Category Archives: Adventure Playground

We run holiday and afterschool sessions for school-aged children in our adventure playground

Summer 2018 activities

Our 2018 summer holiday sessions are aimed at school-aged children and will be running Monday-Friday from 23rd July until 31 August. We will be closed on Monday 27th August for the bank holiday.

Our theme for play sessions during the summer holidays is Seaside, Pirates, Mermaids and Travel. As part of this we will be making a display and focusing on the following:
Week 1  Handprint mermaids and ice cream cones
Week 2  Design your pirate ship flag
Week 3  Mermaids and mermen
Week 4  Sand bottles and messages in a bottle
Week 5  Treasure boxes and shell frames
Week 6  Children’s choice (and Pirate’s Picnic, weather permitting)

Some of the regular activities we have planned include den building, baking, outdoor fires and a water slide (weather permitting). Our adventure playground and city farm will also be open daily.

And we are also holding more of our popular Eco Sessions which include activities such as natural crafts, shelter building, charcoal making, bug hunts, pond dipping and volcano building. Eco sessions run on the following dates between 9.30-12 noon and cost £3 per session if registered with New Ark, or £5 as a one off.
Tuesday 24 July
Thursday 26 July
Tuesday 31 July
Thursday 2 August
Tuesday 7 August
Thursday 9 August
Tuesday 14 August
Thursday 16 August
Tuesday 21 August
Thursday 23 August

If your child is particularly keen to attend any of these activities, please speak to a member of staff to book onto them/find out when they are running.

To find out more about our school holiday play sessions and childcare, see here

Register for afterschool spring term

register now

If you want your child to come to our spring term afterschool sessions please do register them asap. This is especially important if you wish them to join the walkover from Newark Hill school on the first day of spring term. During the Christmas holidays our office is only open to accept bookings/payments on 22-23 December and 5 January. If you wish your child to be on the walkover on Tuesday 6 January, you must book them in with us by Monday 5 January 2015 so that we can ensure that we are adequately staffed for the following day.

There is no need to fill out another registration form if you are already registered for this year’s holiday or afterschool sessions – just see a staff member in the office. If you do need a registration form, please download one from, along with copies of the walkover form for January if required.

Vote to help us get £10k legacy

**UPDATE** We are gutted to have to tell you that we didn’t get enough votes to make the final 15 of the YBS legacy fund, so we won’t receive a £15K legacy grant. Thank you to everyone who shared our status and tried to get us the votes. Now we are left having to make up all that fundraising ourselves if we are to be able to repair our outdoor playground structures, especially our currently unusable “banana board” which will cost £3k alone to repair. If you have any good ideas to raise money please do come to our next fundraising meeting on Tuesday 9th December from 4pm-5.30pm.


Your vote can help New Ark get a £10,000 legacy from YBS group!

YBS group is going to provide 15 charities with a donation of £10,000 each to fund a specific project. New Ark has made the shortlist and we now need your help.

  • Please go to and click the link to vote for your 3 favourite charities.
  • Look for “New Ark Play Association” and click on the box. You can choose up to 3 charities to vote for. Then click onto the next page to submit your vote.
  • Please encourage friends and family to vote as well – New Ark really needs this money to make essential repairs to our outdoor children’s play equipment.

Voting will remain open until 31 October 2014 and 15 lucky charities will hear whether they are going to receive a £10,000 donation in November.  Our intention is to upgrade and rebuild our outdoor play equipment, including the aerial runway, swings and the children’s favourite climber – fondly called the ‘banana board’ – which is currently out of action.

banana board

Our founder Elisabeth Buck MBE, commented: “We are thrilled that our project has been chosen to be part of the Yorkshire Building Society Lasting Legacy Fund public vote. We are now calling on all our supporters and members of the public to help us make a real difference to our community by voting for our project online.”

News for playground & toddler group

Donations of bread and fruit

We are always seeking donations of sliced bread/toppings/fruit. During the holiday sessions some children arrive at 8.30/9am for additional childcare without eating breakfast before they get here – we are very happy to make them toast and offer fruit before our general sessions start. During afterschool sessions this food comes in useful to offer children a light tea after a long day at school. During playgroup sessions, fruit is offered at snacktime. Please do buy bread and fruit for us when you see it on offer and hand it to a member of staff when collecting your child.

