Coco and I were lucky enough to be invited down to the Discover Children’s Story Centre last week to check out the brand new and swanky Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things Exhibition created hand-in-hand by story-telling genius Michael Rosen. To anyone who is unsure of who Michael Rosen is all I need to start chanting is, “We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one…” and you should immediately have some idea (if not, where the hell have you been hiding!?)
The Discover Centre is just down the road to us, but I’m shamefaced to say we had never been until now. When it came to the crunch I was always put off by the idea that it would be a mission to get to but, don’t be a dipstick like me, it’s super easy to get to from Stratford Station (directions at the end of the post). On the plus side, this gave us the opportunity to explore the whole centre during our visit and I’m pleased to report that it’s brilliant.
Upon our arrival Coco and I first checked out the Story Trail room on the first floor. There is LOADS and loads to explore here and Coco had a ball running from each of the interactive exhibits, ranging from the indoor rocket and slide, to the naval ship, the tee-pee tent to the throne reading chairs. Her favourites by far were the dressing up box and the craft table, with her furry spoon creation now taking pride of place on our mantelpiece (yay!)
I have to hold my hands up and say that although I am a big fan of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, that was the full extent of my Michael Rosen knowledge (apart from Happy Harry’s Cafe – I could recite that beauty word for word). But this didn’t matter one bit. After all, who doesn’t want to step inside a giant chocolate cake house, discover a secret larder, go swishy swashy through the river on a bear hunt or discover bad things in the dread shed!? I have to say, I think the exhibition is skewed for kids a little older than Coco’s tender three years, as there is so much more to do, take away and explore that would suit a slightly older eye. This was proven by the raft of VERY EXCITED school children who were also exploring the exhibition on the day, but this didn’t stop Coco enjoying herself and checking out every nook and cranny and there were plenty!
You can visibly see that a whole lot of love, care and attention has gone into the installation from Michael and the team at Discover, and it was a real treat to see Michael (who we were lucky enough to see on the day) talk so animatedly about the installation, the thought process behind it, and how he hopes it will be received by schools, parents and children alike. I was hoping for Michael and Coco to nab a quick selfie together for the blog, but the likelihood of her throwing a hissy fit was just too strong (and there were too many TV cameras filming!)
After some serious fun downstairs, we took a quick breather in the Story Garden outdoor play area (where there is also seating for those needing fresh air and coffee – always me.) Again, the playground didn’t disappoint and Coco was off checking out the pirate ship, alien space ship, taxi car and more before I headed home with a very happy but tired toddler.
Michael Rosen’s Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake and Bad Things will be running at the Discover Children’s Story Centre, Stratford, until April 2016. For further information please visit: www.discover.org.uk
Directions: Head out of Stratford Station (or after you have crossed the bridge from Westfield Stratford if parking there), turn right and head through the bus station. Continue on this side of the road until you reach a crossing. Take the crossings to the High St on the other side of the road, head right and the Discover Centre is right there on your left. Hope this helps!
Don’t miss it!