Library Blog



Wordplay Residency – Leeds Central Library – May 2015

Furniture of a different kind

We set-out to create a sensory play space for all – an oasis of timeless activity, togetherness and relaxation – in the centre of a public building within a busy city centre. The first challenge was to make the vast, white space with large windows at either side feel curious, safe and cosy in order to invite the play in.

We started with what we knew – to build the space from the floor upwards to the ceiling, making sure that there were engaging things for bodies of all ages – for those not yet on feet who dwell happily & confidently on the floor, to those who’s physical comfort is maintained upright at eye level and above. We wanted to delight the eyes, ears and most importantly the skin, without cluttering the senses.

set up

On the first install day, we got-out everything we had (and that’s a lot of stuff!) and then had to strip it right back again – we had created a big messy web which we needed to untangle and make sense of somehow. We got rid of the furniture and made some of our own – a spongy pod seat from large pilates balls attached together, a nest from a paddling pool & hanging drapes and a comfy corner with giant bean-bags under a suspended ball-pool.

By library closing time of the second day we felt happy to leave the space ready for opening – a completely open central walkway with simple sensory stations around the edges. We realised that the space was captivating in itself and that we really didn’t need to fill it. We thought hard about whether to lock the items away, and whether to leave some hints/pointers/guidelines, but we decided to take the risk and leave and offer everything as it was, as we needed to see how people would really use the space.

What would happen if we trusted whoever came into the space to use it respectfully and playfully…?

space drop in


During the 3 weeks we welcomed almost 250 visitors from birth-90 including individuals and members of local Leeds groups: People Matters, Leeds Autism Services, Artlink Studio 3 and Donisthorpe Hall Residential Home.

We facilitated some focussed groups and planned something different for each one as all had expressed different interests – including dance, movement, painting, reading, sculpture, singing. We offered different elements yet started with the same intention each time: to invite people in, encourage them to use the space how they wished, and to play.


Rosie from Donisthorpe Hall Residential Home had the confidence to try the wool, feeling the softness on her face, she liked the smell of the wool and the soap. “I’ll make some for my friends”. She seemed contented, sharing stories about her church & prayers at bedtime. She loved Frank Sinatra, singing and dancing.


Thank you, once again, for a very enjoyable workshop. Howard says “It was a very creative and stimulating session”, Elaine says “It was good for a 60(!) year old to play”. Leo also said that he enjoyed it too and that “It was different”. Responses from Artlink Studio 3 group.


We also had several gentle drop-in sessions, which grew over-time, and it always felt as though there was enough space for a steady flow of people. We welcomed-back some regulars who returned and took to their favourite spots straight away and often stayed until closing time. On one session it was a rare and lovely sight to see a 2-month-old baby in the centre of the space on a blanket, with the activity of her older siblings rotating around her, and mum feeling comfortable to feed her at intervals.


“Isaac said ‘fabulous’. Leo was busy making-up a sculpture. I just enjoyed watching them. Jo (mum) sat and read some of the nature books. Thank you.” Grandfather of Isaac & Leo (ages 9 & 11)

Curious reactions

As we spent more time in the space, we encountered a mixture of curious reactions.   Many of the youngest participants knew exactly what the space was for without questioning whilst being very in-charge of their own safety and managing the space. For many parents, their child was the invitation to play. Many grown-ups presumed it was for children and not for them so persistence was needed to convey the message that this was for them too – sometimes this encouraged, and sometimes it didn’t.


Some came to have a chat with us as we worked, had a little burst of joining-in with some sewing or building, and moved-on into their day. Some sat with us for hours and shared stories of all the re-used items in their homes and how they have passed these skills-on through their generations.

And many walked through without blinking, as if the installation had been there all along, using it as a mere route from one side of the library to the other. We liked how it just seemed to fit and flow along with the everyday life of the library.

adult dance

Flowing, fascinating, fuelled, fuelling, friendly, free, fantastic, friction, feeling. Gwenny (dancer)

We really enjoyed playing here. Its great to have safe, fun places for families to be and play in the city centre. Thank you! Hannah (mum) James (dad) J & J

Awesome! Thank you for this experience. This should be a permanent thing. My little boy loved it. Daliah (mum) & E age 12 months.

