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Lockdown London family friendly events and activities

Our April list of top events and activities for young Londoners is now redundant given the capital is under lockdown. But worry not for we have collated our best picks of digital culture during these strange times.

London may be under lockdown but we are still exploring (mostly from the comfort of our home) and we have some brilliant activities, shows and family fun to keep everyone entertained during this difficult time.

Royal Academy

Founded in 1968 by a bunch of artists and architects who became the first Royal Academicians, it houses an outstanding collection of British Art. Whilst under lockdown you can take a virtual tour of the current Picasso and paper exhibition or explore their family how-to which inspires families to make stop-frame animations, recycled sculptures and lots more. Young people can also use this time to submit an artwork to the Young Artists Summer Show before 24th of April.

National Maritime Museum 

Time seem a bit slow? Days beginning to merge? Take it up with the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. You can find out about Britain’s rich maritime history (spoiler alert: we invented time), discover why the clocks sprung forward by an hour in March, take a 3d tour of the globe and consider how much a ticket to space should cost. Plus there’s lots of home learning resources for children of all ages and specific sections for the various key stages they are at.

Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust brings nature into your home and garden with a variety of nature activities for kids to do at home. From making loo roll bird feeders to flower presses, fun with mini beasts and pirate adventures – there is something for everyone.

Lockdown festival with Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival is an award winning festival organised by Rob da Bank and his wife Josie. It takes place on the beautiful grounds of Lulworth Castle in Dorset on the 30th of July until 2nd of August 2020 and is THE festival for families with children of all ages. For Easter under lockdown they hosted a stay at home sleepover and many of the videos and activities are available on their youtube channel. From fitness classes with Mr Motivator to clay model making from the creator of Wallace and Gromit there are an array of fun activities, theatre shows, cooking classes, festival face paint and loads more. Get a teepee up in the living room and spend a day glamping from home.

TATE

As well as guides, images and a curator’s walk through the current Andy Warhol exhibition at Tate Modern and Aubrey Beardsley at Tate Britain from 13 April, Tate Kids is an amazing resource for parents and children of all ages. You can get messy making marbled paper with foam, take a street art quiz or find out what a lobster has in common with a telephone as you watch videos on surrealism. Paint like turner, make pop-art like Warhol and so much more. 

Half Moon Theatre

Miss the theatre? Half Moon theatre has released a bunch of shows on the world wide web here. We’re particularly excited about Butterflies which is a show for children aged 3 and above and focuses on chasing away fears and anxieties. There are also shows for older children with accompanying education packs.

Science Museum

So many brilliant digital resources from the museum including activities, games, experiments and apps. Great for homeschooling as well as fun with toddlers and babies. Make rocket mice and launch them at the sky, create different bubble blowers using the Science Museum secret recipe or get scientific in the kitchen

Little Gym

The team at Little Gym have created a bunch of classes for kids aged 3 to 6 to do at home and in the first session you can join Naomi on a dinosaur adventure. Bring your big roar and big claws and follow her for activities keeping your child moving, learning and having fun at home.

London Transport Museum 

Miss getting around on the London underground? London Transport Museum’s digital collection has you covered! Stay away from public transport but still get your London transport fix whilst in isolation through photos, exhibitions, posters and loads more. The family hub is particularly fun with crosswords, colouring in sheets, quizzes and poetry making sessions that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your bed. There’s also 20% off in the shop – should you want to add to your games and puzzles collection.

Hayward Gallery

Housed in a beautifully brutalist building on the southbank of the river, The Hayward Gallery is a world-renowned hub for contemporary art. Enjoy a virtual tour of the current Among the trees exhibition or explore through the gallery’s digitised collection celebrating 10 iconic exhibitions spanning the last 50 years, including shows from Bridget Riley, Anish Kapoor and Anthony Gormley.

British Library

We may be stuck indoors but our imaginations are free to roam so star in your own fairytale, create a miniature adventure or have a go at making your own comic. If a book gets printed anywhere in the UK – the British Library is sent a copy. The permanent exhibition at the British Library houses some of the world’s most important and beautiful manuscripts including the Magna Carta, Gutenberg’s bible and the original handwritten copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Take a trip down the rabbit hole as you explore the library’s collection online here. There are also brilliant family resources including tutorials on how to draw a gruffalo alongside Axel Sheffler, create a talking animal as you write or invent your own story or find out about literature’s mischievous heroes

Make history 

The Museum of Ordinary People (MOOP) is inviting members of the public to document their experience of the Covid-19 outbreak as a reference for future generations. This way humans in the future can learn from our current situation. Just visit their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and submit your thoughts, feelings and experiences using #TheseTimes. The museum will later collate submissions and make them part of its permanent collection.

