Thursday, 11 August 2016

The V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green

The Daughter had to go to her office today, so we arranged to pick up the Boys from there.  The big question was, what to do?  The South Kensington museums might have been a plan, but they are always jam-packed solid in the summer holidays.  But the Museum of Childhood is more off the beaten track, although we've all been there several times ("I went with my class when I was in Reception" said The Boy), and I found on their website that they had various activities for children during the morning.

We arrived at about 11:00, and our first port of call was the loos.  Boy Too has only recently learnt to do without nappies (he won't be three for another month, so really good going), and it is only really during the last week or so that it has been possible to take him out without several changes of clothing - even now, his mother sends him out with several changes and the collapsible potty, just in case!  But he is learning to go when he is taken, and we had no trouble at all with him today.  In fact, the only problem was that there were no towels in the ladies (The Boy had visited the gents with his grandfather), and he absolutely hates hand-driers and won't use them.  "Well," I said, "You'll just have to stay damp, then, or dry your hands on your trousers."

At 11:15, there was a talk advertised with "the opportunity to touch and feel the object".  Today it was teddy bears.  The talks were billed as suitable for 4 years old and up, and indeed Boy Too got bored so Granda took him off to do something else, while the Boy sat squarely on the rug and joined in to the fullest, discussing famous teddy-bears and remembering Winnie-the-Pooh's friends, and things like that.  The talk lasted 30 minutes, and then we were dismissed with a reminder that there would be story-time at noon.  The Boy wanted to go to that, so we looked round the museum for a quarter of an hour until it was time for the story, whereupon I took him back down to that space, and he sat, entranced, to listen to a story of how the tortoise got his shell....  The story was extremely well told, with no illustrations (except for an African drum) but lots of different voices, and getting the children to join in to remember which animals had tried to get the leopard away from his drum....

Once that was over, we went and had a look around the moving, electric and visual toys and then it was time for lunch.  We decided we'd rather go back to Liverpool Street Station to have that, as the food provided by the museum is really rather expensive for what it is.  So we got on a bus to Liverpool Street, with the Boy and me upstairs and Boy Too in his pushchair (which he has nearly outgrown) downstairs with Granda.  Boy Too dozed off during the journey, and slept through lunch at Pret a Manger, but woke up once we were in the train to Wood Street, and ate his sandwich and drank his juice very happily then!  He had also thoroughly enjoyed the museum, glued to some of the display cabinets.
Although much of the museum is geared to adults, there's plenty for children to do and enjoy there.  I commend it as a good morning's outing with Infant and early Junior ages.


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