City Kids Magazine is recruiting and we’d love you to join our team


Thanks to the amazing support of our readers, our magazine is growing. We go into our 5th year of production looking for two wonderful people to join our team. City Kids Magazine is one of London’s most popular parenting resources, regularly chosen as the go-to guide for things to do, education, parenting, travel, food, features and lifestyle.City Kiks Magazine Issue17

From research to writing, event planning to production, we’re looking for an enthusiastic people-person who can work efficiently as part of a team and on their own. You will need to be a quick thinker and adaptable as you will be required to manage several different tasks. If you have any experience in PR, publishing, marketing or journalism this would be an advantage, but not essential. However, a good knowledge of Microsoft Office, social media platforms and the parenting sector is.
Over time, you will have the opportunity to attend media events on behalf of City Kids which could include film screenings, fashion events or family workshops.
This is a paid, flexible role, largely working from home approximately five hours per week, though you will be required to travel to West London for occasional meetings.

We are looking for an enthusiastic intern to help our growing company. If you have plans to enter journalism, publishing, PR or marketing, an internship with City Kids Magazine will give you some great skills. As we are a small business, you will gain real experience from day one (not just taking coffee orders) and you will be a valued member of the team. You will need to be highly motivated, confident, and have a good command of English (written and spoken).
Reasonable expenses will be paid weekly. Based in Chiswick, West London.

To apply for either of these positions, please email, enclosing a copy of your CV. We regret that we will only be able to contact those who we can meet for interview.


This weekend sees a family race day at Ascot with a Christmas feel


Head to Ascot racecourse on Saturday, as families are invited to celebrate the festive season, together with world-class horse racing and plenty of seasonal cheer, just three days before Christmas Day.

Featuring the most valuable racecard of Ascot’s Jumps season, the event promises to be exhilarating and enjoyable for all ages with fairground rides, a festive parade, clip clop pony rides, huskies and candle-lit carol singing.

Racing on the course

On the track, highlights are two £150,000 races; the ultra-competitive Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle and the Grade 1 JLT Long Walk Hurdle – one of the most prestigious long- distance hurdle races in Britain. Punters could be in with the chance to earn an extra Christmas bonus with the many high-class supporting races throughout the day.

Entertainment for all

Off the track, adults can watch the races whilst enjoying festive cocktails and Fine Dining across multiple food outlets. Little ones will be entertained with the The Elf Training Academy, a husky meet & greet, festive arts and crafts and face painting. Father Christmas and his fellow reindeer will be in attendance and Mrs Claus’ storytelling will return for a third year. The whole family can also enjoy free fairground rides and uplifting carol singing by candlelight in the Grandstand with the Ascot Brass Band.

As usual under 18s go FREE!

For more information


Some of Hollywood’s most famous pets return to our screens in 2019

The Secret Life of Pets 2 will follow summer 2016’s blockbuster about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.

Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy will produce the sequel to the comedy that had the best opening ever for an original film, animated or otherwise.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 will see the return of writer Brian Lynch (Minions) and once again be directed by Chris Renaud (Despicable Me series, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax). Harrison Ford, Patton Oswalt, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Lake Bell, Tiffany Haddish, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper create the voices of this family favourite.

You’ll have to wait until 27 May to see the film, but for a taster, see the trailer below!



Luxury childrenswear brand, Marie-Chantal, is opening a new flagship store on Motcombe Street, London.


The new Marie-Chantal store will be home to the brand’s iconic Angel Wing Collection, baby gifts, seasonal girls and boys collections, special occasionwear as well as a unique curation of jewellery and gift items. Perfect timing for Christmas!

Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece launched her first collection almost twenty years ago, focussing on her love for classic and timeless design. Her five children are her influence (a girl and four boys) and she uses her expert eye for fashion as a guide. The childrenswear range runs from birth up to 12 years old.

The new store has been designed by Fran Hickman who has recently created new retail spaces for Goop, Moda Operandi and Emilia Wickstead.

What to expect

True to Marie-Chantal’s roots, the boutique store will celebrate beautiful clothes for beautiful children. Clothing is age appropriate and allows boys and girls to dress like children, with a playful twist. The stylish cuts, playful embroidery and detailing is key to every signature design.



4 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, London, SW1X 8JU


Monday – Saturday 10 – 6pm; Sunday 12-5pm



Kumon centre opens in Ealing – Education News

Kumon centre opens in Ealing: Dickens Yard is the venue


Kumon centre opens in Ealing

A new Kumon Centre has officially opened in Ealing, Dickens Yard.

The Worshipful the Mayor and the Mayoress of the London Borough of Ealing cut the ribbon of the UK and Ireland’s largest supplementary education provider. They were kindly assisted by young Kumon students.

Guests included parents, children and students from other local Kumon centres, members of Ealing Council, local schools and businesses. St George, the developers behind the Dickens Yard development were also there to join in the fun.

Maths and English help

A Kumon centre offers children the opportunity to develop their maths and English skills. The program offers a daily study programme of individualised worksheets and Kumon centre visits up to twice a week.

The flagship Kumon centre in Ealing is one of more than 250 more across London.

