What’s your name and where do you come from?
I’m Francesca and I live in Liverpool. I grew up in Suffolk in a town called Lowestoft.
Tell us a bit about your business. How did you come up with the idea / what is it and where can people find you?
My social enterprise is called School of Word Play and Wizardry. We run creative writing classes for children in Liverpool and the North West. Although the sessions are educational, they’re set up as though the children are training to become a witch or wizard and the emphasis is on writing for fun. We do things like write spells and play with wand pens. Some of the games are designed to inspire the imagination, while others are about building confidence with writing and with sharing ideas.
I started the School of Word Play and Wizardry for lots of reasons. I’ve always loved writing and over the years I’ve taught creative writing to lots of different people – from kids through to Big Issue vendors. But I’ve not really come across many activities for children over the age of seven that focuses on creativity, imagination and fun. There’s lots of dance and drama clubs, and there’s lots of football and martial arts lessons, but not a whole lot of creative clubs for kids. They always say you should write the book you would want to read, well the School of Word Play and Wizardry is the club I would like to go to (if I was eight!).
Describe your business in 3 words!
Creative. Fun. Inspiring.
What’s your go to activity that keeps your little ones happy
All of the kids in the classes love dressing up in our robes. There’s also a hidden wand pen holder inside that goes down particularly well.
We all love a bit of pintrest and online inspo. What accounts, bloggers, websites would you recommend the OKS community check out?
For ideas to keep your children entertained, Imagination Tree is always a great go-to. I also really like Fierce Mama’s Club (@fiercemanasclubs) beautiful motherhood inspired designs. Her pins are fantastic. If you’re a fan of wizards and witches, The Cauldron Magical Pub (@thecauldronpub) is a fun account. They have a few magically-themed bars and they post brilliant photos of their props and bubbling potion cocktails.
What’s on the kitchen disco play-list in your house?
I’ve always been a big fan of 60s ska and a little bit of The Clash always goes down well.
What was the first album / single you bought and what format did you buy it on?
What would be your band T-shirt of choice?
I’m going to see an Australian punk band called The Chats soon and I plan to walk away with a t-shir
Top tips for encouraging creativity in children?
I find the best way to encourage creativity is to provide activities that encourage play and that children can lead. For example, rather than saying we’re all going to sit down and write a poem in silence, we might look at some potions in bottles and talk about them. Children then tend to start sharingwhat potion they’d create if they could cast spells. At that point, we’d sit down and write about those ideas together.
Finding activities that are a mix of free play (without too much adult intervention) and structure can be great in encouraging creativity.
Finally, what can our Our Kids Social community expect from you at Haunted Hinterlands?
We’re going to be bringing along all of our best witch and wizard props for you and your kids to explore. You can come along and have a go at casting spells with our wand pens and you can make your own magically-themed top trumps. Your kids can also dress up in our wizarding robes and strike a pose in front of our spooky backdrop. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Tickets for Haunted Hinterlands are on sale here http://www.ourkids.social