Are you wondering what to do with the kids while on a budget? Not to worry Aspire in Ryde on the Isle of Wight runs free Food and Fun sessions during school holidays for families with children.
I’ve only recently found out about the Food and Fun sessions held at Aspire’s Kingdom Play. Though these sessions have been running since summer 2021. I’ve only first heard of it 2 weeks ago and been invited by the kind JD from Aspire Ryde to check it out.
My little girl Yasmin and I have visited the Food and Fun session twice during the last school holiday and thought it would be great to share our experience with you.
What and where is Aspire Ryde?
Aspire Ryde is a community hub who provides various services to support the local community. Some of their projects include:
- Food and Fun sessions at their Kingdom Play
- Growing Great Things
- Free Food Project
- Telephone support service
- Care in Catering
- Aspire 2B Active
These are just some of the many wonderful things Aspire Ryde has to offer. To find out more, have a look at their What’s on pdf.
Address: Aspire Ryde, Dover Street, Ryde, PO33 2BN Isle of Wight
What is Food and Fun?
The Food and Fun sessions are free play sessions for children aged 5 to 12 years, which also includes a nutritious lunch. During the play session, children can play in the soft play area, take part in arts and crafts, enjoy fun activities with special guests. These Food and Fun sessions run during the school holidays only, between 10am to 2pm. A yummy and free lunch is provided for the children and parents at 12pm.
To be eligible for these free food and fun sessions, you must receive income related benefits or receive Free School Meals for your child or children.
To book a session call Aspire on 01983 716020 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are living on the Isle of Wight and on a budget or struggling, have a look at Drop and Swap Ryde which may also be very helpful.
Our experience of Food and Fun
We had no idea what to expect, as we’ve never been to Kingdom Play at Aspire Ryde. When we arrived, all the staff there were so welcoming and helpful. My friend Jo and I, have been offered a hot drink by staff as soon as we entered, which was lovely.
My thought of the Kingdom Play area at Aspire Ryde
Kingdom Play is within an old, spacious church building and has lots of natural light coming in through the big clear and beautiful, original stained glass windows. I’ve noticed that the Kingdom Play area is gated with two tall castle themed gates, easy enough for us adults to open and close to get in and out, but also high enough to prevent any little ones from escaping.
The soft play area has a massive ball pit area, suitable for toddlers, but also has a large maze like area for children over the age of 5 years. There were also tables with arts and crafts activities for the children to join.
The whole place was very clean, which is nice as we know kids can leave any place in a mess. There are also many seating spaces with tables and heating. Great for parents or carers to sit and have a cup of tea or read a book, while waiting for the kids. Within Kingdom Play there is also a cafe where you can get a drink and a snack.
Our thought of the activities
During each Food and Fun session, there is a different arts and crafts activity table. The first time we’ve visited a session at Aspire with my partner, Yasmin was making a bracelet with beads and cute charms. The second time we’ve visited Aspire’s Kingdom Play for Food and Fun, Yasmin was making Christmas themed bottled sand art necklaces with her school friend Alex. Claire from the Kingdom Play is very approachable and helpful, which made the girls feel very comfortable around her. She showed Yas and Alex how to use the different coloured sands to create the christmasy sand art necklaces. The girls really enjoyed making their Christmas tree and bauble sand necklaces.
Special guest fun at Aspire Ryde Food and Fun
It was lovely to see that there were two different special guests at each food and fun session. The last time we went, Yasmin saw her old ballet teacher Miss Ann Abe who taught Yas when she was doing Melody Bear when she was a toddler. On the same day there was also a lovely lady doing face painting. The girls picked a design from the face painters book, before the lady started painting their faces.
The first time we visited there was a lady teaching aerial silk and Yasmin loved sitting on the silk like a swing. My girl enjoyed it so much, she wanted me look whether there are classes after school she could join if it doesn’t fall on days she has her after school extra curricular.
What we thought of the food served at Food and Fun
At Food and Fun, Aspire provides free breakfast between 10am to 10:30 am and a free warm lunch at 12pm.
The foods and snack offered is very nutritiously balanced and healthy. Yasmin only had breakfast once there. She had a bowl of cereal there and some fresh fruits including strawberries, grapes and a clementine. The first time we came for a food and fun session, there was lots of choice for lunch between a hot sausage bun or sandwiches with different fillings. You could also go for sides like salads and coleslaw. The thing I really liked was that Aspire prioritises getting food to the children first before serving the adults accompanying the children. Once all children have been served, the adults can then get their lunch. Once everyone has eaten, they also offer desert such as a slice of cake, biscuits or a cupcake.
The second time we’ve visited, we’ve skipped breakfast as we had breakfast at home already. Lunch was very yummy as it was chicken curry with rice. There was also a vegetable curry should someone be vegetarian or vegan. Again you could also have sandwiches and salad. For desert my girl chose to have a cupcake.
Yasmin and I really enjoyed the food there. It was yummy and there is so much choice, so there is something for everyone.
Throughout the session there was also free water and squash for the children. For the adults Aspire offers the first hot drink such as coffee or tea for free. If you want a second hot drink, you’ll have to pay. I didn’t go for a second hot drink, but the prices are very reasonable there, unfortunately as I am writing right now, I don’t remember the exact price off the top of my head.
If you are eligible to the Food and Fun sessions at Aspire Ryde. I highly recommend you to check it out.
For more info or to book a session call Aspire on 01983 716020 or email: email@example.com