In the UK and Ireland, more than 70,000 children of all ages and abilities study the Kumon Method of Learning, which also celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

Kumon study helps children of any age and any ability to shine. We aim to give our students the tools they need to enjoy learning. Our programmes establish strong foundations in maths and English, helping your child to feel confident enough to tackle challenging work.

Kumon Instructors guide their students through work that is set at just the right level for them. They keep them engaged and make progress. They support and encourage students to work out answers by themselves. Also, they help them to become self-sufficient, successful learners for the future. By studying little and often through daily worksheets and twice weekly study centre visits, our students steadily increase ability and fluency, building their skills in small, manageable steps.

For more information:


Fireworks: Top 5 places to celebrate Bonfire Night

With Halloween out of the way, it’s time to celebrate Bonfire Night and our Top 5 Fireworks Displays


Friday 2 November

Bishops Park 

Accompanied by love songs, the theme for this year’s show is love.

Tickets in advance £6/on the gate £8/free for U5s

Gates open at 6pm with kids’ display at 7.15pm/main event at 8pm

Saturday 3 November

Ravenscourt Park

Musically choreographed with a funfair and food. No entry after 8pm. Big crowds

Tickets in advance £6/on the gate £8/Free for U5s

Gates open at 6pm with kids’ display at 7.15pm/main event at 8pm

Bears Ice Cream

If the crowds are off-putting, head to Bears Ice Cream on Goldhawk Road. As well as signature Icelandic style soft serve ice cream, there will be hot chocolate, mulled wine and a Chilly Katz pop-up – gourmet hot dogs to you and me.

Starts from 5pm.

Dukes Meadows Golf & Tennis Club

This has been tried and tested by City Kids and very much approved! An earlier display for families and small children and one later for adults means everyone’s happy!

 £8.80 for adults/£4.40 U16s

Doors open from 4.30pm. Family display at 6pm, main event at 7.45pm


Tradition on show here at Barnes Sports Club with a Guy competition, bonfire and plenty of food and mulled wine.

 Adult ticket £10, Child ticket £50, Family ticket £25

Gates open at 5.30pm, fireworks at 7.45pm

Sunday 4th November


With a 90s theme (dressing up desirable) at Richmond Athletic Ground, there’s also food, a funfair, live entertainment and bars open until 11pm.

Adult ticket £9/Kids £6/ Free for U5s (Group prices also available)

Gates open from 4.30pm, fireworks at 7pm



Decorations, costumes, tricks and treats. We’ve found everything you could possibly need to make your little ghouls grin this Halloween.


Gisela Graham Black Tinsel Standing Cat, £12.99, Amazon

Trick or Treat Bucket, £25, Hotel Chocolat

Spider Web place mat, £8 for pack of four, John Lewis

Spooky Skeleton Confetti Crackers, £19.50, Meri Meri at Liberty

Boo Halloween Neon Light, £14.99, Lights4fun

Halloween Plates, £5.75 for 8, Meri Meri at Ocado

Pumpkin Sunglasses, £3.99, New Look

Halloween Bunting, £6.49, Ginger Ray

Chocolate Eyeballs, £8.99, Choconchoc



Things to do in London this half term

We’ve rounded up some of the things to do in London this half term, to keep the kids entertained this half term

With Halloween round the corner there are plenty of ghoulish fun to be had, but if that’s not your thing, then there’s lots more to do in and out of the city.

