Summer in London for Kids

So many of you enjoyed the blog post last December from Kensington Mums, Christmas in London for Kids that when they offered to write something similar for the summer  we said yes please! And if you’re looking to see what’s happening in our libraries this summer – check out our Summer Reading Challenge events page.

Now over to Kensington Mums….

Kensington Mums logo
Kensington Mums logo

It’s the Summer Holidays, that means six weeks of entertaining your little ones while ‘trying’ to keep sane. Apparently, it only takes 66 days to form a new habit, so summer is the perfect time to be forming good learning routines.  Just saying :)

It is also a beautiful endless summer waiting to be filled with memories. Here are our local picks of more than a dozen things to do with kids this summer in London. If you are staying in the capital then read on as no stone was left unturned in my quest to find the best local activities and places to visit to keep your little ones entertained this Summer. There are loads of fun things to do with your little ones this summer, most of which are FREE!

Kensington Mums summer drinks invitation
Kensington Mums summer drinks invitation

Kensington Mums is having a social networking event on the 16 August with the lovely members of the group. Dads are welcome too. Get in touch to register. This event is by invitation only. Enjoy your holidays and let us know what you are planning to get up to and have enjoyed the most by joining the conversation on our Facebook Page, any recommendations or suggestions are also welcome. To be kept in the loop you can follow us on Twitter @KensingtonMums

What’s on this summer for you and your little ones

Ecology Centre in Holland Park
Ecology Centre in Holland Park

London’s parks

The sun is shining, enjoy some outdoor fun in our local parks and paddling pools.

Ecology Holiday Activity Programme 2013 at Holland Park. Great sessions morning and afternoon for your little ones to explore nature’s beauty and learn with hands on activities.

Diana Memorial Playground. Little ones can play in ‘Peter Pan’ themed playground with a huge wooden pirate ship and teepees to explore and for the kids to run around and let some steam off. Expect long queues during peak times.

Diana Memorial Fountain is great for little ones to splash around and just around the corner you will find the Serpentine Lido and its accompanying paddling pool which are great for both adults and children. Expect long queues during peak times.

Kensington Memorial Park not far from the buzzing streets of Portobello Market is heaven for little ones especially in these hot summer days. The modern, interactive water play area which consists of 22 different water-play items. There is also a sand pit, slides and a rocket frame for kids to climb onto. Highly recommend it! Just don’t forget your swim suit and towel!

Kyoto Garden in Holland Park
Kyoto Garden in Holland Park

Holland Park also has a lovely sandy play area for little ones and don’t forget to have a nice walk in the beautiful Kyoto Garden.

Shape Up in Holland Park, every Wednesday until 4 September as part of the Council’s summer programme of health activities for adults. There is something on every weekday.  Whether you fancy toning your body with Tai Chi or using the new outdoor gym, or enjoying a healthy walk in the leafy environs of Holland Park there’s something for everybody. Prices vary from free to £5 and the events take place late mornings and lunchtimes. For more information and a full schedule please contact : 020 7938 8182 or email: sportandleisure@rbkc.gov.uk

One of our Royal Parks
One of our Royal Parks

Experience the magic of the Royal Parks! They are organising summer holiday activities, from guided walks to nature talks to family learning and discovery days. Click here for family experiences and here for children experiences.

Hanging basket at Opera Holland Park
Hanging basket at Opera Holland Park

The Opera Holland Park 2013 Season is here including Madame Butterfly and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland  as well as Luna Cinema which presents Summer Cinema at Opera Holland Park – classic films on the big screen at London’s most beautiful theatre.

Museums and galleries

Victoria and Albert Museum are hosting many summer activities, including the Imagination Station, Pop-Up Performances and Drop in Design. While you are there, young and old alike will enjoy paddling pool in the courtyard.

Family workshops at Saatchi Gallery are running on 17 and 24 August. Little ones will exploring the current exhibitions Paper and New Order and go on an interactive tour of the exhibition followed by a fun, creative workshop in response to the artist of the week. Booking required. Please note these workshops are suitable for families with children aged 3 to 12 years old.

The Museum of London are organising lots of family fun sessions including a musical playground, interactive performances and storytelling sessions.

Free Theatre – More London Free Festival 2013. It’s free, it’s family friendly and it celebrates the local community. There are no tickets – just take your seat, first come first served! Every Wednesday to Sunday in August experience award-winning Theatre from London’s Free Open Air Theatre Season.

The Museum of Childhood has Summer holiday activities, Thursday  25 July – Monday 2 September and a Family Chess Club, Saturdays 22 June, 6 and 20 July 3, 17 and 31 August.

Sensational butterflies!
Sensational butterflies!

Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum. Read our full review here.

Free Drop-in Workshops: The Drawing Station at Somerset House, every Saturday in August.

Science Museum Live: The Energy Show. 22 July – 31 August 2013: throughout the summer holidays. While you are there, don’t miss the 3D Summer at the Science Museum from Thursday 25 July to Sunday 1 September 2013.

