Just when you’ve got them safely back into school, February is upon us and that means one thing: Half Term! Luckily there’s a fantastic range of activities to keep the kids occupied in February, and not only that, keep you entertained too. From tales of devilishly clever foxes to jumping in puddles for sport (remember your wellies!) February will undoubtedly be filled with enjoyment, entertainment and laughter.
South Kensington seems like the natural choice for a family day out. To coincide with half term, there are plenty of events for families to get involved with across the museums and the Royal Albert Hall, including Family Day: Paper Utopia (11 February) where families can create paper cityscapes together at the Serpentine Galleries, and RCM Sparks: Music and the Circus (19 February), a family friendly workshop where you can try your hand at circus skills.
A highlight this month is the Imagine Children’s Festival (9-19 February) at Southbank Centre. There’s a huge amount on offer, from building cities with LEGO, immersive experiences in Moominvalley, pyjama parties and Nordic inspired poetry, which will keep children entertained and inspired. Over in Richmond, Kew Gardens is always a perfect family day out, and don’t write it off now that it’s winter. This February, explore the beautiful Orchid festival at the gardens (4 February – 5 March) with flower displays intertwined around rickshaws accompanied by atmospheric Indian soundscapes - cheaper than a half term holiday abroad!
Everyone loves a beautiful light display, and the Magic Lantern Festival (19 January – 26 February) brings magic to the capital every year. The 50 dazzling illuminations will wow children and adults alike, including a Houses of Parliament shaped installation and plenty of exciting colours and shapes celebrating the Chinese New Year. Over in South-East London, The Horniman Museum will be hosting their own Robot Zoo. This brilliant exhibition showcases larger-than-life robot animals which will demonstrate how their real-life counterparts see, eat, hunt and hide through innovative mechanisms. – you can even design your own robot creature! Kids always seem to have a robot phase, and they’re often pretty fascinated by dinosaurs too. If that’s the case, head South to Crystal Palace Park, where parents can enjoy a peaceful stroll and kids can enjoy looking at the famous dinosaur sculptures hiding among the trees.
Sometimes it’s the simplest things that keep families entertained, and what’s more fun than jumping into puddles? The Puddle Jumping Championships at London Wetland Centre will see children compete in a puddle-jumping course for the Dusty Duck prize, presented by Dusty Duck himself, the centre’s new children’s character. Alongside this kids and parents can learn more about the Wetland’s stunning wildlife reserve. Speaking of wildlife, why not visit one of London’s city farms? Often a cheaper option than the zoo, it’s also a great way to educate the kids about animals. Spitalfields City Farm hold family volunteering events on Saturdays, a perfect way to get stuck in, help out and spend some quality time together.
In the evening, take a trip to the theatre with some of literature and film’s brightest characters appearing on stage this February. A must-see is Fantastic Mr Fox (25 January – 19 February) at Lyric Hammersmith, an energetic musical adaption of Roald Dahl’s classic novel following the brilliantly clever Mr Fox as he outsmarts the nasty farmers. Another much-loved children’s classic coming to The Unicorn Theatre stage is Iron Man (24 January – 5 March), Ted Hughes’ tale of a misunderstood robot who is taken under the wing of a young boy, represented through stunning paper-cut silhouettes, puppetry and stop-motion animation. For a real treat, catch the elaborate adaption of Aladdin (31 Jan – 8 July) at Prince Edward Theatre, with breathtaking sets and all of the instantly recognisable songs from the original Disney film, this is guaranteed to be an evening of pure joy.