I want one! Fantastic space. Adele (mum) & N age 5.


The games

We witnessed many types of play; from physically active adventure play, imaginative role-play, pure sensory exploration, contemplative painting, deep discussion sparked by nature books, and families cuddling & snuggling. We considered each type to be as valued & playful as the other as the visitors followed their personal ideas, used the space as their own and found their own games. Some of our favourites:


  • Luminous balloon dancing with the lights off
  • Felting foam spheres and using these for foot massage
  • Balancing on the trails of the giant tube web
  • Drawing large aerial projections on the walls
  • Exploring projections on the skin
  • Singing and crafting together
  • Creating swamps from fabrics recycled materials
  • Creating shadow creatures with torches and hanging fabrics
  • Printing bodies from the textured flooring

… and for some, escaping from the space was the game – as was for a couple of participants (both young and mature) who were taken by the huge windows and large doors within the different chambers of the building – at times a challenging game for us!

We completely treasure all of the experiences; stories and games shared by all of the visitors and want to thank all who came to play. We also thank Leeds Libraries who hosted and supported us within their Wordplay programme. The space was used in new and magical ways that we had never had anticipated and we would love to see more of what would happen if there were more public spaces which were kept open and inviting for the possibilities of play for all.



The Playbods Storytelling Brolly on-tour! 

Our Brolly has been bundled-up into a travel-sized package and will soon be making it’s journey across the children’s areas of Leeds Libraries to inspire new story-making…

The Playbods Brolly was designed in connection with the Leeds Inspired funded Dance in Leeds Libraries project 2012 and will be exhibited in conjunction with the Playbods book ‘With the Shake of a Brolly’.  The Brolly is an interactive resource and is the celebration of ideas from our collective experiences of working with several families during the project.


Our aim for the Brolly now is that it be used as an inspirational starting point for creativity within Leeds Libraries, and that it gathers stories and experiences from local families along the way.

The Brolly is designed to stimulate the senses through sound, texture, movement and visual elements. These can support ideas for exploring language and movement within the library, and for evoking new stories. It can be used in group sessions or for individual visitors to experience.  Families and libraries staff are also invited to add their own materials and challenges to the Brolly so that it is a collectively evolving resource.


There are also several movement challenges within The Brolly; half of these relate to The Brolly itself, and half of them are discovery challenges for families with children of all ages to try together.

Most importantly, the challenges, shapes and textures within the Brolly are open-ended and so the imagination can turn these into anything and everything:

          Gently shake the Brolly above your head.

          What do you see?

          What do you hear?

          What do you feel?

          Look at the coloured shapes on the Brolly.

          What images do you see?

          Can you describe them?

          Can you describe a place without using words?

We are very much interested in how different families and libraries staff use the Brolly in their play and storytelling, and we aim post updated responses and images onto our blog in order to gather a pool of ideas created by local people.

And so if you spot the Brolly in one of Leeds Libraries, we invite you to use it to play, explore and make new stories, and then to tell us all about what you discover…!


Librarian Creative Development Session

We were invited by Leeds Libraries to deliver a creative development session for 15 library staff members, who work in the children’s libraries or run the Rhyme Time sessions within their library setting.


We had carefully prepared a range of structures and starting points for creativity, play and storytelling which the participants were then encouraged to use in their sessions and with individual families: ice-breakers, warm ups, circle games, movement challenges, mark making explorations, and storytelling games with objects.  The library staff enthusiastically & practically got involved, and there were lots of positive discussions and interactions between the staff throughout the session.

At the end of the session we asked the library staff to identify one thing they each would like to take away and try in their library. They confidently expressed an interest in a specific aspect which they had been inspired by in the session, and which they would like to try to weave in to their usual sessions and environments. The library staff shared the following interests:

  • working lower on the floor at the same height as the children
  • removing chairs from the children’s area
  • using lining paper to cover the floor and working on top with marks
  • circle games to encourage eye contact and learning more about each other and families who visit
  • using open ended resources such as fabrics, tinsel and feathers for storytelling
  • opening the end of the session for the families to freely draw
  • creating cosy reading places with cushions and blankets
  • running the sessions amongst the books
  • leaving time and space in sessions for open play and exploration and group interactions
  • use of sensory resources when telling stories (torches, smells, paper, linear materials)
  • repeating words, stories and sounds to allow children to learn first then become familiar.
  • following the ideas of the children and their play
  • inviting participants to offer their own ideas into the session
  • creating a story with the participants
  • creating own brolly structure/sculptures to ignite ideas for stories

All were brilliant ideas and had come from the participants’ personal connection to the material which we offered.  We are now in discussion with library staff for ways to support these ideas to embed and flourish in the future.

