photography, felt jewellery, wire wrap jewellery, vintage clothes & accessories, knitwear, soft furnishings & much more. The Old Nuns Head is a comfortable venue with vintage couches, books, low slung tables & the food is of a high standard. There is ample room for pushchairs. Pop up shop 11.30am-5pm. For more information, email

TENNIS FOR BEGINNERS From 2 November and 7 December, SYDENHAM TENNIS, SQUASH AND CROQUET CLUB, Lawrie Park Road, Sydenham SE26 6ET, 07776 231 676, Do you want to start playing tennis or brush up on your skills after a long break? Sydenham Tennis Club is running adult ‘introduction to tennis’ courses where participants lean basic techniques, meet players of a similar standard and play some fun doubles. Each six week taster course is just £20. Book first.

CHILDREN’S TABLE SALE 12 November, LOCHABER HALL, Manor Lane Terrace, Manor Lane SE13 5QL A sale of outgrown children’s clothes, toys, books, sports equipment, musical instruments and more, plus pushchairs and cots. 3-5pm.

Events & Exhibitions BOOK EVENTS AT DULWICH BOOKS DULWICH BOOKS, 6 Croxted Road, West Dulwich SE21 8SW, 020 8670 1920, SATURDAY STORIES, every Saturday in October. Storyteller Vanessa Woolf will be in the shop to entertain children with exciting tales. All sessions start at 10.30am except for 8 October, which will be an afternoon story at 3.30pm. Free. MEET MARGARET BATESON-HILL, 5 November. Born storyteller and local author Margaret Bateson-Hill will be appearing in the shop to talk about and read from the brilliant ‘Dragon Racer’ series. 10.30am11.30am, free.

MAGIC WORLDS, 8 October - 4 March 2012. Delve into the captivating world of fantasy. Visitors can immerse themselves in the imaginary and fantastical realms of witches, fairies, elves, dragons, magicians and illusionists. On display will be costumes, tricks, paintings, ceramics, beautifully illustrated books and posters, games, optical toys and dramatic puppets.

V&A MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green E2 9PA, 020 8983 5200, 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. Open 10am-5.45pm daily, admission free. THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES, until 26 February 2012. When re-told to children, fairy tales often assume an air of innocence. Good always triumphs over evil, heroes are selfless and love is everlasting. Some fairy tales however, explore the darker side of a child’s imaginary landscape. Take a closer look at the playthings of innocents, and see the installation made by local schoolchildren, alongside work by Katherine Tulloh, Ruhe Weinbergh, Daniel Bell and Sharon Brindle.

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East Dulwich & Dulwich Park 0778 613 0537 (Suzie)

Rotherhithe & Bermondsey 020 8979 9139 (Tim & Emily)

october 2011 - families south east




NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM, Royal Hospital Road SW3 4HT, 020 7881 6606, 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. DRAW YOUR WEAPONS. A colourful and dynamic exhibition exploring the history of the war comic, in partnership with leading publisher DC Thomson.

Find even more activities: then click What's On


recreating colourful stories. Open 9am-5pm daily, £8 children, £12.50 adults, £35 families.

GEFFRYE MUSEUM GEFFRYE MUSEUM, Kingsland Road E2 8EA, 020 7739 9893, 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.

CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS WORD UP! FAMILY BOOKS & ARTS FESTIVAL 22 -24 October, ALLEYN’S SCHOOL, Townley Road, East Dulwich SE22 8SU, 01803 867373, and ‘wordupfestival’ on Facebook A fantastic celebration of children’s literature, with famous names and events for all ages. Writers taking part include Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Francesca Simon, John Hegley, Meg Rosoff, Judith Kerr, Mackenzie Crook and Caroline Lawrence. There will be a mini bookshop run by Herne Hill’s Tales on Moon Lane, comedy from James Campbell and his Comedy 4 Kids, family workshops with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and British carnival group Kinetica Bloco, interactive storytellings of Peepo!, Moomins, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, jugglers and under 5s poetry and hip hop disco with Dr Octopus and The Wheels of Steel. Events will run from 10.30am-9pm daily. Tickets from £4 for most day events and from £8 for evening events. Entry to the festival site will be free and there will be the chance for all to enjoy free storytelling sessions, poetry events, face painting and music performances.

DINOS, DODOS AND DUGOUTS 22 October, GRANT MUSEUM OF ZOOLOGY, Rockerfeller Building, University College London, University Street WC1E 6DE, 020 3108 2052, Explore amazing extinct animals for half term. As part of the Bloomsbury Festival, the Grant Museum is giving families the chance to discover creatures ranging from endangered to extinct, through specimen based activities. Discover dinosaurs, marvel at mammoths, tickle tigers and handle hippos. 11am-4pm drop-in, admission free.

BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM FUN BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R, 020 7601 5545, 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 10am5pm Mondays to Fridays, admission free. THE BIG DRAW - Designs on Your Money, 24-28 October. Learn about the sophisticated security features contained within banknotes, and design your own secure notes. The event includes a competition with prizes to be won. 10am-4.30pm.

SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE EXHIBITION AND TOUR 24-30 October, SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside SE1 9DT, 020 7902 1500, box office 020 7401 9919, Explore Elizabethan stage combat and find out about the significance of clothing in Elizabethan society with costumes from the Globe’s Theatre wardrobe. Travelling through interactive displays, visitors explore areas of costume, music and special effects, and are invited to take part in a fascinating half-hour tour of the Globe Theatre, with guide-storytellers


families south east - october 2011

CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS, Clive Steps, King Charles Street SW1A, The Churchill War Rooms were originally the Cabinet War Rooms, created in 1938 as underground storage areas for the Office of Works Building in Whitehall. They were soon converted to house the central core of government and to become a temporary military information centre serving the Prime Minister and the Chiefs of Staff of the air, naval and land forces. Visitors can hear the first-hand personal accounts of those who worked in the Cabinet War Rooms during the war. Learn what life and conditions were like underground and experiencing the authenticity and emotional resonance of walking through the corridors where Churchill made history. Open 9.30am-6pm, admission free for under 16s, £15.95 adults. OUT OF THE BOX, 15+16 October. Examine replica objects that have become unique symbols of Churchill, the most famous of British wartime leaders. A grown-up dressing up box contains iconic Churchill replica items such as hats, coats and cigars. Take a step further in Churchill’s footsteps by handling the objects and even trying on the clothes. Interpreters will be on hand to help visitors learn more about the collections and direct them towards original items on display, for example Churchill’s own Siren Suit which can be found in the ‘daily routine’ area of the Museum.

