A Den of ImaginationJanuary 26, 2018
The toy fire is taken from the toy campsite to the toy railway carriage to create “a steam engine”. The train driver shouts to his crew that the steam has caused a fire at the nearby toy stables, so the hobby horses must be rescued. Luckily, a six-year-old vet is on hand to check over the hobby horses and administer toy carrots.
The play room assistants breathe a sigh of relief when the vet confirms the hobby horses are going to be okay. After the children tuck into a hearty picnic of toy cake, corn on the cob, raw potatoes, carrots, lettuce and tea – served on blankets at the rekindled toy campfire – they report that the horses have had a lovely day.
“It’s been wonderful to see this kind of play and imagination in Little Glen,” says Kathryn Miller, Little Glen Coordinator. “The children’s faces have been lighting up as soon as they walk in the door, and it’s been lovely to hear their squeals of delight as soon as they see the railway carriage and treehouse.”
Since they opened in November, Gleneagles’ brand new spaces, Little Glen and The Den – the latest additions to the glorious playground – have been inspiring young imaginations, stimulating curious minds and occupying restless hands and feet.
Little Glen, a fully supervised crèche for 2 – 9 year olds, is a colourful and vibrant play environment for adventurous spirits. With bright, fresh colour schemes, different textures and an arts and crafts workshop, the space has been designed to stimulate interaction and learning.
Little Glen’s countryside theme – its indoor treehouse; toy campfire and tepees; play stables with hobby horses; Gleneagles railway carriage; and pretend grass flooring scattered with ‘cuddly’ wildlife chairs – reflects the natural beauty of the estate and local landscape and brings a feeling of the outdoors inside.
According to seven-year-old Alice, this outdoor theme is what makes the space special. “It’s different to other places I’ve been, because it’s better” she says. “I like playing with all the camping stuff because it’s just like when I go camping outside with my dad and we watch the cows.”
The Den, aimed at 6 – 15 year olds, is filled with a variety of stimulating and interactive play resources and has been specially created as a hangout space for older children and young teenagers.
The Den’s series of linked rooms features everything from PS4s, Xboxes, arts and crafts, a photo booth, pool and air hockey, to traditional games like Chinese Checkers, Dominoes, Backgammon and Charades.
The relaxed cinema room with its big comfy floor cushions entertains young guests with regular film screenings, while the giant-sized games area encourages play through a full floor-sized game of snakes and ladders, giant Connect Four, giant Jenga, and a huge wall-mounted Scrabble board.
The children aren’t the only ones who have voiced their approval. “All the parents are saying how much they wish they were still children, so they could enjoy coming to play here themselves,” says Colin Farndon, Director of Leisure. “It’s a good job we have so much for the adults to do, otherwise Little Glen and The Den would be overrun with big kids,” he laughs.