Get hands-on with toys, clothes and games from our Learning Collection through our interactive and entertaining schools programme. Our cross-curricular sessions support your classroom teaching by bringing the National Curriculum to life.
Please note, from 31 March 2020 we will not be accepting bookings for school visits until 2022, due to a major ongoing transformation of the museum. Further details on when bookings will reopen will be announced in due course.
If you are able to visit before 31 March 2020, please do specify the dates you would like to visit on the booking form, and we will be in touch as soon as we can with the museum’s availability. We will be offering an outreach service to local schools from May 2020 onwards – please let us know if you would like to be kept informed about this option.
Sessions start from just £20 per class of 30 and include a lunchroom slot and a chance to explore the museum’s galleries where you’ll discover interactive exhibits, friendly staff and opportunities to learn through play. All our school visitors are met on arrival by one of our Activity Assistants, who will brief you and your pupils on your day, confirm your lunch slot and help you stow away your bags and coats in their allocated space.
“You do everything possible to make schools visits enjoyable and stress free for teachers.” – KS2 teacher
What can I do at the museum?
There are three options: make a self-guided visit, book a spotlight talk or a facilitated session. Read on for more details!
Each session can accommodate up to 30 pupils with accompanying adults (minimum ratio 1:6) and take place in our Clore Learning Centre on the lower ground floor, close to the lunch room and other facilities. The learning rooms are fully accessible via lift and stairs.
When you make a session booking you will be allocated a lunch slot in our spacious Summerly Room.
What do I need to know before I book my visit?
Our school sessions are very popular, so we are unable to make provisional bookings. Before you return your booking form please ensure you have checked your dates against your school diary as charges apply for alterations and cancellations. These can be found here.
For more information, download our visit guide
Making self-guided visits
If you’d like to design your own learning, book a self-guided visit to our galleries and exhibitions, where your students will encounter interactive activities, a wealth of toys and childhood objects. A lunch slot can be allocated subject to availability – please tick the box on the booking form. In good weather you can also picnic on our lawns or in Museum Gardens.
Self-guided visits can take place at any time of the day, so you could combine a visit to the Museum of Childhood with another site,or explore Victoria Park just a few minutes’ walk away.
“A very engaging presentation by charismatic staff! Children really enjoyed the interactive, pacey hands-on session.” KS1 teacher
Looking for a short session for your pupils? Why not book one of our Spotlight Talks! At 30 minutes long, these sessions offer a lively on-gallery experience led by our amazing Activity Assistants. Available at 10.30, 11.15 and 12 for groups of up to 30 pupils per session.
At only £20 per session our Spotlights offer amazing value for money, too.
Reception & KS1: Teddy Bears, Moving Toys, or Puppets
KS2: Punch and Judy, Shadow Puppets or our NEW Introduction to the Museum Object Handling session.
“…It was great! Both interactive and informative.” – KS2 teacher
These sessions offer deeper engagement with our Learning Collection and are delivered by our expert practitioners. Available for groups of up to 30 pupils and linked to the National Curriculum, these sessions can bring your topic to life. Discover even more in the self-guided part of your day!
All sessions are available Monday – Friday, and we offer five teaching slots per day. We offer sessions from EYFS to KS2.
Scroll down to find downloadable session outlines and resources (where available) for our EYFS, KS1 and KS2 sessions.
Lost in the Toy Museum! 45 minutes, £60
Using David Lucas’s enchanting storybook as a starting point, your pupils will enjoy highlights from the story and get hands-on with a range of traditional toys. Play with a dolls house, host a teddy bears’ picnic, make up your own story with a toy theatre and more!
Young Curators 1 hour, £78
Who decides what stories we want to tell in the museum? Our curators do…but how do they choose the objects? Your children will learn about working in the museum while trying their hands at identifying, labelling and displaying objects from our Learning Collection.
Working scientifically: moving toys 1 hour, £78
How do toys move? Get hands-on with our Learning Collection to find out! This session encourages excitement, investigation and curiosity as well as building scientific vocabulary.