SCIENCE MUSEUM EVENTS SCIENCE MUSEUM, Exhibition Road SW7 2DD, 0870 870 4868, 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, engineering, medicine, technology, design and enterprise. Open daily 10am-6pm except 24-26 December. COCKROACH TOURS, weekends until December. Dress up in a realistic cockroach costume and take a journey through the museum, exploring the impact on the climate of scientific and technological developments from the perspective of one of the oldest, most resilient life forms on the planet. Book first on 0870 870 4868. ANTENNA LIVE ROWING EVENT, 25-27 October. Meet the GB Rowing Team in person and find out what it takes to become a rower. How does science help the GB Rowing Team train for rowing glory? This is a special three day interactive event being staged at the Science Museum during the half-term holidays. 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.

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, Cromwell Road SW7 5BD, 020 7942 5000, 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. WILDLIFE GARDEN, Until 30 October. Escape the city and wander through the tranquil habitats of the Wildlife Garden, including woodland, meadow, pond and more. The garden is a haven for thousands of British plants and animals and demonstrates wildlife conservation in the inner city. Entry free. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR, 21 October to March 2012. Revealing nature photography in its purest form, this collection of more than 100 images uniquely combines the work of talented young photographers and gifted amateurs with leading lights of the profession from around the globe. Images celebrate the beauty and magnificence of the world in which we live, as well as acting as a stark reminder of the fragility of nature. Admission £4.50 children, £9 adults, £24 families.

CUMING MUSEUM, 151 Walworth Road SE17 1RY, 020 7525 2096, Thursdays, FAMILY CLUB. Explore and play with the Cuming explorers. 10am-11.15am for under 5s and their parents/ carers. 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 On the THAMES by Morgans Lane, Tooley Street SE1 2JH, (Thames Clipper London Bridge City Pier) 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, admission free for under 16s, £13.50 adults. 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. WHAT LIES BELOW, 22-30 October. What lies beneath the battle cruiser? From Roman coins to shopping trollies, the unique quality of the Thames mud has preserved and will continue to preserve whatever we drop throughout the centuries. Rubbish or archeology? This free family activity explores the history below the ship. 11am-12.30pm and 2-4pm drop-in.

LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM, 39 Wellington Street, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB, 020 7379 6344, Museum open 10am-6pm Saturdays to Thursdays, from 11am Fridays. Admission free for under 16s; under 12s to be accompanied. HALF TERM EVENTS, 24-28 October. Take inspiration from the museum’s John Burningham poster collection and create a puppet to take home, stage a mini puppet show in the museum, and listen to action-packed readings from some of Burningham’s books. Ages 5+.

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE MUSEUM FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE MUSEUM, 2 Lambeth Palace Road, South Bank, London SE1, 020 7620 0347, 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.

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM EVENTS IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, Lambeth Road, London SE1, 020 7416 5000, Museum open daily 10am-6pm. Admission £3.95 children, £5.95 adults, families from £12.50. ONCE UPON A WAR, until 30 October. Five of the best-loved classic war stories for children are dramatically brought to life through stunning life-size sets, intricate scale models and interactive exhibits. The titles are ‘Carrie’s War’ by Nina Bawden, ‘War Horse’ by Michael Morpurgo, ‘The Silver Sword’ by Ian Serraillier, ‘The Machine Gunners’ by Robert Westall and ‘Little Soldier’ by Bernard Ashley. The exhibition explores the themes of loyalty, separation, excitement, survival and identity throughout the books, then goes behind the scenes to explain the authors’ inspiration through interesting and sometimes unseen items including manuscripts, early sketches, interviews and photographs.

CHILDREN AT THE V&A V&A MUSEUM, Cromwell Road SW7 2RL, 020 7942 2000, 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.

DINOSAURS UNLEASHED Until 31 December, The O2, Meridian Gardens, Peninsula Square, Greenwich SE10 0DX, 0844 844 2121, www, Dinosaurs last roamed Earth 65 million years ago - now they’re back and unleashed at The O2. With over 22 life-size dinosaurs, a prehistoric CGI

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aquarium, holographic video presentations by wildlife expert Chris Packham, real and replica fossils, interactives galore and more than 40 educational interpretation panels, this unique exhibition appeals to family audiences, especially budding young palaeontologists aged 2-12. Children can get their hands dirty and dig for fossils, piecing them together in the Fossil Zone. They can also create their own dinosaur skins and colours at the popular Dino-Paints as well as testing their dinosaur knowledge with dynamic quizzes. Open daily 10am - 6pm, timed entry tickets £11.25 children, £14.25 adults, £42.60 adults, discounted for Greenwich borough residents.

MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS, West India Quay E14, 020 7001 9844, 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. Here are some highlights: PIRATES: EDIBLE EYEBALLS, 8 October. Discover facts about real pirates and have fun making edible eyeballs. Ages 3+, 12.30-1.30 and 2.30-3.30pm. MUSICAL MONDAYS, 17 October. Sing, rhyme and play together in the museum’s monthly session for babies aged from six months. 12.45-1.45pm, free. PIRATE TREASURE, 22 October. Find out about different types of pirate treasure. Design and make a giant coin to take away and paint at home. Ages 5+, tickets on application, 12.30-1.30 and 2.30-3.30pm.

workshops help visitors find out more about London’s history, covering events such as the Great Plague, Londoners’ jobs and occupations, and Roman life. See our website for full details: What’s On at LITTLE MOLES, termtime Wednesdays. Weekly hands-on creative sessions for 1 to 5 year-olds and their carers. 3.30-4.30pm, free but book first. UNDER 5s STORYTIME, last Tuesday of the month. Stories, music and interactive fun for under 5s and their carers. 3-3.30pm. LET’S DANCE, 29+30 October. Get into the grooves of the 1960s with a museum host. Ages 5+, 11.30am1.30pm and 2-4pm.

FAMILY EVENTS AT THE HORNIMAN HORNIMAN MUSEUM and gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23, 020 8699 1872, Museum open 10.30am-5.30pm daily, general admission free, charges 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.

Designs on your money 24 – 28 October 10:00am – 5:00pm

Banknote Big Draw BALI - DANCING FOR THE GODS. Until 8 January 2012. An exhibition exploring Balinese culture and the central role of dance as a visual feast. Beautifully gilded costumes, lavishly decorated artefacts, puppets and sculptures are featured alongside unique film and photography from the 1930s. Adm fee.