Register now for Autumn afterschool sessions

afterschool poster

If you want your child to come to our autumn afterschool sessions please do register them asap. This is especially important if you wish them to join the walkover from Newark Hill school during week commencing 8 September, as we need to ensure that we are adequately staffed for the walkover. We cannot accept bookings/payments 1-5 September as our office is closed during Repairs & Maintenance week. You must book your child onto walkover for week commencing 8 September, before Friday 29th August.

There is no need to fill out another registration form if you are already registered for our holiday sessions – just see a staff member in the office. If you do need a registration form, please download one from, along with copies of the walkover form for September if required.

Parent and Toddler sessions

Parent and Toddler group is not running on Wednesday 20th August due to staff holidays. Parents with under 5s are very welcome to come to the farm and main playground as a one-off visitor – for details see Please ring us before setting off to check that the city farm is open (part time hours due to staff holidays).

Parent and toddler group is back for one last summer holiday session on Wednesday 27 August 2-4pm. It is closed on 3 September during our Repairs and Maintenance week. On Wednesday 10th September we return to our normal termtime schedule of 1-3pm (with the city farm open from 2pm). For more information on our friendly Parent and Toddler group please see


Our Playday event

Did you come to our playday event last Saturday? We had a great time and raised almost £200 in refreshment sales and donations. Here are a few pictures taken on the day – there are more on our Facebook page – as well as some information on why play is so important.

“Freely-chosen play is an essential part of every child’s life and is vital to emotional and physical development. Children need a place where they can explore risk and adventure and where no-one expects a piece of work to be produced at the end of an activity.”
Nikki Anderson, New Ark playworker

playday montage

Playday is the UK’s national day for play, traditionally held on the first Wednesday in August. It is a celebration of children’s right to play, and a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives.

What is play?

Play is a wide range of activities and behaviours that a child freely chooses to take part in. Play may or may not involve equipment. Children may play alone or with others. Play may or may not have an end product. It may be boisterous and energetic or quiet and completive; light-hearted or very serious.

Why is play important?

  • Playing is fun: it is how children enjoy themselves, each other and families.
  • Play can promote development, learning, imagination, creativity and independence.
  • Play can help to keep children healthy and active.
  • Play allows children to experience and encounter boundaries, learning to assess and manage risk in their lives; both physical and social.
  • Play helps children to understand the people and places in their lives, learn about their environment and develop a sense of community.
  • Play allows children to find out about themselves, their abilities, their interests and the contribution they can make.
  • Play can be therapeutic. It helps children to deal with difficult or painful circumstances such as emotional stress or medical treatment.
  • Play can be a way of building and maintaining important relationships with friends, carers and family members.Source: Charter for Children’s Play, Play England, 2007

The UK government is signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that all children and young people have the right to relax and play, and join in a wide range of activities.

Finally, you may also be interested in this BBC news item about a newly published report, which reviews a wide range of research into the importance of play in supporting children develop essential skills and knowledge as they grow up.

Register now for playground sessions

Registrations are now due for the summer holiday playground sessions. To avoid lengthy queues at the start of the summer holidays please pay by Friday 18th July.

You will require the following documents…

  1. Playground registration form 2014-15 (if you have 4+ children please use a continuation form)
  2. Summary of playground fees 2014-15. We have kept most of our fees the same but increased registrations slightly to keep pace with rising costs.
  3. List of opening dates 2014-15
  4. Playground information sheet 2014-15
  5. If you wish to book additional childcare, please complete a playground additional childcare form – places are limited and must be booked/paid for in advance.

Please do read the Playground Information Sheet as there have been some changes – we would like to draw your attention to the following items in particular:

  • Write your full contact details including up to date email address on the registration form – our phone bill is high and we can save money by emailing you about non-urgent matters.
  • Please arrive to collect your children 15 minutes before we are due to close, especially if you need to make a payment, speak to a manager, etc. Our late charge is £10 per 15 minutes or part thereof, and your registration will be reviewed if you are late 3 times in any term. Please put our number into your mobile now so that you have it handy in case you are unavoidably delayed – it is 01733 340605.
  • To avoid lengthy queues please pay fees by the following dates. Unfortunately we are unable to accept payments during our repairs and maintenance weeks in September and April.
    – Holiday registration fees pay by Friday 18 July 2014
    – Afterschool autumn term registration fees pay by Friday 29 August 2014
    – Afterschool spring term registration fees pay by Monday 5 January 2015
    – Afterschool summer term registration fees pay by Friday 10 April 2015

We are grateful for your continued support. If our fees prevent your family from accessing New Ark please do talk to a manager in confidence.

