… Two big furry ears! Two big goggly eyes! IT’S A BEAR!!!!!
You probably won’t need me to explain that comes from Michael Rosen’s much loved We’re going on a bear hunt. It’s one of my favourites and I don’t think I’m alone. Following the recent downpours, I’ve enjoyed hearing my toddler talk about the ‘thick oozy mud’ in the park.
Just before Christmas, we went to the Discover Centre at Stratford, which has a Michael Rosen exhibition on at the moment. I’m calling it an exhibition because that’s what their own website says, but that makes it sound a lot less fun than it really is. Maybe ‘experience’ gives you a better idea.
If you’ve been to Discover before, you’ll know that the upstairs is a free play area, with slides, crafts, books and other interesting things to do. And it opens out onto a lovely garden. It’s a great place to go with a toddler at any time and there are regular story-telling sessions you can book into on arrival.
The downstairs is regularly taken over by ‘exhibitions’ and until 10th April it’s dedicated to Michael Rosen’s books. I think the best way to describe it is it’s like a set, with rooms themed to his stories. So you can take your toddler on a bear hunt, through the long grass, river, mud, forest etc. right into the bear’s cave.
The Michael Rosen exhibition is very popular, so it’s recommended you book if you’re visiting at the weekend or during children’s holidays, rather than just turn up and hope there’s a place free. You get a 45 minute or so session to play and explore. You normally have a story teller to introduce playtime and bring it to a close, but they were ill on the day of our visit, so I can’t report back on that. But I’m sure we’ll visit again and provide an update.
What? Michael Rosen’s Bear hunt, chocolate cake and bad things.
When? 16 October 2015-10 October 2016. Sadly the Discover Centre isn’t open on Mondays (For opening hours, click here)
How much? £5 adult/child (£4.50 for Newham residents ). Under twos free
Facilities and access There is a small cafe selling child-friendly snacks, baby-change facilities and an area to eat food you’ve brought yourself. There’s also a buggy park and lockers to leave bags in. The centre is five minutes walk from Stratford, which has lifts to all platforms.