Comments from participants:

“I loved the enthusiasm of the facilitators and the fact this session has been very practical and not just sit and listen kind of session”

“Excellent day, would recommend to anyone working with children”

“I feel more open-minded”

“Fantastic afternoon, really useful, and backed up by theory and knowledge about play”

“Some excellent new ideas for play”



Huddersfield Library Half-Term Drop in session

Today we had the luxury of having use of a whole room to work in as Huddersfield Library’s children’s area has it’s very own separate space on the ground floor of the library.  We were excited to work in such an open space as this created many possibilities for us.  As always, we opened-up the space even more by removing some of the furniture and moving book shelves to the sides, and then created different areas and activities for families to access and make their own.  These included:  Movement challenges, landscape & den building with fabrics, cushions and rugs, large-scale drawing on the floor, group movement and storytelling games, and exploration with sensory resources such as feathers and scarves.


As families came in and started to play we noticed that as a result of having the large space, there was instantly lots of movement and use of the full space.  With invitation, the families used the floor and materials to make sensory landscapes and this became a key feature of the session.  As the session progressed, these landscapes became 3D as the children then began to build upwards from the floor and work with layering of the materials and texture.  And then without much encouragement the children began to move, play and imagine inside their landscapes, and the stories naturally came flowing out!


There was a range of participants, with children from ages 9-months to twelve years with mums, dads and grandparents. Some families stayed for the full 2-hour session, dipping into all of the activities.

One mum arrived eagerly with her 13-month old little boy at the start and said that she was excited about learning new ideas to try at home. She expressed that she did not know what to expect.  We told her that the focus of the session was child-led exploration and sensation and that the space was theirs to organize how they wished and to find-out what they enjoy most.  We offered some resources gently one-by-one to see if her little boy found any of these appealing.  He gradually became interested in running underneath and jumping onto a strip of fabric as we waved it high and low, he would repeat this, always going back to his mum after each turn for reassurance.  After playing this game for a while and increasingly gaining confidence the little boy created his own game of pulling reels of fabric out of a bucket in order to empty it.  We understand how for a toddler this is such valuable embodied learning, and we encouraged him to indulge in this sensory game with his mum.  Eventually they began to swim inside the sea of fabric which they had created with their whole bodies and huge waves of laughter.

There was also a family of five: a mum and her four children aged from 10 months to 10 years who stayed for the full session.  Each family member found a way to join in and take a playful role; the older children independently began by making a bridge with the materials which then grew into a whole land with rivers, mountains and volcanoes, in which lived a dragon and a mermaid.  They created the landscape, set the scene and acted-out the narrative whilst the younger members were able to climb, crawl & clamber inside their storyscape.  The youngest sibling especially enjoyed rolling down the mountain and sailing on the river in his bucked boat.

Overall, there were big bursts of play where the children with their parents would break-out into leading their own games and stories, and then times when we naturally gathered together for some group activities.  The families seemed to value the balance of having their own time to explore and lead, time to relax and read, and then to be facilitated by us to learn new games whilst also engaging in some social time with other new playmates.


To signify that the session was soon coming to a close, we all connected to large piece of fabric which we moved together with some tinsel strips on the top.  Some lay underneath enjoying the tactile sensation of the fabric, and others enjoyed the exuberant movement and game of catching the falling, wiggling lines.  Spontaneously a poem emerged where each child contributed a line:

Lines that wriggle, Lines that squiggle, Lines that play all day!


The session ended with a shared story inside a reading den which some of the children had made; we all bundled into it and indulged in the time and space for a story with relaxation and closeness.


Birkby and Fartown Library Drop in session

On arrival we were given a very warm welcome by the staff who offered us a much valued cuppa after our busy morning!

