Pippa’s Poppets – music and movement classes for babies and children – are starting up in the borough this month – with some free trial classes in the next couple of weeks.
I don’t know Pippa who runs the classes, but I am impressed by her credentials . She’s a composer, Musical Director, singer and pianist who studied music at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and later at Bristol University where she specialised in Singing and Composition. In her spare time she writes musicals!
She has written all the songs and teaching curriculum for Pippa’s Poppets so the classes will have a unique and personal feel about them.
I’m a great believer in teaching babies singing – it’s a wonderful way to help them to communicate and improve their speech as well as introducing a love of music at a young age and making it more likely that this will continue. I like helping young artists and musicians and I’m also very keen to let people know about any free or inexpensive ways of entertaining themselves and their families.
These initial classes are not only free, Pippa is providing cake and prosecco ( for the mum’s I presume!) so there should be quite a party atmosphere! I’m almost tempted to borrow someone else’s baby and pop along myself.
The dates are
Tuesday 20th September at 9.45am – St Columba’s Church, Pont Street, Knightsbridge
Thursday 22nd September at 9.45am – Chelsea Theatre, Kings Road, Chelsea
After the trial sessions classes cost between £7 and £9 – considerably cheaper than piano or ballet lessons.
See http://www.pippaspoppets.co.uk to hear some songs!
THE BIG DIP
If you want to cool off in this heatwave, a new 25 metre temporary swimming pool on Clapham Common is open from tomorrow ( Monday) with a fake beach with deckchairs, volleyball and cafes. And I have some free tickets.
Olympic swimming medallist Steve Parry, has launched the Big Dip – a scheme to promote swimming in the UK. It’s being backed by Jodie Kidd and Steve Foster (pictured here). One in five children still leave primary school unable to swim and this is the latest attempt to do something about it.
Two giant outdoor pools are being built in London and Manchester. They are 25 metres long and they are heated – so no excuses about the water being too cold on cooler days.
I’ve only been in an outdoor pool in the UK a couple of times – there are not that many around and the freezing Serpentine may be down the road, but it is not a draw for me – but I’m a big fan of outdoor swimming in reasonable temperatures and this weather has to be the perfect time to experience it.
But this isn’t just a chance to sunbathe and take a refreshing dip – the focus is very much on learning to swim. There will be swimming lessons – and sessions to give people confidence in the water.
I asked Steve Parry about the various ways of getting children to learn to swim, but his view is that the most important thing – whether they have formal lessons. or splash about wearing armbands, or floatsuits – is to get them in the water with you, so they become confident and enjoy it. The hope is that this event will attract people who don’t normally get to the pool – so please spread the word.
The Big Dip is sponsored by British Gas, who also sponsor the British swimming teams. The London event takes place in Clapham Common until July 17th and the British Gas Big Dip Manchester will be held in Spinningfields from July 30th to August 29th.
I have five pairs of 5 pairs each of standard entry tickets to give away which allow 2 adults and 2 children (under the age of 12) entry to the Big Dip and swimming in the pools on any day ( though I won’t get them to you in time for tomorrow!)
All you need to do is follow me on networked blogs or via Friends connect, comment on this post, then send me an email requesting tickets with your name and address on firstname.lastname@example.org. These tickets are for London. First come first served.
Tickets normally cost £3 per adult, which includes free admittance for up to two children aged 12 and under. To book your place visit www.bigdip.co.ukor follow @The_Big_Dip on Twitter for the latest updates
INDOOR ENTERTAINMENT FOR RAINY DAYS
When it come it free indoor activities, music seems to be the thing.
On Wednesday mornings try Sing, Baby, Sing! This gives pre-school children an opportunity to experience music, singing, rhythm and play and is aimed at babies to 4 year olds, and their carers, parents and grandparents. It is held from 9.30am to 10.30am at St John’s Church, Ladbroke Grove, W11 – the one on the top of the hill! The entrance is on Lansdowne Crescent. www.stjohnsnottinghill.com
Every Thursday lunchtime there are free classical concerts in the same church at 1.30pm. They are not aimed specifically at children, but they are relatively short recitals and a great way to introduce children to classical music. There are more free concerts at St Peter’s Church on Kensington Park Road. These are every Monday. Go to www.music-chamber.com for programme details
Finally in the Summer join the orchestral workshops run as part of the Proms at the Royal College of Music just behind the Albert Hall – they are for seven year olds and above and allow children who play an instrument to become part of an orchestra. For those who don’t, there is singing or a huge percussion section where children get the chance to try out all kinds of instruments with professional musicians on hand to show them how. You just sign up on line and they will let you know if you have a place.
PARKS FOR KIDS IN W11 AND ROLLERBLADING HOCKEY
We all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But there are still some ways of entertaining yourself, and your children, for nothing – even in Notting Hill.
If it’s sunny you are spoilt for choice.
Parks and playgrounds
Avondale Park on Walmer Road has just been renovated and now has a fantastic fenced play area complete with wooden train for small children and an equally brilliant area for older children including tunnels, rope climbing frames and a 10 foot structure of rope ladders and birds nests that you might imagine Peter Pan and Wendy climbing into to escape the pirates.
There are two great playgrounds in Holland Park – a sandy one for under sixes and another one next to the car-park for over sixes with incredible climbing equipment plus an area for younger ones. Alternatively you can go to the Japanese garden and watch the giant fish from the stone bridge or look for the peacocks which roam around nearby.
Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park – as well as Princess Diana’s Playground with the landmark wooden pirate ship, there’s loads of room for football, frisbees or hide and seek. You can feed the ducks on the round pond, walk to the Serpentine, visit the Serpentine Gallery or on a Sunday head to the bandstand and listen to a concert – all for free.
From 4 until 5 on Sundays you can catch a hockey on roller blades on the stretch of park road between the Albert memorial and the Albert Hall. It’s surprisingly addictive – and last time I asked they were looking for extra players. Though this game is very much for adults, my kids loved watching and would have carried on until it was dark.
Kensington Memorial Park, St Mark’s Road W10, has three play areas – one near the road for teenagers and another area well inside near the tea kiosk which is divided between stuff for the under fives and under 12s. Again it has been recently updated. There’s also a water park which is fantastic during the Summer with fountains, jets and water canons. Admittedly not great for Autumn half term.
So tomorrow… what to do when it rains.