If you haven’t heard about Swainswick Explorers based in the heart of the Charlcombe valley then you should have. Imagine the Famous Five out on an adventure, allowed to explore and be kids until, and as they quote ‘their hearts are content.’ This month the lovely team from Swainswick Explorers, share some of their children’s play discoveries with us in their monthly Play Lab…

We want to share ideas around play that come from our years of working with kids. We think of our after school club and holiday days as a ‘Play Laboratory’ where we embrace children’s inventive ideas, introduce new craft activities or materials and hone and reflect on play-work skills. It’s a place where children and adults all can research, teach and learn and we want to share what we are learning every day with you.

Here are a couple of ideas of things you can try at home with your family.

Play is provoked by change. One tip for making your garden a great play space is not to tidy up!

If you prune a bush or tree in the garden leave the cut branches all in a pile and wait to see what happens. Recently a pile of leafy branches we’d cut down was snapped up in a flash by the kids and used to lay up against structures to create a den or extend an existing den. This is an example of the play-work theory of ‘loose parts’ which is that children are inspired by lots of the same thing.

Keep your soft toys if you can bear to, especially the big ones!

Children love to cuddle them, loll on them, sit on them, wrestle with them. Constant repair is needed but it’s worth it for the play value. Older children love them too. If you see a giant one in a charity shop buy it and see what happens when you bring it home!

Making your own 3D spiders web Lastly you’d never believe what fun a ball of wool and a tree can be. One afternoon in the autumn we let the kids use balls of wool for their own devices and it ended up sparking an outrageously exciting play session

Some of our regulars are really keen to share their play ideas so next time we will have their very best play suggestions.

For more play ideas follow Swanswick Explorers on facebookinstagram or get in contact!