Birkby Fartown Library is a community library used widely as a valued resource centre by many local families of Birkby and Fartown.  After getting a sense of the place, we soon realised that it was a hub of activity for families and also groups of children who would attend independently without parents, and that the librarians had positive and supportive relationships with many attendees, which we admired.

We had been made aware that there may be many unaccompanied children attending our session and many children who may be older than our usual crowd (above five years-old) and so we were looking forward to working with a different age-group and made preparations to be able to offer engaging activities for all ages, and to be extra aware of capacity and safety.


Even before the start of the session the place was brimming full of children and parents, some accessing the library resources generally and many waiting to join in with what we had to offer.  The children seemed thirsty to try everything out and were very curious of all of our objects and fabric.

Since we had a ready-made group eager to play, we began in a large circle with about 15 children and their parents/carers.  Using a large elastic band we warmed up our bodies and explored different ways of moving the elastic. We shared our favourite ways of moving within this structure, soon we got to know everybody’s unique ways to move – there were some brilliant ideas which we loved trying-out.   It was good to start the session in this way to include everybody and allow people to get involved in a big burst, and it also supported those to get involved who spoke different languages to one another as the game relies mostly on movement and visual involvement (rather than verbal) whilst also being physically connecting.

The participants showed great imagination and flourished at inventing stories from objects inside socks which we had hung onto a multi-layered washing line.  Many of the children told us that this was their first time of improvising a story, and all were intently focused and involved in it’s creation.


Together we created a new story about a penguin, prompted by an object we found in a sock. This penguin had ran away from home and had many adventures on the ice.  The families then each took an object from a sock and invented their own stories.

To look at, the space was a rainbow of colours and textures. The floor was covered in bodies and blankets and some children used all levels as they built upwards from the floor – whole worlds including the sky with clouds and birds within.  A canopy of fabric became a castle, a carriage, a storytelling tent, constantly evolving with ideas and emotions within the space, the children completely unleashing their creativity.


A really special element of the session was that many siblings attended together and encouraged one another to get involved.  It was interesting that most often it was the youngest siblings who would lead the way.  Two brothers and a sister found ‘What’s in the Box?” to be their favourite game, and they spent half an hour closely positioned together conjuring-up ever more elaborate objects and characters from a box, and extending this to a guessing game. They then took to the large paper-covered floor and enjoyed turning their drawn bodies into super heroes.


A group of teenage girls joined in the last 30 minutes and they were very interesting in trying lots of movement games with scarves – supporting one another, stretching, balancing, creating their own challenges. Soon more people wanted to join in with our game and we ended with a giant elastic circle, each of us discovering how much we could help each other, lots of giggles as we tested our limits and each other!  The children were generous with their playfulness, contributing individually and collectively.

We ended with a luxurious group relaxation and reflection time, where participants painted one other’s bodies with scarves, wafting the fabric around the outline of the body and space around them, which they had brought so much to life.


Moor Allerton Leeds – Drop in session

It’s National Libraries Day!  We spent focus and time creating conditions for a creative environment in the children’s part of the library. We wanted the space to offer choice, comfort & safety, and to invite children to explore at their own pace.

Families were eagerly waiting before the session started to take part.  Some had come from Wakefield, Bradford and Grassington especially.  Other families had randomly popped in and to their surprise had found Playbods activities happening which they could engage with.

With approximately 20 families, we began with our giant wound up ball of scarves which we gently rolled out to every child, criss-crossing across the circle until everybody was connected through a mesh of warped shapes. We explored pulling, stretching, wriggling the scarves. Who can travel under it? Or over it? Who can we trap?


We offered story making activities using a washing line of socks filled to the brim with exciting objects, which prompt stories or the imagination amongst the families. A magic looking tool which if you look through you can see what you’ll look like at 80 years old. Or is it a marble brought to us by a merman on a quest to find the best tasting chocolate in Leeds?

The session began to flow freely as families selected different activities and objects as and when they wished.  We were encased in the bookshelves and so many of the books around us came to life through the objects we had brought in. Den building and landscape building with objects, fabrics, string, cushions, hoops, blankets and pegs became a key feature. Together we created different textures and sounds, which altered the experience of sensation and effected our mood.

One family were emigrating to Australia and their son had completely fallen in love with our bubble bed. “This will be a great way of settling him in when we get there!” says his father and they both plot how they are going to make their very own bubble bed together in Australia.