Toys on a Timeline 1 hour, £78
What toys did our parents and grandparents play with when they were young? Discover chronology, how new materials have changed our toys, and how playtime has changed through a fun timeline activity and hands-on play.
Finding out about the past: Toys 1 hour, £78
How have our toys changed over the years? Investigate a range of indoor and outdoor toys from the past 150 years and make a toy to take home. Our most popular session!
“Covered both our DT/Science and History topics!” KS1 teacher
Pop-ups and puppets 1 hour, £78
Puppets have been used for play and entertainment for thousands of years. Investigate how a range of puppets work, watch a shadow-puppet play and make your own version to take home in this fast-paced session.
Robot Wrestle 90 mins, £100
Meet our museum robot gang, figure out how they work and then work in teams to design and make your own moving robot in a crafty workshop session. Finish up with a robot wrestle!
Y3 – Y6
Robots and Drawbots 90 minutes, £100
What is a robot? What do they do? What does a robot look like? Meet and interact with our smart robots, see how they work and learn how to set up your own robot to make it draw a picture.
Race to the finish: What can we learn from board games? 90 minutes, £100
Did you know that King Tutankhamen was buried with a board game? Encounter a variety of games from Ancient Egypt and the Anglo-Saxons to Asia and Africa. Your students will also design, make and play their own game
Mechanical and moving toys 1 hour, £78
Investigate our collection of moving toys, discover forces and gather scientific data in this hands-on STEM-focused session for KS2.
“It really linked to our Year 5 topic of Inventions!’ KS2 teacher
Puppets and drama 1 hour, £78
From shadow plays and Mr Punch to West End shows, puppets are used for entertainment all over the world. Join us for some tales from different cultures, explore different puppets and perform your own puppet theatre scenes in this hands-on session.
Light it up! 90 minutes, £100
Learn how our optical toys use light to create illusions, explore shadow puppetry and test out five different coded games on our BBC Micro:bits in this technology-focused session
Place (Village): Mystery writing 90 minutes, £100
Discover Rachel Whiteread’s mysterious ‘community’ of around 150 dolls houses, inspired by her own childhood memories of the Museum of Childhood. Where have the people gone? Why have they abandoned the village? Be inspired by this atmospheric work to start your own stories in a supported creative writing session.
CPD for teachers/ITT
Not sure how to make the most of a visit to the V&A Museum of Childhood? Running a whole-school topic and you’d like to bring all your classes to the museum? We can offer bespoke full or half day INSET or twilight sessions to suit you, delivered at the Museum or at your school.
We are also happy to work with ITT providers and teaching alliances on how to make the most of museums, using our extensive learning collection to explore learning through objects and the value of learning outside the classroom.
The V&A Museum of Childhood holds a Sandford Award for heritage education and are members of the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge Scheme.
Below you can download session outlines and resources (where available) for our EYFS, KS1 and KS2 sessions.
Reception and KS1 session outlines and resources
‘My visit’ resource
Teddy Bear Hunt resource
KS1 Moving Toys resource
‘Young Curators’ teaching session (R, Y1, Y2)
‘Toys on a timeline’ teaching session (Y1 & 2)
‘Finding out about the past – toys’ teaching session (Y1 & 2)
‘Finding out about the past – holidays’ teaching session (Y1 & 2)
‘Pop-ups and puppets’ teaching session (Y1 & 2)
‘Moving Toys – working scientifically’ teaching session (Y1 & 2)
KS2 session outlines and resources
Light it up! resource
Puppets and Drama resource
‘Finding out about the past – clothes’ teaching session (Y2 & 3)
‘Puppets and drama’ teaching session (Y3 – 6)
‘Mechanical and Moving Toys’ teaching session (Y3 & 4)
‘Mechanical and Moving Toys’ teaching session (Y5 & 6)
‘Race to the Finish – board games’ teaching session (Y3 – 6)
‘Robots and Drawbots’ teaching session (Y3 – 6)
KS2 Moving Toys resource
How can I make the most of my visit?