Schools will offer sports and other extra-curricular activities after-school which range from chess to dance, piano to foreign languages and everything in between. The variety and frequency of the offerings will depend on the school. International and public (remember, these are considered private schools in most other countries) schools will offer a greater range of activities, usually for a fee. State schools also provide extra-curricular activities on a more modest scale. Be sure to investigate what is on offer when you are searching for the right school for your children.
London is also a great place to explore with your kids when they’re away from school.
Parks, big and small, are everywhere in London so chances are you will not be located too far from one. Some are more kid-friendly than others. Highbury Fields, for example, offers tennis lessons for kids. Regent’s Park is home to the London Zoo (http://www.zsl.org), which is a great place to take your kids on a Saturday.
Battersea Park Adventure Playground: York Road, SW11 (http://www.batterseapark.org/)
This park, for 5 – 16 year-olds, is an exciting place to play! There is a great park for preschoolers, right next door. Entrance is free.
Roald Dahl Museum: http://www.roalddahlmuseum.org
Introduce your kids to the world of Roald Dahl, if you haven’t already. The imagination of this accomplished author of kids books can be experienced here. Craft activities and, of course, story-telling are two popular activities at the museum. It is located in Buckinghamshire where Roald Dahl lived, and is a quick 40-minute train journey from Marylebone station in London. Entrance is only £4.40 for kids 5 – 18.
Skateboarding and BMX
Adventurous kids and brave parents can check out Stockwell Park in South London. Previous skateboarding or BMX experience is necessary!
Dinosaur Trail: Crystal Palace Park, Thicket Road, SE20 8DT Phone: +44 (0)20 8778 7148
Life-sized dinosaur sculptures are fun to look at and great for teaching kids about these extinct animals. There is also a museum, a maze, play area, and cafe in Crystal Palace Park.
Puppets shows at the Little Angel Theatre, which is the only puppet permanent theater, for children from the age of 5+ http://www.littleangeltheatre.com
Museums: All museums will have special programs for children, from story-telling to workshops. There is a lot of fun to have in London’s museums. Some museums even offer “sleep overs”: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/dino-snores/
Families Online (http://www.familiesonline.co.uk) is a great resource for those looking for engaging activities for their children. Find a class that will interest your child.
Time-out magazine provides comprehensive weekly list of activities for kids: http://www.timeout.com/london/kids/
The local authorities’ websites are worth investigating, too.