By Rhiane Kirkby
Empty Tubes, autumnal weather, quiet roads and the slow realisation that teachers really aren’t paid enough. Yes, the summer holidays are here, long awaited by those under 16 and quietly dreaded by those tasked with entertaining their children for six long weeks.
Whilst school-aged children are pretty well catered for when it comes to summer schools, classes and clubs, the entertainment for preschoolers usually dries up around July and doesn’t get going again until well into September. Thankfully this year is a little different, with some of the kids’ classes stalwarts heeding parents’ cries of “Please give us something to do!”
Amanda’s Action Club, West and North London
Amanda’s been entertaining children for over 15 years so certainly knows a thing or two about how to keep them—and you—engaged. And as she’s on a mission to get everyone fit and healthy, no one stays still for very long! Her upbeat and energetic classes combine music, dance, singing and props and are, in her words, “lots and lots of fun.” Suitable for babies from six months but aimed more at a preschool-and-beyond audience. As a bonus, this summer you can enjoy Action Amanda at home for free as she’s just launched a new app.
Find more information about the classes in Wandsworth, Fulham, Chiswick, Westbourne Park, Swiss Cottage and Fitzrovia, or about the Action Club app, sibling rates and how to book, at amandasactionclub.co.uk.
Hartbeeps, across London
The ever popular, all-singing, all-dancing, prop-tastic classes are running for three weeks this summer. Children aged ten weeks to four years can join the Hartbeeps puppets on their summer adventures. “It’s a mini-production, a magical and memorable theatrical experience where children and their parents are encouraged to play,” explains founder Sarah Godwin. And take it from someone who knows, Hartbeeps isn’t just a way to fill your time, it’s a class both you and your little ones will enjoy.
Summer classes run for the first few weeks of August in Ealing, Putney, Kew, Chiswick, Wandsworth and Hammersmith. To search for classes across London, pop in your postcode on their class-finder page and you’ll likely find one in your neighbourhood.
Gymboree, across London
Struggling to contain your little bundle of energy? Bored with the local playground? Gymboree could be the answer. With crash mats, slides and climbing frames aplenty, balls, instruments and of course Gymbo the Clown, there’s lots to keep the under fours entertained. In Chiswick, two summer memberships are on offer—one that allows unlimited access to their open play sessions and another that throws six classes in too. And in Ealing you can drop in to their classes and open play sessions throughout August for £10. Pre-booking is required.
On their website you can find more information or book for Chiswick or for Ealing. Gymboree classes can be found across London, with a slight bias to the West; use their website to see if one is near you.
London Baby Swim, Osterley and Wandsworth
Your neighbours may be splashing around in the Adriatic but you can take a dip closer to home at London Baby Swim. The summer terms have started at both their Osterley and Wandsworth centres, but there’s still time to book in. The pools are purpose built and are only used for babies and children, and with the opportunity to make up three lessons per term you don’t lose out if your child is sick. For more information about the classes, sibling discounts and how to book, visit londonbabyswim.co.uk.
Helen’s been introducing children to music for over 25 years and claims to run West London’s “brightest and most interactive music lessons.” She combines the usual classics with her own compositions and has plenty of instruments so there’s no squabbling over the triangle or tambourine. Her classes have finished for the summer but she’s running ad hoc sessions at Drink Me Eat Me near Ravenscourt Park. For more information see her website or Facebook.
Rhyme Time, West London
Cate and Jane who run Rhyme Time may dispute Cadenza Helen’s claims as they too provide classes filled with music and dance and a great big bag of instruments. They’re carrying on with their normal schedule in Chiswick, Barnes, Sheen and Shepherd’s Bush in early August. For more information check out their website.
Local Libraries, across London
The term-time offerings may have taken a summer break, but there’s still lots going on at your local library. Too many things to list, in fact, but to give you a flavour, Chiswick library has a Play Day on 2 August, Zoo Lab animal handling event on 8 August, animal money-box making on 15 August and animal mask-making on 22 August. Askew Road library has craft sessions every Friday in August from 2 till 4pm and summer activities every Tuesday in August from 10am to 5pm.
Baby Broadway, across London
This is a great one for parents with older children as it’s suitable for all ages (check out our Baby Broadway review). Sing along to show tunes with top West End performers. Disney hits mixed with the classics and a sprinkling of nursery rhymes to finish—what more could you want? And worry not, this isn’t the ‘sit still and listen’ kind of concert: everyone’s encouraged to get up, dance and move around!
Baby Broadway comes to Chiswick on 10 August, followed by Sydenham, Highgate, Putney, Angel and Blackheath. Tickets are £10 for adults and up to three children go free. For more information and to book, see babybroadway.co.uk.