Hauser Wirth

The ‘ARTatHome’ initiative features specially created line drawings by artists Mark Bradford, Nicolas Party, Anj Smith, Rashid Johnson and Zhang Enli. Simply download the pages, print them out and get creative with any materials you fancy. You could even pop them in a frame once you are finished. Plus the messages from artists with their experience of isolation may give you a little comfort.

Firstsite Colchester

Stay inspired with Firstsite’s artist created activity packs, featuring contributions from UK artists including Antony Gormley, Gillian Wearing, Idris Khan, Jeremy Deller, Mark Wallinger and more. ‘Art is where the home is’ will give you ideas about how to get creative at home. Anyone can have a go – there are no specialist materials required, plus it’s completely FREE to download. More info here.

The show must go on

Need to get your musical fix? Look no further as a different Lloyd Webber musical will stream each week on The Shows Must Go On! YouTube channel. Each show will go live on the channel on Friday at 7pm BST and remain available for 48 hours.

Explore.org

Get your animal fix with the world’s largest live camera network where you can explore penguins, lions, bears, birds and lots more. Find out about the environment, activism, photography as well as curated talks, films and special events. More info here.

House of Hackney

House of Hackney have created this beautiful activity book to keep little people entertained. Find Alice as she roams through wonderland, explore beautifully illustrated animals, colour things in and more.

Somerset House

Join award-winning British fashion designer Bethany Williams in celebration of Earth Day (22 April) and investigate our relationship to future generations. Online workshops and live streams invite audiences to take part in her research process. More info here.

Little Angel Theatre

Little Angel Theatre was the first theatre we went to with a child and we were overjoyed to spend a short while viewing their digital performance of Jon Klassen’s darkly comic tale ‘I want my hat back’. They also have storytelling sessions and tutorials on how to make your own puppet show. 

National Geographic Kids

This is a wonderful resource for parents and children alike. Learn how to make a bug hotel, make pebble people find out ten horrible facts about London. There are games, activities, educational fun and loads more.

Design Museum

Whether you’re educating or just having some fun with the kids. The Young Design Museum has plenty to keep budding designers entertained. Have a go designing your own exhibition, making rocking toys or your own themed packaging design.

Guildhall Art Gallery

Guildhall Art Gallery is one of our favourite London spaces and not only because it gives a glimpse to the Roman Londinium that once was – and you can download activity sheets for the kids to travel back in time to that period here. Their Enchanted Interior exhibition is rather fitting given it focuses on enforced isolation, women’s rights and indoor spaces and they have a family friendly worksheet that children aged 8 and above can get involved with.

Sadler’s Wells fitness sessions

Sadler’s Wells have moved their shows onto the digital stage as well as of their dance family Fridays – which means you can now practice moving like an animal or jiving like a little red riding hood. Should you have another dance enthusiast in your home, there are also adult dance lessons you can take part in. 

Affordable Art Fair

The team passionate about ‘art for all’ is releasing a gorgeous new, free Kids’ Activity Pack every week to help inspire some DIY art school sessions and boost positive wellbeing. Explore Glorious Colour; Doodle Your Worries Away, and Chattering Animals packs.  Whether there’s a mini-master in the ranks or it’s more about ‘abstract expressionism’, families of all capabilities can enjoy getting hands-on in a moment of creative immersion at home. All activity packs can be found here.

Greenwich Theatre

Greenwich Theatre connects is an online programme of interactive theatre opportunities for anyone and everyone to express and expand their creativity through a series of weekly events. From Monologue Mondays where performers are asked to send in self taped monologues to Flashback Fridays where you can enjoy previous productions at the theatre and Submission Sundays where budding writers are encouraged to pen their own tale (with the opportunity of having this performed once the theatre reopens).

Imperial War Museum

This great historical museum may be closed but there are plenty of ways to get involved from home. Take inspiration from air raid shelters as you make the world’s best den, explore war time posters or take part in weekly challenges like how to communicate in wartime on facebook and twitter

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