Here is a menu of Adventures to consider. If you would like a bespoke Adventure created for your child, please telephone the Adventure Aunt to discuss the exciting possibilities.
1 Tiger Hunt at the V&A
Tigers crop up all over the Victoria & Albert Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of decorative arts. We hunt for the tigers – carved, painted, embroidered, printed – and take their photographs, which can later be compiled into an online album or calendar. If you would like to support tiger conservation, you could collect sponsorship from friends and relations for each tiger spotted, and donate the results to Tiger Awareness.
2 Natural Adventure
London’s parks are full of fabulous plants, trees, flowers and birds. We prowl round a park, noting, recording, collecting, photographing and identifying the exciting things we see. Later, we compile our collection into a poster or a book to keep for ever.
3 Volcanic Eruptions
Do you ever feel as though you might explode like a volcano when people are being annoying? Volcanic eruptions are very dramatic. We will examine what happens when mountains blow up and red-hot lava pours down their sides. We’ll look at paintings and films, and with parental agreement we’ll make an erupting volcano.
How do you go to the loo in space? In weightlessness, outside the Earth’s atmosphere, that sort of splashdown won’t happen! Space exploration is exciting, inspiring and dangerous. Why do people like it? What else happens during space travel? Would you like to do it? At the Science Museum we will talk about all those questions and many more, and you can find out what you will need to do to become an astronaut.
5 The Periodic Tea Table
All the ordinary stuff in the universe is made of elements. What are they? Come and find out while eating a delicious afternoon tea. Sitting round the Periodic Tea Table we will make models of molecules and we’ll talk about how the Periodic Table works. Then we will sing the Periodic Table Song and go outside to make a Big Bang.
6 Loving our Mummies
Mummification is the preservation of dead bodies, of both humans and animals. It can happen naturally or artificially. When the Ancient Egyptians buried people and animals, they often mummified their bodies, wrapped them in linen, then put them in beautifully painted containers. The British Museum has got lots of wonderful examples. We look at them, draw them, then talk and write about the ways and the reasons that mummification happened.
7 Midsummer Magic
One of William Shakespeare’s most wonderful plays describes the magical goings-on on a Midsummer night. The story involves male and female fairies who get up to all sorts of tricks, and someone who suddenly changes into a donkey! Do you think that fairies exist? Are you quite sure? We will discuss the plot of the play, then choose a scene, and act it out in the park.
8 Food for the Gods
Can you guess what Theobroma Cacao might be? It is a tropical tree, with a very special fruit. Its pods can be red, yellow, green, brown and stripey. Inside them are little dark beans wrapped in the most delicious soft, white, juicy jelly. Its name is Ancient Greek for ‘Food for the Gods’. Still don’t know? It is….. chocolate! We will look at the history and techniques of chocolate, then we will make some at Le Melange, a local chocolate workshop. And we just might eat a bit…
9 Scavenging Hunt
We’ll choose a park to go to, and we’ll each have a list of things to find. The first person to put everything on their list in the basket is the winner! Scavenging is hungry work, so we’ll have a good tea afterwards.
10 There was a young lady of Peckham…
Writing and reciting Limericks is a noble British tradition. The verses should be silly, and can be a bit rude, but the rudeness isn’t compulsory – they just have to stick to the rhythm and rhyme.
Here’s an example:
If you catch a chinchilla in Chile
And cut off its beard, willy-nilly
You can honestly say
That you have just made
A Chilean chinchilla’s chin chilly
We will have a poetic picnic in the park, reading, writing and illustrating limericks while we enjoy a delicious tea. If you write some slightly rude limericks you can take them home for your parents, who may be horrified, or may frame them and hang them in the loo.
11 Songs of the Sea
There’s a special type of song called a Sea Shanty which used to be sung by sailors as they worked on big sailing ships. The songs are about life on the sea. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re rude, occasionally they’re sad, and they usually tell a story. We will go to the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich and learn about life in sailing ships, then we’ll choose a shanty to learn, and we’ll roar it out at the tops of our voices like sailors used to do. After that we’ll go into Greenwich Park, learn to dance the Sailors’ Hornpipe and have a picnic tea.