Learn about banknote security features and design your own secure banknote. Enter our competition, 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 NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM HIGHLIGHTS A PIRATE’S LIFE FOR ME, 23 + 30 October. Meet a pirate and learn the truth about life in the old port of London and on the high seas. Ages 7+, free. TV YOURSELF, 24 October. Have fun finding out about children’s TV programmes from the past then make your own props and pose for a picture in a mini TV set. Ages 2+, free tickets on application. MAPS AT SEA, 24 October. What paper would you use for a good map for a sailor or pirate? What is going to happen to the map on its journey? What if it got wet? Find the answer to these and other questions in a hands-on scientific exploration. Ages 5+, free. ALL ABOARD, 28+29 October. Help the museum staff finish a ship by making a sail, mast or other item needed on board. Ages 4+, free. THE CAPTAIN KIDD STORY, until 30 October. An exhibition focusing on the legendary privateer turned pirate. From cannons and hidden treasure maps to female pirates and gibbet cages, the exhibition explores the myths and mysteries surrounding common perceptions of pirates. 17th and 18th century English society will also be depicted, looking at gruesome ritual executions and the greed and manipulation of the infamous East India Company.

MUSEUM OF LONDON EVENTS MUSEUM OF LONDON, London Wall EC2Y 5HN, 020 7001 9844, Open daily 10am-6pm, admission free. Regular programmes of weekend and holiday events and

National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House and Royal Observatory, Romney Road, Greenwich SE10, 020 8858 4422, The museum’s new Sammy Ofer Wing allows the museum to completely change the way it presents its galleries, exhibitions and events. A new, purpose designed exhibition gallery will host a full programme of temporary shows, while a permanent gallery Voyagers - introduces the story of Britain and the sea. Rest your sealegs with break in the new restaurant and cafe, taking in the views over Greenwich Park, along with a state-of-the-art library. Museum open 10am-5pm daily. Admission free. FAMILY LEARNING FESTIVAL, 15 October. A day of fun with a range of activities for all the family in the Queen’s House. 11.30am-4pm, free. CURIOUS CARGO, 24-28 October. Fabulous fabrics for people to wear. Exotic spices to make food taste delicious. Refreshing tea for grown-ups to drink. From the 1750s people in Britain had a huge choice of things to buy for the very first time, at affordable prices - all thanks to the fortunes of the British East India Company trading goods from across the world. Discover more in a range of intriguing activities about the Company’s trade in fabrics and spices with India, and explore the new NMM Traders gallery. PRICE TAG, 24-28 October. Add your ideas on fashion and fair trade to a giant installation by textiles artist Zeena Shah. Explore how the British East India Company brought blue jeans, beautiful paisley patterned scarves and sumptuous silks to Britain, forever changing the way we look and feel. 11.30am1.30pm and 2-4pm, free drop-in workshops.

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october 2011 - families south east


MoreWhat’sOn Find even more activities: then click What's On DANCE * ACT * SING THIS OCTOBER HALF TERM! Mon 24th - Fri 28th 9:00am - 3:30pm @ Sydenham High School Performance to parents Friday 3:00pm Ages 3 - 16. No experience necessary, just bring a smile! £125 (Sibling discount available) / 07946 176 452

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BENEATH THE SURFACE, 24, 26 + 28 October. Join the museum’s storyteller in residence for an alternative gallery tour, taking you behind the surface of the gallery to find unexpected things. 12.30-1.30 and 2.30-3.30pm, suitable for ages 7+, free. EXPLORE SATURDAYS. Meet a character from the past and take part in an exciting performance that brings maritime history to life. Suitable for ages 6+. Noon, 1, 2 and 3pm start, free. DISCOVER SUNDAYS. Be inspired by the museum’s galleries and take part in free design, craft, illustration and music workshops designed for families. Suitable for all ages. 11.30am-1.30pm and 2-5pm, free. PLAY TUESDAYS. Young children can have fun with their families as they explore the museum through making, music, dance and drama. 10.30 and 11.30am, 1 and 2pm, suitable for under 5s; collect a ticket from the admissions desk. THE SECRET LIFE OF STARS. A spectacular new 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. HIGH ARCTIC, until January 2012. An exciting exhibition which conveys the scale, splendour and fragility of our unique Arctic environment through an immersive installation which encourages us to question our relationship with the world around us.

The Nature Bug

Inspiring children to love nature Weekly classes teaching children about nature through fun interactive games, movement & music, art & craft & stories. Age 2½ - 4 yrs.

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DISCOVER GREENWICH OLD ROYAL NAVAL COLLEGE (next to the Cutty Sark), Greenwich SE10, 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.Art Activities Fun, friendly and rewarding music classes for children aged 0-5.

Theatre, Shows and Music THE RAILWAY CHILDREN WATERLOO STATION, London SE1, 0871 297 0740, London’s breathtaking theatrical event is once again staged at the former Eurostar terminal where a 1,000 seat venue has been built around the railway tracks with audiences seated either side. Join Bobby, Peter and Phyllis as they tell the story of how they became The Railway Children in an adaptation of E.Nesbit’s classic story. Tickets from £22.75.

MATILDA THE MUSICAL 18 October - 12 February 2012, CAMBRIDGE THEATRE, 32 Earlham Street WC2, 0844 412 4652, Roald Dahl’s much-loved classic comes alive in this brand new 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 £15.

UNICORN THEATRE PRODUCTIONS UNICORN THEATRE, 020 7645 0560, BILLY THE KID, Until 30 October. The only thing Billy ever wanted to do was play for Chelsea - and his dream came true when he was signed by the club to become a champion striker for the first team. But that was 1939. Then the Second World War began and Billy’s life changed forever. Will Billy the Kid ever see his beloved Chelsea again? And will they remember him? Billy the Kid is adapted from the hit novel by Michael Morpurgo, former children’s laureate and award-winning author of popular children’s books, including War Horse. Ages 8+, tickets £8 to £19, family tickets £34 - £54. CALL MR ROBESON, 18-23 October. When he became too radical and outspoken for the establishment’s liking, Paul Robeson was branded a traitor to his country, harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel. Just as physical, emotional and mental stress threatened to push him over the fine line between genius and madness, he was summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, to give the most difficult and important performance of his career. The production’s rollercoaster journey through Robeson’s remarkable and eventful life, highlights how his radical activism caused him to be disowned and disremembered, even by the leaders and descendants of the civil rights movement. Ages 12+, tickets £9 children, £11 adults, £32 families. VIDEK’S SHIRT, 25-30 October. An interactive storytelling piece involving puppetry, song, live music and lots of joining in. The Puppetellers present a much-loved Slovenion children’s story about a small boy who is very friendly with all the animals in the countryside. One day the wind blows away Videk’s raggedy shirt and he is cold who can help him? Ages 2-5, tickets £6 children, £8 adults, £24 families.

THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES 25-28 October, Purcell Room, SOUTHBANK SE1, 0844 847 9911, A unique blend of comedy, puppetry and storytelling, this imaginative family show is about a shepherd who sets out to plant a forest and transform a barren landscape, accompanied by his faithful dog. Published in 1953, the story, which shows the difference one man (and his dog!) can make to the world, has been translated into a multitude of languages and entranced generations of readers the world over. Ages 7+, tickets £5 under 16s, £10 adults.

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families south east - october 2011

28 October, DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY, Gallery Road SE21, 020 8299 8732, There was once a girl so small that she could float on a lily pad and ride on the back of a dragonfly. The Banyan Theatre Company are bringing Norwich Puppet Theatre’s production to Dulwich for a special half term treat, portraying Thumbelina’s adventures with a frog, a mouse, a mole and a swallow are played out amongst gardening tools leading her to the garden of flowers. 10.30am and 1.30pm starts, tickets £6 children, £8 adults. Following each show, children can also join a family-drop in and make their won puppets to take home. 11.20am and 1.20pm starts, £3 per child.

HANS CHRISTIAN, YOU MUST BE AN ANGEL 26 October - 2 November, The Pit, BARBICAN CENTRE, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS, 0844 243 0753,

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Experience the weird and wonderful fairytale characters of Hans Christian Andersen like never before. Two busy waiters add the final touches to an assortment of place settings, revealing mystery guests. This performance installation for families taps into the imagination, using ingenious props, special affects, music and projected film to illuminate a roomful of fantastical Andersen personalities in enthralling and surprising ways. Ages 8+, tickets ÂŁ8.50.

Mason. The show is a totally interactive jazz musical romp that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Pack up the station wagon, throw away your worries and join in the fantastic family fun that will get everyone moving and shaking to the blues. Ages 3-10, tickets ÂŁ8 children, ÂŁ12 adults, ÂŁ35 families.


28 October, BROADWAY THEATRE, Catford Broadway SE6 4RU, 020 8690 0002, An all-singing, all-dancing party road show to celebrate the 40th birthday of The Mr Men, featuring Mr Happy, Mr Bump and Little Miss Naughty. 1pm start, tickets ÂŁ11 children, ÂŁ13 adults.

27-30 October, HIDEAWAY, 2 Empire Mews, Streatham SW16 2ED, 020 8835 7070, Boom Boom’s Bow is an entertaining performance written and performed by Lea DeLaria and Janette


GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS 5+6 November, Ashcroft Theatre, FAIRFIELD, Park Lane, Croydon CR0 1DG, 020 8668 9291, Follow Goldilocks as the circus comes to town. Meet her father, the circus ringmaster, the hilarious Sarah (the cook) and the nasty Baron. This sparkling show features colourful costumes, lively characters, music and comedy. Children ÂŁ7.50, adults ÂŁ9.50, families ÂŁ29.


Be a WINNER with Families! Prizes this month include • a digital camera and baby changing bags from Metanium • a family ticket to London Dungeon and more! Click to enter: competitions at

Family Legal Services To arrange an initial free consultation please ring

020 8858 6971

Art Activities FAMILY ARTS IN DULWICH DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village SE21 7AD, 020 8693 5254, Museum open 10am-5pm Tuesdays to Fridays, from 11am weekends and bank holidays. Listed activities free for families with a gallery ticket or ÂŁ3 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. THE MAKE STATION, 8 October. Drop-in and experiment with a range of child-friendly materials, making something to take home. Noon-2pm. PUPPET MAKING, 28 October. A special half term drop-in to coincide with the family performance of Norwich Puppet Theatre’s ‘Thumbelina’ by the Banyan Theatre Company. See the show then make your very own puppet to take home. 11.20am-12.20pm and 1.20-3.30pm, ÂŁ3 per child. THE BIG DRAW, 30 October. Have you ever tried to draw with your broom, or colour with a comb? In this drawing event, family members can try their hand at using new contraptions to draw with, from goggles covered in pens to shoe markers. 11am-4pm.

ART AT SIR JOHN SOANE’S HOUSE SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields WC2A 3PB, 020 7440 4263, 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. HALF TERM: During half term week, children’s half day workshops will run from 10.30am-12.30pm and 2-4pm, and for full days 10.30am-4pm. Ages 7+, £20 for a half day, £20 full day, book first. THEY CAME FROM THE SHADOWS, 26 October, whole day. The museum is filled with ancient objects, but who made them, and what is their story? Make your own moving shadow puppets and tell ghostly tales by lamplight. CRAZY CAPITALS, 27 October, half day. Use the models and casts of Greek temples in Sir John Soane’s collection to learn about the classical orders of architecture: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. Decide which

order you’d like to be and make your own capital hat. SPOOKY SKELETON PUPPETS, 28 October, half day. Learn how to make a simple table-top skeleton puppet and use it to tell a spooky story.

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SOMERSET HOUSE, Strand WC2, 020 7845 4600, 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.

THE NATIONAL GALLERY TRAFALGAR SQUARE WC2N 5DN 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. MAGIC CARPET STORYTELLING. Fly away on the magic carpet, which comes to land in front of a different painting every Sunday. Ages 2-5, 10.30-11am and 11.30am-12noon. DRAWING SUNDAYS. Hands-on workshops for families with 5-11 year-olds, starting at 11am and 2pm each week.




Since 1993 thousands of children across the UK have grown up with Monkey Music. Our unique teaching curriculum was written by classically trained musicians, and introduces music to very young children in a way they can easily understand and enjoy.






FAMILIES AT THE TATE TATE BRITAIN, Millbank SW1, 020 7887 8888, 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.

DESIGN MUSEUM DESIGN MUSEUM, Shad Thames, London SE1, 020 7940 8783, All family visitors to the museum get an Explore Family Trail featuring The Thinkerer to help them get the most from their visit to the museum. Budding designers age 5 to 11 are invited to join a team of designers for Design and Make workshops in the museum’s child friendly, stunning riverside studio. With a rich variety of monthly themes there is something to satisfy everyone, be they aspiring architect or future fashionista.

