The brilliant attitude and enthusiasm of the staff at the Rainbow Factory make this a brilliant venue and one that we will be sure to visit again in the near future.
We attended on a wet October Wednesday, when it was quite quiet (only 5 children were in) but we were made to feel so special by the staff and it made the day so much more enjoyable.
I booked tickets online, which turned out to be a mistake as you don’t need to on a weekday and as I hadn’t printed the receipt out, I was left relying on a dodgy 3G signal to get the email! (Inside, there is free WiFi). The venue is in a commercial park in Farsley and while the park is easy to find using Sat Nav, you can be wondering round a little to find the actual “Factory”, even though it is well signed when you get to the correct side of the park (the park isn’t too big anyway – and there is enough free parking.
Upon entry, you get a “tour guide” who gives and introductory chat and story and then takes you through the factory, which is about 8 small pieces of artwork/sculptures which has a story behind them, which the tour guide will explain to the little ones. It seems to be dependent on the volume of visitors as to how many is in your group, but we had 2 others at the same age to H, which was perfect.
The stories behind the artwork are based on a theme, which comes from a story which was read to the group before we entered the factory, but all relate to children’s stories (Pinocchio, 3 Billy Goats etc). The tour guide specifically talks to the children and this gets the children’s attention and enthusiasm and allows the parents to make sure that their child is listening and not destroying the sets!!! This lasts about 40 minutes, which is just about perfect and I guess that if the children are a bit older and can concentrate a bit longer, the theme can be developed further.
After the tour, the group is left to do some led artwork before being let free to the stage, dressing up clothes, books and beanbags! The children had a lovely time playing dress-up, using their imagination and making new friends. Overlooking this area is the cafe, which is reasonably priced (kids lunchbox, adult sandwich and bottle of pop was £8) and tasted nice!. Toilets are nearby, and these were clean and well suited for nappy changing etc.
However, once everyone who was in the factory had completed the tour, the staff put on a little 5 minute show of Little Red Riding Hood which was lovely, but even better was when they got a couple of the children to act it out! As it was pre-schoolers/toddlers, the staff had to help a fair bit, but they were brilliant in knowing what the kids could and couldn’t do!
After a while, there was another activity about colours, which was interactive and made sure the children learnt as well as being entertained. However, the lovely part was when a staff member offered to read a story to a couple of the children, seemingly out of the blue. It might sound like a small thing, but by doing that, it made the children feel important and special, and allowed them to learn a little bit more, not only about the book, but also about learning to sit and listen to a “teacher”, which is a difficult skill at this age!!! Also, they actually spoke about to me about H and how old she was, whether she went to nursery etc, (and it seemed like genuine interest!) which is quite rare in most places!. Also, as we said our goodbyes, we were made to feel special by the members of staff who personally said bye, and had a chat with us!
(I just wish that I had remembered the names of the staff to personally thank them!!)
All in all, we spent 3 and a bit hours there and it was well worth the £4 each admission fee (£8 for 3+ aged children). The themes change each month and so there is probably little point going back more than once a month, but it is a wonderful little place which we will be returning to on a regular basis!
Post write-up note: There is also a Secret Garden which is only accessible if you bring good weather with you, but as it was raining, it was closed off so there is something else to explore next time!