12 Beautiful Beetles
Beetles are some of the most beautiful sights of the natural world. They are extraordinary insects, living everywhere on the planet except in the sea and at the North and South Poles. They eat a great variety of things and some behave in very surprising ways. There are huge numbers of different types of beetle, including the fabulous jewel beetles, one of the largest beetle families with 15,000 species! Each beetle, like everything in nature, has a common name and a scientific name, which is always written in Latin. We will look at some incredible beetles and then design our own beetle collections using a range of different materials, and we’ll invent some really exciting common and scientific names for labelling.
13 Avast there!
Pirates were all over the Caribbean from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. We’ll hear about their daring, their cleverness, their dreadful deeds and the horrible ends that some of them came to… whilst others became rich and famous. We’ll celebrate pirates real and fictional from Calico Jack to Long John Silver, and remember female pirates including Annie Bonny, Mary Read and Back From the Dead Red. We’ll visit the replica of the ship of one of England’s most famous pirates, Francis Drake, draw treasure maps and have a pirate picnic.
14 Hubble Bubble
In a Shakespeare play called Macbeth, there are three witches called the Weird Sisters, who brew up an absolutely disgusting cauldron full of nastiness. They list everything in their horrid recipe in a famous speech from the play, which it is great fun to learn. It’s equally fun to make up your own modern but also dreadful spell and write it out as a rhyming chant. We will paint our faces like witches and decorate black pointy hats and cloaks to wear… this is a wonderful adventure to do with your friends for Hallowe’en.
15 The Story of You
It is great fun to write about your own adventures, either real ones that you’ve already had, future ones that you’d love to happen or completely invented, fictional ones in which you do the most extraordinary things. We will have a two hour writing meeting, with a delicious brunch or tea, during which we’ll write stories about ourselves and illustrate them with drawings or photographs, then we’ll make them into a book online and have it delivered to our homes.
16 Zoom to the Zoo
The Zoological Society of London works to encourage people to live peacefully with wildlife, rather than capture it, eat it or turn it into fur coats. We will visit the Zoo and choose eight animals to look closely at, draw, photograph and write poems about. We will also make short films of our chosen animals with voiceovers like the ones Johnny Morris used to do. If you have a favourite animal we will go and see them first.
17 A Great Big Bully
King Henry VIII was a dreadful person. As a King, he could usually do exactly what he liked, and if anyone tried to stop him he would do terrible things to them. It has been suggested that over 72,000 people were executed during his lifetime, but even by his standards that seems a bit excessive. He did however have two of his wives and two of his closest advisers killed. Big Bullies are almost always Big Cowards, and if people stand up to them they go all weak and feeble. We will look at how Henry VIII got away with being awful to people and talk about how those people might have avoided being bullied. We can act out our ideas, taking it in turns to play different parts, and do a drawing to show how we think it could have turned out.
18 Delight in Dressing Up
The worlds of theatre and fashion provide opportunities for wonderful adventures into decoration and presentation, change and emphasis, humour, the expression of opinion and the joys of structure, colour and texture. We will go to the V&A to look at some of the beautiful clothes in the Fashion collection, then we’ll go upstairs to the Theatre Galleries to see the incredible costumes there and talk about how they were designed and made. Finally we will delight in a prolonged frolic in the Dressing-Up Department, where the superb designs and huge mirrors provide some of the best fun to be had in London.
19 Bridging the Gaps
Between the City of London and Barnes, there are 25 bridges over the River Thames. Each one has its own fascinating story, linking the histories of the two parts of London that it joins, and of the famous river it crosses. We will choose three bridges to visit, learn about, discuss and draw, and we will throw a little gift for Old Father Thames into the water from the last bridge on our walk.
You might expect gods and goddesses to be models of good behaviour, but what the Greek and Roman ones got up to makes your eyes stand out on stalks. They ranted and argued, took each other’s husbands and wives, got drunk, chucked thunderbolts, hurricanes and plagues about and generally fiddled with the world and the weather. They had lots of power and did some good things with it, but they were also capable of being very, very naughty. For that reason they are great fun to investigate, so we will go to the British Museum to find out what they got up to, and award points for mythbehaviour.