We introduced drawing activities using giant paper, pens, long pencils and pens on string, encouraging children to lie down and stretch out on the paper.


Sessions in Garforth Library – Friday 21st September 

Today we were playbodding it to the max – it was the last day in our flurry of September sessions in Leeds Libraries.  We delivered a tailored creative story and play session to young children with their grandparents based around the theme of line and journey, which was followed by a drop in session for everybody to join in.

In the first session we had 7 grandparents, 1 mum and 1 dad, 5 grandchildren aged between 3 months and 3 years. We began by creating a giant spider web made out of bright thick wool, the lines stretched out between us criss-crossing, over lapping, bending and stretching. Together we invented a gaggle of games with the wool, creating a storyscape of lines trapping and enveloping the children, giving lots of opportunities to move within, above and around the lines, whichever way they wanted.

We then travelled on a chaotic bike journey with Mrs Armitage, together we used materials to bring the story alive with feathers as rain drops falling on Mrs Armitage’s head, bubbles as a soupy washing up bucket for Mrs Armitage’s dirty hands. We like this story because it includes lots of repetition of words and phrases creating a wonderful rhythm for the telling.

Inspired by this story we designed and embellished our ideas into our own extraordinary travel sculptures with hoola hoops, which could take to the air, or sink deep below into the sea.

Grandparents made excellent playmates and story explores “What this hoola hoop needs…” said one grandma to her grandson “Is a bit of fiery tinsel to turn into a rocket!” Fabulous stories emerged where the adult followed their child, and got low to the ground, keeping the play open and free, which encouraged the imagination.

After our epic journeys in our travel sculptures around the library space, we relaxed by creating interesting line journeys on big paper and on our bodies; massaging onto our family members tickling, tiptoeing, scurrying, slithering and running. We finished the session under a wave of wiggly tinsel lines dancing above our heads.

Later in the afternoon, we led an after school drop-in session, offering activities in creating our own stories using large scale drawing tools and props. We welcomed over 50 visitors across 2 hours.

We used our bodies to create a landscape for our tales to take place; making tunnels, hills and bridges, which we could travel through. The families enjoyed the large paper to stretch out on, where we turned ourselves into different characters such as mermaids, spacemen and a big toad! It was nice not to rush this session and offer freedom to move on the floor, which we made safe with rugs, cushions, blankets. We encouraged families to take off shoes and socks to create an optimal, sensory experience.

Words from the poem by Candace Whitman helped us to reimagine a landscape of exciting lines “Lines that wiggle, lines that bend, wavy lines from end to end”, movement games emerged which worked with our balance, concentration and sent us on a discovery to find stories on the bookshelves which included lines, journeys, movement, travel and quests.

Thank you to all the library staff and families who have helped us develop these sessions. It has been brilliant to meet you and we hope to see you again soon in the library!

Sessions on the Mobile Library in Belle Isle– Wednesday 19th September 2012

With our bag of scarves and magic bits and bats, we journeyed on the childrens’ mobile library bus tonight, taking us into Belle Isle south Leeds. Children of many different ages from 1-14 galloped up to the bus with enthusiasm to squeeze on, listen and take part in the stories and games we offered.

With the movement brolly outside, we caught the attention and intrigue of those entering and made a colourful ‘doorway’ in and out of our ‘world’.

We created new fantastical stories through games such as ‘What’s in the Box?’, ‘Fortunately Unfortunately’. Our stories took us to all sorts of places from the deep dark depths of the freezing Ocean, to flying on a witch’s broomstick towards a frogs’ birthday ball. The children initiated many ideas through interacting with large fabrics, feathers & bubbles – moving under and over, creating characters and stories from the props – stories emerging whilst the children were in action and physically interacting with one another and us rather than sitting still.

A few of the children said that they could not read and so they could not ‘tell a story’. Too often in our culture we give the message that stories just come from books and are all written down – this is a barrier for children who are not confident at reading to engage in stories, and generally for children to have the confidence to create their own stories.

Many of the children stayed for the whole hour session at each library stop – some went off and came back on again several times with another idea for the story. It seemed that there was a real pull towards the safeness and fun activity on the bus.

