It’s been a busy few months for the children of Kippen Playgroup, with lots of fun excursions and plenty of time out and about exploring nature’s playground.
First up was our annual highlight; a visit to Arnprior Farm to meet the new lambs. Rebecca and Duncan McEwan very kindly invite us down every year to learn how the farm copes with so many new babies. It’s always interesting and educational, plus it gives the kids a chance to get up close and personal with the farm’s pet lambs by petting, feeding and collecting hay for the woolly whippersnappers. We’re incredibly lucky to live in this part of the world, and the Playgroup children benefit enormously from getting regular outings to local farms to learn all about food production and animal care.
After learning the ropes as sheep farmers, the children got back to the serious business of Nook & Cranny Exploration. The kids take great delight in roaming our countryside collecting sticks, looking for bears, hunting for bugs and splashing in any and every water source they come across. Readers will no doubt be delighted to hear that on one of their expeditions the children discovered that we apparently have lobsters residing in the frog pond! Great news for the local eateries, although I’m told they may struggle to find them on their own. Never fear, we have some diminutive and experienced fisherpeople in our ranks who would be more than happy to explain at length about their findings and point them in the right direction.
It’s not all good news though, it would appear that in a tree hollow down one of the back lanes, the Gruffalo and Dracula himself are shacked up! Under no circumstances should you approach said hollow, these two are notoriously a bad influence on each other! Put it this way there’s no scrambling, roasting or making ice cream…the snake, the owl and the Fox were served bleu! There are also signs of a troll living under the bridge on the way up to Monkey Camp, so stay safe out there Kippenites!
When the children aren’t discovering new, and potentially dangerous, creatures around Kippen, they are up at Monkey Camp or down at the Orchard, drawing with charcoal (mainly on their faces), playing tug of war, climbing trees, concocting potions, painting and hanging out with the baby ducks. Our Playleaders Morna and Pam do a wonderful job of surreptitiously introducing numeracy and literacy in our outdoor settings whilst letting the children lead the play and make their own discoveries.
Our end of term outing took us to Old Leckie Farm, where farmer Alison showed us around and introduced us to the most dog-like sheep we’ve ever met (Flopsy) and the famous Leckie Layers. The kids really loved getting their wellies pecked at by so many hens and then helping to collect and sort some of the fresh eggs. The children also got their hands dirty digging up potatoes and Alison kindly gave each of them a bag to take home, which I can attest to being some of the best tatties I’ve ever tasted!
We wave goodbye to five of our Playgroup crew as they head to school in August, and we wish them all the best for their future and hope that Playgroup has given them a lifelong love of the great outdoors. As a result of our graduates leaving us for pastures new, we will have spaces available for the new term, after the summer holidays, so please get in touch with Morna via firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a taster session. We run Playgroup every Tuesday and Friday (9:30-12pm) during term time, and we take children from 2 up to 5 years old.
It’s also been a busy time at Toddlers, we recently had a theatre group called Calvinball come and perform for us in the beautiful Church grounds, which was lots of fun and the children really seemed to love the interaction with the performance. We also had Zoolab come to introduce the little ones to lots of creepy crawlies, a couple of rats and a massive snake! The children absolutely loved it and were far less freaked out than the Mummy contingent. Toddlers is usually less about spiders and snakes and more about cuppas and cakes, so please pop into the Village Hall on a Thursday (10:15-12pm) for less scares and more self-care. During the summer holidays it’s worth checking out the Toddlers Facebook page (@KippenBabiesToddlers) to make sure we’re not meeting at a park in the sunshine instead.
Kippen Street Fayre was an absolute triumph this year and our Playgroup & Toddlers’ bottle stall raised over £1,100! It’s a truly amazing total and goes a long way to keep our service running throughout the year. Not only that, but we donate 10% of our takings to the Over 65’s Christmas lunch, so we hope this means that they have a great start to their wine and nibbles kitty. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible generosity of the people of Kippen, and the many businesses, who donated record amounts of bottles this year, and then came and spent some hard-earned cash at the stall. So, a heartfelt thank you from all the committee and the children of Kippen Playgroup & Toddlers.