What?: The British Museum’s Little Feet programme for under-fives is a dynamic series of sessions drawing inspiration from the copious objects and artworks found in the gallery’s temporary and permanent exhibits. A Splash of Colour took its cue from the child-friendly primary hues found throughout The American Dream: Pop to the Present, which runs until 18th June.
Held in the spacious Clore Educational Centre in the bowels of the museum, the workshop consisted of a brief introduction and sing-song before the babes were released into a full rainbow of colour-themed stations, each one housing a different selection of objects and craft materials. The green station was set up like a teddybear’s picnic, complete with fluffy ‘grass’ rug and a tiny tea set; the red zone was filled with trays of scarlet tissue squares ready to be collaged into the shape of a London bus; while the yellow area – Bab’s personal favourite – was a land of sapphire-hued fabrics, cheerful wall hangings and torches to shine into a variety of filters – and each other’s eyes, apparently.
The messy-play element of the workshop was wisely confined to the adjoining studio, which was equipped with spray bottles filled with watered-down poster paint, art paper to fire at and a small forest’s-worth of floor-saving newspaper. While great for trigger-happy toddlers this bit was slightly too technical for Bab, who didn’t understand the spray mechanism and basically just wanted to crawl over everyone else’s artwork, which resulted in her getting covered in bruise-yellow paint and me being thrown some pretty judgy glances on the way home.
Where?: The British Museum is around a 10-minute walk from Goodge Street (Northern), Tottenham Court Road (Northern, Central), Holborn (Central, Piccadilly) and Russell Square (Piccadilly) tube stations, and 20 from Euston (Northern, Ginger, mainline). Little Feet is held in the Clore Education Centre on level -2.
Duration: Sessions run from 10.30-12 on irregular weekday mornings every couple of weeks. We stayed for an hour, by which point Bab had exhausted all of the different colour zones and things had started to wind down.
Best Bits: The under-fives of London are the luckiest little people in the world to have access to such brilliant, creative and, crucially, free activities – and in one of the world’s most beautiful museums, no less. The staff were amazing, helpful and non-imperious, and I love that the theme and activity changes every time.
Worst Bits: While the session felt a bit more like a generic under-fives stay-and-play than some of the other art-themed classes we’ve been to, it was pretty damn good for a free event. There’s no limit on numbers so things got rather loud and chaotic at times, and it was a shame that Bab was a bit too young for the actual art bit (although I was secretly quite pleased because you know, washing).
Facilities: The British Museum benefits from step-free access and baby-change facilities. The Great Court Cafe and Pizzeria both offer child-friendly fare and high chairs are available.
Cost: Little Feet is a free event and entry to The British Museum is free with a suggested £5 donation. Entry to The American Dream: Pop to the Present is free for members and under-16s, and £16.50 for adults.
Would We Come Back?: Upcoming Little Feet events include a sound-focused Animal Antics drop-in on 25th May; a crafty Plant a Seed workshop on 9th June; a movement-based Go Disco Dancing class on 23rd June; a sensory Explore Egypt session on 11th July; and an arty Journey Through Nature on 17th July. While a bit too frequent for us to realistically make it to every one, this session is too good (and free) not to get involved with and I’m eager to see how each of the different themes is dealt with.
Bab mixes colours at Little Feet: A Splash of Colour at The British Museum