What?: “This is guaranteed to be shit,” I thought as we endured a 25-minute schlep around the residential backstreets of Brockley, having already suffered a 45-minute Overground ride with two apathetic two-year-olds. Only crazy people travel for over an hour across London to catch the last 90 minutes of a free toddler craft session in an unassuming events space in Nunhead, but since I seem to have earned a reputation as that wacky lady who drags her toddler to every corner of the capital in a perpetual quest for anything even vaguely resembling fun I don’t want to let people down now, two years into Bablands and at 34 weeks pregnant with my second child (sorry, I feel like I’m mentioning that a lot at the moment and it’s probably unimaginably dull for everyone else – I’m just trying to emphasise the crazy).
Anyway, do you know what? It was really good. The space is basic but there’s everything you need, from a small cafe area to baby-changing and a play zone, and enough space to accommodate 15-or-so toddlers and their adults. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas so we made tree decorations from air-drying clay and those press-on jewel things, and ate mince pies (not free but pretty cheap) while we worked. On another table there was fingerprint-reindeer gift-tag making, which was cute but I wasn’t sure how much my loved ones would appreciate gifts labelled with tags that had seemingly been smeared with poo, so we gave that one a miss and resorted to the toy and book corner once Babu had tired of cutting out clay stars and rolling them in glitter.
The best thing about this workshop though, aside from the activities being fun, the venue being well-equipped and it being totally free, was the lovely sense of community that was apparent from the moment we parked up our buggies. We arrived much later than everyone else (it’s a 10-2 drop-in but we turned up well into the third hour) but we were still immediately and very warmly welcomed by one of the two mums that runs the session, given a tour of the space and offered refreshments, which I have to say is pretty rare in a city where the vast majority ignores the existence of other humans most of the time. All the mums seemed to know each other – not in a cliquey way but in a really nice, neighbourly way – and the whole thing felt relaxed and intimate; the sort of group you’d look forward to all month if you didn’t live so bloody far away it might as well be on Pluto.
Where and When?: Mini Makers takes place once a month – usually the middle Wednesday. Space@61 is located at 61 Cheltenham Road, Nunhead, and is a 16-minute walk from Honor Oak Park station.
Best Bits: Great activities and lovely, lovely people.
Worst Bits: For us, the distance. Be sure to add this to your monthly calendar if you’re local.
Facilities: Baby changing, step-free access, limited buggy parking, all materials included, refreshments available to buy.
Would We Come Back?: I’d definitely try to, depending on the activity.
Babu and Mummy make tree decorations at Mini Makers, Space@61, Nunhead.