– Brilliant boating for babies
No need to rock the boat. Give your water baby a sea-faring experience, and be back in time for tea.
At 50 minutes one-way, the London Waterbus Company’s journeys on Regent’s Canal provide a perfect taster for the tot. (We’d like to say it’s about as long as her concentration span, but that would be pushing the boat out). Importantly, it’s not so long that you’ll be left at sea.
Trips are on traditional narrow canal boats. They’re slow and stable, but it’s still very exciting if you haven’t yet developed a taste for white water rafting.
You’ll enjoy the green and leafy fringes of Regents’ Park, spot the hyena’s on the perimeter of the Zoo (if you want to make a day of it, you can even get off at the Zoo), and end your trip at one of the cafes in Little Venice or at one of the stalls in Camden Lock. Whatever floats your boat.
What Mini says:
White water rafting … what a tongue twister!
In Summer, barges leave Little Venice and Camden Lock hourly – check the timetable for details. One way costs £6.50 for adults and £5 for children aged 3 – 16. (Under 3’s travel for free.) Return trips are available, and you can make a stopover and go back later. You can also include a visit to the London Zoo. There is no parking at either end so you can combine this with another mode of public transport and make that the theme of the day. You’ll also need to take a small, folding pram.
– Easter Holiday Fun
That’s right, Spring has Sprung (well, it’s attempting to do so): chocolate aisles are beckoning, and the Easter Bunny is threatening to hop around a garden or park close to you (click here to see our listing of Easter Egg Hunts).
So, where’s the skip in your step?
With Mini-et-Moi’s Listing of Easter Break Fun (and no, we don’t mean the romantic mini-break variety of yester-year), you’ll know exactly what’s on across London this Easter. Hop over to the Tate Britain for Dress Up! or Crash, Jingle, Swish! – fab activities for families with under fives.
Afterwards, hop on a bus and head for fun at Eddie Catz where all the activities include a free play session that should have the have the kids hopping with excitement.
And the Polka Theatre will have us all hopping (and our skin crawling) with a flea circus.
For those that can’t yet hop (but spend ages practising), take salvage in the story of The Lamb Who Couldn’t Jump with spring time songs and dances by the Music House for Children.
Go on, hop to it!
What Mini says:
I’ll be hopping mad if I miss the fun.
Click here to see Mini-et-Moi’s Listing of Easter Break Fun for London’s Mums, Babies and Families.
– Soft Play Areas Across London
Life. It can be pretty unpredictable. No sooner are you convinced that Spring is here, than there’s a cold snap. No sooner are you’re ready to leave for the park than it starts to rain. Leaving you to find a fun way to entertain Junior, and burn off some of that excess energy (his, obviously). You might as well be knocking your head against a brick wall.
Don’t be soft! Simply click onto Mini-et-Moi.com’s listing of Softplay Areas across London for venues offering indoor fun, endless excitement and an outlet for the frenetic energy of your little bruiser. We know you’re a bit of a softie, so we’ve made sure that all venues offer a separate area for babies and toddlers – so you won’t need to worry about older kids knocking the wind out of your little one’s sails.
From Kensington to Croydon, Wembley to Wimbledon, we’ve got it covered. Plus, for those willing to travel a little further afield, we’ve ventured beyond the M25. Only by a few miles mind.
Click here to see our listing of London’s Soft Play and Indoor Adventure Zones, and those Further Afield.
And at least your afternoon won’t be one for the school for hard knocks.
What Mini says:
Knock, knock …
Please note that the softplay areas listed on our directory have not all been reviewed by our London mums and babies, so we’d love to hear what you think of a specific soft play zone – leave a comment below or send us a note to mail [at] mini-et-moi.com. Also, if we’ve missed a spot, let us know, and we’ll include it.
Have you seen our other Directories for London Mums and their Little London Babies and Toddlers? Check out the best place for a haircut or the nearest London location for mums and tots’ story hour and rhyme times.
