When we extended our outside area we gained an outbuilding which was very large for an outbuilding and we used it as storage. One day when the children were collecting toys from the building George said “I wish we could play in here”. After a while the storage shed was nick named the ‘den’. The den had a black door way which was shut unless an adult was there to help retrieve items of interest. The black door became magical; fairies lived behind the door, wizards were around the corner and of course an invisible bear was inside. The children constructed dens and homes out of wooden bricks around the door and made up many games.
The subject came up as to why an adult needs to be present to open the door. We discussed this in depth asking the children why they thought it was shut. Amongst the ideas were “for safety”, “so we don’t disturb the fairies that live inside” and “because the bear might come”. This dialogue continued for some time and lots of stories and theories emerged; but one main feeling from the majority of children was that they wished they could play inside.
Could we make this possible? It was an old stone building and the floor was uneven – I got talking to my Dad from JMB property services who has helped me build and improve Simba’s since we opened. It turned out that it was possible and before long a room emerged for the children to play in! It was soon named the ‘snuggle den’ by the children as it is so cozy! And since it opened as a play area the bear has moved out and now lives behind the den (phew), the fairies moved to the garden area and we built a hatch for the Wizards!