Children's activities,  Feature,  Leeds,  Review

The Rainbow Factory, Leeds

This is the BEST new centre for children in Leeds. The Rainbow Factory is a place that brings books and stories alive. I hesitate to call it a play centre, because it isn’t really that; it’s an interactive adventure.

Entering The Rainbow Factory, you go to The Gingerbread House to buy your tickets, and then follow the Yellow Brick Road to the entrance of the giant story book.

Robin on the Yellow Brick Road
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Robin on the Yellow Brick Road

Hidden behind the red curtain are a selection of models depicting different stories; Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, Geppetto’s work shop, and more… Staff are on hand to take you through these stories, and bring the models to life. (Emilia had a long discussion about Boggles, and how eating pine cones wouldn’t hurt him because he had big teeth.)

Boggles, and his teeth
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Boggles, and his teeth

After this, you enter into the main centre. There’s a Story Tree, The Beanstalk Stage (for interactive theatre) the Hansel and Gretal Cafe, and the Goldilocks Creative Kitchen (for arts and crafts).

The Rainbow Factory also puts on ticketed weekly events / classes. We went along to Bookworms, which is a story club, lead by a fantastic person who bring the stories to life. He gets the children to act out different parts of the books he’s reading, and also sings nursery rhymes etc. Emilia LOVED it.

Bookworms Club
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Bookworms Club

As good as this was, it wasn’t the best part of our trip. At one point, a bell rang and suddenly two Rainbow Factory staff were calling for all the children to take part in a bear hunt (the We’re Going on a Bear Hunt book). They lead the children through to The Rainbow Room, where they had clever props enabling the children to walk through the grass, the mud, the snow etc., and then enter into a cave to find the bear. It’s hard to put into words how much fun this was for them. They were in the story. They were on a bear hunt.

About to go through the mud ...
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About to go through the mud …

We took a lunch break after this, and Emilia had a lunch box with sandwiches, raisins, mini cheddars and fruit juice. This was the only minor glitch – she wouldn’t eat the sandwiches as they were “too dry”. She can be a fuss pot, but unfortunately the bread had dried out quite a lot. I know that the s