I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry over the government’s London lockdown (and nationwide) exit plans — although Matt Lucas’ impression of the PM still has me giggling. Personally, I’m in no hurry to send my youngest back to school although I respect those who might feel differently. I think the science is unclear and it’s simply too early plus it puts so much undue pressure on teachers.
This weekend, aside from ‘unlimited outdoor exercising’, there are tons of great things to watch and to look forward to in the virtual space. Here’s my London Lockdown Kids and Families Weekend Scoop. Take care and stay safe x
Weekend Lockdown Ideas for Kids and Families
BOOKING AHEAD: HAY FESTIVAL DIGITAL
Hay Festival Digital
The popular literary festival heads online with an amazing line-up of the world’s leading writers and thinkers. There’s a special Hay Festival Programme for Schools (May 18-22) ahead of the festival proper (May 22-31), celebrating some of the best new fiction and non-fiction around. Schools programme includes Onjali Q. Rauf, Cressida Cowell, Konnie Huq, Sue Cheung, Liz Pichon and others. Main festival highlights: Gloria Steinem, a gala performance featuring Margaret Atwood, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry and others (Fri May 22, 6.30pm), Elif Shafak, Adam Rutherford, Afua Hirsch, Inua Ellams, Tori Amos. Visit the website for full details on how to register for sessions. (May 18-31)
Little Angel Theatre presents: I Want My Hat Back
Something for the little ones (and you too). Watch as our local puppet theatre, Little Angel Theatre streams a charming performance of ‘I Want My Hat Back’ by Ian Nicholson and Samuel Wilde, adapted from Jon Klassen’s picture book. Aimed at ages 3-6, suitable for all. (Streaming until Jun 7)
National Theatre at Home: Barber Shop Chronicles
We missed this on the stage so I’m thrilled to be able to stream it at home. Catch Inua Ellams’ massive hit Barber Shop Chronicles (pictured at top), filled with barbed wit and banter for ages 12+. NT shows stream live every Thursday evening and then you can watch the recording all week long (until 7pm, May 21)
Les Miserables Staged Concert
If you’re missing out on West End musicals, then you’ll love the Les Miserables staged concert available for download (£9.99), with proceeds going to charity. Les Mis is one of the world’s best-loved musicals and these rousing songs will lift you up during this time of crisis. Get a taste with this stirring video of West End stars singing the anthem ’Do You Hear the People Sing?’ from lockdown.
Hamilton Original Cast perform ‘Alexander Hamilton’ via Zoom
And if that’s not spine-tingling enough for you, watch the incredible original Broadway cast of multiple award-winning musical Hamilton performing a special Zoom recording of ‘Alexander Hamilton’ as a surprise for their number one fan. OMG!
Shakespeare’s Globe at Home
Bring Shakespeare and the world famous Globe theatre into your home via YouTube, as they offer FREE livestreams of select plays for two weeks each. You can still catch Macbeth for ages 11+ (until May 25) and premiering this Monday is the child-friendly The Winter’s Tale (Mon May 18 at 7pm until May 31). Donations welcome.
English National Ballet: Wednesday Watch Party
English National Ballet have launched a Stay at Home programme of ballet shows streamed to your living room. Shows are available for 48 hours and this week you can see Nora, a one-act ballet inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (from May 20 at 7pm until May 22). Next up is the riveting Swan Lake (from May 27 at 7pm until May 29). Subscribe to get regular updates on their #WednesdayWatchParty
Mail Rail virtual tour
We keep planning to ride the Mail Rail but haven’t yet made it, so it was fun to hop aboard the virtual tour of the Postal Museum’s underground network. Take a look.
Virtual Tour of London
Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you can view the capital city with fresh eyes via Visit London’s 360 degrees Virtual Tour of London. See some of London’s top sights including the London Eye, Westminster Abbey and world famous department store Harrods.
Buckingham Palace Virtual Tour
Get a sneak peek inside the Queen’s gaffe in the official virtual tour of the palace. You can see the jaw-dropping Grand Staircase, the White Drawing Room and, of course, the Throne Room.
Top 10 Most Dangerous Waterslides
Need an adrenaline fix? Head to YouTube where (from the safety of your couch) you can virtually ride a rollercoaster, go deep sea diving, leap out of a plane, or experience some of the world’s most dangerous waterslides.
ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Get Fit with The Incredibles
There’s lots of fun kid-friendly activities on the Disney Family channel on YouTube. Have a go at the Get Moving with Disney Family workout videos featuring fitness moves inspired by The Incredibles, Mulan, Moana, The Lion King and more.
TED Talks and Lessons for Juniors
TED has a brilliant learning resource for kids, schools and parents. Explore a range of talks, animations and videos with interactive formats that allow you to create your own lesson plan for your child. All designed to spark curiosity, wonder and imagination. Your child can even practice how to give their own TED talk, sharing big ideas with the world.
British Library challenge: Create a Miniature Book
The British Library is inviting kids on lockdown to create mini books, inspired by the library’s collection and miniature book authors such as Charlotte Bronte. Books will become part of an online National Library of Miniature Books for the Toy World. Head to the website to see full instructions along with famous authors reading from their handmade books. Share your creations on Twitter to @BL_learning using the hashtag #DiscoveringChildrensBooks or email them to email@example.com.
Pizza Express Homemade Favourites
Master your Margherita pizzas at home using Pizza Express’ trademark recipe, available online along with some of their other popular dishes. Yes, they’ve even shared a recipe for their popular Dough Balls. You’re welcome.
Lina Stores Online Deliveries
Sick of your regular supermarket sweep? Italian deli and restaurant Lina Stores are delivering high-quality groceries and fresh food to homes across London. Check your postcode is covered and snap up some yummy fresh pasta, antipasti, cheeses and store cupboard products.