There are umpteen ways to entertain children and teenagers this half-term and loads of opportunities to introduce them to music, art, theatre, storytelling and puppets thanks to the new Family Arts Festival.
It’s basically a massive umbrella under which you’ll find stacks of great family-friendly events involving the arts. There are things to suit all ages and all budgets. The website not only has googly eyes that follow you round the page but you can easily search for events close to you. We did a search of London and selected one thing to do a day during the festival but be warned, there’s loads more to choose from and doubtless lots of stuff more local to you.
STORYTELLING WITH BACH: Bach’s Goldberg Variations will be brought to life by the Aurora Orchestra and specially commissioned stories at King’s Place. Children from age 3 are invited to interact with the musicians and become part of the music on Saturday 19 October at 11am and 12.15. Tickets £4.50 children, £6.50 adults, prebook.
DRAW TOMORROW: The Big Draw Family Day at Artsdepot in Finchley is looking to the future on Sunday 20 October. Join in and use giant sketchbooks, get face painted, play games and puzzles – oh, and bring your kids too. Tickets £2, just turn up, 11am-5pm.
BIG BARBICAN ADVENTURE: Spend a day exploring the Barbican complex with their DIY adventure trail for families. You can do it any day between 11am-6pm, but we’re suggesting Monday 21 October as there’s not much else on. Free, pick up your trail from the Advance Box Office and allow at least one hour.
DIVAHLI: Sita’s Story is based on the Indian epic, The Ramayana and tells of the darkening of the sun and how light was returned to the earth. Find out more at Redbridge Drama Centre on Tuesday 22 October at 1.30pm and 5pm. Tickets £10 adults, £8 concs. £6 children.
BLAM!: Described as Die Hard meets The Office Blam! at the Peacock Theatre combines acrobatics and physical stunts to tell the story of bored office workers who invent a new game to brighten up their lives. Recommended for age 14+, see it on Wednesday 23 October at 7.30pm (it’s on until 3 November). Tickets from £12, under 16s half price.
UP AND DOWN: New children’s theatre company Ga Ga present their adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ book Up and Down with morning performances this week at Greenwich Theatre. Try it on Thursday 24 October at 10.30am. Tickets £12, prebook.
FREE CONCERT: London Symphony Orchestra and students of Guildhall School explore the dramatic music of Russian in a family-friendly, 45 minute lunchtime concert at St Luke’s on Friday 25 October. Listen to the music, ask the musicians questions. Free, just turn up, 12.30pm.
MUSIC UNTAMED: If a musical instrument were an animal, what would it be? The excellent Grand Union Orchestra take over Hackney Empire on Saturday 26 October for a day of musical exploration and experimentation. Meet the musicians, handle the instruments, watch a rehearsal, join in, then in the evening, attend a concert. Tickets £16, £8 conc/child, family ticket £32, prebook ticket & workshops, 11am-9.30pm.
AFRICAN MARKET: Live music, drumming, face painting, food, charity and market stalls make for a lively event at Rich Mix on Sunday 27 October. Free, drop in, 12-7pm.
SING MUSICALS: Get on stage at the the Phoenix Theatre on Monday 28 October and sing like you’re in a West End show! There are two sessions, one for 5-10 year olds, and one for ages 10-15. Email to book, tickets £8.
SONGS & STORIES: An interactive family music day explores the real life stories behind songs and lets you create music to perform at Wigmore Hall on Tuesday 29 October. For children aged 6-11, tickets £12 adults, £5 kids, starts 10.30am.
EXTREME MAKEOVER: Explore and then transform the 1930s HQ of the Royal Institute of British Architects! A family workshop invites you to make 2D or 3D versions of an imagined building on Wednesday 30 October. Free, drop-in, 11am-3pm.
TIME LOOP: Tate Britain’s Family Festival sets you time-travelling through British Art on Saturday 2 November. Pick up your time-travellers’ kit and off you go. Free, just turn up, 10am-3pm (and on Sunday).
FUNHARMONICS: Discover Bejamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra with a lunchtime family concert by the London Philharmonic Orchestra on Sunday 3 November. Before and after the noon performance are free musical activities all over the Royal Festival Hall, including have a go music-making sessions and young musicians playing in the Clore Ballroom. Only a few concert tickets left £10-£14.