Building Wolves Play Cafe
With a whole host of enthusiasm, excitement and support from the Midlands School of Social Entrepreneurs Start-Up Course, we approached two city spaces to host our pilot play sessions for Wolves Play Café in December 2018.
With massive thanks and partnership of Gatis Community Space and Light House Cinema and Café Bar, from February to July 2019 we delivered 18 pilot play sessions to talk and listen to caregivers of under 5s in our city, test out play ideas and see what children and their caregivers want! As these were our first ever play sessions, we decided to opt for Pay As You Feel pricing, with suggested donation of £2 or a purchase of a refreshment.
What did we do?
We delivered Play and Stay sessions from 10.00 -12.00 led by an Early Years Specialist with over twenty years of experience teaching and leading in Early Years settings in Wolverhampton. Each session having a theme linked to a short picture book, songs, rhymes and fun, play based activities.
Initially we planned to run sessions each week for 8 weeks, and we were so happy when our playmates wanted to come and join us for more! So we added some extra pilot sessions from April to July.
Gatis Community Space
We delivered 9 play sessions here from February to July 2019. It’s great that there is a Bump To Boob breastfeeding support group running at the same time. By the last three sessions we had between 10 and 16 children each time! Perfect for 1-1 interaction but also opportunities to make new playmate friends.
For my older son he’s nearly three so he loved the outdoor spaces here, so the water garden and the other adventure playground he really, really loved" Miranda
Light House Cinema and Cafe Bar
We delivered 9 play sessions here from February to July 2019, with over 80 caregivers and almost 100 under 5s attending in total. With the fantastic support and popularity of the venue they booked up quickly from the start.
I quite like that you’re relaxed and you have different ages"
By working with Gatis we were able to access a small seed fund from Power To Change. This enabled us to invest in more resources, extend our pilot sessions and deliver a consultation celebration session at the end.
We wanted to celebrate the close of the pilot and learn about refreshment choices that caregivers and little ones look for. More importantly we wanted to have a chat about why you would come to a Wolves Play Café play session.
We provided a voucher for each caregiver to redeem for refreshments and some pictoral large menus to put preferences. Love ‘n’ Peas, Gatis Community Space’s kitchen, developed a Toddler Menu to trial alongside the session.
We know that it’s not easy to sit down for long when you’ve got little ones to keep an eye on, so this meant we could easily chat. To find out why caregivers go to a play session and what they think of our pilot sessions, we decided to just have a good old natter!
Every caregiver who we had a chat with or gave some feedback was entered into a prize draw to win a family ticket to Thinktank.
Here is what we learnt from our playmates!