The mobile library is such an important and valuable resource to have in this area for the children – a place where these children can meet each week, a familiar routine, library staff who are so open and inviting and willing to encourage and evoke the imaginations of the children just by listening and having open conversations in a warm and relaxed manner, a safe and inviting space, and of course the lovely books to borrow!

Family Session at Armley Library – Tuesday 18th September 2012

Today was our first September session of delivering tailored creative play activities to young children with their parents. These ideas were inspired by the activities we shared with our families at our previous drop-in sessions in July.  We had a lovely group of families with children from 5-months to three years-old with some mums and one grandad.
The theme today was journeys and pathways and we explored all of the different ways in which we can travel using just our bodies, imaginations and some very simple props.  We also took great inspiration from the book ‘Mrs Armitage on Wheels’  by Quentin Blake.  We love Mrs Armitage’s inventiveness and also rather chaotic ways of getting everything she could possibly need onto her bike and how she turns a very normal bicycle into something very strange and spectacular.  We tried to include these elements of fun and creative possibility within the workshop and after recreating the story with the help of all of the participants and brilliant library staff, the families were then invited to create their own fantastical travel sculptures all with very simple things such as hoops, wool, shiny paper and pieces of fabric.  The families took to the task straight away and all created something magical and unique in how their sculptures looked, moved, sounded and felt.

We then took our ideas to paper and enjoyed marking lots of different lines and pathways on a large sheet, weaving in and out and around one another, allowing the children to take the lead.  One little boy, age 2 created a wonderful game – singing his lines as he drew them on the paper – this was irresistible to join in with and we all found ourselves singing along.  We then finished the session by watching the ‘wavy’ lines rise and fall on a fabric wave and managed to catch at least one wiggly line if we were lucky.

We enjoyed noting the reactions from those who were in the library today; the children’s excitement as they discovered how to engage in the space and materials in their independent ways and how they were so willing to share this with their parents. We also enjoyed the parents’ openness to follow their children and trust us as the artists, whilst the libraries staff watched with intrigue as we began to turn the usual space into a large reading/play den, and the usual visitors looking-on from the distance with interest, noticing that there was something a bit different about how things looked today!

Drop in Workshop at Garforth Library – Friday 20th July 2012

It was a hive of activity in Garforth Library today, with over 120 visitors across 5 hours. The floor was covered in cushion mountains, story dens, wiggle drawings, a glitter pool and many happy families.

Glitter Pool

We loved spreading out on the floor with large paper and making giant drawings inspired by the book Doodle Cook and experimenting with movement games inspired by stories such as Crocodiles Are The Best Animals Of All with our parachute and hoola hoops.

Draw me a wiggle salad

Families could pick out books from the shelves at any time and take it into the den, to snuggle and read.

Can you find a book with a tractor in it? Now we are at the end of our first wave of research workshops, it’s time to do some reflecting for the next lot in September. So far we’ve had a chance to explore how our resources and ideas work with families inside three different library settings. Our activities have offered a shared experience for children and their grown ups to come and be creative in the library. We have enjoyed reimagining the library environment and meeting the families and librarians as well as watching them interact with the change. So we have lots of ideas buzzing around for dance and play activities inspired by specific stories in Leeds Libraries in September.

Drop in Workshop at Horsforth Library – Tuesday 17th July 2012

We had a brilliant 5 hour drop in session today, the time just whizzed by. Families came to explore the new library environment with children as young as 8 weeks through to 12 years old. We let the children guide us through their imagination using  props, stories, drawing and movement games in fresh ways.

Rolling on our tummies

All the families inspired us, here is just one story we would like to share:

Three sisters, ages three, eight and twelve with their grandma enter around lunch time and stay into the afternoon.  They start by instinctively finding the most comfortable spot, close together.  They choose the book ‘Animal Boogie Woogie’ and older sister is the exquisite storyteller, all other family members listening intently.  The storyteller is so good that I want to listen in too and I perch next to them.  As the story continues I offer a few handy props such as feathers and some scrunchy tinsel and the animals break out of the book into the space around us, “Tickle, tickle, bird’ sister age three sings as she blows the feather around and feels it on her face.  We get to the end of the story with lots of singing and dancing in between.

Can you roll without using your hands?

