As part of the Big Birthday Week, to celebrate Elsa turning 3 whole years old last week, we paid a visit to the wonderful Rainbow Factory in Leeds. Ted is a bit young to appreciate the magic of books and storytelling so we took along Little Cousin Martha to join in the fun.
The Rainbow Factory is a new venture in Leeds based around a magical wonderland of storytelling, fairy tales and encouraging little imaginations running riot. Classic and modern storybooks are brought to life through whimsical scenes featuring handmade models, crafty activities and the acting out of exciting tales.
We originally visited Rainbow Factory in the summer school holidays. As it turns out it was one of their busiest days ever & it was a bit overwhelming for Elsa. I was very pleased to be invited back to try out the latest themes and experience a quieter and more personal Rainbow Factory.
The Rainbow Factory journey begins with a trip down the yellow brick road to meet the resident creature, Boggles…….
Before venturing through the heavy red curtains in the world of whimsical characters and hand modelled scenes.The models have all been painstakingly created by hand and have a beautiful ‘crafty’ feel to them. They have character and charm and provoke questions and curiosity from children looking at them. The scenes and characters will rotate slightly and changes are planned for the coming months. I had the privilege of a sneak preview of the ‘works in progress’. Coming months will see Snow White and her Dwarves and Jungle Book characters all make an appearance.
Each month the ‘theme’ at Rainbow Factory changes. When we visited this time the theme was ’emotions’. the staff talk through the scenes and characters with the children, encouraging them to recall reading the books or to describe what they can see in front of them. Children are given a little bucket in which to collect an ’emotion’ (star) from each story scene which they can use to craft bunting or a crown or anything they wish in ‘Goldilock’s Creative Kitchen’.
After spending some time creating star and glitter masterpieces in Goldilock’s Kitchen (and fully embracing the dressing up box) Elsa and Martha joined it with an active storytelling session involving dance, singing and all round toddler fun.
The staff get fully involved in the stories they are reading, acting out characters, encouraging participation from the children so they ‘become’ part of the story and immerse themselves in the world of the book.
As it was a beautiful October day we ventured outside to look at the newly opened Secret Garden. Full of scarecrows, fence murals and strangely seculded from the car park below, on a sunny day like this we could have been in the countryside! Bubble blowing and giant dominoes fun in the glorious sunshine followed until it was time to leave. A very reluctant Elsa removed her fancy dress outfit and came away full of talk of her crafting and playing and when could we visit again?
The Rainbow Factory is a fantastic and enriching experience for children, from young to not so young. There is a wealth of activities to get involved in and your time there can be as structured or unstructured as you please. We love this place and cannot wait to go back. It is so different to anything else out there and is an experience like no other.
Full ticket prices can be found here with children (3-12) £8, under 1’s free, age 1-2 £4, adults £4. Ticket price includes a whole day at the Rainbow Factory. Annual tickets are also available priced at £96 (£8 per month) for one children and one adult.
Opening hours can be found here but are subject to change. After the October school holidays the Rainbow Factory will be closed to the public on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
*We were invited to visit the Rainbow Factory for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own.*