This time of year always brings lots of festive fun for little ones.

Just going out and about brings opportunities to talk about exciting new sights and sounds: houses strung with lights, decorated trees and lots of music.

While it’s all very familiar to us, it can feel overwhelming when it’s new. A visit to Santa’s grotto can be an instagrammable joy, or completely confusing. With lights and trees up earlier than ever, it’s also a long haul till the 25th for little children.

If you’re finding it all a bit much, or you don’t celebrate Christmas, there are still plenty of things to do around Birmingham. Here are just a few alternative suggestions.

Baby disco at the Town Hall

Though this is billed as a Christmas special, Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall promises swing, jazz, rock, pop, funk, latin, and soul – plus nursery rhymes and other audio fun.

monski mouse

This interactive party for under 5s and their grown ups is centred on getting babies, children and adults moving to music and having fun. There’s a soft area for babies as well as a dance floor, and babies under 6 months go free.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Skip the panto and look forward to a post-Christmas treat.


Judith Kerr’s classic children’s book is brought to life on stage in this lively production for ages 3 and up. There are songs and giggles, and it’s all a family-friendly 55 minutes long.

Magic Lanterns in the Botanical Gardens

For an outdoor spectacular from China,visit the gardens in the early evening dark.

Magic Lanterns

Although there’s a Christmas-themed area with trees and snowy scenes, the focus is on vibrant culture around the world. Expect giant flowers, animals, birds and towering pagodas. Children 3 and under enter free, and family tickets are available.

A secret garden at the library

If you’re brave enough to head into the city centre at this time of year, you’ll probably be looking for a haven away from all the chaos.

Library of Birmingham children's section

The Library of Birmingham is the perfect place to get away from it all. The Children’s Section is a lovely space for under 5s. You don’t have to be a member to explore the collection, share books with your children, and stay as long as you like – all for free. If you’d like some fresh air and view across the city, head for the roof terrace on Level 7 (there are lifts to all floors), and visit the secret garden.

Better still, become a member of all Birmingham libraries. You can join online, and your membership can be used in any Birmingham library, and borrowing books is completely free. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!