    After a flood in May, the Museum is re-opening for October half term, offering a week brimful of  Twits’ Tricks and Matilda Magic, including Twizzling Tricks for Budding Illustrators, Wonka’s Wondercrump Contraptions, Twits’ Disgusterous Dinner Plates, Wigglish Witches’ Masks, and Crodswoggling Clay Critters. There are also guided walks which give an insight into Dahl’s life and daily routine in Great Missenden.
    Aimed at 5-12 year olds.
    22 to 28 October
    If this is usually a Christmas activity for you and the family, then it will have come a bit early. But from 25th you can skate outside one of London’s most iconic landmarks.
    This is the V&A Museum of Childhood’s first major exhibition to focus on fictional pirates in popular culture including Captain Pugwash and Captain Cook. Visitors have the chance to walk the plank, discover a treasure island as well as a large scale pirate ship. Dressing up and singing sea shanties is positively encouraged.
    Head to The Puppet Barge in Little Venice for these unique performances. The story’s told using rod puppets, music and sing-alongs.
    20-28 October
    Kew teams up with Theatre-Rites to bring the story of the Temperate House and plants to life through a theatrical experience using live music, puppetry and performance.
    20 to 28 October
    Creatively themed coding camps run all week at various locations, with pick-ups in some areas.
    22 to 26 October
    This visually stunning adaptation from French company, Compagnie Animotion, for 3 to 10 years and their families, tells the tale of four animals put to pasture; a donkey, a cat, a cockerel and a dog.
    24 to 26 October
    Learn about Pre-Raphaelite art and their imaginary & inspiring world from Knights of the Round Table to Sleeping Beauty at Tate Britain.
    25 & 26 October
    Featuring activities for children as young as 1, this hidden gem in Shepherds Bush will be putting on a Gingerbread Man Storytale, an all-day workshop recreating the musical Wicked!, and hosting a Music and Movement Extravaganza for under threes.
    22 to 27 October
    Over three days, kids are invited to attend readings of some of their favourite books, read by some of the authors themselves. Opening the event series is Adam Hargreaves, best known for writing and illustrating the Mr Men and Little Miss books, since taking over from his father and Mr Men creator, Roger Hargreaves.
    25 to 27 October
    You and your teen can learn a complete menu, and some cookery skills for life, with a spooky touch during a class led by farmer, chef and food campaigner Rachel Green.
    31 October
    As well as the obvious reference to winter sports, children can enjoy the Kids Arts, Crafts & Entertainment zone in the Neilson’s Lodge where they’ll be joined by Tootles & Nibs for winter sports themed games and activities, a winter selfie station, arts & crafts and face painting. If that’s not enough there’s a climbing wall and Dog sledding. And if you’re sans kids, there’s apres ski fun. Battersea’s where it’s at.
    25 to 28 October
    This long-awaited exhibition finally opens at Somerset House celebrating Snoopy and his friends. It brings together work by Charles M. Schulz and artists who have been influenced by this famous comic strip over the years.
    From 25 October Peanuts
    Dress up and get down to the Horniman for a day of frightening fun and games. Little ones can meet creepy crawlies in the Wild Fangs cave, while adult witches and wizards browse arts and craft markets and try devilishly delicious food and drink from a variety of stalls.
    27 & 28 October
    With camps all over London this half-term, why not use our 10% discount and get the kids active this half term.
    Use CKOHT2018.
    Instead of the kids bouncing off the walls, take them trampolining to burn off some of that excess energy. Using the code CITYKIDS10 will give you 10% off jumping too! Win, win.
    In celebration of all things spooky, the Museum of London Docklands is opening its doors after dark for Halloween for all families brave enough to spend a night at the museum. Grab a flashlight and tiptoe your way through the museum, before nestling down for the night in the galleries. If you survive, there’ll be a film and some breakfast in the morning.
    26 October
    Free for everyone, the market will be putting on arts and crafts throughout the day for young children.
    28 October
    At Bocketts Farm enjoy a spooktacular day out with animal encounters, a reptile roadshow, heated play barn and loads of other seasonal fun.
    20 to 28 October
    Make no mistake, this is a tennis tournament for different age groups, but dressing up is encouraged and there will be prizes, food and plenty of fun. This event is in addition to the half-term camps running on a daily basis for kids aged four and over.
    28 October



Catchment areas? Oversubscribed prep? Think again…

By Susan Hamlyn, Director at The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants

St Catherine’s School, Bramley

The arrival of a baby these days produces less unalloyed joy than in earlier times. Along with the multipacks of nappies come bucketfuls of stress. This is especially true of new parents in London who think wistfully of their own, often far less pressured, childhoods. They look around their chic – (or less chic) – London borough and see queues of exhaust-emitting traffic, crowded buses, unsupervised parks and schools, which are either good and over- subscribed or unacceptably poor.

Not that many London schools aren’t good these days. But few have much space – especially outside. Staff turnover can be high. The best state primaries have catchment areas the size of an exercise book and good preps are highly competitive and expensive. Then there’s the pressure. Schools are expected to pack more and more into a short day. A common sight is a child on his way to school, heavy rucksack on his back, instrument case in one hand and sports bag – bootlaces and cricket bat perilously tipping out of one end – in the other. Can this be the only way?

Well, it isn’t. Recent years have seen a change of thinking in both parents and schools. Increasingly, London parents are sending their children against the commuter traf c to schools in the Home Counties. Hazel and Chris Tomkins are typical: ‘Alba is a lovely child. But she was getting lost in the local school – there were simply too many children who needed more attention than she does. She is sporty and needs a lot of space. Since she went to her country prep, she’s got into the borough athletics squad and is much happier.’

Likewise, doctors Nour and Shazia Mahmood, enthuse about the change in their twins: ‘Their new
school has a minibus that collects from a couple of streets away and brings them back in the evening. They did have to sit entrance exams, but it was far less competitive than preps in London – three children for each place rather than 12! And the teaching and results are just as good.’

Schools within commuting distance see London as an excellent new market. Papplewick, a boys’ prep in Ascot, Berkshire, reports: ‘Since our transport service to and from Chiswick was launched, we have experienced a 100% rise in interest, resulting in a second service to and from Brook Green.’ And they confirm what parents say:

‘We offer a huge range of extra-curricular activities and sport in a rural environment. This all takes place within a school day, rather than parents having to ferry their children to after-school activities around London. All prep is done at school here, so there’s no homework. Parents report that their sons are less stressed, happier and working harder. They also achieve good academic results.’