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october 2011 - families south east


happy halloween If you prefer not to join the prowlers on a sweets-fest come Halloween, there are plenty more ways to keep the ghouls at bay, as we’ve been finding out.

Halloween Events PHOBOPHOBIA 17 October - 1 November, LONDON BRIDGE EXPERIENCE, 2-4 Tooley Street, London Bridge SE1 2PF, 0800 0434 666, Have you ever wondered where Halloween came from? Learn the history behind the London’s haunting past with a family-friendly show at the London Bridge Experience. If you are feeling brave, test your courage by descending into the gothic tunnels under the bridge in the screamie, awardwinning London Tombs; and if not, try a guardian angel tour to make sure you finish the tour in one piece! Open 10am-6pm daily, admission £17 children, £23 adults, £74 families: prebooked tickets are less.

020 8244 2036, Two-day spooktastic adventures for 3-8 year-olds: Theatre Bugs workshops are jam packed with drama, music, dance, and arts and crafts. Come in your favourite costume! £48 for two days includes a ghoulish snack and drink; 10% sibling discount.

HALLOWEEN PARTY 28-31 October, TEA DANCE FOR LITTLE PEOPLE, 106 Endwell Road, Brockley Cross SE4 2LX, 07817 176018, The ultimate creative Halloween experience for families with under 8s. Come ready for surprises and spellbinding silliness - and wear your spookiest costume! There will be two sessions a day, from 4.40-6pm and 6-7.30pm, tickets £10 per family, valid for one session. Book first.

HALLOWEEN AT THE HORNIMAN 22+29 October, HORNIMAN MUSEUM and gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23, 020 8699 1872, HALLOWEEN MASKS, 24 October. Create your own terrifying mask, taking inspiration from the museum’s displays of masks from around the world. Just add your gruesome imagination! 10.30am-4.30pm, ages 8+. £35 a child, book first. HALLOWEEN PUPPETS, 22+20 October. Have fun with exciting art techniques and create a fantastic puppet to take home. 1.30-2.15pm and 2.453.30pm, £3 per child. Ages 3+, book first. AUTUMN SPOOKS AND SKELETONS, 25+27 October. Do animals have bones? Which part of a plant has a skeleton? Discover the secrets of skeletons and create your own spooks out in the gardens. Dress up warmly and prepare for a scare! 11.30am-12.30pm, 1.45-2.45pm and 3.15-4.15pm, ages 3+, £2 per child, tickets available on the day.

SOMERSET HOUSE SPOOKS SOMERSET HOUSE, Strand WC2, 020 7845 4600, MINI MAKE-BELIEVE, 26 October. The bubbles are boiling in the gallery’s crafty cauldron, welcoming under 5s and their families for spooky songs and games. 11.30am-12.30pm, tickets available on a first come, first served basis. SPOOKY SHADOWS, 22+29 October. A holiday drop-in for families with children of all ages: project your own scary spooks and glowing ghosts in the gallery’s shadow theatre of horrid happenings. 11am-1pm and 2-4pm, free.



families south east - october 2011

their fearsome reputation, and when you meet them close up and learn more you’ll see a totally different side to them. There will be a spider talk and walk on which you’ll get to see some common British species and learn how to identify them. Open 9.30am-5pm daily, entry free for under 4s, £4.95 children, £8.95 adults, families £25.

HALLOWEEN BOAT TRIP 29+30 October, from the LONDON CANAL MUSEUM, 12-13 New Wharf Road, Camden N1 9RT, 020 7713 0836, Book a spooky ride through the 192 year-old Islington Tunnel. Boat trips take place on board one of London’s community narrowboats specially decorated for the occasion, and accompanied by a friendly costumed crew. Be prepared for some surprise goings-on in the darkness! The Canal Museum itself will be decorated for the occasion, with storytelling for children.

TIME TRAVELLERS GO! HALLOWEEN FAMILY FUN DAY 30 October, QUEEN’S HOUSE, National Maritime Museum. Greenwich, 020 8269 4747, Dress up in your most outrageous outfits; make a bat for the secret bat cave and invent a new way to shield yourself from sunlight. Share stories of how you have found victims to scare and show off your quick get-away moves in a dance workshop. Prizes will be given for the best costumes and all participants will receive a certificate. 11.30am-4pm, suitable for all ages. Children £3.50, adults £6, families £16.

BATS AND SPIDERS WEEKEND 22-23 October, WWT WETLAND CENTRE, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes SW13 9WT, 020 8409 4400, Celebrate Halloween with a look at some wildlife that some find scary. Bats and spiders don’t deserve

ELTHAM PALACE & GARDENS, Court Road SE9 5QE, 020 8294 2548, The unique house combines the finest Art Deco home in England with the remains of a medieval and Tudor royal palace - the boyhood home of Henry VIII. Admission £3.60 for children, £9.30 adults, £24.20 families, English Heritage member free. GHOSTS & GHOULS, 23-25 October. Let your little horrors scare themselves silly this half term with creepy crafts, spooky activities and ghost hunting galore! Eltham Palace’s resident ghost hunter will lead tours around the palace grounds on the trail of some spooky sightings. 11am-4pm, £1 to join the Halloween events.

SPOOKY SKELETON PUPPETS 28 October, SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields WC2A 3PB, 020 7440 4263, A half day children’s workshop: learn how to make a simple table-top skeleton puppet and use it to tell a spooky story. Ages 7+, £20, book first.

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Luca & Maya make...

pumpkin lanterns

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october 2011 - families south east


family health

An active child is a healthy child by Dr Colin MacAdam, MD of Playforce Ltd WHEN HIGH STREET retailers set out to measure the ‘shape of the nation’, one can only speculate as to whether they had an idea of the staggering health risk to our children that they would find. The results of Shape GB demonstrated that children today have a waist measurement at least three inches larger than those measured in 1978. In short, our children are getting bigger and ultimately more unhealthy. From the moment they start to crawl, children naturally enjoy movement and activity. Toddlers are often described as having two speeds - on or off - due to their need to run everywhere. But when your child starts school, how do you know that they are eating everything you’ve put in their lunchboxes? How can you find out the effectiveness of their outdoor activities and PE lessons? Which games do they play, and do they learn vital skills or attitudes in the process? Developing a healthy attitude towards food and play is key. The good news is that children enjoy active play. Encouraging outdoor play has the health benefits of helping to strengthen bones, lower cancer risks, improve eyesight and lessen depression and hyperactivity, as well as the obvious benefits for fitness and general health. Many children choose to watch television or play computer games but research shows that given the option, they would far rather their parents spent time playing with them.

