Joy as new play centre 'inspired by the natural world' delights all

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

The smiles on the youngsters' faces says it all - as a new nature play centre thrives in Lowestoft.

A hub for all things natural is seeing children and families being play inspired by nature at the site of a former children's' centre.

The Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

The Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

With the concept of providing play with nature, the Nature Play Centre successfully opened its doors two months ago at the former Sure Start premises in Ashburnham Way, Carlton Colville.

Fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, the nature play centre is "a play space inspired by the natural world, bringing curiosity and wonder into children's play."

The Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Inside the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Offering both indoor and outdoor play, there is a garden with a mud kitchen and building area outside along with a bird hide, insects and bird watching area, while indoors there is a small world area, an art studio and the sand room.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

With the Butterflies of Britain Education Programme having been run for "several years" across the area, Lindsey Moore has been going into schools and nurseries to teach nature education.

Fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

It led to the launch of the UK's first nature play centre in Carlton Colville in September.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

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Mrs Moore said: "The old Children's Centre is now a space for children of all ages to play and connect to nature in a holistic plastic free way.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

"We want to evoke a love for the natural world via play."

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Hosting baby groups, toddler groups and after school play dates for all ages, the play centre recently hosted a week of events with 101 families attending.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Mrs Moore said: "We are also the first curiosity approach accredited programme and we follow the curiosity approach pedagogy which is to move away from plastic mainstream toys, follow the seasons and be led by the child."

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Teacher training workshops have been held, while educators from across the county have been visiting the new centre to find out more.

Nature Play Centre playworker Vikki Rushmere at the centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Nature Play Centre playworker Vikki Rushmere at the centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Nature Play Centre playworker Vikki Rushmere added: "We opened in September with the concept to provide play with nature, through using natural objects.

Nature Play Centre playworker Vikki Rushmere at the centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Nature Play Centre playworker Vikki Rushmere at the centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

"Every child is different, and they each play in different ways."

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Having been "fully booked" for every event they've arranged, popular groups are being booked up a month in advance.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

With a team of five leaders, Vikki Rushmere said: "We limit each group to 12 families to start with.

Nature Play Centre playworker Vikki Rushmere at the centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Nature Play Centre playworker Vikki Rushmere at the centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

"As well as the play centre, we run toddler groups from a 27-acre site at Worlingham woods.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

"We work with pre school and primary schools and nurseries in the Lowestoft and Beccles area delivering nature education."

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft.

Lots of fun at the Nature play centre in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes


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