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101 free things to do in London with kids

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is one of Time Out Magazine’s 101 places to visit in London with kids.

It’s been awhile since we’ve been back to London, but when we do, I’m bringing Time Out Magazine’s list of 101 free activities to do with kids in London.

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The surprises of our first English birthday party

Birthday cake

Alex Richards is an American writer, who recently moved from Brooklyn, New York to Bradford-on-Avon in England with her British husband, her 3-year-old daughter and one on the way.

Check out her recently post about the surprises of their first English birthday party and her observations of the scene on Momtastic.com.

Pass the parcel

Gift

Last week, my daughter turned 4!

And she had her first big birthday party with her friends. There was a bounce house, a cake with whipped cream, fresh strawberries and princesses on it and a good old fashioned British game for the kids – Pass the Parcel.

I’ve never played the Pass the Parcel before, but the kids loved it. It’s one part Musical Chairs, one part Hot Potato, one part Russian dolls. You’ve got a wrapped present and the kids sit in a circle and pass the present around and around. When the music stops, whoever is holding the present gets to open it! But the present has been wrapped so many times in different types of wrapping (we alternated with wrapping paper and newspaper) that you’re never sure when or who will get to the actual present inside all of the wrapping.

My husband did an awesome job leading the game and he had wrapped the present nearly 20 times ahead of time, so each child who came to the party would have a chance to open the present at least once! You can only imagine the fun of finally getting to the bottom of it – it was a little apron with Paddington Bear on the front from our trip to the U.K. earlier this year and the lucky winner was a lovely 3-year-old girl who quietly beamed when she realized that could open the present and keep the gift!

Decorative Skirt from Boden

Decorative Skirt from Boden

Be still my heart! This is officially the cutest little British skirt I’ve ever seen. It’s currently on sale for $45.90 (which is killing me. I don’t think I can justify such an extravagance!) and available in sizes as small as 1 1/2-2 years all the way up to the 11-12 year size.

*Sigh*

Look at it! So sweet, right?!

Decorative skirt from Boden

Make your own royal paper doll

Royal paper doll

In the spirit of our times, dress up your very own royal baby, which I found on Pinterest thanks to Patz Freeman. (I particularly love the corgi on wheels.)

London in a Bag

My MIL sent over this sweet wooden collection called “London in a Bag” last week for the kids and they have loved it. The river has been the thing they’ve been fighting over – who knew the Thames would be so popular? I say there’s plenty of London to go around from the mini version of the London Eye to the Tower Bridge. I’ve been trying to locate it online and there are other versions of the London in a Bag but nothing quite like this collection…

How to dress your kids like northerners

A couple of months back, I blogged about how to dress your kids like Londoners.

Well, Janie and Jack has gone British this season with its Yorkshire Princess line. Boasting “tailored looks featuring primroses, classic plaids and Fair Isle,” the latest line is just the ticket if you want to create the look of a northern lassie in your little one.

And for northern lads?

Well, they don’t have a Yorkshire lad equivalent, I’m afraid. But they do have a line called “Dapper Young Gent,” which mixes argyle, Glen plaid and velveteen.


Just lovely.

How to dress your kids like Londoners

It’s never been easier to dress your kids like Londoners (well, apart from moving to London). This summer, Janie and Jack released their Lovely London line, and now Gap has gotten into the act with their Portobello, Brick Lane, Covent Garden and Greenwich fall collections.

I am all for it because there is nothing cuter than a baby donning a union jack knit one-piece, except maybe a baby also wearing the matching union jack beanie.

Slap the union jack on everything, I say and I’ll buy it (well, not now since I’m still saving up to pay for my extortionate red-light ticket. But in theory…).

Shown above, moving clockwise) : Graphic Raglan T in Midland Gray for Toddler Boys, Union Backpack, Union Jack Slip-on Sneakers for Baby Boys, Union Jack Driver Cap for Toddler Boys, and First Original Jeans (Union Jack Medium Wash) for Toddler Boys.

The London line for girls is heavier on floral prints, ruffles and boucle (really adorable items!) and lighter on the Union Jack and other traditional British icons. But they do offer some cute graphic tees that are distinctly British.

Shown above: Portobello Charming Graphic T in Ivory Frost and Pink Granite for Toddler Girls.

Gap is regularly adding more items to these collections and they’re also having a Labor Day Sale now through Monday so kit out your kids’ wardrobe Brit-style.

Have a lovely weekend!

When Incy Wincy Met Itsy Bitsy

The name's Wincy. Incy Wincy. Photo credit: Dollymania.co.uk

This morning, I sang to my daughter “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

Both versions.

What? You didn’t know there were two versions? Ah, well there are! There’s the American version (“The Itsy Bitsy Spider” that you know and love) and the British version (“Incy Wincy Spider” – same melody except Incy Wincy is the spider’s name).

For the record, there are also British versions of …

* “Ring around the Rosie” (same as the American version except for the genius “A-tissue, A-tissue” line where the more solemn “Ashes, Ashes” would normally go)

* “If You’re Happy and You Know It” (same as the American version except for the line “If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it” is subbed for the “If you’re happy and you know it then your face will surely show it” that I grew up with)

* “The Wheels on the Bus” (again, same as the American version except for the ending “All day long” instead of “All through the town”)

I love that there are two versions of these songs and I love that my kids will know them both. Sure, they’ll probably get teased mercilessly when they unfortunately whip out the “Incy Wincy” version in company that is decidedly “Itsy Bitsy”-centric, but hey, that’s part of being dual nationality. It’s character building and I wouldn’t want it any other way.