Bablands October. Welcome back to our monthly roundup of the best free things to do with children in the capital (and beyond). I’m Emmy and for the last five years I’ve been hunting down the best events and hangouts for Londoners with young kids and writing about them on my blog, bablands.com. I’ve learnt a lot about kids’ activities since I started blogging, but one of my most surprising discoveries is that the best stuff is so often free. With that in mind, I’ll be partnering with MoneyMagpie each month to bring you the best free days out for families in London and beyond.
This month – aside from inhaling pumpkin spice lattes and wondering where in hades to start with my kids’ excessively complicated Halloween-costume requests – I’m getting excited about all the brilliant new family-friendly exhibitions that are popping up across London, in particular Cecilia Vicuña’s Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern and Luke Jerram’s Gaia, which will be at Southwark Cathedral for most of October. Of course, it wouldn’t be an October roundup without a couple of horrifying Halloween events (it is spooky season, after all), and I’m particularly pumped for The Royal Parks’ Hair-Raising Halloween Discovery Day in Hyde Park and, further afield, Weston Park Museum’s Creepy Creatures mask-making event, both of which sound positively petrifying. Enjoy, and stay spooky.
Free family days out in London
Luke Jerram’s Gaia at Southwark Cathedral
Head down to Southwark Cathedral from the 11th-30th and behold Luke Jerram’s spectacular 7m-diameter Gaia sculpture. The work features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface and offers visitors the chance to view our planet in 3D, as if from space.
Cecilia Vicuña at Tate Modern
Swing by Tate Modern from the 11th and check out the latest Turbine Hall commission. Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña’s radical textile sculptures explore themes of ecology, community and social justice, paying tribute to her country’s history and culture.
Vestry House Museum Open Day
Award-winning design collective Assemble will host a series of free family workshops at Walthamstow’s Vestry House Museum on the 16th, including a chance to get creative with Assemble Play, a playworker-led project that makes space for children and play in the city.
The Royal Parks’ Discovery Day: Hair-Raising Halloween
Don your most atrocious attire and head down to Hyde Park’s LookOut Centre from the 25th-27th. Devilish activities will include guessing the gruesome contents of the feely boxes, exploring an eerie nature trail and learning about the park’s bats.
Family workshops at V&A
Pop into the V&A from the 26th-28th for Drop-in Design: Build a Prop! – a chance for kids of all ages to create their own prop ad add it to a large-scale stage designed by prop maker Isobel Irwin.
Free family days out in the rest of the UK
As part of Black History Month, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery will host an Africa family fun workshop on the 26th, offering kids the opportunity to learn about African textiles and make their own creations.
Head to Edinburgh’s Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) from the 17th-21st for Holiday Art Chats! – a chance for kids to discuss where artists get their ideas from before getting hands-on with the gallery’s artist team.
Welsh Museums Festival is back from the 22nd, offering two weeks of special events and activities for all ages at museums across Wales. Keep an eye on the WMF website for details of loads of fun, free events.
On the 22nd, Sheffield’s Weston Park Museum will host Creepy Creatures, a free mask-and headdress-making workshop for all ages. Learn all about creepy creatures before getting stuck into some spooky crafting using collage materials.
Read Bablands other columns for more great ideas here.