Experiment with materials and create tactile play landscapes at Barbican Blocks

What?: Creative pre-school drop-in designed to spark little imaginations through an inventive, sensory soft-play adventure. Taking place in the Barbican’s former shop and spilling out into the foyer, this free session centres around a series of freestanding cubes that can be gradually unpacked to uncover a selection of soft-play blocks, as well as an interesting variety of materials including carpet samples, turf, mirrored surfaces and foam. Aided by a team of adult helpers, children are encouraged to think independently and collaboratively to create walkways, see-saws and slides using the materials available, and to explore their different properties and textures.

Barbican Blocks has been produced by Pop up Parks and Co-DB in collaboration with Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning, and currently has its own permanent space in the centre, with four two-hour sessions for under-fives and one for under-ones taking place each week.

Where & When?: Tuesdays and Thursdays: 10am–12pm and 1.30–3.30pm; Fridays: 10am–12pm. Tuesday afternoon sessions are reserved for babies under 12 months and Thursday afternoon sessions include storytelling with Barbican Children’s Library. Barbican (Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City) is a five-minute walk, Moorgate (Northern, mainline) is seven and St Paul’s (Central) is 13.

Best Bits: The staff were amazing and made a real effort to learn all the children’s names and help them get the most out of the equipment. I loved the easy, relaxed atmosphere and uniqueness of the session. 

Worst Bits: Over-threes might get a bit bored.

Facilities: The Barbican offers free cloakrooms, baby-changing and step-free access. Kids eat free in the Barbican Kitchen, which also has high chairs.

Would We Come Back?: This colourful session grants little ones a completely different experience every time, and we’ll absolutely be back to experiment further.


Bab creates her own colourful play landscape at Barbican Blocks