Your essential reference for kids activities and family fun all through the summer holidays.
1. Top family shows over summer include Shrek the Musical (Theatre Royal Drury Lane until Feb 2012), The Tiger who Came to Tea (Vaudeville Theatre, until Sep 4), In the Night Garden Live (Richmond, Old Deer Park, Jul 30-Aug 13), Roary the Racing Car (Richmond Theatre, Aug 5) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (Opera Holland Park, Jul 28-Aug 13)
2. Kids Week (Aug 12-Sep 4) offers exclusive deals to top West End shows for kids ages 5-16, with special activities and shows for under 5s. Now extended for 2 weeks.
4. Catch films from 95p at Vue Kids AM daily including: Tangled, A Turtle’s Tale, Gnomeo & Juliet, Hop, Rio and the Itch in my Feet. Confirm bookings and times at your local Vue cinema.
5. Outdoor cinema’s all the rage with Alice in Wonderland, Shrek Forever After & Toy Story 3 showing at Broadgate Circle, Liverpool St (Jul 26-28, 5.30pm), plus more open-air flicks at The Nomad, and The Scoop and the Floating Cinema.
6. It’s the Ickle Pickles Summer Party on Tooting Bec Common, Dr. Johnson Ave, SW17 (Tooting Bec tube), a spectacular fundraiser with bouncy castle, funfair, welly-wanging, craft and food stalls and more. 11am-5pm, free (Jul 31)
7. LolliBop Festival for under 10s takes over Regent’s Park, NW1, with Rastamouse, Charlie & Lola, Horrible Histories, Baby Loves Disco, Science Museum and more! 12-8pm, £20 adv. (Aug 5-7)
8. Summer Festival at V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Rd (Bethnal Green tube) with rickshaw rides, stalls, face painting, games and cakes. 11.30am-4.30pm, free (Aug 7)
9. Have a Jolly Day Out at Hampton Court Green, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 (SW trains 30 mins from Waterloo) with Sing-alonga Sound of Music, Charlie & Lola, Zingzillas, Bjorn Again, Henry the Apes, pig racing, Jamie’s Fabulous Feasts and much more. From 12pm, £25 (2 kids free per 1 adult ticket)/under 13s free (Aug 26-29)
10. Don’t forget Notting Hill Carnival (Westbourne Park tube), Europe’s biggest street party, with parades, floats, sound systems and food stalls galore. Children’s day is on Sunday. 9am-9pm, free (Aug 28-29)
11. Victorian Games at Tower Bridge Exhibition, SE1 (London Bridge tube) are back for the holidays with traditional Noughts and Crosses, Giant Dominoes, Roll-a-Ball and Hopscotch. 10am-4pm, free with entry ticket (family ticket from £12.50) (Jul 23-Aug 28)
12. Family Fun Week at National Theatre, SE1 (Embankment tube) as the Watch this Space Festival kicks off the summer holidays with miniature circus, trampolining monkeys, recycling crafts competitive pie-throwing and more mayhem. Varying times from 12pm, free (Jul 25-31)
13. Kinect Saturdays at Rough Trade East, Dray Walk, Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane E1
Come and play Kinect XBox 360 with the family every Saturday through summer, with the first 20 families getting a free breakfast, plus chances to win games and consoles in a prize draw. 12-2pm, free (until Aug 27)
14. Play Day supported by Savlon is the National Day of Play with thousands of families UK-wide having fun at community play outings e.g. Paradise Park, N7 from 10am-4pm. Visit www.playday.org.uk for events near you. (Aug 3)
15. Camp Rock at Whiteleys Shopping Centre (Bayswater tube) gives kids a chance to make their own instruments, try the Guitar Hero challenge (for prizes) and first 100 win a musical gift. Part of the monthly Sunday Funday club, ground floor between Zara & Gap. 12-5pm, free (Aug 7)
16. Dive into The Big Dip at Clapham Common, SW4 (Clapham Common tube) the urban swim festival with outdoor pool, beach area, volleyball, water polo, rides and activities for all the family. Extended opening by popular demand! Tue-Sun, 10am-6pm, £3 adults (admits 2 kids) (until Aug 14)
17. Enter the Appearing Rooms at Southbank Centre, SE1 (Embankment tube) as Danish artist Jeppe Hein’s exhibit returns with jets of water creating ‘rooms’ to dart in and out of. Daily, 10am-6pm, free (until Sep 18)
18. Fountains at Somerset House, SE1 (Charing Cross tube) are a London institution for families seeking to cool off. Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, free. NB: fountains switched off from 3pm on Jul 28-Aug 9. (until end of summer)
19. London Fields Lido in Hackney E8 (Hackney Central overground) is London’s only 50m outdoor heated pool that’s popular all-year round. Adults £4.30/Junior £2.60, open 6.30am-8pm (weekdays), 8am-8pm (Sat-Sun). (daily)
20. Visit Penguin Beach at London Zoo (Regent’s Park tube), the largest penguin pool in Europe, newly opened in 2011. Zoo entry Adult £20.50/Child £16.40/under 3s free (daily)
21. Visit the RAF Museum at Grahame Park Way, NW9 (Colindale tube) for Fantasy Flight Week, fantastical tales about flight from around the globe for ages 3-9. From 11.30am, free (Aug 1-7)
22. Build your own playground at Sutton House Family Day (Jul 31) in Hackney E8, with miniature modelling and toys from the past 500 years. Also every Thursday is Family Funday. 12.30-4pm, free with entry price (Jul 31 and every Thursday through summer)
23. Go Tate to Tate by boat between Tate Britain and Tate Modern, Bankside SE1, with holiday workshops for families at both museums plus the huge Miro exhibition (until Sep 11) and brand new under 5s zone at Tate Modern. 10am-6pm, free (daily)
24. Watch Me Move at Barbican Art Gallery, Barbican Centre, EC1 (Barbican tube) celebrates 150 years of animation with films, behind the scenes, storyboard drawings and more. 11am-8pm, £12/£10 adv/under 12s free (until Sep 11)
25. Join the Circus Stars Summer Reading challenge with prizes and an end-of-challenge party, along with circus-themed activities at libraries around London. Visit your local library for info.
26. Head for the seaside on the Southbank Centre’s Urban Beach on Queen’s Walk, SE1 with artist-designed beach huts and a 70m stretch of sand, ideal for a day out with bucket and spade.
27. Pitch your tent at Taking Root: Family Camp Out at Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Rd, NW3 where families can build shelters, tell stories, toast marshmallows, enjoy a BBQ supper and sleep overnight in the gardens. 5pm-9am, free (£5 booking deposit) (Aug 20-21)
28. Travel the World at Kew Gardens in Richmond TW9 where you can experience everything from tropical rainforest to the serenity of the Alps. Summer festival workshops free with entry price. Adults £13.90/under 17s free (until Sep 25)
29. Go underwater at Sea Life London Aquarium to see more than 500 species of marine life. 9am-8pm, tickets from £12.66 (daily)
30. Sail away on a London Water Bus tour along Regent’s Canal with special entry or exit via London Zoo (daily through summer) or climb aboard at the London Canal Museum for their summer tours on selected Sundays through Islington tunnel and back (dates and times vary).