Play with classic children's games such as KerPlunk, Twister, Mouse Trap, Cluedo, Scalectrix and the original version of Space Invaders at the London Toy and Model Museum, Paddington, London W2. Visitors can also see Father Christmas in his grotto and ride the Christmas express over the rooftops of old London town. Details: 0171 706 8000.
UNTIL DECEMBER 28
THE ADVENTURES OF MR TOAD
Watch out for the dreaded Chief Weasel and his gang in their pursuit of Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger in this musical at The Castle, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, 10am, 2pm, 7pm. Tickets: Pounds 7, Pounds 5.50 concessions, special rates for school parties. Details: 01933 270007.
UNTIL DECEMBER 31
CHRISTMAS AT THE MUSEUM OF LONDON, LONDON EC2
Escape from reality in the Tower Block of the Imagination, a high-rise building with flashing lights, a revolving roof that flies open and built-in time-travel devices. It also transforms into a rocket that zooms off in a puff of smoke to anywhere on earth or in outer space. Meet illustrator Jonny Boatfield its creator and caretaker, and give him your ideas for The Caretaker's Tale. Other events include: Christmas carols, December 15, and an unusual panto, The History of London (in 20 minutes), December 27-29, 31 and January 2,3 and 5. Free with valid admission ticket. Details: 0171 600 3699.
UNTIL DECEMBER 31
CHRISTMAS AT THE SOUTH BANK CENTRE
A packed programme includes: Christmas and carol concerts; "My Grandfather's Christmas Stocking", featuring The Parlour Quartet in Victorian costume, Purcell Room, December 22; and English National Ballet's last season of Ben Stevenson's traditional production of The Nutcracker, in repertory at the Royal Festival Hall until January 11. It features flying pastry cooks, a Christmas tree that grows and grows, a mighty monster mouse king, and wonderful national dances from Arabia, China, Spain and Russia. Alternative concerts include: a Jazz 'n' Voices gala concert, December 23; the Hurdy-Gurdy Man's concert; December 27; and a Lord of Misrule medieval celebration, December 29. Details: 0171 960 4242.
UNTIL JANUARY 11
DICK WHITTINGTON AND HIS CAT
Twenty-four local children, playing a variety of characters including repulsive London rats, are in the cast of this panto at Salisbury Playhouse. Dick Whittington's adventures on the way to London's "streets paved with gold" include a spectacular sea voyage to Morocco and encounters with the disagreeable King Rat and dotty Sarah the Cook. Tickets start at Pounds 6.50. Details: 01722 320333.
UNTIL JANUARY 11
PUSS IN BOOTS
The Palace Theatre, Watford, presents Roy Hudd's jolly adaptation, starring TV and radio comedian Chris Emmett and TV presenter Nick Staverson. Tickets start at Pounds 6.50, Pounds 5.50 concessions. Discounts for schools available. Details: 01923 225671.
UNTIL JANUARY 18
THE SNOW QUEEN
Will brave Gerda, with the help of ravens, princes and princesses, survive her epic journey to rescue her best friend Kay from the Snow Queen's beautiful Ice Palace, or is the world doomed to an eternal winter? Find out at this Theatr Clwyd presentation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fantasy in the Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Mold, Flintshire, 2pm and 7pm. Tickets: from Pounds 10, Pounds 7 concessions; school parties Pounds 4.75 except weekends; family tickets available. Details: 01352 755114.
UNTIL JANUARY 25
This Bristol Old Vic production at the Theatre Royal, King Street, stars Chris Harris as Buttons and is directed by Chris Denys. Tickets: Pounds 3-Pounds 14.50; morning and matinee performances for school parties Pounds 3-Pounds 6.50. In addition, the BOV Theatre School is presenting The Nativity on December 14, 10am and 11.30am, tickets Pounds 5, Pounds 3 concessions. Details: 0117 949 4901.
UNTIL JANUARY 25
Aladdin's breathtaking journey from Old Peking to the icy North Pole on a magic carpet is just one of the dazzling effects in this lavish pantomime at Derby Playhouse. Tickets: Pounds 5.25-Pounds 12. Details: 01332 363275 or minicom 01332 292277.
CHRISTMAS AT NMPFT, BRADFORD
The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television is running free children's drop-in sessions, December 21-23, and the Pictureville Cinema is reminding picture-goers of the festive season with films such as Home for the Holidays, directed by Jodie Foster, about the stresses of spending time with relatives at Thanksgiving; and The Wind in the Willows, the most recent re-telling of the Kenneth Grahame story, directed by, and starring, Terry Jones, with cameos from Eric Idle, John Cleese and Victoria Wood. Details: 01274 727488.
DECEMBER 17-JANUARY 18
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOUR DREAMCOAT
The Tim RiceAndrew Lloyd Webber feast of music and dance returns to the Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead, Surrey. Tickets start at Pounds 13.50 adults, Pounds 11 children. Details: 01372 377677.
BEATRIX POTTER AND FRIENDS
New family musical, interweaving scenes from Beatrix Potter's life and from her tales, performed by Gantry Youth Theatre at Gantry Arts Centre, Southampton, 7.30 pm plus weekend matinees at 2.30 pm. The cast includes members of Theatrescope, a Saturday theatre school for 8- to 16-year-olds. Tickets from: 01703 630101.
WILD WEST SHINDIG
Put Christmas preparations behind you for an evening, and join Colt 45 at Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Durham, 8pm, for country and western music, line dancing, American-style cooking and activities for all. Dance training is given. Tickets Pounds 8 from 01388 602610.
DECEMBER 19-20, JANUARY 2-3
CHRISTMAS AT THE CROWSNEST CLUB
The Crowsnest Club at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, invites children aged three to six accompanied by an adult to learn about creatures living among icebergs. In addition, Among the Green Boughs, a seasonal programme of music from the era of Queen Henrietta Maria, will be staged in the Queen's House, December 19-23 and 27-31. Details: 0181 858 4422 or 0181 312 6565 (24-hour information line).
CHRISTMAS AT THE BARBICAN, LONDON EC2
HANSEL AND GRETEL
The centre's festive music programme includes: "Glory of Christmas" with the London Concert Orchestra, December 23, and carol and West End musical concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra, December 20-22. For children, there is a Teddy Bears' Concert, December 21, and the chance to meet Alice and her Wonderland friends at a Mad Hatter's Christmas concert, December 23.
The Garden Opera Company is performing Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel in Cinema 1, 11am-1pm, for anyone aged over six. This interpretation of the hardships encountered by Hansel and Gretel in the forest and their outwitting of the wicked witch magically conveys how the struggles of everyday life can be overcome. Opera tickets: Pounds 7 adults, Pounds 4 children (6-16). Details: 0171 638 8891.
CULINARY CHRISTMAS AT DALE FORT FIELD CENTRE, NEAR HAVERFORDWEST
For a Christmas with a difference, go for a good walk along the Pembrokeshire coastal path to see flowers and overwintering birds. A trip out to Skomer may be possible on Boxing Day if the weather is calm. Includes huge breakfasts and a festive Christmas day buffet. Fee: Pounds 175. Details: 01646 636205.
DECEMBER 26-JANUARY 1
FESTIVAL OF WINTER WALKS
Walk off the excesses of the festive season by joining one of 200 free walks organised throughout England, Scotland and Wales by the Ramblers' Association with support from Fibre 1, the high-fibre breakfast cereal. For a list, send a large SAE to the RA at 15 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2XX. <