V&A Childhood Museum, Bethnal Green (Tube : Bethnal Green) Open daily 10.00-17.45 (last admission 17.30)
The V&A Museum of Childhood houses the UK’s national collection of childhood-related objects, one of the finest in the world.
The Bus Stop Kids and I have spent a lot of time in the museum over the years. It works for us, as it serves a decent espresso (which was harder to find in the good old days of 2013) and it’s especially good for the under 5’s.
As well as the Benugo cafe, the Childhood Museum is a wide open space filled with stations around the museum that keep the kids entertained, whilst you check your phone for alerts from The Economist ones (not Kim Kardashians latest instagram post).
They offer hands on fun like dressing up, daily craft sessions, giant robots to cuddle, real rocking horses for those that love horses but hate the mucking out, a mini sensory disco, as well as an indoor sand pit complete with Punch and Judy show.
We also love the toy/ book shop, the garden (for when the sun is out), and sometimes get the kids to concentrate on the fantastic collections of toys, dolls houses (like Grandma used to have), and then theres the brilliant current exhibitions they offer throughout the year.
I’ve listed whats running currently (Jan 2016) so you can keep up to date. If you make the trip, I’d love to see your photos. You can share and tag your instagram photos #busstopkids or leave me a comment below.
Exhibition : The Clangers, Bagpuss & Co
19 March – 9 October 2016. Oliver Postgate’s voice and Peter Firmin’s puppets shaped the childhood memories of millions since they started collaborating in the 1950s. Here you’ll see Bagpuss, the Soup Dragon and ogle Noggin the Nog. As well as telling the story of Bagpuss and The Clangers, the exhibition will go behind the scenes of some of their other creations; Pogles Wood, Nogin the Nog and Ivor the Engine.
Warli painting done by Warli tribal artist
Exhibition : The Tales We Tell
14 November 2015 – 3 July 2016. This exhibition presents a rare insight into Warli, a tribal art form from Western India. Drawing on a store of tribal memory, myths and everyday life, it has evolved from restricted ritual drawings into an applied art in the process of transition. The Tales we Tell: Indian Warli Painting is part of the V&A India Festival.
Exhibition : It’s a Hard World for Little Things
9 January – 17 July 2016. Children Carrying Heavy Objects is a series of six large-scale drawings that depict children and the burdens that they carry.
The images explore children’s absolute will to survive in a sometimes-hostile adult world and reflects the plight of children on a global and domestic scale; the show features local children and others from around the world.
Credit : British Child Migrants. Picture by Molong Historical Society
Exhibition : On Their Own: Britain’s Child Migrants
24 October – 12 June 2016. An exhibition telling the heart-breaking true stories of Britain’s child migrants who were sent to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries between 1869 and 1970. An estimated 100,000 British children were sent overseas by migration schemes, which were run by a partnership of charities, religious organisations and governments, and claimed to offer boys and girls the opportunity of a better life in Britain’s Empire overseas. Many migrants never saw their homes or their families again.
Museums Activities for Kids (during term-time only Monday to Friday).
Animal Magic, 14.00 : Sensory storytelling for children aged 5 and under, inspired by well-loved animal tales.
Art Smarts, 14.30-16.00 : Kids can get creative with the drop-in arts and crafts sessions, and make an amazing piece of art inspired by the Museum to take home. For all ages.
Museums Activities for Kids (during term-time only Saturday and Sunday & Summer holidays: Saturday – Thursday)
Animal Magic, 10.30 : Sensory storytelling for children aged 5 and under, inspired by well-loved animal tales.
Explore, 11.15-11.45 : Object-handling, demonstrations and have-a-go sessions that let children get up close to childhood objects and toys.
Telling Tales, 12.00-12.30 : Interactive storytelling featuring popular children’s tales. Children can help tell the story using sounds and props.
Art Smarts, 14.00-16.00 : Kids can get creative with our drop-in arts and crafts sessions, and make an amazing piece of art inspired by the Museum to take home. All ages.
For details of special events and activities during the holidays see the What’s On pages.
Montessori Family Packs
A selection of Montessori Family Packs for children age 5 and under are available to borrow from the Information Desk for 1 hour. You will need to leave a form of ID (e.g. a passport or driving licence). Each pack contains a map, activity suggestions, storybooks and toys to touch.
Other Events in 2016
Chinese New Year : Saturday 13 February :11.30 – 16.30
Join us to celebrate Chinese New Year with both traditional and modern instrumental dance performances. Take part in Chinese Opera mask and lantern making, as well as costume and calligraphy workshops.
London Children’s Book Swap : Saturday 13 February 11.00 – 16.00
Calling all book worms! London Children’s Book Swap returns for the 5th year running. Bring your old books to trade for another person’s favourite read. Join in the fun to recycle and renew your personal library.
Make Do and Mend Critters workshop
Wednesdays 30 March and 6 April
10.30, 12.00, 14.00, 15.30
Join maker Cherene Hamilton to upcycle everyday textiles into weird and wonderful creatures. Book now £5 (with parent/carer) Ages 5-12
Dragons and Unicorns Puppet Workshop
Monday 28 March – Friday 1 April
10.15, 11.45, 13.45, 15.15
Join illustrator Frances Barry in making beautiful 2D moving paper puppets inspired by The Clangers, Bagpuss & Co exhibition.
Cosmic Shoebox Workshop
Monday 4, Tuesday 5, Thursday 7 and Friday 8 April
10.30, 12.00, 14.00, 15.30
Use your imagination to create a wonderful character inspired by the exhibition and work with artist Amy Brown to bring them to life.
Book now £5 (with parent/carer) Ages 5-12