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Family days exploring London for free!

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When we got our Step Outside Guides ready for you all to explore London this spring and summer, we had no idea that you wouldn’t be able to go to London.  Or that schools would be closed.  Or that we would all have to stay indoors.  No-one did!


But that doesn’t mean we have to stop exploring. There is so much that is fun, interesting and satisfying to do, make and enjoy while we’re at home. With the help of our lovely animal friends, we plan to bring you all sorts of ideas to do at home.  Some are easy-peasy, and others are a bit more complicated. They may be a puzzle or a project. They may involve drawing, cooking, writing, making – as you know, here at Step Outside we love to mix things up and do a bit of everything. We’ll post each idea on our website at  at stepoutsideguides.com  and on Facebook and on Twitter. If you want to look at ideas we’ve posted on other days, they’ll be on our website too.


We hope you’ll want to try some of the ideas. If you’d like to tell us about things you’ve done at home yourselves, we’d love to hear about them. Just let us know at feedback@stepoutsideguides.com - we may be able to include it in a future post. And if you want to send in photos or videos of the things you have made and done from our ideas, we’d love to see them! Just email them to  feedback@stepoutsideguides.com . *


Let’s get started!


•If photos are sent in, this is taken as your permission for the photos or videos to be included in our Gallery.


Step Inside!



Octavius, our friendly octopus who is you companion in Down by the Thames loves playing music. You may remember him playing his one man band on Hungerford Bridge!

Today is your chance to make a musical instrument or two, and join in with him.


A banjo

Stretch different thicknesses and lengths of rubber bands across  a box with no lid, and strum away. See if you can change the notes. Tighter and thinner bands will give higher notes, loose and thick bands will strum out the bass.


You could simply whack a biscuit tin or saucepan with a wooden spoon, (it’s best to ask a parent or carer first!)

A ‘trumpet’

This may not be very tuneful, but it is fun! Blow a tight-lipped raspberry down the funnel of a watering can or a food funnel from the kitchen, and see what sort of noise you can get out of it. Adjusting your lips can make different notes – try It and see! If you can’t make the raspberry work, just put your lips round the thin end and ‘ooo’ a tune – it will sound different from your normal voice.


Now put on some of your favourite music and join in!

Idea One

Join Octavius’s band

Octopus Band No Background_200px Stationery_150

Scroll down the page to see our ideas!

Have you ever drawn a route map, showing someone how to get from one place to another? They can be fun to think about and draw, as our baby elephant Tembo shows in his book, The London Treasure Trail.


Today we can make our own route map!

First of all, think of somewhere you often go when we can be out and about  – your school, your friend’s house, a shop nearby – anywhere that you walk to. Now on a clean piece of paper, big as you like, see if you can draw a map showing how to get there. You’ll have to think hard, because you can’t go and check at the moment!


Think about

  • Which way do you turn when you leave your home? Left or right?

  • Do you have to cross any roads?

  • Are there traffic lights, or a zebra crossing you can add in? Or a bus stop? Or a shop? Or an interesting front garden? Or a cat you stroke whenever you pass ?


The more detail you can include, the more interesting and fun your map will be.

Write the names of the roads, and the number of your house or flat, and label  your home – and your destination!

Put a big title at the top so everyone knows what the map shows. If it shows the way to your friend’s (or your  auntie’s, or your granny’)s house, you could take a photo and send it to them!


If you want to send us a photo, we’d be delighted to see it at feedback@stepoutsideguides.com  

and we’ll put it in the gallery!

Idea Two

Draw a Route Map!

Tembo's map158


Baby Tembo's own map

sm Tembo Hat

We’ve heard a lot about the shortage of pasta, but did you know you can make it yourself? It’s not difficult, and it is fun! Octavius loves making it, but he doesgett in a muddle!


Here’s how to make delicious, fresh tagliatelle.

For 4 people you will need:

200g flour. (Special pasta flour is best, strong bread flour is next best, normal plain flour will be fine).

2 eggs

Extra flour

A bowl

A rolling pin

A knife

A table or surface that is big enough to roll the pasta

A large pan of water

A colander or sieve


Wash your hands


Using the knife and bowl, mix the 200g flour and eggs together carefully to make a rough dough. You may need to add a teeny tiny spoon of cold water if the dough is too floury, or a bit of extra flour if it is sticky.


Sprinkle a little flour on the table and put the dough on top, then knead it. To knead, push the dough onto the table with the heel of your hand (the part nearest your wrist) Fold in half. Do it again, and keep folding and pushing that until the dough is smooth.


Sprinkle a little flour on the dough and on the table if the dough is sticking at all. Use the rolling pin, roll the dough as thin as it can be. (You may have to do this in two or more goes, depending on space.)  Make sure the dough stays slightly floury on the outside so it doesn’t stick to the table or the rolling pin.


You should now have a big, thin layer of dough on the table. Carefully roll it up like a l-o-n-g swiss roll. Using the knife, cut thin slices of roll, no more than a centimetre apart. You will have a row of pasta slices. Pick them up, shake them out and da-daaaa  – tagliatelle!

Spread the tagliatelle on the table to dry for at least half an hour. (This will help it not to stick when cooking). Or you can hang it on a pole, perhaps between two chair backs likie the photo - you don't have to hold it!


When it’s time to cook

You may need an adult to help with this part. Fill a large pan 2/3 full with water and when it is boiling, carefully put the tagliatelle in, add a shake of salt and the teeniest splosh of cooking oil.  IMPORTANT: fresh pasta only takes about two minutes to cook!

Drain in a sieve or colander and serve with whatever you like to have pasta with.


We bet this will be the best pasta you’ve ever tasted!


Idea Three

Make Pasta!

Atti with tagliatelle cropped Pasta Octavius

The finished product

on a (clean!) broom handle pole