Reply to comment

HOLIDAY FUN: Our guide to exciting activities to keep the kids occupied over the summer

Published: 19 July, 2012

Art Galleries and Museums

Whitechapel Gallery
The gallery is running a series of events for young people over the summer.
Make. Break. Remake (July 21, August 4, 25, September 1, 2pm, free, booking essential.). These free workshops for 5 to 12-year-olds  and their families involves making huge sculptures from wood, plastic and Styrofoam. Build them up, and then take them apart – it’s all part of the fun.
Film Courses: July 24-25, 11am-3pm, two-day course for 5 to 8-year-olds.  Here’s a chance for children to role-play directors and camera operators to film performances and screen the results to friends and family. Through games and exercises related to improvised theatre, children create playful and absurd stories. And on July 26-27 it the 9 to 12-year-olds’ turn (11am-3pm, two-day course)12-year-olds). The course involves children in shooting a series of still images to tell a story, and explore making art and films with a video camera. Email to book the film courses, £45 for two days.
Family day: Gallery as Playground (July 28, noon, free, booking recommended.) Young children can make a huge sculpture and play in a giant sandpit; then pick up a Family trail and explore the gallery.
• Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX, open Tuesday-Sunday 11am-6pm, Thursday 11am-9pm, 020 7522 7888,

National Gallery
The gallery is running workshops for 5 to 11-year-olds. These free hands-on art sessions offer an opportunity for families to explore artistic ideas together:
3D Poussin Studio Sessions (Pigott Education Centre Foyer, August 13 and 14, 11am-1pm and 2-4pm). Building on the summer exhibition Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, this event explores life drawing and mini-modelmaking in sessions inspired by Poussin, who used models of ancient Roman statues to create rhythm in his paintings.
Paradise Found and Art Labs (Room 61, August 20, 21, 27 and 28, 11am-3pm). Landscapes filled with flowers, plants and insects and waiting to be discovered, with the chance to create a meadow in the gallery.
• National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2, open daily 10am-6pm, Fridays 10am-9pm, 020 7747 2885,

Tate Modern
The gallery’s Open Studio is available every Saturday and Sunday and Thursday and Friday during school holidays, offering an opportunity to experiment, play and create, taking inspiration from related artworks (July 26-August 31, 11am-4pm). Free, no booking. The Under-5s Zone is also available any time during gallery hours. This new play space is for creative, physical and sensory exploration of themes inspired by Cubist artworks.
• Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1, open Sunday-Thursday 10am-6pm, Friday-Saturday 10am-10pm, 020 7887 888

National Portrait Gallery
The gallery is running 28 events throughout the summer holiday for families, some catering for children as young as three.
There are storytelling sessions lasting about 45minutes; family art workshops on animal antics; drop-in art workshop sessions on a whole host of different themes from designing a medal or making a bag to creating a length of wallpaper with family portraits. All events are free. See the full list of events at:
• National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, WC2, open Saturday-Wednesday 10am-6pm, Thursday-Friday 10am-9pm, free, 020 7360 0055,

Royal Academy of Art
Summer Exhibition Family Workshops, July 25, 27, August 1, 3, 8 and 10 (11am-1pm, meet at the Learning Desk, main foyer). On these dates the gallery is offering an interactive exhibition tour and practical hands-on sessions for children aged 3-plus, related to the Summer Exhibition – the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show of painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film, now in its 244th year. £10 adults, £4 children, booking essential on 0844 209 0051or online.
Young Art Detectives will enjoy the challenge of the Gallery's exhibition trail, with creative activities. Free from the RA or download from the website
• Royal Academy of Art, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1, open 10am-6pm Saturday-Thursday, 10am-10pm Friday. Note: the RA will close at 5pm on Monday July 30 for an event. 020 7300 8000,

