“Imagination is more important than knowledge”
Here at Pop Up Play Village we make child’s play of the world – inspiring and nurturing young minds in equal measure.
Our aim is to provide a safe and inviting space in which children and their parents can unleash their creativity and let their imaginations go wild.
Pop Up Play village is made up of role play areas. We’d call these sets or scenes if we worked in the glamorous worlds of TV or theatre – but sadly we don’t! We have a hospital, vets, baby nursery, supermarket, café, construction site, library, baby play area, art studio and outdoor explorer zone. Each one filled with high quality toys, props and dressing up kits – specially sourced and impeccably clean.
What Makes Us Different?
We’re often asked whether we’re a playgroup or a drop in toddler play session. Yes, we have toys to play with, things to dress up in and caffeine on tap but our village is about much more than that…
Our play sessions have been specially designed by an expert in early years education to help children learn and develop through play. Each of our areas provides them with the tools to develop socially and learn more about themselves, their peers and the world we live in. And whilst this is about education and development, our key priority is having fun.
That means fun for everyone. There are no adult wallflowers here. Parents and carers are welcomed into our village and actively encouraged to lose their inhibitions and play together with their children in a way that’s often just not possible at home.
And whilst we love our village and all the characters who live in it, we realise it’s good to shake things up a bit from time to time. That’s why we often invite guests to play – dinosaurs, pirates, mermaids, unicorns and dragons – to name a few. We also mark events and the seasons as we pass through the year.
Laying The Foundations
It was back in 2007 when I started teaching my first ever class that the first foundations of the Play Village were laid. Watching the children in my reception class acting out real-life scenarios in the role play corner, I realised the true value of learning through play. I’d always worked hard to create engaging and realistic areas in which the children could let their imaginations run free. I absolutely loved teaching and gained six fantastic years of experience before having my first child. When my son was 2, I found at weekends it was really hard to find fun, exciting places to take him. It was on one cold, dreary Sunday afternoon in February that the idea of running pop up role play events came into my head along with the name Pop Up Play Village! I thought about it for many months after this vision and it wasn’t until after my daughter was born in June 2016 that I decided it was time to go for it by opening up the world of mobile role play to children and their parents in my local area.
Of course, Pop Up Play Village didn’t pop up overnight and as with any build, a great deal of research and testing came before. I wanted every element of the village to be the best it could possibly be and so sourcing the right toys and props took time. Safety, durability and play-ability were key and thankfully, as well as many years of teaching experience behind me, I had two excellent testers in the shape of my children – who were inspiration and guinea pig in equal measure!
The doors finally opened on Pop Up Play Village in 2017 and we’re proud to say we’ve undergone huge expansion since. We’re now popping up all over Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire. We run sessions for families and schools, entertain children at weddings and events and host their birthday parties. We’ve already been accredited by the Approved Franchise Association and also have the support of two major high street banks – Lloyds and NatWest.
But we’re not sitting back. We’ve got ambitious plans and there’s plenty more to be done if we are to bring the Pop Up Play Village experience to many more families across the country and beyond.