Have you ever wondered what sound feels like? Or what music looks like? Di Mainstone’s interactive installation enables you to find out through creative play for all ages. Play in giant sandpits, illuminated by beautiful graphics, creating music with your own movements.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
Eric Carle’s much loved story about a particularly peckish insect comes to life in a show featuring a menagerie of 75 loveable puppets. This critically acclaimed production faithfully adapts four of Carle’s stories: Brown Bear, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, The Very Lonely Firefly and of course, the star of the show, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo
Finally, child-friendly dinosaurs that aren’t bright purple and barraging us with catchy songs. Instead, Erth’s dinosaurs are live, in motion, and mostly pretty friendly. This spectacular show for your budding paleontologists uses the interactive creatures as a way to discover more about dinosaurs and the period in which they existed here on earth.
Critically acclaimed cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat breaks out of his shell (much as he was ever in one) to deliver this, his first work for children. A glitzy and glamorous reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, Duckie takes you on a journey through the animal circus and asks questions about the happy ever after.
Celebrating the Harry Potter Books
Broomsticks at the ready. It’s time for a family-friendly journey through JK Rowling’s much-loved Harry Potter series. Join Fleurble Laffalot for fun facts in this funny, silly event for anyone who would love to explore the magical world of Harry Potter beyond the books.
Dermot O'Leary & Nick East: Toto the Ninja Cat
Yep, that Dermot O’Leary. The one off X-Factor and BBC Radio 2. O’Leary joins us to read the third book in his animal escapade series, which sees Toto the Ninja Cat take a well-earned holiday from keeping London’s streets safe. But a ninja cat can never truly relax, and Toto is soon called on to save the day once again.
Science, Explosions and Scribbling with Konnie Huq
Author, broadcaster and everyone’s favourite Blue Peter presenter, Konnie Huq (sorry, Peter Purves fans) brings live draw-a-longs, quizzes and games galore as she introduces you to the world of Cookie. A funny, science-obsessed young woman, Cookie is inspired by Huq's own childhood, her love of science and her unashamed nerdiness.
Sam and Marks’ On the Road Show
Good luck calming the kids down after this one. BAFTA-winning stars of children’s television Sam and Mark bring frenetic sketches, jokes, games and gags for the whole family in this fantastic live show.
Michael Rosen: The Missing
The beloved children’s author and poet, Michael Rosen, shares the true story of his search for his relatives who ‘went missing’ during the Second World War. In this personal story Rosen balances poems old and new for his extraordinary account, and in doing so opens up a powerful way of talking to children about the Holocaust.
Magical music making
For lovers of all things musical we’ve a number of events to get you moving. YolanDa’s Band Jam (21 Feb) sees award-winning musician and CBeebies star YolanDa Brown and her Bandjamals perform their first ever live concert. And the Aurora Orchestra and award-winning poet Kate Wakeling join together for storytelling concert, Chopin and the Dragonfly Who Brought the Spring (19-20 Feb).
We also have children-centred concerts from renowned orchestras. In Musical Roots (22 Feb) the BBC Concert Orchestra take you on a musical adventure through the history of classical music, whilst Repeating Patterns (23 Feb) sees the London Sinfonietta introduce the world of minimalist music.
Everyone loves a show right? Well we’ve a further five for the kids to enjoy during Imagine Children's Festival. SLIME (15-16 Feb) is a hilarious, surreal show about a slug and a caterpillar and the sticky pursuit of a leaf. Whilst, the less slimy, but similarly playful family show Same Same… But Different (23 Feb) explores difference and belonging.
In The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean (17-19 Feb) a scrapbook slowly becomes a window into a secret world, and Stella (19-20 Feb) follows the woman in the moon as she tries to reclaim the night. Plus there’s the opportunity to enjoy a playful performance that celebrates the 75th birthday of 'the strongest girl in the world' as you Meet Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking (23 Feb).
Settle in for a story
Are you sitting comfortably? We’ve a host of live story readings here throughout Imagine Children’s Festival, starting with a terrific trio on Saturday 15 February. Hear about the hero who’s always there for you when the chips are down with Sue Hendrick & Paul Linnett: The Amazing Supertato. Meet hilarious, science-mad chatterbox and would-be space-traveller, Rocket at Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola: Look Up! And settle in for a fable for our times about coming together, and the power of friendship, tolerance and cooperation with Smriti Prasadam-Halls & Robert Starling: The Little Island.
And the stories don’t stop there; find out what makes a great detective with Robin Stevens: Top Marks for Murder (18 Feb), or become a pirate for the day with the aid of Jennie Poh: The Pirate Tree (19 Feb). Join Hannah Lee to go on an adventure through family and community via hairstyles at My Hair (20 Feb), or enjoy an epic adventure through the solar system with Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System (22 Feb). And Africa, Amazing Africa with Atinuke (21 Feb) enables you to enjoy stories from Africa full of colourful facts with wonderful storyteller Atinuke.
Make something memorable
If your little ones are the type to want to be involved, we’ve plenty for them, including the opportunity to learn beatboxing tips at The Mighty Kids Beatbox Comedy Show (21 Feb). Author and suffragette descendant Kate Pankhurst leads, Fantastically Great Women Who Saved the Planet (17 Feb), an inspirational workshop of drawing and dress up. And Children’s Book Prize-winning author Sita Brahmachari invites children to create their own environmental pledge; Where the River Runs Gold (18 Feb).
Do your kids love creating stories? Get them inspired by successful children’s authors, including the Children’s Laureate at Creating Magical Ideas: Cressida Cowell & Friends (17 Feb) and Cerrie Burnell & Friends: A Story of Your Own (21 Feb). If art and illustration are what float your children’s respective boats then they’ve the opportunity to create recycled paper birds at Migrations Paper Birds with Jane Ray (21 Feb), or pen illustrations on a nautical theme with Anet Schaap at Sea the World of Illustration (18-19 Feb).
Pause for poetry
On Monday 17 February, the National Poetry Library hosts a trio of events exploring poetry and the environment. Martin Kiszko asks if poetry can turn you green in Poetry for the Planet, before joining fellow poets Ed Boxall, Carole Bromley to share planet-friendly poems in Poems go Green. And Sabrina Mahfouz introduces her new anthology at Sabrina Mahfouz: Poems from a Green and Blue Planet, which features poems from the past and present that look closely at our extraordinary surroundings. The verse doesn’t end there however. On 18 and 19 February join Edward van de Vendel for Playground of Poems, as a reading of his playful poems is followed by a poetry workshop.