Papplewick School, Ascot

Senior schools also now offer weekly boarding especially tailored to professional London families. A key influence is the lack of space in London schools and the necessity of ‘bussing’ to local sports grounds. St Catherine’s School in Bramley, near Guildford – headed by the highly-experienced Alice Phillips – tells us: ‘Interest is high – we see about 90-100 families at every open morning, of whom about 20% are looking at weekly boarding.’ This is partly because St Catherine’s offers: ‘Space. Green vistas. Outdoor facilities, which include floodlit netball and tennis courts, lacrosse pitches, athletics track, plus a huge sports hall, swimming pool, fitness suite, gymnasium and dance studio. And outstanding on-site facilities – we offer musicians an auditorium with superb acoustics. Actors have a state-of the-art theatre and technical box.’

But it’s not just facilities. Many parents worry about the intensity of an urban childhood. St Catherine’s says: “Here their daughters can develop at a pace less dictated by the media and peer pressure. We are not isolated – we are located at the heart of a village community with Guildford on our doorstep. St Catherine’s girls are very busy and are more likely to be in a club, in an orchestra rehearsal or doing sports after school, rather than kicking their heels around a city centre.’

So – another sleepless night worrying about catchment areas or oversubscribed preps? Perhaps it’s time to look outside …?


For more news on schools and education take a look here.



Sharky and George guide us on the best things to do with kids in our fair city’s green spaces.

London has the best parks of any city in the world. FACT! There are over 1000 acres of park just between Regent’s, Hyde, Green and St. James’s Park but Battersea Park is the real gem. With Go Ape, Putt in the Park, pedalos, and an awesome zoo you definitely won’t be lacking for great things to do. Here are a few top tips for activities in any park this summer:

Bug Hunting – All you need is a jam jar, a little net, a magnifying glass, a log book and you are away. Have a look under rocks or fallen branches, under the bark of trees or in long grass and you are sure to come across lots of creepy crawlies. Gently put them in you jar or container and then count their legs, eyes and wings. Do a little drawing of them in your log book and then set them free!

Homemade Kite-Flying – You can buy kite kits online for about £2-3 which are fun and easy to put together but most importantly fly really well.

Water Pressure Rocket Launching – Rockit do the best kits for about £15 and there is so much you can do with them. You need your Rockit, a selection of bottles (check the cap fits onto the thread of each bottle), a bicycle pump and a water source. You can then experiment with different amounts of water in different size bottles to see how high you can go! We find that smaller bottles about half full of water tend to go the highest so bigger isn’t always better. 

If, on the off chance, you want your children to do all these things and a lot more from 10th-28th July, then it just so happens that Sharky and George is running its Adventure Club in Hyde Park between those dates! Each day will be jam-packed with fun, games and endless activities, including tug of war, mini olympics, rocket launching, science madness, pedalos, spy quests and of course, lots of water bombs. Adventure Club is suitable for children aged between 5-10 years old and tickets can be purchased here. They’d be crazy to miss out on the fun! 

We can also do something a bit more bespoke for you. For example, there was a bit of an issue last summer when the Queen’s birthday presents were stolen by a disgruntled security guard! The children were met by a special agent in a London Hotel looking for help to recover them. The only intelligence they had was a ticket with a number. It turned out it was a cloakroom ticket for the hotel and the children quickly recovered a locked metal briefcase and an envelope with a code. What followed was an undercover rendez-vous with an accomplice of the security guard outside Buckingham Palace (to coincide with the Changing of the Guard at 11am!), a meeting with another agent and a wild goose chase that took them around all the best London landmarks. It ended with a serious water-bombing of the mischievous security guard so that he would reveal the hiding place and a probable Knighthood from the queen!


Mother’s Day: a Day in the Life of a Housemistress

by Victoria Anglim

Being a Houseparent to the 70 girls who live in St Bede’s, one of Ampleforth’s longest standing houses, is a huge privilege – particularly on Mother’s Day.

Ampleforth is a co-educational school and first admitted girls in 2001. For the sixteen years that I have been at Ampleforth, I’ve been a Housemistress to girls for nearly eleven years, having previously lived in a boys house.

Our Benedictine ethos at Ampleforth means creating a sense of community and providing individual care for the children we look after, which is why many parents choose to send their children here. This strong focus on pastoral care is particularly prevalent in our boarding houses and at certain times of the year when children inevitably think of their families. 

As a Houseparent you are often the central link for a child between school and home. As a parent myself to Oscar (16) and Erin (14), I know that teenagers need a sense of balance and stability as they develop as a person and strive academically and on the sports field, theatre or music room.  One of our former pupils talked about their experience of school and said ‘everyone gets the chance to do what they do best,’ which pretty much sums up our approach to the children in our care.

Design as a subject is very strong here at Ampleforth and ahead of Mother’s Day, we organise a craft club where the children can make gifts and cards for their mothers, which Matron then posts.

Any Sunday at Ampleforth involves Mass, Sunday lunch, calls home and a chance to enjoy some of the 70 extra-curricular activities we have on offer in the 2,200 acres of North Yorkshire countryside we live in.  It’s also a long-standing tradition that, on Mother’s Day weekend, myself and another Housemistress join our houses for a large celebratory Sunday lunch, creating a positive family-like atmosphere, which the girls tend to love as it means they can get together with their friends. We also try and keep Aoife our much loved house pet (she is an Irish wolfhound) well away from the table!