Perfect parks A half hour detour on the way home from school does so much more than put some colour in children’s cheeks and give them a healthy appetite for tea. Climbing up slides and clambering on climbing frames are things that children do without even thinking, simply because it’s fun. Suggest an obstacle course: two goes down the slide; five rotations on a roundabout; running to the tree and back, then the first person to the top of the climbing frame is the winner! Don’t let the unpredictable autumn weather put you off; puddle jumping can provide perfect cardiovascular exercise too.

Pick your own Even a modest garden vegetable patch is an excuse to be outside digging, weeding and harvesting; while if you have one, an allotment provides more fresh air activity. Children have lots of fun picking their favourite fruit and vegetables while also learning about food and where it comes from. From spring to autumn there’s a wide variety of fruit and vegetables that are extra special when they’re freshly picked. Use your seasonal goodies to prepare a meal together, allowing your child to appreciate what goes into their food. It’s a great way to introduce children to new vegetables and fruits as they will be much more likely to try new foods after having worked so hard to collect them.

Healthy play in schools and nurseries Of course an important part of any child’s day at school or nursery involves play. Therefore, schools and nurseries also need to ensure that the children in their care have access to suitable outdoor play environments. If you think your child’s school could improve its outdoor facilities then why not talk to the PTA about holding fundraising activities such as sponsored walks,

cake sales, raffles, fashion shows or evening entertainment to raise money to improve the grounds? The only limit to fundraising activities is imagination. PTAs collectively raise millions of pounds for schools each year, enabling children to benefit from improved resources. An award winning PTA in Somerset raises £8500 a year by selling jacket potatoes to revellers at Glastonbury, while another school in Oxford is set to raise £20,000 this year with a sponsored 65 mile bike ride, raffle and hog roast. Both of these PTAs have already invested a proportion of their funds in outdoor play equipment to improve their schools’ outdoor areas. At Playforce, schools often come to us for help and advice for fundraising projects and there are many examples of schools we have worked with to achieve their goals for improved outdoor spaces, whether they are hoping to raise a larger sum of money for a big playground project or in a smaller phased approach adding a little to their facilities each year. There’s also a variety of play grants and funding sources available for Early Years, primary school, and community play environments. With these numerous options, even small outdoor spaces can be developed into areas that encourage both physical activity and greater learning opportunities. Good outdoor play providers have experienced consultants on hand to guide schools through the whole process and so should be your first port of call when planning any play area renovations. We all know that childhood obesity is not a problem that’s going to disappear overnight. However, we can all take steps to encourage our own children to become more active in order to reap the huge rewards of health and happiness - and have fun in the process. To contact Playforce, call 01225 792660 or go to

More ideas As well as building exercise into your child’s everyday life, there are plenty of classes in southeast London where children can dance, dive, play tennis, football, mini ball sports and more, learning new skills and making new friends along the way. Go to our website and type “children’s activities” into the search box to get started; and also click on the Directory for full listings.

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 16

families south east - october 2011

At Tumbletots we endeavour to provide the opportunities, through a challenging environment of active physical play, for children to fully explore and develop their physical capability, especially their motor skills of balance, agility and co-ordination, whilst at the same time stimulating the imagination and having fun. Classes also include music, songs and rhymes, and are split into different age groups starting at six months up to 5 years.

Information / bookings: for Dulwich, Blackheath, Battersea and Clapham Call Julia Forrest on 020 8464 4433 or email

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What’sNew You and Your WIN stylish prizes from Metanium To celebrate the launch of new Metanium Everyday Barrier Ointment, we have a fabulous digital camera to be won, so you can capture every magical moment of your baby’s development. Three runners up will win a specially designed Metanium Changing Bag, worth around £45 and ideal for all those on-the-go baby essentials. Metanium Everyday Barrier Ointment has a unique double action formula to help guard against nappy rash. It forms a physical barrier to help protect against the external irritants which can cause nappy rash and helps seal in the skin’s natural moisture keeping the skin soft, smooth and supple. Metanium Everyday Barrier Ointment contains no fragrance or lanolin, so is gentle enough to use every day and at each nappy change. If nappy rash does strike, Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment is licensed specifically to treat nappy rash. After nappy rash has been treated, Metanium Everyday Barrier Ointment can be applied at each nappy change to help prevent further outbreaks. Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment is a medicine. Always read the label. Both products are available from leading pharmacies and Boots. The Metanium Baby & Toddler Club has more information about the treatment and prevention of nappy rash - log onto COMPETITION: For your chance to win the purple digital camera, worth around £100, or one of the stylish changing bags, worth around £45, go to our website and click on ‘competitions’. The competition closes at the end of October. Good luck!.

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Roger Humbles MRPharmS

020 7924 9344 e mail:

Baby Huggalugs for legs and arms With summer a distant memory, it’s Huggalugs time again. These unique leg and arm warmers are especially designed for babies to six year-olds, keeping little limbs warm under skirts or dresses as an alternative to tights, or as an extra layer under trousers to help protect crawlers’ knees. Huggalugs are so stretchy that they’ve caught on with teenagers and mothers too as calf-height leg warmers or extra sleeves. There are plenty of colours and patterns to choose from, rrp £7.99 from, or call 01635 255725.

Keep warm and support GOSH Singer and father Peter Andre is supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital. GOSH needs to raise £50 million every year to help rebuild and refurbish the hospital, buy vital equipment and fund pioneering research. This unisex adult’s hoodie is £30 from the online shop; where 100% of sales proceeds directly benefit the charity. To lend your support, buy online at or call 0844 888 3747.

