What stories would you tell in willow tree tepee? We need your suggestions please!

London Play’s Taking Nature to the Street project has been working with volunteers at Fairchildes Children’s Centre in Croydon to encourage children to play outdoors. The area has been drastically affected by play funding cuts, so this opportunity has given them a much needed chance to develop a permanent play structure.

Stacey Morris, the head volunteer describes the positive impact of being involved in the Taking Nature to the Streets project:

‘Here at Fairchildes, The children love playing outdoors, so they decided to plant a willow tree tepee to create an enclosed colourful space to hold their storytelling sessions. In  Our story telling gardening project is proving to be extremely popular! On 4 April, 77 volunteers of all ages came along to help plant sweet peas and perennial climbers up a willow tepee frame to create the magical storytelling hideaway. Our success in recruiting and retaining the volunteers has been down to the invaluable help of London Play. Together we have worked in an innovative and inclusive way with our volunteers, at all times ensuring child led activity planning.

As you can imagine, we are forever guided by the weather and so work with nature to decide what to plant. The project has given the children a greater understanding of their environment and the ability to plan what to grow accordingly. We are out enjoying the fresh air in all weathers and the children enjoy getting their hands dirty! The younger ones love helping out for short periods of time, but equally love jumping off the mounds of earth and playing with water. 

Each season, we plan to create a new hideaway from existing natural materials – several parent volunteers are even
keen to take cuttings to build their own willow tepees at home! The support of the Taking Nature to the Street project has made a real difference to us and the children and families that we work with. The developments here, from the willow tepees to our ‘Jack in the Beanstalk’ colourful play area, will provide a growing and lasting legacy in Croydon.’

To make the story telling sessions as exciting as possible Stacey needs your help. Please can you suggest any stories, themes or games that we can hold in our willow tepee. Please leave any comments in the box below.

London Play’s Taking Nature to the Streets is part of the Free Time Consortium’s Get Involved in Play programme. For more information and to get involved, please contact Catherine Togut, Taking Nature to the Street Project Worker, on 0203 384 8515 or Catherine@londonplay.org.uk or Marlon Gibbins at marlon@londonplay.org.uk.

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