Half-term cultural activites for kids in London: February 2020

Shakespeare's Globe London

February half-term is coming soon. The big question is: how to entertain the children?

Outside, it’s raining buckets. Daffodil buds are being torn from their moorings, and fences are being blown down by the shrieking gales. So there’s little chance of any early-springtime trips to the park to stave off holiday boredom.

But if you live in London (or can get here without the risk of being caught in a storm), there are plenty of alternatives to outdoor play, like London shows for kids, and other book-related fun.

Here are some cultural activities for kids that we’ve spotted. Please let us know about any more you’ve heard of!

Fun activities for kids of all ages

Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre (from 12-23 February)

If you’re only going to visit one place for a cultural fix this half-term, then the Imagine Children’s Festival would be your best bet. Now in its 19th year, Imagine is 12 days of the best international performance, music, literature, comedy, creativity, parties, participation and free fun for children aged 0–12 and their grown-ups. It features big names like Michael Rosen, Robin Stevens, Cressida Cowell, Konnie Huq and Dermott O’Leary. Kate Pankhurst looks at the work of female leaders and pioneers who have dedicated their lives to studying, conserving and protecting Planet Earth and all its living things. Children’s authors Katie Tsang, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Sharna Jackson explain the wonderful things that can happen when you find yourself in a story, in a conversation with writer and former CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell. And this only scrapes the surface; there is so much more, including theatre, dance, singing, and multi-sensory play.

Southbank Centre Address: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

 

Half-term activities for young children (under-5s, although some of these suggestions might not be suitable for very young children)

Fairy Tales at the Discover Children’s Story Centre  (opens 15 Feb; for children aged 0-8)

We’ve been to a few interactive exhibitions at Discover, and they’ve never disappointed us. Some are more elaborate and engaging than others. Punchdrunk Enrichment’s The House Where Winter Lives, blew us away when we went to see it at Discover one Christmas. The blurb about Fairy Tales makes it sound exciting and cosy: “step into the fairy tale town and through into the woods to discover a world of giants, palaces, gingerbread houses and treasure caves.” Sessions last 45 minutes, including a storytelling session and a chance to play in the magical fairytale wood.

Inside playspace at Discover Children's Story Centre

Discover Children’s Story Centre has some great indoor play areas.

Discover Story Centre address: Discover Children’s Story Centre, 383-387 High Street, Stratford, London E15 4QZ

Peace at Last and Whatever Next by Jill Murphy at Greenwich Theatre

For the very youngest children (even babes in arms are welcome), ChiffChaff Children’s Theatre bring to life two of author/illustrator Jill Murphy‘s popular stories. Showing on 18 and 19 February.

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon and The Crow’s Tale at Greenwich Theatre

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon is a puppet show version of Michael Morpurgo‘s heart-warming story. The adventure tale tells of friendship and courage, and is packed full of snow, dragons, and lively songs. It is showing on 16 February. The Crow’s Tale also features puppets: marionettes this time. The production explores the themes of friendship, courage and transformation. It’s based on a picture book by Naomi Howarth, and inspired by a Lenni Lenape Native American Indian legend. It is showing on 17 February. Both shows are suitable for children over 3.

Greenwich Theatre address: Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, London SE10 8ES

Half-term fun activities for kids who are a bit older

Half Term Tales at Shakespeare’s Globe

Shakespeare's Globe London

Joseph Coelho and Kate Pankhurst are among the bright personalities leading workshops and storytelling sessions at the reconstructed home of the Bard this February half-term. Events range from A Midsummer Night’s Dream workshop for families with children aged from 5-8 and from 9-12, to a creative writing session for 9-12 year olds with Jasmine Simms, inspired by The Tempest. Find out more on the Shakespeare’s Globe website.

Shakespeare’s Globe address: Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT

The Bee in Me and I Cinna (the poet) at the Unicorn Theatre, London Bridge

The Bee in Me is a joyful and demanding show for kids about the power of imagination for ages 8-12, and I Cinna (the poet) is an interactive show about words, action and protest for ages 11-14. The Bee in Me runs from 31 Jan-1 Mar, and I Cinna runs from 5-29 Feb. Find out more on the Unicorn Theatre website.

Unicorn Theatre address: Unicorn Theatre, 147 Tooley Street, Southwark, London, SE1 2HZ

view of Greenwich from the Royal Observatory

If the sun does come out when you visit Greenwich, the park is pleasant, with an excellent playground.

How does this politics thing work, then? at Greenwich Theatre

Tatton Spiller (from Simple Politics) and Tiernan Douieb (from Comedy Club 4 Kids and CBBC’s The Slammer) help children over seven make sense of politics. This show will keep the kids (and adults!) laughing, entertained and informed. Showing on 18 February.

Adrift and Ensonglopedia of Animals at Greenwich Theatre

Both these shows are suitable for children over the age of 5. Adrift features Action Transport Theatre’s signature visual storytelling, and is a story about two children in a boat who play, laugh and argue their way through adventures with fish, mermaids and whales. It is showing on 22 February. Ensonglopedia of Animals is on 20 February and features twenty-six animal songs, one for each letter of the alphabet, from performer John Hinton.

Greenwich Theatre address: Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, London SE10 8ES

 

 

Of course, this is only a tiny fraction of what London has to offer this February half-term 2020. If you’re going along to something exciting that I haven’t mentioned, do let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to (and read any reviews of your experiences).

Don’t forget to check out our London With Kids Facebook group, for more tips on half-term activities for kids.

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4 Comments

  1. January 19, 2020 / 9:53 pm

    I’d love to try the Imagine Festival, one of my boys loves Michael Rosen. Will definitely look this up!

    • Nell
      Author
      January 20, 2020 / 12:18 pm

      We’re going this year, too. I just need to work out which event. So many to choose from!

  2. January 24, 2020 / 11:49 am

    I’ve always wanted to go to the Imagine Festival but we have never been here. Hopefully, I’ll make it one year, it sounds amazing!

    • Nell
      Author
      January 24, 2020 / 12:20 pm

      We’ve been a few times over the years, and it’s always enjoyable. They have a great line-up this year.

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