Zomm alarmingly smart Your mobile phone’s no use if you’ve left it at home next to the kettle (again) in your rush to leave the house. A mother of three has invented a new keyring gadget to act as a reminder. Using Bluetooth technology, the Zomm vibrates, flashes and sounds an alarm when you’re away from your mobile. It also contains a speakerphone so you can use your phone on handsfree, plus a panic alarm to deter would-be attackers. Zomm is £69.95 from Amazon and QVC. For more information, go to

Support for parents of deaf children The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) has launched the UK’s first live helpline on childhood deafness. Parents are able to reach experts for clear and balanced information and advice on matters including audiology, pre-school support, education, local services, welfare and technology. Robert Johnson, NDCS Helpline Manager said: “The family is the most important influence on a deaf child’s ability to achieve. I encourage all parents of deaf children to contact the NDCS Helpline and take advantage of our new Live Chat service.” For information on childhood deafness, contact the NDCS Live Chat on; or call the Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 8880 (voice and text); or email, Monday to Friday,9.30am-5pm.

enager e T r u o Y d n a You Teenagers with epilepsy Around 60,000 under 18s across the UK have epilepsy and it is the most common serious childhood neurological condition. Around one in ten of these will suffer from severe communication, learning or behaviour problems due to their epilepsy. A new on-line ‘seizure diary’ has been launched by a national charity to help teenagers and young people who have epilepsy. Produced by the National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy (NCYPE), the diary is free to use and enables teenagers to keep a record of their seizures and how the condition affects them. This information can be printed off as a report and shared with medical professionals treating the user. It has been tested by teenagers and designed specifically with this age-group in mind, with lots of features that will appeal to them, such as links to Facebook and Twitter. Log on at The online diary is joined by ‘All About Me’, a hard-copy diary partly funded by the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity and also aimed at teenagers. For a free copy, email NCYPE is a national charity for children aged 5 to 25 with epilepsy and other neurological conditions. Among the services available is a Childhood Epilepsy Information Service on 01342 831342, 9am-1pm Mondays to Fridays.

Teenage purse strings Anyone with teenagers will recognise the scenario - constant requests for cash and emergency calls for bail outs when they run short. Me Card is a new prepaid MasterCard card for teenagers, which can be used at cashpoints, in shops and online wherever MasterCard is accepted, and to top up mobile phone PAYG accounts. The online account set-up is £9.99 to receive a new card preloaded with £10 credit, plus access to a host of discounts and deals for members. The account can be accessed 24 hours a day online where transactions and a running balance can be viewed. The card is Chip and PIN secure. Parents can top up the card online or via PayPoint in local shops, up to a maximum balance of £500. For more information, fee details and sign-ups, go to

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october 2011 - families south east


Mothers Mean Business At Families, we’re always so proud of the local mothers who set up new ventures as well as bringing up their children (as if that wasn’t work enough). Must be something in the water... Here are two more great ideas:

Circa - the circular calendar Melinda Holohan lives in Forest Hill with her husband and two young children. Formerly employed in advertising and asset management, she decided to start her own business. She founded eleventyone Limited, which develops new, helpful and practical products for the children’s market. Eleventyone’s tag line is ‘Practically essential’, and the first to be launched is a new calendar learning toy: Circa - the Circular Calendar.

The inspiration Melinda was prompted to develop Circa from her son’s simple question on how many days there were left to an important event. The revolutionary calendar is specifically designed to help children understand the cycles of the calendar via an innovative rotating and circular stacking design. “I wanted to present the calendar such that children could visually understand its cyclical nature. We are taught to use the calendar reading left to right, but intuitively, for some children, this doesn’t make sense, as the days seem to come to an end when presented linearly. So I thought, wouldn’t it be

easier to just present the calendar in a circular form to make the concept easier to grasp?” Melinda explained.

How it works Circa’s design is based on ease of learning for children in a gradual progression at their individual paces. They can explore each different piece individually and fit them together as their knowledge increases. “In designing Circa, it was also important that the calendar was presented as a toy. Time awareness is one of the hardest concepts for children to learn, so I wanted it to be fun and tactile. Children love movable pieces, stacking objects and sticking things, so it was a bonus that these were all things that were integral to Circa’s design,” Melinda told us. Circa is divided into four pieces that represent a major cyclical event in the calendar: • the days of the week disc • the months of the year disc, including a rotating seasons sub-disc • the days of the month disc • and a perpetual year dial Movable markers on each disc highlight a day, month or date, with colour coding separating days, weekdays, months and seasons. Removable and reusable vinyl activity stickers can be used to emphasise important events, and there are nursery rhymes on the reverse side of the day and month discs.

From concept to Circa Melinda explained: “The idea and design for Circa came to me overnight but its actual development to get it ready for retail has taken almost two years. The process has been long but really worth it, as I believe in the product and that children will not only enjoy it but also benefit from it.” In September, Circa was voted Best New Children’s Product at Top Draw London. Ian Gibbs, buyer from the Toy Kingdom, Harrods commented on why he selected Eleventyone: “... a quirky toy with educational and play value. Different components allow the child to learn the months and seasons plus encourages parent-child interaction. It’s a nice quality, wooden toy that can be passed down generations.” Circa will be launched before Christmas. To be one of the first to buy one, go to

Half Pint Chic HALF-PINT CHIC is an online private sale club offering boutique childrenswear at affordable prices. The business is the brainchild of south London mother of twins, Nicole Frost.

Where it all started Nicole set up Half-Pint Chic after the birth of her daughters, Isabella and Sophie. Previously employed in a demanding advertising role, Nicole relished her busy lifestyle but when the girls came along in 2009 she needed a change. Nicole says: “I loved my job but rarely saw my children as a consequence. I wanted to find a way of having a career that challenged me, whilst being able to give my children all the support and attention they need to grow.”

The inspiration It was around this time that Net-A-Porter founder, Natalie Massenet, launched online sale site The Outnet - and an idea began to form in Nicole’s mind. Nicole says: “I really liked Natalie’s vision


families south east - october 2011

of making high-end fashion more accessible and I thought - wouldn’t it be great if something like that was available for kids? For me the idea of being able to dress your children in beautiful designer clothes at a fraction of normal RRP had enormous appeal. You don’t have to worry if they decide they want to paint in their favourite frock - or lie to your husband about how much it really cost! I buy everything online; Issy and Sophie love going shopping but it is chaos, which is why Half-Pint Chic had to be online.”

Getting started Nicole made the difficult decision to leave her job and set about finding boutique children’s clothing brands that she knew parents would love. Nicole states: “The biggest challenge for me was getting started. I had a great job that I loved, which is what made it so hard to make that leap.” Luckily, Nicole’s mother had run her own business and she knew what to expect. With the support of her family she launched Half-Pint Chic. She adds: “It is incredibly tough being a working mum but it does offer you a degree of security - that disappears as soon as you decide to try and head out on your own. Nowadays I get to spend more time with my children but I do get up really early and then when the girls are asleep I work until late.”

Through Half-Pint Chic, Nicole has worked with some of her favourite designers, including Their Nibs. She says: “Kids’ fashion is so much more fun - children don’t care if something is in or out of vogue, they are much more experimental. A real highlight has been finding amazing brands that few people have heard of but produce the most exquisite clothes and then working with them to sell them to our customers at Half-Pint Chic.”

