Christmas wouldn't be Christmas if it weren't for the children: that is, if it weren't for the children whingeing that they're bored, that their presents are broken and that little Judy keeps pulling Lucy's hair. Help is at hand, however, for parents of children who tend more toward the restive than the festive and many of the following events are free.
The Barbican Centre is hosting two special concerts: the Mad Hatter's Christmas Concert (23 Dec) and the Teddy Bears' Concert (27 Dec). Children can meet characters from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at the first, doubtless keeping them as quiet as a dormouse in a teapot, while the second offers a financial incentive for kids to bring their bears. Other events at The Barbican include a musical version of Aesop's Fables (27 Dec).
At the Imperial War Museum the film season includes a series of propaganda cartoons, with Daffy Duck (right) and the Seven Dwarfs doing their bit for morale: "Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho it's off to war we go..." The National Maritime Museum's Nelson exhibition will be introduced by a member of the crew of The Victory (27-29 Dec) and there are naval costuming workshops. Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood is also offering workshops; based around the current Rupert Bear anniversary, characters from Nutwood will be demonstrating Origami, Magic and Inventions. Finally, the Theatre Museum's panto workshops will last long after the batteries have run out in the Gameboy. The museum is holding two sessions a day (to 7 Jan) where children can be made up and learn about clowning, pratfalls, and how to deliver the line "He's behind you" with conviction.
Barbican (0171-638 8891); Imperial War Mus-eum (0171-416 5000); National Maritime Museum (0181-858 4422); Museum of Childhood (0181-980 2415); Theatre Mus-eum (0171-836 7891)
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