 And then there is some time to explore where all of the family members find different things to discover independently.  Youngest sister likes to twirl under the dancing brolly, middle sister wants to try all of the dance challenges and older sister helps her.  She comes in very handy especially with the challenge:  ‘Can you stand without your feet?’  Grandma also joins in and offers some ideas from her seat, and can’t help but move with them, without realising.
Creating a story together
The sisters finish by creating a large map together on human-sized paper, drawing around one another, and ‘The Story of the Lost Pirate Princess’  is born.  Middle sister tells the story in the most intricate detail to grandma and me.  Grandma listens and asks: ‘Is this a story from a book?’  ‘No’, middle sister says: ‘It’s from my head’.

The Mobile Library at Middleton Gala – Saturday 14th July 2012

We had loads of fun hanging out with the mobile library at Middleton Gala today. There was plenty of entertainment on offer from children performance acts, stalls, face painting, live music and of course some colouful Playbods fun in the children’s mobile library.

Fabric den We transformed the inside of mobile into a rainbow of snuggly fun with our bubble bed and mountains of fabric and cushions.

Dancing brolly

Outside next to the entrance, we played movement games with our dancing brolly where children could pick a movement challenge and we tried it together. The sun came out too!

Bridges and tunnels

We made triangles with our bodies, rolled each other over without using our hands, travelled through human tunnels and played hoola hoop buckaroo. The children had bags of imagination and lots of new movement games emerged.

Families browsed the bookshelves and found a comfy place to sit in the bubble bed and enjoy a good read and relaxing time. Some families joined the library for future book loans. We loved chatting to families about their favourite stories and dreaming up other reading and movement games they could try at home.

Snuggling in the bubble bed

Families said “energetic”, “unusual”, “inviting” and “fun”.

Thanks to librarians Steve, Paul and Tim for making us so welcome and letting us cause a bit of Playbods havoc in your mobile library!

Librarians in tutus!


Residency Day Two  –  School Library Service  – Friday 13th July 2012

It was another creative playful day inside the School Library Service. We are preparing fun activities for play in all weathers as it looks like it’s going to be a little bit rainy tomorrow at Middleton Gala. But we’ve come up with some interesting brolly contraptions for families to engage with stories and words, which are going to be a hoot!

We had some enthusiastic visitors from the library service, who came and relaxed in our bubble bed and played under our dancing umbrella! “It’s like a big hug!”

We could barely fit all the exciting props and fabrics back in the car on the way home, what with the bamboo, books, fabric, balls, umbrellas, cushions ….

We look forward to our day of dancing, reading and playing with families tomorrow inside the mobile library at Middleton Gala 11am-2pm this Saturday. (Middleton Primary School, Middleton Park Avenue, Leeds, LS10 4HU)

Residency Day One –  School Library Service – Wednesday 11th  July 2012

We had a lovely first day in our play space at the School Library Service. We worked amongst the piles and piles of school books which have been returned from Leeds schools to this hub for busy bee librarians to sort through. It’s an interesting hive of activity.

We have been working with a range of childrens’ book so far and developing lots of ideas for our events starting this Saturday at Middleton Gala. We must have a trillion books we love to work with, our favourite book changes everyday. (A list will be coming soon!) Today we worked with ‘Doodle Cook’ by Herve Tullet. It’s an inventive doodle book that teaches children to be creative with shapes and colour and draw dishes such as ‘Scribble Delight’ and ‘Magic Marmalade’. The book encourages powers of visualisation and stretches the imagination, and we love it!

Families are welcome to come and find out about what surprises, ideas and fun emerges from other children’s books this Saturday 14th July 2012 11:00am – 2:00pm at Middleton Gala Middleton Primary School, Middleton Park Avenue, Leeds, LS10 4HU.

We will be inside the mobile library. It will be a squish, but we are excited by the challenge of dance and sensory play activities inside this space.

3 thoughts on “Library Blog

  1. Pingback: Deep breath! | Welcome to Playbods

  2. Hi Bryony,
    This looks fantastic! Can you let me know if you are planning any more events? We go to Garforth library regularily & the library bus on saturday mornings in Micklefield but we’d also travel to come and see you at other local libraries. It was nice to bump into you in Bradford the other evening.
    Hope you’re well
    Nick, Julie, Martha, Ila & Zac Linley

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