Southbank Centre Festival of the World
Summer of events of every imaginable kind, including many for families:
Shlomo: A Beatbox Adventure for Kids! (August 7, 8, 9 and 10, 3pm), from Priceless London Wonderground – circus sideshows and “strange curiosities”. Shlomo is described as a world record-breaking human beatboxer, making all kinds of music using just his mouth and a microphone. Suitable for all ages, lasts about 60 minutes. £10.
Priceless London Wonderground are also responsible for Slap Dash Galaxy (until July 27, 3pm, £10), a puppet adventure in space made up of bits of rubbish Suitable for children aged 7+, lasts about 50 minutes.
There’s a family Gamelan Taster on August 4 25 (11am and 2pm in the Gamelan Room), with a chance to get to know about the Javanese gamelan percussion orchestra – one instrument played by lots of people, thus an unusual team-building exercise. No previous musical experience necessary, but be prepared to sit on the floor and take your shoes off. Suitable for children aged 6-plus (under-13s must be accompanied by an adult). Session lasts 2 hours. £8 / £4 concessions and children.
• Full details of all Southbank Centre Festival of the World events and how to book at

Camden Arts Centre
The Bruce Lacey Experience – the current exhibition of extravagant and eccentric sculptures – lends itself to artist-led courses that 5 to 11-year-olds can take part in, and have fun while they learn.
Psychedelic Spaces (July 24-27). Taking ideas from Bruce Lacey’s robotic sculptures and ritual performances, children will experiment with prop building and create interactive sculptures.
Clay (July 24-27). Developing children’s hand building techniques, this course creates surreal creatures drawn from folklore traditions.
Ticket prices and booking at:
Summer Holiday Family Days (Saturdays in August, 2-4.30pm). Artists Serena Korda and Jonathan Baldock collaborate to lead fun summertime events connecting to The Bruce Lacey Experience – a chance to make playful works in response to eccentric ideas. Admission free.
Make and Do (Sundays 2-4.30pm). Every Sunday while an exhibition is running, families with children can drop in to the galleries for practical and performative activities based around that exhibition. Artist Polly Brannan will lead Make and Do for The Bruce Lacey Experience. Suitable for all ages.
• Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, Hampstead, NW3 6DG, 020 7472 5500,

Museum of Childhood
There’s an exhibition of Mascots of the Olympic Games (until October 28), tracing the line from the first, Waldi the Dachshund, in 1972. Some 44 mascots are on display from the past 40 years of summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic Games including our very own Wenlock and Mandeville.
Summer Festival (July 29, 11.30am-4.30pm). You are invited to join in the 10th anniversary of the museum’s popular annual summer event. The grounds will be buzzing with live music, dance, walkabout acts, art and craft activities, designer stalls, food, face-painting, rickshaw rides and games. Drop-in event for all ages
Summer Games (every day throughout August, 11am-4pm). Here’s a chance to test your endurance, try for a personal best and have a go at traditional outdoor games. Drop-in All ages.
Going for Gold (Friday August 3, 11am-4pm). In this Beautiful Games exhibition, you can take part in a Silly Sports Star Training Camp featuring hula hoops, balance games and an obstacle course. Children can try yoga and dance workshops (bookings for workshops from Friday July 20, age restrictions apply). Get your bicycle tuned up by Dr Bike and make a winner’s medal. Full details on the website. Drop-in, all ages
Puppet Festival Fridays (August 10, 17, 24, 31; 12noon-4pm). Enjoy free outdoor puppet shows, play in sand boxes and then make puppets in the drop-in Art Smarts area. Take a photo in front of our funny seaside backdrop; paint a T-shirt using a puppet template, or make a creative design of your own (£5 per T-shirt or bring your own). Drop-in All ages.
Puppet Making Fun (August 10, 17, 24, 31; 10am-12.30 and 2-4.30pm). An opportunity to work with a specialist puppet maker from The Little Angel Theatre to create a puppet to keep, then learn simple manipulation techniques to bring your character to life. Age 5-11. £5 per child. Bookings taken 14 days in advance before each workshop
• V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PA, open 10am-5.45pm. Last admission 5.30pm. 020 8983 5200,

