Online things to do for kids
If you’re wondering how you’re going to keep your kids entertained if this lockdown turns out to be as prolonged as some news reports suggest, help is at hand.
There are a host of online activities on offer. They range from storytelling events, plays, musicals and kids’ acting classes to activities centred on art or the natural world. And for bird lovers, don’t forget the annual Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of the month.
Musicals and Theatre
Watermans arts centre in Brentford is offering Kipper’s Snowy Day a puppet/musical stage production based on the popular Kipper Books by Mick Inkpen. Suitable for age 3+.
Tickets £10. Online access until 31 January – watch as many times as you like.
See the trailer:
Free theatrical storytelling
The Unicorn Theatre Company has released yet another production for younger children – Anansi the Spider. It’s an adaptation of classic West African and Caribbean tales about a trickster spider, filmed by the cast in their own homes. The three episodes come with free family activity packs for home learning. Available on Unicorn’s YouTube Channel until 31 March.
Still available from Unicorn
For ages 2- 5, Unicorn is also offering Huddle, the story of a daddy penguin and his new chick learning to thrive against the odds. This lovely production uses instrumental music and hand drawn animation to illustrate the reading.
Unicorn is still offering two of its other theatrical reading productions free online – Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales suitable for ages 8-12 until 31 March and Roald Dahl’s The Twits suitable for ages 6-12 until 3 March.
Image above: Roald Dahl’s The Twits
Tales from Shakespeare – Michael Morpurgo
The RSC is offering former Children’s Laureate and War Horse author Michael Morpurgo’s retelling of Shakespeare’s plays in contemporary settings, read by RSC actors. Aimed at kids between the ages of 6 and 16. The RSC is also offering learning aids for older students. Running until mid-February, with one “tale” released per week. Tickets £5 per production, or £15 for all five.
See an introductory free video of Michael reading his adaptation of Twelfth Night here
And for older students, Shakespeare’s Globe is offering a free recording of its 2019 production of Romeo and Juliet free until February half term, aimed at students and families.
The Globe’s other Shakespearean productions are available from £4.99 on globeplayer.tv/
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Southwark Playhouse
This new musical explores the world of a sorcerer and his rebellious daughter, as she discovers the explosive possibilities of her newfound magical powers. Suitable for ages 8+
£15 +booking fee 26 February-14 March.
Two hours running time; performances both matinee and evening.
Local lessons for budding actors
Our own ArtsEd on Bath Road is offering weekend acting and musical theatre courses – the Saturday Skills Academy – for kids from aged 7 -16 +.
Lyric Theatre Hammersmith
The Lyric’s live theatre shows may be on hold, but its Zoom courses for children and young people are ploughing ahead online, at least until mid-February. They include dance improvisation and acting classes for both disabled and non-disabled youngsters and Key Club classes for young people on the autism spectrum over the age of 16.
Images above: Tate Kids; Paint like Turner illustration, Lizzie Stewart
Tate Kids offers activities ranging from learning about contemporary London artists to guided activities like using your body to make art, soap carving, or making a unicorn puppet from recycled materials. You can make a collage, learn how to paint like Turner, or draw creatures inspired by sounds. There’s even a personality quiz you can take to decide which famous artist should redecorate your room.
Nature and wildlife
I know, I know, you’re locked indoors in a massive city, not the countryside. But if your youngster fancies themselves as a junior Chris Packham, there are lots of activities available on the Woodland Trust’s website; garden scavenger hunts, how to make your own bird feeder, and a free downloadable tree-identifying app to take out on your walks. Plus quizzes and indoor craft ideas. Details here:
BBC Winterwatch is offering a special live programme at 11am on 28 January:
And you can sign up to join the Big Garden Birdwatch 29-31 January
Natural History Museum
Another fabulous way for your kids to experience the natural world is through online events at the Natural History Museum. There is (of course), a huge dinosaur section, which includes lots of fun activities. There are 14 virtual tours you can take, including one of the famous Hintze Hall with Sir David Attenborough which features the skeleton of the blue whale, the largest creature to have ever lived.
You can also take a virtual tour of the Fantastic Creatures exhibition which examines possible links between some of the creatures in the care of JK Rowling’s hero Newt Scamander to real creatures of the ancient world. And you can marvel at the stunning photos of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition online.
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