This post is sponsored by Fantastic for Families – a brilliant website for families to discover fun and affordable creative activities in their area.
October Half Term is a time for being crafty, being so close to Halloween as it is; children and parents using their artistic flair to create the best spooky costume (being just the right amount of frightening for their age range), hacking pumpkins to pieces to make (depending on your talent) monstrous creations or creative monsters. Plus, our darlings using their imagination for elaborate persuasions as to why they really should have half a trick or treat bucket for breakfast!
In our era of numbers, data and gadgets, kids can miss out on opportunities to get creative. Yet creativity is such an essential skill in life: great for problem solving in all areas. We’ve put together a list of 12 days out to nurture imagination and curiosity in your little ones.
1. The Power of Stories at the Home of Theatre
Half Term Tales at the Globe is a fabulous week of activities at Shakepeare’s Globe where children can watch interactive plays like Abracadabra- Kevin Groal on Saturday 26th October where the story ending has disappeared and the audience of 7 to 16 year olds has to create a new one. Children can also listen to a series of talks by authors like How to Train Your Dragon’s Cressida Cowell in “Wizards and Dragons”, that will spark their imagination and fire up their inner writer.
2. Eye Spy on the Buses
Where’s Wally the Big Museum Hunt is on at the London Transport Museum from 19th to 27th October. It is an opportunity to climb on board some of vehicles that are not normally open to the public as you track the Stripy Jumpered One, down to 10 different playful activities around the museum. There will also be singing and storytelling as well as the brilliant role playing that is achievable being train and bus drivers at the museum.
3. Go behind the Scenes
Due to its historic connection with sponsors from the performing arts in its heyday, the Foundling Museum has a half-term week of free creative activities based on the theatre. On Tuesday 22nd October for instance there is a Set Designers workshop and your 5 to 10 year olds will be able to create props and costumes for the theatre before performing with them.. On Wednesday 23rd October in conjunction with the Big Draw the session will be entitled Green Screen Films and children will be able to make their own film. How exciting.
4. Hold your Horses (and your pencils)
The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace https://www.fantasticforfamilies.com/organisations/5748/royal-mews-buckingham-palace have been holding their “Victoria and Albert 200” Family Saturday’s throughout the year to celebrate the 200th anniversary of their birth. The last session of the celebration, Hooves and Horses on Saturday 26th October, coincides with the Big Draw as well. Families will be able to work with an artist on a collaborative piece as well as experimenting with different art techniques and materials to choose their favourite way to bring Victoria and Albert’s pets to life.
5. Quick March, you’re in the Army now!
The National Army Museum currently has an exhibition about Abram Games, the Official War Poster Artist of World War 2. Budding artists can learn more about the war from his perspective when they take part in Giant Games for Little Soldiers: 2nd World War Edition, from 19th October and through half term. It is exactly that; a giant life size board game with activities along the way. When your children have finished beating you at that your under 8 year old may want to pop in to do some role play in the Play Base where they can drive a truck or cook the regiment’s dinner. The museum also has some backpacks for a spread of age ranges with artefact, costume and activities like ‘On a Mission’ for 2 to 7 year olds.
6. Looks Great!
The Jewish Museum https://www.fantasticforfamilies.com/organisations/3868/jewish-museum s open to all people from all backgrounds and is holding a free workshop of arts and crafts activities for families called Get Creative, on 22nd and 24th October, inspired by their Great British Jews: A Celebration exhibition. On 20th October they are also having a special Simchat Torah Family Day in honour of the special Jewish day of celebration (adults £8.50 and under 16s £4). On the day, among other things; you can decorate biscuits, design a torah mantle with fabric pens, scribe Hebrew with a quill and handle important artefacts.
7. Listen to the Music
The Royal College of Music will be hosting their Sparks Family Concert at 2pm on 26th October (£8 for adults and £5 for 4s and over), playing Elgar at their engaging concert entitled Variations on Enigma with lots of musical exploration and audience participation. There is also a set of pre-concert hands-on activities to enjoy for an hour beforehand. In the morning of the concert, there is a fun, practical and creative concert-linked workshop called Family Create. Also linked is an Ignite and Explore workshop for Junior aged children on the morning of 21st October.
8. Pull the Strings
Islington’s brilliant puppet theatre, The Little Angel Theatre has two shows on over October half term. Adults and children 7 and above get The Dong with A Luminous Nose and there is The Further Adventures of the Owl and Pussycat for children 3 to 8. As well as the shows they are also holding a series of Happy Halloween, October Holiday Fun Days giving children 6 to 11 the chance to make different Halloween inspired puppets each day from 22nd to 25th. For instance on Tuesday they can make a Vampire or Frankenstein’s Monster puppet and on Wednesday they can make some spooky shadow puppets. The full day workshops cost £48 for one day going up to £160 for all 4 days.
9. Never Judge a Book…
The Southbank is holding its annual London Literature Festival over half term and there are all kinds of creative events that are linked to literature and books, and many of them are free too. There’s a chance to make your own edible fairytale book, learn Indian dance moves to tell an enchanting story of creation and care in Akademi: The Milk White Ocean, take part in an interactive storytelling performance in Lunchtime Tales: Live From the Story Attic, listen to wild music and fairy tale stories with the Embers Collective on Friday lunchtime. There are paid talks and performances too… your children can get crime writing tips from Sharna Jackson author of the High-Rise Mystery and your 6 to 13 year old can ask those key writing questions of one of Britain’s most talented prolific authors; Michael Morpurgo, after watching a performance of his story I Believe in Unicorns that deals with the power of books.
10. The Show Must Go On…
Zoonation: Some Like it Hip Hop – a show with astounding contemporary dancing and a storyline that tips its hat to Shakespeare is being performed at the Peacock Theatre from 23rd October to 9th November and suitable for children 7 and above (Tickets from £22). Any dancer or wanna be dancer would be inspired to learn to dance like the members of the Kate Prince Dance Company. Your younger theatre goer (3 to 7) could be inspired to create some music and share some mischievous tales if they go to see Anansi the Spider at the Unicorn Theatre from 18th September to 27th October. (Tickets from £10).
11. Thank you for the Music…
The London Symphony Orchestra is holding one of their regular family concerts on Sunday 27th October for your 7 to 12 year old. This one is entitled Forests and Fairytales and tickets are only £5. Alternatively you could visit one of the Family Jazz Sessions for 7s and under at Stratford Circus Arts Centre at 2pm on Tuesday 22nd October. Just 8 minutes’ walk away is the Stratford Discover Centre so you could combine it with a trip there for a truly creative day, especially as there is a special Storytelling event on the same day there.
12. Celebrate Light Around the World
The National Maritime Museum are hosting a special Diwali festival celebration day with music, art and dance on Saturday 26th October. The event fits nicely within their “All Around the World half term sessions where you can explore Chinese, Indian, African and Arctic cultures through hands on artistic and crafty activities like drum making, collage, Fijian mask making techniques, making snow sledges, dance and storytelling.
By Laura Cheek
This post is sponsored by Fantastic for Families – a brilliant website for families to discover affordable and relevant quality arts and cultural activities from trusted organisers in their local area. Fantastic for Families is run by the Family Arts Campaign, a national collaborative programme funded by Arts Council England.