25th November 2014
Day five out of the house and I am racking up a great number of museums now, many new to me. Today the V&A Museum of Childhood which is excellent!
The museum is a large building with exhibits on a mezzanine and first floor balcony leaving the centre full height making for a grand entrance and cafe location.
The mezzanine level has many glass cases of toys through different eras and with different play purposes. It was great seeing toys from my childhood like the Big Yellow Teapot, Girls’ World and Care bears. The left hand side has dolls, teddies, toys of the world and play involving make believe. The right hand side has a Victorian Toy trail showing the progression of toys through their method of movement. Rocking horses, cars and trains. Movement by steam, wind, gravity, magnets, pedal power, clockwork, friction, springs, electricity and most recently battery. The rear of the mezzanine has puppets.
There are many interactive areas for children to have fun and computers to explore toy movement and play games. There are areas with rocking horses to ride, bricks to build with and huge faces with hair made with iron filings and magnets. For Betty the best thing was the sensory area. A large wall with different textures and a room with lights, colours and mirrors.
Half of the first floor is currently being worked on for a new exhibition opening in December which I’ll be back for. The rest of the floor covers jigsaws, board games, soldiers, cars, playing real life and dolls houses. These were amazing and covered all styles from Scandinavian minimalist to Victorian splendour. They even had my exact dolls house from childhood. I took lots of tips from these as just been given a new Victorian style dolls house for Betty which has already had one room completed with 1/12th scale decor and furniture.
Absolutely excellent museum for all ages, either for older people reminiscing or younger ones marvelling at the toys and having a go. Very popular with the pupils of two infant schools there during my visit. I managed to remain out of the house for the rest of the day by reading in the nearby library while Betty slept and having a wander around Spitalfields market.
Baby friendly info:
Bethnal Green station is not step free, the nearest step free station is Shoreditch High Street
The museum has a step free entrance and lifts to all floors.
There is baby changing and highchairs in the cafe.
There is a baby sensory area on the mezzanine and an under threes play area on the first floor, but watch out for the bricks as Betty was covered in paint off them while chewing them, not baby friendly.