Smiles and laughter could be seen and heard on the faces of the children all around Badgemore School this week enjoying all the fun activities Henley Outdoor Playscheme (HOPS) has to offer.
Celebrating 40 years this year, the opening hours this year have been extended to 3pm each day to replicate the school day giving parents who work around these hours great childcare. Online booking is new for 2019 too.
All the favourites have returned including cooking, art, sewing woodworking, laser tag and the foam cannon and slide each afternoon. The beauty room has been rebranded this year as the festival room with boys now enjoying having their their faces painted and hair braided. Christina Soar who has run the beauty/festival room with Sophie Kyriades for a number of years said, “One of the great things we offer in this room is for the older children, aged 9 and above to help with nail polishing, make-up and face painting. They have to commit to a time slot and help tidy-up too – it’s their first bit of work experience. My daughter Emily came to HOPS every year and now she’s a Play Helper. She couldn’t wait to get that red t-shirt on and come back and help and remember all those lovely memories she made here.”
Committee member, Ann Shankland said, “My children came here 40 years ago and this week my grandchildren are here and loving it. HOPS is very special as it gives the children the opportunity to manage their own time and choose what activities they would like to do and when.”
Isabella aged 11 said, “I love coming here. My favourite bit has been making pom poms which I’ve made into a necklace and a key ring.”
All of the volunteers give up their time and many take holidays from work to run the scheme each year to keep the cost down. Christina added, “We do it for the children and for the community.”
Dave Edwards, Chair of HOPS said, “The buzz this year has been amazing. With a new online booking system we have been at capacity most days. Our daily ‘specials’ have proved a great draw, including Berkshire Reptiles with snakes and creepy crawlies, dancing with divas and dudes, Lego master builders and Fred the shed entertaining the kids together with usual woodwork, tasty cookery room, laser tag and the world renowned foam slide. Kids were overheard nagging their parents to book for the rest of the week having come on the Monday. HOPS celebrated its’ 40th birthday in style with (mainly) good weather.”
There are still a few places for tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday for children aged 5-12. To book go to https://www.hopshenley.co.uk/