Is the Rainbow Factory the coolest place in Leeds to go with young children?!
It must be pretty close, given that they can be creative, learn and be independent whilst having excellent “teaching” by staff, with not a soft play area in sight!
On Valentines’ Day, we headed over to the Rainbow Factory for their Romeo Romeo event, not quite sure what exactly to expect. Rainbow Factory are doing more and more “events” now and this was the first one we had been to (apart from the Christmas Show – review here).
We got there in good time as the cafe area filled up with about 30 children and parents before being let into the stage area for the introduction show. The show was short and sweet which meant that the children stayed still and watched before the audience was divided into 4 groups – with each group doing a different activity for 20 minutes or so before rotating round.
A quick look round showed that there was 8 or 9 in our group, and Heidi (aged 2 ½) was the youngest, probably by a couple of years. This coupled with the fact that she didn’t have a morning nap sent a shiver down my spine……would MY child be the one to ruin it for the others?!
Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, because of the excellent way that the afternoon was planned out. Each group spent just the right time on the different activities, all of which were completely different, testing and stretching all of the children, be they 2 or 10. The activities included arts, drama, singing/songwriting and the good old fashioned Rainbow Factory tour (with a slight twist).
Obviously there were things that Heidi couldn’t do and was a bit shy of doing, but the staff were great at involving her at the right level, without (hopefully!) distracting the older children. To say that the session lasted 2 full/intense hours, all of the children seemed to cope really well, although I think some of the parents were flagging towards the end!
Crafts with a 2 year old is always a challenge and Heidi loved the drama and games, even though she didn’t quite understand the concept of a few of the games!! To my surprise, the songwriting was a bit of a success and seeing her reaction to having her song played on stage was a sight to see. The tour is always excellent, in part because the leader is always enthusiastic and keeps it going at the right pace, even if little hands want to touch the displays!
One of the good things, which might sound like a little thing is that there was a box for the arts/crafts that were made during the day to keep them safe and so you didn’t have to carry them all afternoon. However, as we had just (unexpectedly) started potty training that weekend, there isn’t a potty in the baby changing toilets – and I have never looked for a potty in a toilet previously (I can feel another blog post coming on…!)
Every visit to the Rainbow Factory is different, which is why I feel as though I have to write up every visit (another visit here!) With a toddler, you know that somewhere is good when they get excited to go and they don’t want to leave. This is the case with us and the Rainbow Factory and I can’t wait for Heidi to be older and be able to appreciate it at a different level and learn more and different things. I just need to find some time off during the week to take her when it it quieter!