Playground taster session – 19 July

***UPDATE*** We raised £114 from donations and refreshment sales during this event – thank you everyone who donated cakes etc to sell

We are throwing our doors open from 11am-3pm on Saturday 19 July 2014, to give parents and children a taster of our holiday playground sessions. Come to try out the fun of New Ark before deciding to register for our 2014-15 holiday sessions.

A typical holiday play session at New Ark Play

A typical holiday play session at New Ark Play

Entry is £2 per child aged over 5, which will be refunded if you register for our 2014-15 holiday sessions within 7 days. If you have already registered for our 2014-15 holiday sessions then entry is free!

All children must be accompanied by a parent on this taster day.

We also welcome under 5s with their parents, and encourage you to make a donation on entry which will help us to keep running all our services 🙂

Activities will include:

  • Adventure Playground
  • Cooking dampers on an open fire
  • City farm open
  • Tuck shop
  • Puppet making craft
  • Construction toys
  • Refreshments for sale including cuppas and cakes

Come join the fun, and help us to spread the word by displaying up this poster advertising the session or by inviting your Facebook friends to the event 🙂

We are grateful to The Wakeham Trust for providing funding towards help us open on this weekend

taster day 19 july 2014

New Ark Forest School

** All sessions are now fully booked and we are taking names for a reserve list via You can also register interest for future forest school sessions on that email address **

We are delighted to offer our weekend Forest School for families on Saturday 10 May 2014.

eco clay snail 8 Aug 2013

Children and parents will take part in the following activities in our Eco Centre, supported by our Forest School trained staff:
– Clay work in the forest
– Making & using natural paints
– Bug hunt and pond dipping
Plus exploring and playing in the woodland, orchard and city farm.

Sessions are at 11am or 2pm.
**Update – all sessions are now full and we are taking names for a reserve list **
Everyone attending either the morning or afternoon sessions is invited to join us for lunch between 12.15 and 2pm. Bring a picnic to eat in our garden – there’ll be hot drinks/cakes for sale in aid of New Ark, the picnic benches will be available to use, we may even get a fire going outdoors 🙂

Costs £5 per family (up to 2 adults/2 children, additional children £2 each).

These sessions are suitable for children from walking to early teens, and places are limited to 10 families per session

We acknowledge financial support from The Wakeham Trust to make these sessions possible
Wakeham Logo 2

Dates for holiday and term times 2013-14

Dates for holiday playground sessions

Thursday 25 July to Friday 30 August
Monday 28 October to Friday 1 November
Monday 23 December afternoon only – Christmas party
Monday 17 to Friday 21 February (half term)
Monday 7 April to Thursday 17 April
Monday 26 May to Friday 30 May
Sessions are Monday-Friday 10am-12pm and 2pm-5pm.
Additional childcare is available between 8.30-10am, 12-2pm and 5-6pm

Dates for afterschool playground sessions

Autumn Term 2013
Monday 9 September to Friday 25 October
Monday 4 November to Friday 20 December

Spring Term 2014
Tuesday 7 January to Friday 14 February
Monday 24 February to Friday 4 April

Summer Term 2014
Monday 28 April to Friday 23 May
Monday 2 June to Friday 18 July

Dates for playgroup sessions

Autumn Term 2013
Monday 9 September to Friday 25 October
Monday 4 November to Friday 20 December

Spring Term 2014
Tuesday 7 January to Friday 14 February
Monday 24 February to Friday 4 April

Summer Term 2014
Monday 28 April to Friday 23 May
Monday 2 June to Friday 18 July

Closed for Repairs and Maintenance week

Monday 2 to Friday 6 September
Tuesday 22 to Friday 25 April
Please let us know if you can help out during either of these week to clean, sort, mend, repair and more