Fashion Rules! – Fun Fridays at Kensington Palace this summer. 26 July and 2,9,16,23 August 11.00 – 16.00.

Head to Covent Gardens and visit the London Transport Museum,over the holidays they have organised some family station activities from 6 July as well as demonstrations, story time and make and take workshops.

Gallery Pavilion 2013
Gallery Pavilion 2013

Visit the Serpentine Gallery to visit the Gallery Pavilion 2013 which is designed by multi award-winning Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto.

Open Studio at the Tate Modern every weekend and Thursdays and Fridays in the school holidays.

And the rest

Despicable Me 2
Despicable Me 2

Escape the heat and head into your local cinema to watch Despicable Me 2. Its great family movie the whole family will enjoy.

Little Creatures family festival at London Zoo. From Friday 30 August – Sunday 1 September, ZSL London Zoo will open its doors for a weekend of big fun for your little ones.

Westfield White City are hosting ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ sessions and ‘Kids in the Garden’ every Monday and Wednesday from 12 noon to 5pm and Storytelling at the Tipi every Tuesday 11am  to 4pm.

Enjoy your holidays and remember: every-summer-has-a-story-257x300

Blog post from the North – June 2013

Welcome to our June blog post from our three libraries in the North.

Notting Hill Gate Library

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

The Notting Hill Gate Library Reading Group met to discuss The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. As usual the discussion was lively and vibrant with opinions bouncing across the table.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a monologue by Changez, a young Pakistani boy telling his life story to an American stranger in a café in Lahore. Changez used to live in America and is reporting why he has come to live back in Pakistan, in doing so he highlights the post 9/11 tensions. Changez went to America as a student to study at Princeton University, he lands a job with a prestigious consultancy firm and falls in love with an American girl, everything changes for Changez after 9/11 when his dream becomes a nightmare.

The group had different opinions about what the book was actually about. Some said it was about a man finding his identity, some said it was about the after effects of 9/11 and some said it was about a man going against America, but what we all agreed was, it was powerfully written and Changez’s story was deeply touching. We covered a range of discussions from religion, terrorism, capitalism, identity crises, the American dream and culture.

The story is full of intrigue, suspense and tension and it’s where we are left to fill in the blanks and the ambiguous ending that made it an exceptional book to discuss.

A trip to the cinema
A trip to the cinema

Lucky for the Notting Hill Gate Reading Group, the Reluctant Fundamentalist was then released in cinemas on 10th May, so of course we had to go and see it! We enjoyed the movie as much as we enjoyed the book and thought it was a great idea to have a comparative discussion. We were of course annoyed about some of the cuts from the book but we thought it still kept the essence of the story and it did justice for the book. We are very enthusiastic about linking future films with books.

Fancy a mystery?

To celebrate Crime Writers Month, we have decide to make things a little more exciting at Notting Hill Gate, choose a mysterious book from our display if you dare…

Crime fiction display at Notting Hill Gate Library
Crime fiction display at Notting Hill Gate Library

National Crime Writing Month is an initiative of the Crime Writers’ Association. Formerly known as Crime Writing Week, it was launched in 2010 with 50 events up and down the UK. In 2012, due to the popularity of the event, it was increased to a month. It gives readers the opportunity to explore the latest and best crime writing, as well as to discover (or rediscover) many classic writers. At Notting Hill Gate we have a vast collection of books by the authors of the Crime Writing Panel and by other authors associated with Crime Writing Week.

Ihssan Dhimi
Ihssan Dhimi

Ihssan Dhimi

Senior Customer Services Assistant, Notting Hill Gate Library

North Kensington Library

Sunshine in the Children’s Library

Don’t you think the sun is bright?
I wonder where it goes at night?
Does it sleep or does it hide?
Or is the moon its other side?
Does it hide behind the hills?
Late at night as outside chills?
Do you think it needs to rest?
From all that warming it does best?

On a gloomy and rainy Thursday afternoon we brought some sunshine to North Kensington Children’s Library by reading a poem about the sun, written by Gareth Lancaster and making the sun for our half term story and craft session. Children enjoyed tracing their palms on coloured paper, cutting traced fingers and sticking them on the back of paper plates. That is how we created the sun and now our display in children’s library looks bright and sunny.

Adisa Behmen-Kreso
Adisa Behmen-Kreso

Adisa Behmen-Kreso

Senior Customer Services Assistant, North Kensington Library

Kensal Library

National Bookstart Week

Bookstart logo
Bookstart logo

We are looking forward to celebrating National Bookstart Week here at Kensal Library and will be having a special baby rhyme time on Friday 28 June at 10.30 to 11.00 am with stories, songs and a craft tying in with Bookstart’s theme of fairytales.

There’s  more information about National Bookstart Week on the Bookstart website.

Crime at Kensal

Crime fiction on display at Kensal Library
Crime fiction on display at Kensal Library

We currently have a crime fiction display at Kensal Library to promote National Crime Writing Month.  We have included staff recommendations and the display has proved to be quite popular.

Natasha Chaoui

Senior Customer Services Assistant, Kensal Library