– Fantastic free fun at the Science Museum (SW7)
Mummy’s idea of successful experimentation is mixing medleys of marrows, mushrooms and mushy peas. I prefer my experiments to be a little more scientific in nature.
That’s why I head to the Science Museum where test tubes – and tots – gurgle in delight.
For the under 5 set, the water table on the lower ground is a must. Don your lab coat (waterproof pinafores are standard issue and provided by the Museum) to join your peers; all scientists and lab experts work tirelessly side by side. The work is intense but highly rewarding.
There is also a play area where you can mountaineer (well, climb) or test your construction abilities (with soft blocks) – but remember this is science and you’ll need to keep a record of your empiric conclusions.
If you’re the sort who likes playing with electricity then head straight for The Secret Life of the Home. While Mummy is absorbed by the exhibition, you’ll have a chance to push buttons and pull levers beyond your wildest dreams.
All in all, this is not so much an experiment as tried and tested fun.
What Moi says:
With all this watery fun far from my home, I’d be a mad scientist to stay away.
Read our Vital Stats on the Science Museum . Be warned though; it can get very busy especially during half term and on weekends.
– Story Times in East and South London
It was a dark and stormy night …
No matter what your opening line (or your first word for that matter), it all ends happily ever after with Mini-et-Moi.com’s comprehensive listing of rhyme times, baby bounce and story hour at every library and bookshop across the Capital (Greater London, that is). We’ve just added South and East London.
To cut a long story short, search by day of the week or postcode to find your local session. It’s so easy it could be a fairy tale.
What Moi says:
Cue the knight on a white horse …
– London’s Story Times for Little Ones
It’s the same old story – what to do with junior on a cold and frosty morning. Something that will stimulate her senses and let her expend a little of that surplus energy. But not at the expense of your new furniture.
What about a good read? And no, we don’t, mean on said new furniture (although if you are planning on staying in, click here for a list of all the books we’ve reviewed on Mini-et-Moi).
Read on! We’ve listed every story time at every library and book shop in North and West London. It’s a long story. And you can search by day of the week or by postcode, making finding the closest and most convenient gathering as simple as ABC.
Sure, the fiction may be a little less White Tiger and a little more The Tiger who Came to Tea. But the storyline is as riveting and the writing superb. And it will have junior and all the other little literature lovers enraptured.
And if it doesn’t? Well there’s always every book on the library shelves to page through – or that single gross-looking toy to wrestle over. But that’s another story.
Don’t live this side of the river? Don’t fret. As you read this our mums and tots are pounding the pavements of those other parts London and next week we’ll bring you an equally comprehensive listing for all of South and East London. End of Story.
What Mini says:
I can read her like book!
– Fun for all at the Leisure Centre (NW3)
Feel like you’re climbing the walls? With a thunderous child, serious cabin-fever and the looming threat of those extra Christmas pounds on your newly-recovered derriere, you need a day at leisure.
On a dark and stormy day, what better way to meet Mini’s multitude of demands (or your own) than a visit to the sensational Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre.
Re-launched in 2006, it offers a wide range of activities in stylish and serene surroundings: Let Mini romp in the soft play and baby jungle. Take her for a dip in the tots’ swimming pool. Or browse around the children’s library …
If you need some “Moi time”, take advantage of the lovely crèche while you enjoy the gym, pool or women-only work-out sessions. For those considering a return to the concrete jungle, test your muscle on the climbing wall. It’ll have you scaling new heights.
Afterwards, unwind at your leisure in one of the sumptuous cafes (yes, plural! And not a single hole in the wall.).
What Mini says:
Why ‘a fly on the wall’? You should only know what babies observe…
Go on! Take a stroll (or tube, bus, or even drive) to the crème de la crème of leisure centres. With a weekly farmers’ market round the corner, you’ll even be able to sort out supper on your way home.
Thanks to the lovely Moi, Eliza Maree, and her gorgeous mini, Pandora for testing and submitting Off the Wall.