Half-term. Two words that send teachers and children into a semi-hysterical swoon of anticipation and parents into a tight-lipped, semi comatose state of denial. Imagine if you lived in barren culture-less town and had to entertain the kids for five days in a row? Well you don’t, you live in London, and here are some ways to keep the small people entertained while you pretend to look on in an interested fashion when secretly reading Grazia.
The good old Museum of London has something exciting pretty much every day of half-term, but our favourite is the one with the ‘eurgh’ factor . On Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th (11.30am & 1.30pm) you and the kids can learn about how poor families treated illnesses in Tudor London, when only the rich could afford doctors. After a few minutes of hearing about leeching and bleeding you’ll be calling up NHS Direct just to tell them you love them. Other highlights include puppet making (the same weekend at 12.30pm & 2.30pm) and learning about the games Tudor children played (Monday-Wednesday of half term, 12.30pm & 2.30pm). Just don’t point the finger at us if they don’t want to play on the Playstation again.
Likewise the Wallace Collection has a whole programme involving magical gardens, stars and planets and er, pustules.
Next, a magical treat is in store at the Albany in Deptford. Even if you’re not from round these parts, a trip might just be in order to see The Man in the Moon, a stage play by Jack Healy and Enda Walsh (the latter author of explosive Disco Pigs). Tickets are only £5 from the box office and free places are available at puppetry workshops over half-term.
The Hackney Empire also has some exciting children's theatre, including the fantastic Talawa Theatre Company and their blend of storytelling, dance, music and song.
The Southbank Centre holds it annual children's literary festival, Imagine 09, over the week. It has a superb programme of events, with the opportunity to hear Carol Ann Duffy read and to see an animated cast of creatures act, dance and sing the words of poems written specially for Cbeebies among the free events.
Image of little Londoners Sadie and Tom, too little to appreciate what half-term is but one day to revel in its full glory.