It looks like a warm and sunny weekend ahead, so here are a few ideas for fun family-friendly activities to enjoy in the open air in the local area.
SATURDAY 8 & 9 AUGUST: GO EAST FEST, QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK STRATFORD
Not content with hosting the UK’s largest urban beach this summer (you can read my review of Beach East here) the Olympic park is going all out with a whole weekend of free kids activities suitable for a wide range of ages. There’ll be music and aerial and acrobatic circus performances from NoFit State’s Open House, the UK’s leading large-scale contemporary circus company. They’ll also be hosting introductory workshops and performing impromptu stunts so catch them at 4pm on Saturday, 11am and 2.45pm on Sunday at the South Park Lawn.
If your kids are more into dance, then they’ll love the Folk Dance Remixed Festival, a mash up of popular dances to live music. It is promising to be a high energy and unique mash up of maypole, clogging, ceilidh, street, house and breakdance with a hint of African and Bollywood, to a live soundtrack of fiddle & beat boxing. There’ll also be a special native Māori performance as well as dance workshops on both Saturday and Sunday between 1pm-5pm at the Fountain Room, South of the Park.
As part of Taste The Music, across both days there will also be a whole host of performances and free music taster workshops rom samba style drumming to reggae vocal sessions. And if that’s not enough, the Arcola Theatre will be performing Bella Bartok’s famous Opera, Bluebeard’s Castle, in the scenic parklands using puppets as well as professional opera singers.
And I love the sound of the Giant Storytelling Snail, home of two eccentric storytellers Sheldon and Shelby, who travel the lands and gather stories as they go. They will actually be at the Olympic Park for the whole of August with daily storytelling trails at 12pm and 3pm but they will also open their home for reading, colouring and drawing all day. This weekend it will be open from 10am-6pm and the Snail will be opposite the Timber Lodge and Tumbling Bay Playground in the north of the Park.
Further information: Go East Fest website
SUNDAY 9 AUGUST – KIDS FEST, MARSH FARM CHELMSFORD
Although Marsh Farm is a bit further away in Chelmsford, there is loads going on at their Kids Fest it looks worth the trip. They are billing it as Glastonbury for kids with lots of favourite characters and children’s TV personalities on stage. Your children will no doubt recognise Mr Bloom from CBeebies and apparently quite a few mums admit to a little crush (I hear he’s also starring in Hollyoaks too, anyway I digress). There will also be Lloyd from Disney’s Art Attack, Mad Science, Shaun the Sheep, Happy’s Circus, Hupsilly Hill and all the Partymen. There will also be bubbles, the biggest inflatable village in the South East, dinosaurs, Punch and Judy, Horse World, robots and lots more. The ticket price also includes entrance to the farm and if you’re quick you can currently buy tickets for 20% off (making them £19.99) via the Little Bird website.
Further information: Marsh Farm website
SUNDAY 9 AUGUST: BUSHCRAFT, RUSHEY PLAIN EPPING FOREST
Rescheduled from 21 June, between 1pm – 4pm children can learn Learn bushcraft skills such as fire lighting, den building and the responsible use of knives. Suitable for ages 5-15 the event is free but you do need to book in advance so hopefully there are still places – call 020 7332 1911
Further information: Epping Forest website
And although this isn’t strictly on this weekend, I thought it was worth pointing out that an open air play suitable for children is on this Wednesday at the The Temple Enclosure in Wanstead Park. We went last year to see George’s Marvellous Medicine by the same theatre company and even though th little one was a bit small he enjoyed it and I loved it. It’s a great event to go to, just pack a picnic and an umbrella (we got rained on a bit last year but it was still great). This year the play is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the traditional tale of a lazy wizard’s apprentice and his runaway ensorcelled broom. A play promising more water than you’ve ever seen on stage before! Gates open at 2pm and the performance starts at 3pm.
More information: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice booking website
As ever I’d love to hear what you think if you visit any of the events listed, so feel free to add a comment below or tweet me @westessexmums.