Here’s what you need to know.
Been hearing a lot lately about the Children’s Play Village in Warwick…but don’t quite know what all the fuss is about?
Wondering if it’s a good fit for your children?
Well, in short, the Children’s Play Village is an innovative indoor children’s playground just outside Warwick.
It’s taken a fresh approach to the children’s play space idea, by giving the children a lot of freedom, and opportunities to interact with other children by placing them in a make-believe village.
When we hear a phrase like ‘children’s play village’, what do comes to mind? A room full of soft toys, with brightly painted walls? Some life size dolls or cutouts, maybe?
Would you ever think about a play area that’s been built just like a village high street, with actual rooms simulating everything from a post office and a supermarket to a beauty salon, a theatre and a fire station.
Along with outdoors features like ‘picnic area’, a ‘baby area’, and a ‘camping site’...
ALL of that INDOORS?
Here’s a brief walkthrough of the different ‘establishments’ (play areas)...
- Lotty’s Tea Room is the quintessential quaint village tea shop where children can become customers, perusing the menu and placing orders…or they can be on the staff, serving customers, preparing orders (chef), and so on.
- At Orly’s Hair & Beauty Salon children can get that long-awaited me-time, being pampered with mani-pedi’s. Or they can slip on a stylist’s apron and attend to the customers (other children or mannequins). Oh, and is anybody manning the reception?
- The Village Post Office needs posties to deliver mail around the village, sorters to organise the letters and parcels as they come in, and staff to help customers out.
- The Village Theatre offers all visitors a chance to let their inner performers shine.
- Villagers throng the Village Supermarket to get their (day’s? week’s? - a chance for children to roleplay taking household decisions) shopping done, while staff check them out and restock the shelves to keep the ‘establishment’ running.
- The Aiden-Gleeson Construction Team is looking for reliable workers to work on the Village Hall, which is being repaired. Children have a blast putting on hard hats and tool belts and ‘working’ on carpentry, brickwork and the cement mixer!
- The Village School is looking for a few substitute teachers. Or do your children want to enrol there?
- The Village Vets needs vets and caregivers to treat and nurse wounded animals.
- The Village Emergency is short on doctors and nurses, just when the waiting area is getting busier and busier.
- The Fire Station is looking for reliable firefighters to handle whatever emergencies are called in, plus a Station Manager to manage the team.
- And finally there’s the Village Green, with a picnic area, a baby area where dads and mums can take their children for a quiet afternoon, and a camping area where perhaps an enterprising teacher from the school can organise a weekend camping trip. There’s an ‘ice cream van’ near the picnic area, for picnic-goers to get frozen treats from.
The amount of care, passion, planning and thought that must have gone into the creation of this place is unbelievable.
Learning through play
As playful as it sounds, there’s a clear and strong learning element to the Play Village.
Think about how it’s structured. The children aren’t given a few toys, some clear cut game rules, and then told to play.
Instead, they’re given a situation in the village (scroll down to ‘A typical play session’ to see what I mean) and then given free rein to ‘run’ the village as they want.
So they’ll be exposed to all kinds of grown-up situations (well, sort of) that they have to resolve among themselves.
The Village’s Character Performers will be on hand as well to step in if necessary.
Which means, it’s a wonderful opportunity for children to imbibe typical social and human skills they’ll need to face the real grown-up world.
How it works
They have 3 two-hour play sessions each day of the week - a morning session, an early afternoon session, and a late afternoon session.
A booking for your child(ren) entitles them to the entire village for the entire 2 hours of their session.
Which means every child can take things at their own pace, either going through as many rooms as possible, or spending the entire time in one single room.
One big positive is that they limit the number of bookings in each session so that there’s enough space for all participants to freely take part.
A typical play session
On arrival, you will be met by their staff who will guide you towards the Bistro and the Village Green. Parents can relax in the Bistro (although you CAN join your kids in the Village if you want to).
Once the session begins, the Character Performers introduce the children to the Village and set the scene with a ‘story in the Village that week’. They’ll also show children all the toys and costumes for the little ones to choose from.
That takes around half an hour, leaving two and a half hours for the children to explore the village.
The Character Performers will always be present, keeping an eye on everything, taking part in the proceedings, and occasionally returning discarded toys and costumes to their proper places.
What’s there for you, as a parent, to do
You can stay at the Bistro the entire time and relax. This is a real Bistro, just so we’re clear, and it serves DELICIOUS food.
You can also join your children in the Play VIllage, from time to time. Maybe you’ve got some mail that needs to be posted. Or you need to visit the Village School to find out how they’re getting on. Perhaps you want to catch the latest performance at the Village Theatre.
Who knows, maybe you’ll love it as much, or even more than, your children do!
Can you arrive early, or stay on at the Bistro after the play session has ended?
Something many parents ask, possibly because of the great atmosphere and the excellent food served at the Bistro.
Unfortunately though, the Play Village operates on a tight schedule. Once a play session concludes, they have half an hour to clear up and reset the Village for the next session.
So, as of now, they can’t allow you inside early any more than they can allow you to stay on after your session. It’s to give them time to ensure the entire facility is clean and hygienic and well-run for every single session.
They do have a large parking area though, so if you arrive somewhat ahead of time or if you want to enjoy the Bistro food with your kids AFTER their play session you can hang around for a bit.
Given all that, it may well surprise you that their admission prices don’t even cross £15.
Adults are charged the lowest (£2.5) while for each kid it ranges from £5 to £13, depending on whether they are a crawling baby or a toddler or a walking child.
Prices are slightly higher on weekends and school holidays.
Babies in arms are NOT CHARGED.
Parties at the Play Village
They do organise parties (like birthday parties), and how they do it is pretty awesome. It all starts with someone at the Post Office discovering a special letter for the birthday child.
You can read more about it on their webpage for parties.
The Children’s Play Village is just outside Warwick, a short distance from the M40. The last bit of the road leading to the Centre is a rural, private lane so don’t worry if you have to proceed up what looks like a farm track to get there!
The nearest bus stations are Mander Grove and Purser Drive, both of them a 10-15 minute walk from the Centre.
The nearest train station is Warwick Station, again a 10-15 minute walk away.
Have a lovely day with your kids at the Children’s Play Village
We hope you have a great day with your kids at the Children’s Play Village in Warwick.
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Featured image by Esi Grünhagen from Pixabay.