We are always vigilant about helping pupils settle in and watch out for homesickness, which can sometimes strike at the weekend. We put on a range of social activities at weekends which get everyone involved and keep the children busy. On Mother’s Day this year, we are holding a charity colour run and have encouraged those who celebrate Mother’s Day to invite their parents to come down and watch them take part – and parents can take children out before or after the event.

So, Mother’s Day will be a day where we come together as a large family – however near or far our own might be.




Learning for earning, or learning to think? Education needs breadth and depth

By Andrew Johnson, St Benedict’s School Headmaster


It’s sometimes said that education is what is left when you have forgotten what you were taught.

Einstein himself used this quote, to make the point that the core value of education is not in the subjects taught, but in the learning of mental skills – the ability to think well.

The purpose of education is too often assumed to be for securing work and safeguarding the economy – learning for earning. Of course we need to equip pupils to take their place in the world, and to find the kind of employment that best suits their talents, but the present generation of 18 year-olds faces different challenges which demand a different approach.

Firstly, the future of work is more uncertain now than it’s ever been. Our children will be employed in jobs that haven’t even evolved yet, and it’s unlikely that they’ll stay within one area of work, or one career. Artificial intelligence is increasing exponentially, and many jobs which are familiar to us now, in many walks of life, may soon be performed by computers. An Oxford study recently predicted that more than 40% of occupations could be threatened by automation over the next two decades. To succeed in this new employment landscape, dominated by artificial intelligence, it’s surely real, human intelligence we will need: emotional intelligence, adaptability, and the ability to respond positively to change.

Then there is the creeping threat of fake news. In this post truth era of ‘alternative facts’, we must help our children to make good judgements and to have the ability to distinguish clearly between what is true and what is false. It is vital that we help them to interpret what they see on the internet, and not to accept everything at face value– to be sceptical, and assess the evidence. The consequences of living in a society which has little regard for the importance of truth are hard to contemplate and education has a big part to play in arming our young people against forgery and lies.

Stellar exam results are great, but on their own they can do little to prepare our children for these realities. Good study skills and the acquisition of knowledge certainly have their place, but they are really only the beginning. It’s ironic that, as technology improves, and occupies an ever increasing part of our lives, it is human qualities which will matter more and more, since it’s these which set us apart from clever machines.  Imagination, empathy, kindness, compassion, perseverance, curiosity – these are the qualities that remain when you’ve forgotten what you learned for those exams.

So it is vital that, as well as teaching the curriculum, we help our children to develop these qualities; to be self-starters – independent learners, creative thinkers, team-workers and effective communicators. They will need to be versatile and adaptable in an uncertain world.

So how do we develop children fully, so that they can have these essential qualities? In the classroom, we need to go beyond the syllabus and encourage debate, independent research, curiosity and a love of learning for its own sake.

Co-curricular opportunities have an enormous part to play, and their place in education is essential, not subsidiary. In music and drama, it takes self-discipline and independence to practise an instrument, or to learn the lines of a play. Having a role in a school production or concert and performing will develop confidence and self-belief.

In sport, when you’re 4-0 down with 10 minutes to go, it takes gritty determination to keep going to the end; and if you can encourage your team-mates along the way, so much the better.

Then there’s outdoor adventure activities, taking young people out of their comfort zones, teaching them map reading, survival skills and team work. My own sons still talk about their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold expedition as one of the best things they ever did when they were at school – 4 days of navigating their way around the mountains of North Wales in horizontal rain and icy gales can teach us a lot about perseverance and pulling together.

Young people need to find their leadership potential; to be proactive, and not passive. A school which encourages its pupils to be adaptable, open to change and to other people, is actually going to enable them to lead rewarding, fulfilling lives. Einstein’s message should be loud and clear: think to learn, but above all, learn to think.








We are looking for someone to join the City Kids family to help grow our ever popular magazine.

You will be joining us at a very exciting time as we look to expand our online and print presence. You will be responsible for developing existing and new relationships in various sectors including fashion, lifestyle and education.

You will be required to work remotely on a freelance basis with occasional catch up meetings at City Kids HQ. The successful candidate will be someone who likes flexible working, is great at managing their time and who can offer 15-20 hours a week to the role.

Ideally you will have previous experience in sales, publishing and the family market, but the job will also suit someone who is self-motivated, persistent and who knows the parent and kids’ market in London inside out.

We are looking to recruit as soon as possible, so please send your CV to Victoria Evans at

Issue 9Issue-7

Issue 10


Three at-home experiences for your budding scientist

As the nights draw in, try these fun, indoor, at-home STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) activities. These three simple experiments encourage curiosity using objects sitting around the house.


With Guy Fawkes around the corner, you can create your own spectacular display of colour without lighting a single sparkler!


  • Clean empty jam jar
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Food colouring

Steaming HomeFill the jar with water. Measure out three to four tablespoons of oil (whatever is handy in the kitchen) into the bowl. Add drops of different food colouring to the oil and mix gently with a fork. Then, carefully pour the oil/food colouring mix into the jar of water. The food colouring slowly sinks out of the oil and dissolves in the water, creating a mini firework visual effect.

