If you’re living in South London with young children, here’s what I’ve found that’s on for free or nearly free in South London this week:
Today, Monday July 12th:
1pm – 2.50pm – playgroup at the Franciscan Children’s Centre for 0-5 years – it’s a pretty small space so you need to get there earlyish to get it. A lovely little children’s centre with loads of toys and activities for all ages 0-5 years. We’ve only been once so far and G was a bit overwhelmed by the older kids crashing around, but I think after a few more visits he’ll be fine
Tuesday July 13th:
addition – 2pm-2.30pm – Traditional Nursery Rhymes at the Fayland Children’s Centre. I forgot to mention this one. It’s the usual songs that you get at most of the local rhymetimes but it’s in the children’s centre so all the toys & instruments are available to make it a bit more interesting for the kids. Also there is a one o’clock club going on at the same time so you can stay on and play until 4. I think there’s also more singing at the end of that too.
3pm – rhymetime at Abbey Children’s Centre. This rhymetime is more fun than the usual library ones as it’s held in a children’s centre so there are playmats and instruments laid out for the children. The instructor is also alot more interactive and looks and sings directly at the children. She also blows loads of bubbles at the end. We’ve only been once, but we’ll definitely be going back.
There are also rhymetimes at the Balham, Tooting and Earlsfield libraries on tuesdays but I’m not sure of the times. We’ve been to the Tooting one a few times. G loved it the first time, but was completely bored the other times and spent most of the time scratching the carpet. It’s not the most exciting experience as the lady leading it sings mostly from library books and focuses more on older children so there’s not much of the bouncing up and down etc that G enjoys. We’ve only been to the one in Balham once as it was absolutely packed and took quite a while to get in and out with all the pushchairs trying to get in the lift.
Wednesday, July 14th:
10am – 11.50 – baby playgroup at the Fayland Children’s Centre. This is one of our firm favourites. It’s one of the few, or maybe the only, dedicated baby playgroup. I think the age range is 0 – 2yrs, so you don’t have older children crashing around into the smaller babies. It’s a lovely group of mums and babies and the staff at Fayland are really welcoming and helpful. There are lots of treasure baskets layed out for the babies and the mums sit around in a circle chatting. The session ends with nursery rhymes. There are also lots of cars, tricycles etc outside when baby wants a break from playing inside.
1 – 4pm – today only there is a free open day at the Franciscan Children’s Centre with food, face painting, fire engines, activities for all ages etc. It will be out in the open courtyard so hopefully the weather will remain good.
Thursday, July 15th:
2.30 – 3pm – Songs & Stories at the Hillbrook Children’s Centre. I haven’t been to this yet, but the Hillbrook Centre is really lovely – clean, intimate with lovely staff. There’s limited space so you need to get there early.
2.15 – 2.35 – Rhymetime at Earlsfield Library. I haven’t been to this, but I’ve heard good things.
There is also Messy Play at the Abbey Children’s Centre on Thursdays, but I’m not sure what time.
Friday, July 16th:
Fridays are a bit sparse, I think the councils figure everyone is a bit exhausted by this point! I don’t know of anything going on this friday I’m afraid, but I’ll update if I hear of anything. We’re in a Treasure Basket & Heuristic Play session (which I’ll blog about soon) on Fridays throughout this month at the Franciscan Children’s Centre, but it’s a booked course and it’s full, although I’d definitely recommend enquiring about other sessions.
There’s always the Tooting Lido if the weather’s good. Or one of the various one o’clock clubs at local children’s centres (Fayland, Triangle, Earlsfield). I’ve been to both the Fayland and Triangle ones. I have enjoyed everything I’ve been to at the Fayland Centre, the staff and other parents/carers are really lovely and down to earth at this centre. I popped into the Triangle one briefly last week to let G have a play in their garden. I didn’t look inside but there are lots of things to do in their lovely little garden. Lots of ride-on toys, a wendy house, sand pit, baby slide, climbing frames etc. There’s also a big sandpit and picnic area just outside and a proper playground with swings etc.
Saturday, July 17th & Sunday, July 18th:
Lambeth County Show – Time Out says “South London goes country with bucolic attractions including farm animals, flower and vegetable competitions, arts and crafts stalls and two stages offering everything from reggae and ska to folk and classical music.”
Lollibop – Okay, it’s not South London, but it looks like loads of fun and worth the journey. Time Out says “A festival aimed at under-tens and their families, offering activities such as a treasure hunt among giant whales, blue trees and the namesake supersized lollipops; bodypopping and drumming workshops; The Miniscule of Sound teenyboppers disco; school sports day-style races; crazy golf; a mother and baby tent; and plenty of food and drink, including child-sized portions.”
Big Lunch – local big lunches should be happening all over town to get people mingling with their neighbours. It’s a great idea, although like many things we’ve yet to take part. Maybe this year…
If you know of anything else, I’d love to know.