The Geffrye
Inside, Outside and Around the World is the title of a three-week extravaganza of free summer holiday activies on offer for children aged 3-16, August 14-31. Explore home and garden spaces from across the globe – become a plant hunter and learn about the inter­national origins of different herbs, spices, flowers and plants; make and decorate things to take home; bake tasty treats; create your own soaps; and take a closer look at mini beasts in the gardens.
The Geffrye, set in the 18th-century building of the former  Ironmongers’ Company in Shoreditch –  explores the home from 1600 to the present day,reflecting the changes in society and patterns of behaviour as well as style, fashion and taste.
• The Geffrye, 136 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, E2, 020 7739 9893,, email: info@geffrye-museum, admission free. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sundays and bank holiday Mondays 12-5pm
• The Tiger Who Came to Tea – Judith Kerr’s delightful story of a little girl and a big cat – is currently in performance at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue (until September 2) as part of a national tour. For children aged 3-plus. Tickets from £9, details at http://thetigerwhocame

More London Free Festival at the Scoop

The Scoop at More London – the stunning outdoor riverside amphitheatre overlooked by City Hall – celebrates its 10th anniversary of hosting the More London Free Festival. The festival features an impressive programme of theatre, music, dance and film. And it’s all free.
More London is the business estate on the South Bank of the Thames opposite The Tower, which hosts the More London Free Festival at The Scoop – a sunken, 1,000-seat riverside amphitheatre.
Performances include:
Theatre (to August 5, 6.30pm, 8pm and 9.30pm). A rare staging of the three-part epic drama Oresteia, charting Ancient Greece’s journey from chaos and war to peace, justice and the harmony that inspired the Olympic ideal. Adapted from Aeschylus by Steam Industry Free Theatre featuring The Trojan Horse (6pm), Agamemnon (8pm) and Orestes (9.30pm).
Music (August 8-31, Wednesday/ Thursday/ Friday lunchtime 12.302pm; evenings 6.30-9.30pm): Featuring the UK’s highest profile musical theatre song and dance troupe West End Kids, We Sing U Sing – a charity that believes singing can help to achieve improvements in self-esteem; London Gay Men’s Chorus; Ronnie Scott’s Rejects explore the great show tunes of 1930s and 40s including a fun swing-dance lesson; Michele Drees Tap Dance; state-of-the-art vocal harmony with Voxtet; talented musicians from the EMI Music Sound Foundation; Pacifico Blues Jam and  the super-group of session musicians and singers The AllStars Collective will be headlining every Friday evening.
Film (September 12-28, from 7.30pm): an inspirational mix of classic, cult and contemporary films screened Wednesdays-Fridays, including The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; David Lean’s 1946 classic Great Expectations;  Walkabout; Oliver! and the multi-award winning West Side Story.
The Scoop at More London, More London Riverside, London SE1 2DB, runs until September 28. Situated between HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge on the South Bank of the Thames. There’s no need to book, just turn up. Cushions are available for hire and food and drink can be purchased at the entrance, or you can bring your own picnic (but no glass please). Full listings at:

Our very own inner-city beach – don’t forget your bucket and spade!

For Camden Beach, NW1’s very own resort, the Roundhouse have transformed its outdoor terrace into a “seaside” destination for everyone to enjoy. You’ll discover 900 square metres of 150 tonnes of sand, surrounding a ping pong table, boules, badminton, deckchairs, palm trees, windbreaks, parasols, food, drink and much more…
 The beach is suitable for families, with a child-friendly area and food options for kids. Entry to Camden Beach is free, open from 11am-11pm throughout July and August
• Camden Beach, open throughout July and August, 11am-11pm, free entry, Roundhouse (terrace), Chalk Farm Road, NW1 0EH,
• Camden Beach is also available for private hire for a wide range of events for up to 300 people. Contact Kate, Natalie or Jack: hire@roundhouse., 020 7424 6771


By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.