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£2,500 stretch target 1 day left
114% 46 supporters
Flexible funding – this project will receive all pledges made by 16th June 2021 at 12:00pm

The Ape Project would like to create a Mud Kitchen for the younger children that access our Adventure Playground and community garden.

by Kate Williams in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

If we could secure even more funding our goal would be to build and grow a Sensory garden for all of our users to enjoy, but especially designed for those with sensory issues or disabilities.

This idea has evolved in consultation with therapeutic horticulturalists and professionals who work with children at a psychotherapeutic level. The more hands-on experiential contact children have, the better for their earth connection. As a play professional we have found access to the garden and sensory edible plants enormously helpful in working with children and young people. The ability for a child to engage in nature has a calming effect, allowing them to explore without fear is enormously important. The APE Project are devising a space that can be explored, cultivated and used to create edible food and useable lotions and potions for health giving benefits. In our consultation with the extended community of the playground and talking with children and parents we are aware of a huge deficit and lack of safe space in the natural world. Many of our families are from migrant communities, there is a strong nature connection to the foods, fruits, plants and trees back home but as yet there is quite a large deficit in the current nature connection here in the UK. 

For this reason we are looking to develop a thriving garden built up by the children, their families and the wider community.  We have many families with SEND children and many that are on the autistic spectrum, we believe the connection to sensory is enormously important. The development of a herb and flower garden will help us to help children engage with their heightened sensory perception. 

On site we are looking to develop sensory equipment on the new play structure to help children who struggle with more complex physical equipment. By creating sensory areas around the structure accessible by all will help us increase our benefit for our SEND children here. This will also send out a clear signal for isolated families that this is also for their children.  We need to help children with SEND feel more able to engage and fill the site and new play structure with a plethora of easy to engage with playful and musical inventions and unexpected happenings within the structure, mirrors that distort, a large playable wooden xylophone, rhythmic climbable sculptures, fire mans poles, tactile placement of playful tactile objects. Any additional funding will help us fulfil this goal.

The APE Project is seeking funding to enrich our free open access play sessions at St Paul's Adventure Playground through the creation of a mud kitchen for some of the younger children that attend. We currently run 4 sessions per week on a Thursday, Friday 3.15- 6.15pm, and Saturday afternoon 1-5pm.  We also run an inclusive session every Saturday morning for disabled children and their families. Recent monitoring figures show that: 

  • 70% of our users are classed as BME / 40% identify as Somali or Somali British 
  • over 50% live in social housing / 40% of users live in flats
  • 32% are single parent families and 49% are in receipt of benefits.

Mud Kitchens are more than just the chance to explore mud, get messy and have fun. They also provide a whole variety of different learning opportunities including sensory, imaginative, creative and exploratory play. It will enable children to connect and interact with the natural world around them and can help children develop tactile skills with sensory play.

Mud kitchens stimulate creativity and imagination and provide engaging and valuable play to children in a wide age range – they build confidence and self-esteem, and encourage children to work together as a team or independently. Mud play and other outdoor activities not only get them away from screens, but give children fresh air, exercise, and sunlight.

Many of our children are prohibited from playing in the natural world with parental fear of dirt and due to economic instability, have a real fear of clothes and shoes being damaged. For this reason we are looking to get Wellington Boots and All-in-one suits for the younger children to wear when playing in the mud kitchen and funding to build and equip the mud kitchen with pots, pans, spoons, ladles etc to help support the children’s play.

Let's make 'Mucky Play' happen

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