Activities for under 5s?

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Would love to hear of any Under 5 activities for kids not in school at museums/galleries/heritage venues. If your local venue doesn’t have one, have you ever asked why not?

Mar Dixon

27 Responses

  1. Amy Says:

    Artburst runs very popular under 5s sessions at Children’s Centres in East London and also the popular Wondertots at the Museum of Childhood. Check out the link for more info on Wondertots
    Traditional Tales is fully booked but do try and book on for Magic Making which starts after October half term. Please follow us on Twitter @arturstltd and we will keep you posted of any events we have coming up. Our unique sessions mix up art, drama, music and movement and are lots of fun!

  2. Alex Says:

    Why were carrots eaten on lolly sticks and parsnips used instead of pineapple? Why were people encouraged to ‘Dig For Victory’ and what is Woolton Pie?

    Visit IWM North in Manchester, part of Imperial War Museums, during the October half term holidays (22 – 30 October 2011) and discover how rationing affected the lives of everyday people during the Second World War.

    Free and fun for all the family, the Ministry of Food week-long series of activities will allow visitors to explore the theme of rationing and growing your own food. With artefacts, posters and archive footage, hands-on arts and creative sessions as well as storytelling, the programme will bring the realities of rationing to life. There are even Food Glorious Food sing-a-long sessions for under 5s!

    For more information, visit

  3. Shelli Says:

    Artburst runs very popular under 5s sessions at Children’s Centres in East London and also the popular Wondertots at the Museum of Childhood. Check out the link for more info on Wondertots
    Traditional Tales is fully booked but do try and book on for Magic Making which starts after October half term. Please follow us on Twitter @arturstltd and we will keep you posted of any events we have coming up. Our unique sessions mix up art, drama, music and movement and are lots of fun!


  4. Rowan Guthrie Says:

    Under 5s Activities at the Ashmolean, Oxford
    Come and join us for activities especially designed for our younger visitors (once per month). Craft, play and discovery. Find upcoming events on the Ashmolean website

  5. Sam Says:

    Muddy Monkeys for under 5s and their carers is at Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds every Tuesday morning throughout the year. Its free messy fun. When its warm we go outside into the Kids Kitchen area of the ruins for fun with sand, water, paint, natural materials, bubbles. When its too cold to go outside, we play in the Visitor Centre of the Abbey with more creative crafty fun, dressing up and whatever we think of that week! Visit the Leeds Museums and Galleries website

  6. Sam Says:

    Tiny Tigers is a grrreat opportunity for the under 5s and their carers to have fun at Leeds City Museum. Sessions are free and run every month. The next sessions for 2012 are 6th Jan, 3rd Feb and 2nd March. Wear suitable messy clothing.

  7. Charlotte Spink Says:

    The Oriental Museum will be launching Little Dragons on 11th January 2012. This fantastic new club for under 5s and their carers meets weekly on Wednesday mornings from 10 – 11am.

    Sessions include arts and crafts, role-playing, object handling and storytelling.

    £1 per child, adults are free. Tea and coffee provided. See website for further details;

  8. Helena Gillis Says:

    Toddler Time at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum aims to meet the needs of children aged 0-3 and their families. At two free 25 minute drop-in events every Friday, collection-themed sessions include rhymes, a story, a song and an activity. Themes have included: Colours, Dinosaurs, Bugs and Butterflies. For a more detailed case study see:

  9. Helen Fletcher Says:

    Dinky Designers at The National Centre for Craft & Design is a messy, creative and fun workshop for children and their parents/carers.

    You can relax with a nice cup of tea and biscuit whilst the kids get crafty!

    £5 per child, 10.30 am – 12 pm. The last Wednesday of each month.

    For more details visit

  10. Cath Says:

    Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey has a monthly Toddlers Tuesday session, with a nursery rhyme and craft. We have lots of resources, explorer kits, Victorian toy stove that early years love using during general family visits to the museum. Check out the website for more info

  11. Ruth Says:

    Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum has a well establish Under Fives Friday programme which runs once a month for pre-schoolers. We have great local artists leading the sessions – currently Susan Francis and in 2011 Clare Proctor. The emphasis is on discovery through play and sessions are linked to the galleries and temporary exhibitions we have at the museum. See for more information.

  12. Shamina Says:

    I can vouch for Artburst at Museum of Childhood.. Fantastic sessions held always. Unfortunately daughter is starting reception in Sept so unable to continue…

  13. Melanie Says:

    Have a look at our new feature on Gardens, for theatre perfomances for under 5’s at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

  14. Anne Fountain Says:

    Laing Art Gallery and the Discovery Museum, Newcastle have designated under fives areas which are free for little ones to explore.

