by Laura (41), Jack (12), Tobias (10) and Siddie (4)
I had the pleasure of taking myself and my 3 roving reporters along to Kidbrooke Village, SE3 for a more ‘focused’ play to review the fabulous new playground. This basically meant they could be loudly opinionated, and I would welcome it rather than trying to contain their often loud and unsubtle views. Luckily this park has been a huge hit for myself and my 3 boys (12,10 and 4) and below are a few of the reasons why:
1 – Slides! If slides are your thing you have quite a choice here. There are side by side slides which you can race each other on: a huge hit with my mildly (!) competitive older boys. They are set back to the right of the park and are super-fast – very important as it makes racing much more satisfying apparently! My youngest son also joined in once he worked out he was lighter (and therefore faster). There are also various ways of getting up to these slides: large boulder type stones for the intrepid explorers, a rope for the climbers and a more roundabout route for those who like a more gentle stroll up. There is also a wide toddler slide moulded into one of the sides which is great for smaller thrill seekers. To complete the slide offering there are two tunnel slides, both as exits from the ‘nests’ (see below). The larger one is steep and fast (there is a warning sign), the smaller one more sedate. In the words of Tobias, ‘slidetastic’!
2 – ‘The Nests’ – named by my four year old. There are four ‘nests’ in the park which you can see from the road, like intriguing beacons tempting you into the park. They are twisted, tall and tantalising. You can climb into the centre of them where branches are moulded into an attractive and challenging route up and across. I enjoyed the fact that it prompted my boys to talk to each other – like any good climbing challenge it wasn’t always obvious where to put your feet and hands and the best way up was together. The wood throughout the park has come from recovered bits from Woolwich Pier, a fact myself and my boys loved. Not only great to see it reincarnated but also to imagine the history these branches have seen. If only trees could talk…
3 – Story stones: Throughout the park on the floor are copper stones with pictures on. At first myself and my four year old used them as a path but gradually noticed each one is different with its own picture on. He loved looking closely at each one and stringing together a weird and wonderful adventure from what he discovered. I believe these have been done by children from local primary schools which is a wonderful community acknowledgement and a welcome dose of imagination into the park.
4 – Baby area: Although mine are too big for the baby area we explored it on our last visit. It’s tucked away from the main area allowing younger visitors a calmer experience. There are two swings beautifully hung from two tree trunks which look like they have been broken off one of the majestic nests in the older area. There are wobble boards and a generous amount of floor spaces for crawlers to enjoy the developing nature.
5 – Climbing wall and ropes: Climbing is a brilliant family activity. I love it as I can see all of the kids and they are generally in the same place. Height is an issue as my four year old thinks he is invincible but this climbing wall is the perfect level – he felt like a big boy and my blood pressure stayed reasonable. My older ones conquered the wall then had the rope bridges to stretch them. All in one area. Perfect. The wood for the climbing wall comes from reused Jarrah wood railway sleepers.
6 – ‘The Mugger’: My eldest son is eagerly awaiting the opening of the multi-purpose sports area. This is behind the play area and currently looking shiny clean and inviting to anyone into ball sports. Throughout the summer it will be set up daily with different activities:
Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays – Five-a-side football
Tuesday and Saturday – Tennis
Wednesday and Thursday – Netball and basketball
7 – Lunch! Previously on our visits we have ventured to One Space café for lunch. It’s open 10am – 2pm and is a lovely relaxed space. On my last visit I did notice a sign in one of the windows of the development opposite saying PUB. Enough said.
Like many families one of our biggest challenges is finding a place that children of different ages will all engage in, without one producing a written complaint about their needs not being met (children of a teacher, fatal), so we were more than pleased to find this area which has been developed with all ages and the whole community in mind. The landscaping and focus on the wildlife and environment alongside the thoughtful equipment create a unique community resource which I am sure will become increasingly popular. The ‘upcycling’ of wood and resources throughout the park gives it depth and historical links which will be interesting to all members of the community, not just those who like to climb and slide.
As you can tell, we loved it and highly recommend that you get down there to check it out!
By Laura James
Kidbrooke Village is in Kidbrooke, Greenwich, SE3 9FD.
For more information about Kidbrooke Village:
This is a sponsored post.
This review contains the genuine views and opinions of our team of roving reporters: Laura, Jack, Tobias and Siddie.