HOW IT WORKS The food colouring dissolves in water and not oil. As the oil is less dense than water; it floats to the top; while the droplets of food colouring sink to the bottom; dissolving and dispersing in the water on the way.

TOP TIP Food colouring will mix so don’t over-stir!


Any gummy bears sweets leftover from Halloween? Prepare to make them grow.


  • Glass or bowl
  • Water
  • Gummy Bear

Steaming HomePlace the gummy bear in a glass or bowl of water. Record what it looks like over time. Leave for four to ten hours. Has your gummy bear grown?

HOW IT WORKS The gummy bear absorbs water, a bit like a sponge, through osmosis. Osmosis is a process by which molecules (in this case water) move from an area of high concentration (the glass/bowl) to an area of low concentration (the gummy bear), causing the bear to swell. If you leave the bear long enough it will completely dissolve.


Building is always fun; try this nifty little engineering project without the risk of stepping on any blocks!


  • Three paper cups
  • Paper
  • 12 x 1p coins

Place two cups on a solid surface and set the sheet of paper on top to build a bridge. Place the third cup on the centre of the paper. Does it hold? Add coins one by one to the balanced cup. Count how many are needed until the “bridge” gives way. Now take a second sheet of paper and fold it so it resembles a concertina. Repeat the experiment with this piece of paper. How many coins can be added to the balancing cup until the bridge gives way? This is a fun challenge to do with friends. The concertina “trick” will always win. Check out the difference between many, smaller folds and fewer, larger folds.

HOW IT WORKS Everything exerts a force, including the cup. The cup exerts a downward force on the flat paper; as it gets heavier with coins, the paper gives way. Folding the paper spreads the force across more paper, allowing it to support more weight than a flat piece of paper. Larger, fewer folds work better than many, smaller folds to support the weight of the cup as it is filled with pennies. Try it and see!


Richer education

If your child is curious about science, or in fact, if they find their school classes a touch dull, then why not seek out a place where they can get involved in real life experiments. Every Saturday, Richer Education runs workshops in science, robotics and civil engineering, taking their learning to the next level.

Courses take place at Imperial College and each workshop is designed to inspire and motivate primary aged children into learning about science in a hands-on, practical way. A typical science workshop might be anything from dissecting a real heart, turning wine into water, to literally holding fire in their hands. In robotics, children can learn to write code, build a robot with robotic arms, that can grasp objects and how to synchronize multiple robots to make them dance. In Civil Engineering, children learn to find solutions to real life engineering challenges, in a child friendly way.

Science Saturday workshops are 9.30 – 11.30, whilst Robotic Saturday workshops run from 12-2pm, and Civil Engineering classes are at 2-4pm. All classes take place at Imperial College.

For more information go to



Eight year old Max realised his dream of becoming an estate agent, as he officially opened Hamptons International’s latest branch at KidZania London.

He was invited to open the branch and became its first ‘Junior Estate Agent’ after sending the company a letter asking what qualifications and skills he needed to enter the profession saying “I really want to do this job when I grow up”.

He was invited to cut the red tape alongside KidZania London’s mayor, and went on to make his first sale within the concession.

KidZania London is the UK’s first educational entertainment experience which aims to offer real-life work experiences for 4-14 year olds. You have to see it to believe it. Hamptons International is just one of several global brands including British Airways, Renault, H&M and Cadbury’s which gives children an insight into how their industry works.

hamptonsbranch Hamptons International Opens Branch at KidZania London (8) 150116



Words: Victoria Evans | Reviewers: Isabel & Lucas Evans

As my husband reminded me on the way to Berkshire, you really can’t afford to get it wrong with kids and Christmas. The stakes are high for Lapland UK, but all bets are off. This is, hands down, the best Christmas experience the kids have ever had.

In true Evans style we were late following a minor detour to The Royal Berkshire Golf Club…no matter. The friendly elf on reception immediately set the tone for the afternoon’s experience – full immersion in Elf–talk, magic and imagination. The kids, now armed with their own Elf Passports, were excited even before we were ushered to the cosy, warm yurt-style tent, complete with sparkling fairy lights, a leafy canopy and elf performance. We learned how to perfect an elf wave before the door to The Enchanted Forest was opened. A world of white, snow encrusted pines was revealed, and the excitement ramped up a gear.

Our elf guide was taking us to the toy factory where the kids learned how important it was to help Father Christmas this year as the Good List is very long. They made a wooden horse and a soft, plush Rudolf (both of which are available to buy at The Emporium later) before the next adventure to meet Mother Christmas in her kitchen for a spot of cookie decorating.

other celf houseelf village sign

It turns out Father Christmas is a gingerbread addict, so Mother Christmas warned the kids to keep their gingerbread houses safe. Elves, being very hospitable folk, also made sure the grown-ups were kept fully charged with a cookie. Nice touch.

The next trail took us to The Elf Village where the kids were free to ice skate, meet huskies, have a reasonably nutritious meal and then go wild in the toy and sweet shops. I’m always a bit bah humbug when it comes to merchandising at large kids’ venues, but The Emporium was at least tasteful with a variety of gifts at a variety of prices. It also didn’t feel too busy which makes a change from the usual Christmas crush.