Join the club Half-Pint Chic runs weekly sales of children’s clothes with up to 70% off the recommended retail price. To sign up, go to

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the last word

Mothers’ Guilt By Abi Foss

NOTHING PREPARES you for first time motherhood does it? There is a life BC (before child/ children), and an utterly different kind of existence afterwards; one where you are never top priority anymore, where your life revolves around others’ scheduled needs: nap times, school times, meal times, milk times, bath times, bed times. Yes, you are now in service to the next generation. For the rest of your life, you will probably find something about your children to worry about, no matter what age they are. The word ‘mother’, it has been said, is not just a noun. It is a verb.

back to bed nursing a hangover. No. We must provide educational activities, bake cakes, rustle up fancy dress costumes out of remnants in the recycling box, present a clean and tidy house, organise schooling, lay proper meals on the table and, often, hold down a job and even a marriage too. But we can’t and we don’t. And we feel guilty about it. The best advice I ever heard about mothering went something like this: ‘Look, you have to accept that you are going to get it wrong. You are going to make mistakes. Everyone does. It is the only way you learn. So the best thing you can do is just resolve to love your children as much as you possibly can.’

Fake it till you make it There is this crazy assumption that when motherhood hits, we will somehow, intuitively know what to do; it will all just flow naturally. The reality, I think, goes more like this: we hit the ground running, muddle through and do the best we can. And it is, as they say, just one thing after another. Once we have the routine and sleeping through the night thing nailed, then we have the joys of encouraging them to eat healthily, along with the Herculean challenges of boundary setting. After the umpteenth request to ‘please, do NOT leave your rollerskates at the bottom of the stairs,’ or ‘no, it is not OK to chew on your baby brother’s ear,’ is it any wonder we start sounding like our own frustrated parents when we yell: ‘If I have told you once, I have told you a thousand times... Why don’t you LISTEN??’ Or the classic one that makes me shudder when I imagine my neighbours overhearing it: ‘JUST PUT YOUR @*!%*ING SHOES ON!’ Ooops. Swearing at child. Guilty as charged Your Honour. But can I claim mitigating circumstances? My son practices selective deafness, I was stressed out and we were horribly, horribly late. Sigh. There goes another few quid in the ‘therapy for when he is older’ box.

Angels in training Mothers aren’t supposed to shout or be cross or tear their hair out or cry and scream with frustration, are we? Especially not in supermarkets. We’re supposed to be sweet and kind and giving and patient and perfect with angelic supplies of unconditional love. We’re not supposed to park them in front of CBeebies for the morning and go

I have a little sign in my kitchen that reads: ‘mothers are angels in training’. My rules are that I always apologise for my appalling behaviour and then tell my son I love him. Our biggest mothering mistake really, is believing we shouldn’t be making any. I have a little sign in my kitchen that reads: ‘mothers are angels in training’. Feeling guilty is how we punish ourselves for not reaching impossibly high standards. I don’t know any mother who thinks she ticks all the ‘perfect mother’ boxes. And you know what? Maybe we are right. Maybe, we weren’t even designed to meet every single one of our children’s needs.

Tribal Heart There is an African saying that goes: ‘It takes a whole village to raise a baby.’ In her book ‘The Spirit of Intimacy’, Sobonfu Some, a woman from the Dagara tribe of West Africa, says that it is also true that it takes a whole village to keep parents sane. In fact, it was not until she was nearly six years old that she understood that she came out of one particular woman’s womb, that she did not biologically ‘belong’ to all of the women in her village who breastfed and cared for her. We would do well to remember that one-to-one parenting is a pretty recent evolution in our species. Back in the day there would be aunties, sisters, cousins, neighbours and grandmothers all on hand

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for mass childcare duties. Sobonfu insists that if a child has a problem that their parents can’t sort out, he or she needs to have other adults to turn to. If nothing else, there is a much better chance the child will actually listen to sage advice. Let’s face it: children just don’t like having to listen to their parents. (I mean, did you? I certainly didn’t. Dammit, of course my son doesn’t want to listen to me!).

Hang up your halo ‘Motherhood,’ Oprah once said, ‘is the hardest job in the world. Women everywhere must declare it so.’ In my opinion, it is also the most undervalued, the most rewarding and the most important job in the world too. Hey, we’re at the coalface of building the foundations - the veritable bedrock - of society here. Let’s hang up our halos and, through example, teach our children that we are all on a lifelong learning curve, that we are all lovable despite our imperfections. That, in itself, is a great education.

About the author Abi Foss is a hypnotherapist who writes about all things holistic and spiritual. See:

Read more For more features about being a parent, including looking after yourself, go to and click on ‘articles’

october 2011 - families south east



Handyman For all your household repairs and odd jobs. I offer a professional and courteous service 020 8249 3264 or 07913 656 502

Counselling Individuals and Couples

Helen Storey

Families South East PO Box 11591 London SE26 6WB Tel: 020 8699 7240 Email: Contact: Robina Cowan


020 8699 1652 Children’s

Workshops in Clay

Adult & Children’s Entertainer Magic, Plate Spinning Balloon Modelling Interactive Games Karaoke, Mini Disco

Monday - Friday 4.30 - 6pm £9 per session or £70 for 10 Shirley Stewart, Lewisham Arthouse, 140 Lewisham Way

PAINTING & DECORATING Interior / Exterior Experienced, Reliable, Clean Fully Guaranteed / Insured FREE ADVICE AND QUOTE John:- James & Lamont


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Structural & Cranial Osteopathy – Acupuncture Specialising in the treatment of children and expectant mothers.

T. 020 8299 9798

Next issues out 3 November and 8 December 2011

Countdown to Christmas: local shopping, holiday workshops, festive fairs, seasonal shows - advertise your in Families South East!

Families online For back issues and more articles than we can squeeze into each issue, a directory of local companies, competitions and forums plus the latest What'sOn listings, join us online.

Act, sing and dance at your local Stagecoach Here’s a way to spend weekends that’ll have 4-16 year olds buzzing. Enrol them in your local Stagecoach Theatre Arts school where they learn to act, sing and dance. The skills they learn aren’t just for the Stage. Our students grow in confidence and self-esteem …..Skills for Life! There’s no audition – all they need is enthusiasm.


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DESIGN: Lancasters 020 8658 9975 Printed on paper from sustainable forests.

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Families SE Oct 2011  

Families London south east magazine for October 2011

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