I think that I, like most parents with school aged kids, have this week been the spectators of beautiful and varying performances of the Christmas story.  I always loved drama at school, from a young age I enjoyed being in school plays and performing and it fills me to bursting to see that Ethan too carries this interest and gets into it and that so very much made my week to see my oldest yet still so little boy up on stage, beaming and singing oh so loudly as a he performed with the rest of his reception class “A little Nativity”!
WP_20151210_09_35_19_ProFor the last few weeks we have enjoyed listening to Ethan as he has demonstrated and performed sections of this play that they were rehearsing for “all of the parents”… He loves to sing, he loves music and apparently now loves to dress up on a stage too. I was blown away by his confidence and pure delight as he sat there in the spotlight and almost perfectly sang all that he had practised.
IMG_1642As soon as I saw all of the little one in their costumes enter the hall, my heart filled up. It was such a lovely sight. And then came the moment for the opening song and I had to bite my bottom lip and clear my throat so as not to be an emotional wreck! Ethan was a shepherd along with 3 other boys, each with a sheep in between them. He told me he was a special shepherd because he noticed that he was the only one with a white furry waistcoat – I love that he bigged up his part!! Their play showed a very simple performance of the Nativity to a series of fun and lively songs, which you couldn’t help but clap along or tap your feet to. It was brilliant.
WP_20151210_09_35_17_ProThey did 2 performances and Grandma and Grandpa Smith came with me to one, and Daddy to the other. He was delighted to have his family there and I loved the odd little wave and thumbs up he sneakily did between songs in our direction… it was such a fun hour spent at his school and celebrating their hard work. How do 4 & 5 year olds remember the words and actions to so many songs? I am blown away! I often cannot believe we are already in the School years, but more so I cannot believe how much I adore and getting excited over all of these ordinary moments of Assemblies, fairs and now Nativities. Its an ordinary part of parenting I am very much loving!
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You know its been a successful morning out when your kid says “Mummy I have had a lovely morning, thank you” – SCOOOORE #mummypoints to me! But aside from feeling like number 1 mum I had to agree, because we got back into the car filled with smiles, magic in our hearts and some paper binoculars all thanks to “The Rainbow Factory” in Farsley (Leeds). It is a magical play centre ran by 2 sisters with an aim  “to transform lives, to inspire, to reawaken the imagination ‑ all through the simple joy of reading” They said in their recent Press release “it’s all too easy to switch on the TV or grab a games console. So we wanted to create an environment that would encourage more children into the world of books, where they could really experience their magic”
I completely agree with them, whilst I do let my kids watch TV in controlled time periods or a Dvd to chill out to I do not let and hope it never will take over life and that they will contnue to have a love of books and the outdoors, I hope that they will love to have adventure in life and go out an get it instead of living it through a screen! I love to get them outside and feed their imaginations, its good for us all and a daily goal! I love to let them be free in the world and explore and after reading about The Rainbow Factory after a friend told me about it I was very intrigued…so this Wednesday we experienced all of the adventure and magic it had to offer. 
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We choose Wednesday due to the poor “summer” weather (though I would go on sunny days too) we took a short drive over and spent the morning (which quite easily could have been into the afternoon as well) exploring, creating and having a grand old time together in the most quirky and unique play centre I’ve ever stepped foot in. It was a refreshing change to the usual madness and politics at soft plays and had the kids attention captured for a good couple of hours.

It is such a friendly environment and from the moment you step foot in to when you leave the staff are welcoming, personal, high energy and creative. I absolutely loved it and so did the kids…we started on “the yellow brick road” with the goal of helping the mouse catcher to gather up 12 lost mice…
InstagramCapture_1f63b047-12bc-4a14-a846-bac41f73e996we then stepped foot into the story book room filled with amazing models and scenes from classic tales like Alice in Wonderland, Billy goats gruff, Merlin and Pinocchio. Ethan and Megan loved it and interacted well with our guide. They recognised some characters but it didn’t matter either way because they were more than open to listening about who they were and the story from where they came. At the end of this area we sat and had a go at making our own models with the very talented ‘Richard’ and creator of all of the scenes and the kids absolutely LOVED it. Ethan kept asking “when can I go make some more models?”…
modelsmodels 2From there we headed into “Goldilocks kitchen” where they made glitzy pictures and binoculars, followed by some lawn games next to the story tree.
creative kitchenWP_20150708_10_59_46_ProI enjoyed taking a step back and watching them both take it all in, laugh and explore and be intrigued by all that they were experiencing, but my favourite part and the moment I really stepped in was of course on the stage and around the dress up and performance area – we had a lot of laughs together putting on the costumes and playing out little stories. Ethan loved being a knight and saving Princess Megan from the wicked fairy witch (me) and then later being a wizard and doing us some tricks (the same one over and over again). I absolutely love drama and the theatre and have always wanted the kids to be into it too…this was like a little dream come true and made my heart smile to be acting a tacky skit we made up with them on a little stage together in such fabulous costume..(they do also have some proper scripts if your kids read). I was impressed with the variety and quality of some of the costumes and especially loved the wizard one and little aprons from Alice in Wonderland that could quite easily feature somewhere on Pinterest (hello sewing project)
InstagramCapture_217417e6-14b4-4886-8613-f37f8b73d3a9WP_20150708_11_10_16_Pro WP_20150708_11_02_48_ProWP_20150708_11_08_41_ProWe then went on a bear hunt…an interactive story scene in the “Rainbow room”, by which point the kids were well and truly into it. They battled through swishy swashy grass, mud, rivers and snow storms before finishing up at Hansel and Grettle’s ginger bread house cafe for some very reasonably priced refreshments.
WP_20150708_11_15_05_ProEach month they have a different theme and this month was “adventure” (hence the binoculars) and after finding the mice the kids were excited to receive an adventure badge which they wore for the rest of the day. We will definitely be returning again and again as there are new things to experience every month and new themes to be a apart of. Its the perfect place to encourage your kids to be imaginative, creative, dramatic and let classic characters become real to them. They had more fun and it was far more beneficial to us all than spending a rainy morning at soft play…and what’s great is it makes you look like number one mum for taking them to it!!! GET IN!!
WP_20150708_11_09_41_ProThey haven’t stopped talking about it, have a list of Buddies and grandparents they want to take to it and are acting out being true explorers and mice catchers as they wear their new essential accessories .. their rainbow factory lanyards.
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