Then it was time to meet the big man himself. While the rest of the afternoon had been shared with a group of around 50 adults and kids, this was a moment just for us. After checking in and a quick run-through of the personalised information we’d sent a couple of weeks earlier, two elves escorted us to Father Christmas’ wooden cabin, where we could hear him sleeping.

When you have a nine-year-old constantly being told by her friends that Santa doesn’t exist, a trip to Lapland UK could seem pointless. But…let me tell you, the look on both my kids’ faces when they met him was an image I will remember for the rest of my life. The kids hung on his every word and they were both gobsmacked to be sat in the same room as him – how did he know the name of my daughter’s best friend and that she’s just mastered long division? How did he know that my son’s best friend is his daddy or that his favourite iPad game is Terraria?

Of course, Father Christmas wasn’t going to be able to pull Lego Star Wars or cameras from his sack, but it wasn’t filled with naff plastic toys from Poundland either. With a new husky soft toy in hand, the kids emerged, totally wowed by what had just happened. All that was left was to purchase our family photo (this will be the only moment we all believe at the same time) before heading off into the night, full of excitement for the month ahead.

We took a six and nine year old who still believe, but I’d stick my neck out that even non-believers would leave Lapland UK with an inkling that Father Christmas exists.

A word from our reviewers…

“It’s the best place ever! I loved it! I didn’t want to leave! It’s soooo magical, we actually saw Santa’s sleigh and reindeer. We built toys with elves and made a gingerbread house with Mother Christmas. I LOVED meeting Father Christmas, he gave us a cuddly toy. He also showed me that I was on the good list!” Isabel, 9.

“I ice-skated and two elves could turn around! I saw Santa and he gave me a free present. He was really wonderful. I went to Pixie Mixie the Elf’s sweet shop. It was really yummy!” Lucas, 6.




Meet The #Kloggers

The rise in blogging over the last few years has seen a new trend emerge, that of the kid blogger or #klogger.
Victoria Evans follows the amazing world of one of them.



Like it or not, the Internet and social media is now an integral part of most kids’ lives. Kids are connected, and they know a lot more about it than we do. Social media is not “limited” to Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, OoVoo, WhatsApp, Burn Note, Yik Yak, Meet Me, Tumblr, Vine — you get the message — there’s a legion of child bloggers making waves in a market once ruled by people two or three times their age.

Introducing ‘Amazing Arabella’ Daho, from North London. A fashion, beauty and travel blogger who has already met Kelly Hoppen, been invited to the London Fashion Week, modelled for Monsoon and Burberry and been sent on trips abroad to blog about her experiences. She has collected a following of over 26,000 across social media; she only started her blog in September. Oh, and she’s 11.

“I started modelling when I was three, and as I got older my friends were asking me what I had been doing so I decided to start writing about it … and they told me it was really good so I turned it into a blog.”

Luckily for Arabella, her mum, Shadia, is a dab hand when it comes to blogging, vlogging and social media networking. Between her and other family members the Dahos have an incredible 800k followers worldwide. Their combined knowledge means Arabella is not flying blind.

“When she’s out blogging I go with her. We were at London Fashion Week and I wouldn’t feel comfortable about her going with anybody else. I monitor everything, and if she gets a load of followers I go through them all. It’s been ok. Generally it’s positive.”


We all have countless questions crashing around in our heads when it comes to social media and our kids. Can our children blog “safely” (what does safely even mean in this context?), will they be bullied, isn’t the web a hunting ground for paedophiles, is my son/daughter going to share pictures of themselves? Basically, we don’t know what the social norms for this relatively new medium are — are there any?

Joanne Mallon founded when both her children started blogging. Her site now promotes creative child bloggers and offers advice to parents and their kids alike.
“[Blogging’s] like anything else — as safe or unsafe as you want it to be. We encourage children to think about personal safety and how much information they want to give away. Do they want to blog anonymously, under an assumed name? How much info do they want to give out about where they live? Will they be sharing pictures of themselves? All of this stuff has to be discussed with parents. From a practical point of view, when it comes to blogging, both Google and WordPress have it as part of their terms of service that users have to be over 13. So if an under 13 is blogging, they will effectively have to do it in conjunction with a parent, which is probably a good thing.”

Like with most things related to social media and generally the Internet, as a parent it pays to stay informed so you know how to set limits and have genuine dialogues with your kids about it.

Mallon has found that blogging is widely used and approved of by schools as it is a method of encouraging children’s literacy and creativity. This stands to reason, and Arabella and Shadia would agree with the benefits.

“I think it’s made me more confident — it’s helping with my school work.” Shadia: “Her English has got a lot better. She manages her schoolwork really well, and the things that she’s learning about and writing about have opened up a whole new world.”

Which brings us to blogging as a business. Bloggers, in the main, start out because they have something different to say, which might resonate with their contemporaries. A point not lost on big brands that see bloggers as a direct connection to their potential markets. Arabella is at an advantage here, as a young, fashion-conscious tween, with a ready-made audience. But Shadia is keen to stress that the integrity of the blog must never be forgotten.

