The Royal Institution Holiday Workshops, Mayfair
The Royal Institution’s popular summer schools return this July and August. An opportunity for kids to be hands-on, the courses bring all areas of science – including mathematics, computing and engineering – to life. Of the selection – designed for ages seven to 18 – we like the sound of the workshops in the L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre, which offer students the chance to be a laboratory scientist for the day and make explosive bath bombs, investigate forensic science and explore the chemistry of colour.
Junior Keeper at ZSL London Zoo, Camden
ZSL London Zoo’s junior keeper experience is a must for animal fans. Young people aged 11-15 will be able to work alongside a zookeeper to look after a variety of creatures. In a group of up to five children, they’ll be kitted out in an official uniform before heading to the restaurant for refreshments. Next, it's time to step out into the zoo for their duties – animals that need looking after include monkeys, giraffes, penguins and warthogs.
B_Together, St John’s Wood
B_Together is a new family hub in St John’s Wood. Founded by child learning development specialist Maggie Bolger, the stylish space has a nursery, children’s soft play zones and studios for workshops and classes. The main schedule focuses on classes called Create, Explore, Move, Sense and Cook and its summer camps are a blend of these classes, which cover a range of skills that support children's natural development in a fun and expressive way. Every session has elements of physical activity to support healthy bodies and mindfulness to encourage reflection and calm.
Young Film Academy, Fitzrovia
Young Film Academy (YFA) is the UK’s leading provider of filmmaking education for ages five to 19. This summer, YFA is transforming a boarding school one hour from London into a state-of-the-art movie studio for young people aged 12-13 and 14-17. The courses will encompass two weeks of filmmaking activities. If you’d prefer a one-day or four-day course for ages 8-10, 11-13 and 14-18, YFA also runs filmmaking courses from four venues in London throughout the summer, culminating in a premiere screening of the finished films at the BFI Southbank.
Little House of Science, Kensington
This is a space for children to learn, experiment, explore and play. Designed for children aged three to 12, the team offers a combination of weekly and daily holiday camps (with a free early drop-off from 8.30am). Completely hands on and project based, children will be grouped and taught by ages and ability, as well as being assisted during all experiments. Themes on offer this summer include Science Geniuses Who Changed the World; Astrogeology: Exploration of Earth, Other Planets, Moons, Asteroids, Comets and Meteorites; and The World of Architecture.
Rock & Roll Recruits, Putney
Since 2013, Rock & Roll Recruits has been running four-day music camps during every school holiday. The camps offer an authentic and exciting experience of playing in a band, while inspiring children to play music at all levels. As the week progresses, the group will work towards performing a concert at a local venue so family and friends can see all the hard work pay off. There are no formal qualifications required and every child will be guided and supported to make the most of their role in the band.
The Playing Space, Southgate
The Playing Space teaches a wide range of speech and drama classes, courses and workshops in north London. Each drama game, exercise and activity is designed to encourage teamwork and co-operation. Children in its popular holiday groups often come from different schools and backgrounds, and the team promises that by the end of the course, there’s a real sense of camaraderie as the children prepare for the final show – ready to share their work with friends and family.
Art Barn Classes, Kensington
The Art Barn is dedicated to all things crafty and offers term-time and holiday classes. This summer, the team has created a programme that’s fun, exciting and stimulating for each age group. While they follow a weekly programme, the team strongly believes each child should be given the opportunity to explore their creative mind and imagination, so children’s own ideas are celebrated and encouraged.
National Centre for Circus Arts, Shoreditch
This summer school is an opportunity for young people who want to try out circus skills like aerial, acrobatics, balancing and juggling. This year, the courses will run from 26th-29th July in a converted power station beside Hoxton Square. There are three different courses for young people available. Both beginners (eight-11 years and 12-18 years) classes are for participants who haven’t done circus skills before or may have been taking classes recreationally over the last few years.
Stag Lodge Stables, Richmond Park
Pony week courses at Stag Lodge Stables are open to children aged five to 12 and take place every Tuesday through Friday during all school half-terms and holidays. Children are split into small groups according to age, friendship groups and riding ability. Each day includes two rides, as well as stable management lessons covering grooming and mucking out. Friday is competition day, with themed competitions in the morning and afternoon. Every child will leave with a rosette as a momento of their week.
The Avenue Cookery School, Wandsworth
Aimed at eight to 16-year-olds, The Avenue Cookery School in south London offers a range of kids’ classes. From weekend baking to holiday camps, children will leave the courses as little chefs in the making. Courses range from doughnuts to bread week and ice-cream making. Whether your child has previous experience in the kitchen or is a total novice, the friendly team promises they’ll learn some new skills – and will have fun along the way.
Lee Valley VeloPark, Stratford
Lee Valley VeloPark’s kids' sessions range from activities for children as young as two up to 16. Ideal for those learning to ride a bike and more experienced riders who want to develop their skills, of the classes available, we like the sound of ‘Peddle Up Pump’, where they can tackle the indoor pump track before they try BMX or mountain biking. These sessions will help young riders stand confidently on the pedals and learn how to negotiate the pump track safely, along with key bike handling techniques.
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