20 awesome things to do with kids in London: May 2023

  1. Colors Festival comes to Camden’s Hawley Wharf this month, with the official opening date yet to be announced. Information is currently fairly minimal, but the exhibition does promise to showcase immersive and XXL artworks across a variety of artistic styles. Paid.
  2. Under the Sea Soft Play opens at the Horniman from the 5th. Inspired by the Horniman’s popular aquarium, this marine-themed soft-play experience for 0-5s includes netted play frames, bubbling ball ponds, fish-shaped rockers and soft toys. Paid.
  3. Mess it Up in the Park returns to Crouch End’s Priory Park for a fourth summer from the 5th. Expect a wide range of messy-play activities, including paint, edible items, rainbow spaghetti, sand, jelly, mud, foam, flour and plenty of water play. Paid.
  4. Artist Samme Snow will be hosting colouring sessions in Coal Drops Yard from the 6th-8th. Participants of all ages are invited to take 30 minutes to immerse themselves in the collaborative artwork, either by colouring in Snow’s creations or drawing their own art. Free.
  5. British Museum is running two Little Feet sessions for under-5s this month: on the 12th, explore fantastic beasts, creating clay crafts and contributing to a giant frieze in Craft Like an Athenian, then Party Like a Persian on the 25th with a special teddy bears’ picnic. Free.
  6. 180 Studios will host Disney’s Wonder of Friendship: The Experience from the 12th-21st. Explore Alice in Wonderland’s Garden of Mystery, ‘Ohana Bay from Lilo & Stitch, The Lion King Orchestral Oasis and more. Designed for ages 18+ but children are allowed. Paid.
  7. British Library is hosting two family workshops this month. On the 12th, Scuttle, slither and stomp like an animal in Animals That Amaze for under-5s, then on the 21st, experiment with collage materials to design and build your own creature in Animal Creations. Free.
  8. Head to Big Penny Social on the 12th for Track Play, featuring giant train tracks, tunnels, stations, garages and bridges to navigate. Then on the 28th, the venue’s Bank Holiday Family Disco is set to feature bubbles, interactive games, prizes and singalongs. Paid.
  9. There’s loads of family fun to be had at the Southbank Centre this month, from participatory music in FUNharmonics Family Concert: Before the Firebird on the 13th to the self-led One & Everything Family Trail and toob, a sensory adventure for 0-2s, both from the 31st. Paid/free
  10. William Morris Gallery will host Creative Kids: May Morris’s Extraordinary Embroidery on the 13th. Inspired by the work of Morris’s daughter and designed for 2-5s, the session will include a tour of the gallery, a messy craft activity, singing and snack time. Free.
  11. Bold Tendencies’ summer programme starts on the 19th. This year’s theme is Crisis, with works by Emory Douglas, Jenny Holzer, Kahlil Robert Irving, Sandra Poulson and Abbas Zahedi set to take over the space, plus a project with Gray Wielebinski at Selfridges. Free.
  12. The Offbeat Sari opens at The Design Museum from the 9th. The exhibition will unravel the sari’s numerous forms, demonstrating it as a metaphor for the complex definitions of India today, and bringing together dozens of the finest saris of our time. Paid.
  13. Parade in a Day!: Family Creative Workshops & Parade will take place at Kingswood Arts on the 20th. Choose one of three workshops – costume making, carnival dancing or drumming – and then join in with a parade around the estate in the afternoon. Free.
  14. The RA is hosting four family events this month: make colourful abstract sculptures in Objects of Intrigue on the 21st, then on the 28th choose from body-themed making in Body Doubles, self-portraiture in Mirror Image or a walk-and-draw tour of the gallery. Free.
  15. The V&A is running two great-sounding family workshops this month, with the chance to explore embroidery and sewing in Drop-in Design: Celebration Wall Art on the 30th, and listen to Caribbean stories in Families Storytelling: Caribbean Tales on the 31st. Free.
  16. Children are actively encouraged to take part in Egg Productions’ performance of Squirrel, which is described as “an irresistable treat for under-5s”, and is showing at Unicorn for a five-week run from the 27th. Expect “puppetry mayhem with a sprinkling of magic”. Paid.
  17. Celebrate Museum of London Docklands 20th birthday, Victorian style, from the 27th with traditional parlour games, paper-chain and peg-doll making, a (cuddly) rat trail, singalongs, object handling and a good old-fashioned family knees-up with Baby Broadway. Free.
  18. Colourscape will be returning to Waddesdon Manor from the 27th. This unique, interactive experience is a feast for the senses, with winding tunnels of intense colour and live music that produce an otherworldly environment for visitors of all ages. Paid.
  19. St. Paul’s Cathedral will be the setting for Family Activities: Amazing Architecture on the 27th. Join St. Paul’s and RIBA to find out how th cathedral was designed and built. Discover more about architecture with family activities, including object handling. Free.
  20. Festival of Curiosity is on at LTM from the 27th. Take on a STEAM-inspired family trail around the museum’s galleries; learn how engineers are trialling green solutions to climate change in the Failure is Your Friend workshop; or enjoy some under-5s storytelling. Free.

Photo: Jon Burgerman at Omni Gallery, Fitzrovia

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