“We get approached by a lot of brands because she’s unique in what she does. We don’t just work with anyone because, in the end, you’ve got to be truthful. What you say can be very powerful. Working with brands that you can relate to, that’s the way forward. You need it to be truthful, and if it’s artificial, no one’s going to read it anyway.”

Many bloggers now have agents and earn enough money to support a back up team of publicists and admin staff. If this is what you want to do, Shadia recommends you find a good management company first. In fact, she’ll be casting 10 adults and 10 kid bloggers for her new company, Blogaholics. And, there’s no doubt that Arabella will be on hand to offer advice and tips to the kids that are chosen.

So what’s next in the diary for Arabella (and her lucky friends)? Only a trip to Hogwarts, teaming up with Virgin to blog about their Experience Days, working on the Xfactor…


Tom, Project Indigo: Dr Who fan
3 Top Tips for Starting a Blog:

1. Choose to write about something you are good at or are really, really interested in because it will be hard for you to keep your blog up if you don’t know what you are writing about.
2. Don’t start a blog because you want to be famous — that is not what blogging is about. I love blogging because I love sharing my adventures and have made lots of friends.
3. Keep at it! If you don’t post for a while your followers may lose interest.

BLOGS & RESOURCES – 13 year old bone collector – 10 year old food lover



Woo hoo! Not that we’re excited or anything, but we’re delighted that Sharky & George have joined the team here at City Kids HQ. Over coming issues, they’ll be sharing their wealth of experience in the party world, and boy, do they know how to put on a good do. Until next time, here’s a taste of what they’re all about.

About amazing parties
Charlie: We did one this summer, which was about books and literature. It was mega!
George: We created five different worlds – Neverland: with tricks, potions and smoke bombs; Narnia: with access through a cupboard door, a big snow machine, and lots of snowball fights and ice sculpting. The other worlds were Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter. We told the children they were going to play quidditch, so they had to keep an eye out for the golden snitch. When the golden snitch came out, they had to wrestle him down. To finish off, everyone came through to a Mad Hatters Tea Party, which was awesome!

About saying no
C: I don’t think we’ve ever said no. George is awful at saying no. The only thing I can think of was when a father wanted his son to parachute into his party, but that was on a health and safety grounds. The boy was eight or nine so we put him in a gyrocopter instead.
G: I say yes to everything and get into a lot of trouble with the team when, on a weekend that is clearly full, I say, “Of course we can do that … In Scotland? No problem. 50 children. Great!”


About getting involved
G: We don’t normally do much dressing up, character stuff. We’re more like two older brothers who turn up and do a couple of hours of really active games. We’re planning bigger and bigger parties such as big laser missions which we’ve developed for slightly older children. We are also doing more corporate work, so we’re more involved in party development.

About their skills
G: I’m not sure either of us could claim to have a specific skillset at all!
C: Imagination and immaturity is probably our main skillset, and continuing to enjoy it.

About childhood party memories
C: Mine were pretty bog standard. Very much bouncy castle and traditional party games. There was always an entertainer.
G: My eighth birthday was different as my dad is a chocolate maker. I was allowed to invite about 15 friends to the factory and Dad took us around. We took things off the machines as they went past, which was really cool. At the end, everyone was given a plastic ice cream tub and pointed to a tap; we filled it all the way up with chocolate to take home.

About an ideal Christmas
G: This one will be it. It’s my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary and they’re taking all of us to a hotel in Dorset, right on the beach. Top of the list is a swim in the sea on Christmas Day and a lot of eating.
C: I’ve just married a New Yorker so I’m going to New York for Christmas. Bit worried about the lack of Coleman’s bread sauce so I’m taking some packets in my suitcase.

About New Year’s resolutions
C: No chocolate?
G: Mine last year was to say “no” at work; I think it worked alright for the first month or so.


About 2016
C: We’ve launched Partner in Crime, which is our word for nanny.
G: This initiative was born from our clients ringing up to ask whether Tom, “who did our party last month”, was free to join them on holiday for a week to just do cool stuff. Or both parents are at work and the nanny’s ill, could he take the kids skateboarding.
C: We have all these guys who are trained to do awesome parties. We know they’re fantastic with children, and we know that they’re responsible, cool and fun.


About party tricks
G: I don’t really do tricks.
C: Speak for yourself! I can walk over you on my hands, which I’ll demonstrate later … George and I used to have a sort of breakdance routine.
G: We used to do quite a lot of fire spinning and fire poi. We did have quite a few hair on fire moments.
C: I’ve never quite grown up – I like doing back flips. Normally into water. I didn’t want to get this out, but a journalist did ask what my party trick was … [shows a video on his phone of himself doing a back flip on a trampoline].

About World Records [Charlie once held the record for the fastest pantomime horse] C: Some annoying Commonwealth Games runner beat it – I refused to read about it.
G: We broke one this past summer for the biggest game of stuck in the mud. We broke the record with 472 people playing at Thomas’s Fulham, so that was fun.