    We also run sessions for under fives during term. Check out:

    Laing Little Artists @ Laing on Tuesday mornings.
    Shipley Scamps @ Shipley Art Gallery on Wednesday mornings
    Little Discoverers @ Discovery Museum on Fridays

    See our website for more details

  15. Stewart Would Says:

    Hornsea Museum in East Yorkshire runs a two hour crafts session for young people every Thursday morning 10.00 to 12.00 during the schools’ six week summer break. Last one in 2012 will be 30th August. £2.50 per child. £1 for accompanying adults

  16. Mary Cook Says:

    Vale and Dowland Museum in Wantage is launching a new group for children aged 3 to 5 after half term on November 6th. Look out for posters and info or email for details places are limited so do book early.

  17. Rebecca Page Says:

    There are a number of opportunities for children at the Whitechapel Gallery, in particular for new Mums with their babies for crib notes coming up. Have a look at the link –

  18. Mary Cook Says:

    Vale and Downland Museum in Wantage still has places for 3 to 5 year olds for Alfie and Friends the new underfives group launching 10.15 on Tuesday 6th November. Exploring, Interactive Story and craft. Bring your teddy and come Meet Alfie Bear. Email: [email protected] for details or to sign up. Childminders/parents with more than one child welcome.

  19. Colly Mudie Says:

    Snapdragons at Norwich Castle is a new exciting monthly activity session for children 2-4 years and an adult. Come and join in teh fun and make new friends!

    For pre-school groups and playgroups there are special sessions available on different themes; Castles, Teapots, Treasure, Going on a Bear Hunt.
    For more information and to book contact [email protected], 01603 493636,

  20. Sabine Says:

    Thank you so much for your feed back – all of you. But can we put some postcodes please for sorting? It is really hard to check all the references. We live in London W2 and we love: National Army Museum (London SW3 4HT). Kids zone: Natural History Museum (London SW7 5BD): Science museum (SW7 2DD). Kids under 5 years:{9BF1C20C-63F4-4E35-8A45-5BB9C2820C1C}. Victoria and Albert (London SW7 2RL) Museum The Museum of Instruments (Royal College of Music) (SW7 2BS) is really a waste of time and they are not friendly to children at all – really a shame, since my children are totally into music instruments, and I think all children are. I dont understand why they don´t have a nice exhibition, since the really talented musicians started as children under 5´s!

  21. Michael Olden Says:

    Brighton Museum & Art Gallery run fortnightly Early Years sessions for 2 – 5 year olds which include art activities, museum expeditions, story time and museum object handling. Similar events run every other Friday at The Booth Museum of Natural History Tickets are £4.50
    For more information visit our website:

  22. Soho Toddlers Says:

    Soho House Museum in Birmingam are running Free Under 5s singing and drama activities on fridays 10am-11.30pm starting 01.02.13
    Call fats on 07974 727 449 to book places

  23. Melanie Hollis Says:

    Mini Mammoths and Busy Beetles both give under 5s and their carers a fantastic monthly chance to engage, discover and explore in the surrounding of Ipswich Museum and Colchester Natural History Museums… check out for full details!

  24. Danielle Says:

    Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery (Devon) has just launched a new world and folk music series for under 5s and their grown-ups.

    The series takes inspiration from the museum’s world cultures and social history collections. Each of the 45-minute events features live music and participation in a child-friendly atmosphere, providing fun introductions to different types of music, instruments and cultures.

    More information can be found here –

  25. Philippa Duxbury Says:

    The National Football Museum in Manchester has a permanent area for Under 5’s – The Discovery Zone, contains things to touch, colour and a soft play area. Story time sessions take place in there during school hols and a monthly Baby Moves session for babies (and their carers)0-1 years old

  26. Esther Rutter Says:

    Dove Cottage has just started offering new ‘Tales for Tots’ – storytelling for the under 5s which takes place inside Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum. It takes place on the third Tuesday of each month April – October at 11am. Adults and children can meet the people and animals who lived in Dove Cottage in these new storytelling and craft session for families with young children. These fun and creative sessions last for 1 hour, with 30 minutes of storytelling followed by 30 minutes of craft activities to make something bright and colourful to take home! More information here –

  27. Maheema Says:

    Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (BS8) has a dedicated under 7s mini-museum called Curiosity, where young ones can play with puppets, explore the Crystal Cave, act out performances on stage and much more.

    Also in Bristol, M Shed (BS1) organises weekly sessions on Saturday afternoons for families to play with favourite toys from generations past – from tin cars to Jack in the Box. Under 5s are encouraged, as are parents, grandparents and siblings!

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