*UPDATE* The ball pool for adults is now closed.
Because being an adult is rubbish and all anyone really wants to do is thrash around in a soft play area, a bunch of heroes have opened a pop-up ball pit in Hammersmith.
The pit is free to visit and contains 81,000 balls, which can entertain up to 30 people at one time.
It is the brainchild of creative agency Pearlfisher, who will donate £1 to the charity Right to Play for every person that visits.
They've shunned the traditional multi-coloured balls, instead going for a nice calming, utopian white.
As well as being a good way to let off some steam, play is thought to aid creative thinking.
And the ball pool is a great place to hold your 3pm meeting:
We suggest taking your kid along and making them sit at the edge and watch as you move around the pit like a majestic whale.
The installation follows a similar one from Turner prize-winning artist Martin Creed last year, who filled a room with white balloons.
Jump In! is at Pearlfisher Gallery: 50 Brook Green, W6 7BJ until 13 February. Open Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place.
Days out in London
Days out in London
1/10 Little Angel Theatre
Little Angel Theatre, near Angel underground station (Northern line), Islington. London’s only puppet theatre exudes charm. Everything about it is tiny so it becomes a magical experience for children of all ages (and their entranced parents). This summer’s shows include The Puppet Whisperer, Three Little Pigs, A Real Fairy Story and Pinocchio. The churchyard next door is laid out as a mini-park with picnic potential. www.littleangeltheatre.com
2/10 National Gallery
Because the National Gallery is free it’s useful to be able to drop in for frequent short visits rather than boring children by trying to get them to gaze at paintings for too long. My younger son fell in love with Henry Rousseau’s Tiger in a Tropical Storm when very young and for years we never went to central London without popping in to say hello to ‘Felix’s tiger’. You can do that with any painting – art history in tiny doses. Open daily 10.00-6.00 www.nationalgallery.org.uk
3/10 London Zoo
Always a stalwart family visit. Lots to see and do – although most of the largest animals are now (rightly) at Whipsnade where there’s more space. Animal adoptions and talks are good. So is the newish penguin enclosure and the gorilla section. It’s open daily from 10am to 6pm and a family ticket costs £67.90 if bought online in advance. www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo
An adventure for a wet day. Take the DLR to Island Gardens and walk through the iconic 1,217 feet long Greenwich foot tunnel beneath the Thames – originally built in 1902 to get workers to the docks. Once you’re in Greenwich (if the rain has stopped) you have the restored Cutty Sark, Greenwich Park and The Royal Observatory to choose from. Or try the Maritime Museum if the weather remains iffy. And you can, when you’re ready, return to central London via the DLR from Cutty Sark. www.royalgreenwich.gov
National Maritime Museum
5/10 V&A Museum of Childhood
Easy to access because it is very close to Bethnal Green underground station (Central line). It’s not a children’s museum but because it’s full of toys and evocative childhood artefacts from the past there’s plenty here to interest children. The building with its central, marble tiled space with café and shop is appealing too. It’s open daily from 10.00 to 5.45 and admission is free. www.museumofchildhood.org.uk/
6/10 St James’s Park
Explore St James’s Park with its pretty lake, fabulous water bird population (including the famous pelicans if you’re lucky) and enjoy the best views of Buckingham Palace from the bridge across the lake. There is also a small sand pit and play park for youngest children. Best to do this fairly early in the morning before the tourists arrive. Picnic brunch on a bench perhaps? www.royalparks.org.uk
7/10 Unicorn Theatre
Unicorn Theatre in Tooley Street near London Bridge is the capital’s only purpose built children’s theatre. It presents shows and other activities for young people aged 2-21. This summer’s offerings include When I Think About The Universe I Laugh For No Reason and the Watch This Space festival. www.unicorntheatre.com
8/10 Thames Path
Start from Embankment underground station. Cross the Golden Jubilee footbridge. Then walk the Thames Path on the south side of the Thames to Tower Bridge (about a mile and a half). Pass, and maybe pop into, Royal Festival Hall, National Theatre, Millennium Bridge, Tate Modern, with view of St Paul’s across the river, Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral. www.thames-path.org.uk
9/10 Horniman Museum
Out of the centre, at Forest Hill (Overground or 185 bus from Victoria) but well worth the journey. Lots of activities, a hands-on aquarium, famous apostle clock (strikes at 4pm), traditional and modern displays and no child ever forgets the walrus. Horniman Gardens next door are lovely to picnic in and it’s all free. www.horniman.ac.uk/
10/10 Kensington Gardens
Always a favourite with children. Talk to Peter Pan’s statue, take in the Diana fountain and, of course, picnic by the Round Pond. A couple of hours in Kensington Gardens could work well with a visit to one of the South Kensington museums on the same day. You can walk from one to the other in fifteen minutes or so. www.royalparks.org.uk
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