London Children’s Story Centre Discover is based in Stratford, and very easy to find off the Tube. I recently visited to see the new SuperHeroes exhibition and to learn more about StoryCloud, a new web-based app that is an online story library.
My first site when I walked in was cake! They have a lovely café at the entrance which was very relaxing and allowed you have a snack before paying admission fees.*
When you enter Discover Story, you’re met with laugher and smiles. There were both school groups and families when I visited and although there were a lot of people there, it wasn’t uncomfortably crowded. The premises behind the story trail is there is a planet that is running out of words that has recently crashed into Discover. Your mission is to help gather words to send them back to the planet to help it survive. As part of the trail, there are brilliant word pods that let you record your voice. You can also listen to words in several different languages, explore secret caves, climb magic towers, and interactive with items in every space. There is also a wonderful presence of multi-sensory activities integrated within the trail*.
The activities and trail take place over several floors although the bottom floor is usually part of a special exhibition. The current exhibition is SuperHeroes – who are A, E, I, O, U with the evil Y trying to cause havoc. The exhibition is incredibly hands on and for all ages. I was impressed with the care and attention to detail taken to ensure learning was taking place via fun.
New to Discover is the StoryCloud which has the UK’s most popular kid’s authors and illustrators teaming up on this London 2012 Festival event. The authors team up with illustrators they don’t normally work with to create a fun and silly story. The children are then encouraged to create their own story and send it in (via email or post). Charlotte and I had a go with a couple of them and really enjoyed listening to them (and having a go at writing one!). A new one is added each Monday.
Every inch is used within Discover, from the stair cases, to the bathrooms, and even the window that faces a brick wall has been converted into part of the story trail (*whispers* it’s where the Giant lives!).
Discover does not stop with the building though. When you walk out back, you’re greeted with the most magnificent play area called the Story Garden. This is actually where Discover started first, even before they had the building. The Garden is filled with items to ignite the imagination including bridges, dragon slides and Sparkly Forest.
Children’s Story Centre Discover is very family friendly for kids 0-11. They often have wonderful authors like Michael Rosen and Philip Ardagh (to name drop a couple) in to get involved with projects and activities.
This is worth a trip to London on it’s own.
*£4.50 adult/child /£16 family of 4/ FREE under 2s. They also have a Mighty Saturday Club which is free for children disabilities or special needs that are 5-11.