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I love it when I can go shopping in the holidays, take the children with me and give them something fun and engaging to do whilst we’re out too – so it’s not just a boring shopping trip for them, being dragged from shop to shop.
This summer, Bracknell Forest Council and The Lexicon have teamed up to bring the borough’s extensive tree strategy to life, bringing the UK’s largest forest giants to town. With them come so many activities that will keep children of all ages excited and engaged whilst you’re doing your shopping!
What are the Bracknell Forest Giants?
The Bracknell Forest Giants are a group of three tree giants that have appeared in The Lexicon. Impressive hand-crafted characters, they are amazing to see and each come with their own story. We went to Bracknell to see them for ourselves.
Little Acorn is the first tree that you meet, just outside the entrance to Princess Square, on the roof outside The Entertainer. She’s a young sapling who sees the world in a playful, joyful and endlessly curious way.
The children loved Little Acorn and she comes with an interactive station where you can wave to see her come to life or you can scan the station with your phone to create beautiful photos with tree frames growing around them!
Next we met Wise Woodland outside Bill’s on Braccan Walk. At 6.5 metres tall, he is incredible to look up at. He is so big, with so much detail and you can see how wise he is from looking into his eyes. Wise Woodland is the guardian of the past and shares the collective memory of many of the towering veteran trees which live there.
The last tree we met was Lady Nell Greenwood who sits proudly outside M&S with a butterfly on her wrist. She is like Mother Earth herself, full of the beauty of nature and a beacon of love and respect for everything in the forest. She is a caring, kind creature and one that we loved to watch as she spoke to the children who visited her.
The Forest Den
As well as the tree giants there are many activities to do and take part in around The Lexicon. We had tickets to The Forest Den to see their theatre show and it’s great, affordable fun for the whole family.
We were shown into the den, one family at a time. We were seated in bubbles and sanitised our hands on the way in, with adults wearing masks inside too. The den is made to look like a real haven in the forest, complete with comfy seats, grassy benches and even a grass sofa. It was fantastic!
The show lasts half an hour and you get to meet the three Forest Den characters – Swinley the Stag, Brack the Badger and Bright Tail the Fox. It was really interactive with songs and actions and the children loved it. We haven’t had such an immersive theatre experience in a long time and you should definitely get tickets if you’re heading to Bracknell this summer!
At the end of the show we were led out of the den one family at a time and each of the children were given a notebook and forest pencil each as a parting gift. This was a lovely touch and something we really didn’t expect.
What other activities are on offer?
As well as the shows there is so much more going on around The Lexicon. We saw a storytime session that happens at regular intervals through the day next to the tree giants. This was really engaging and told the stories of the tree giants in a way that children will love.
There are also trees walking around the shopping centre, a musical trail and a Forest Folk Band! Each day brings something different and you can find out what’s on each day over on The Lexicon website.
One of the children’s favourite characters from The Lexicon was the Forest Owl of Princess Square. Located on the ground floor, she’s hard to miss and has a special stand in front of her to take the perfect selfie. But when you jump on the stand the owl flaps her wings and sings. She is truly magnificent!
We also followed the footprint trail around The Lexicon, spotting footsteps in shop windows that local children had decorated. The children loved seeing who had coloured in each one and talking about what a great job they had done.
On our way back to the car we spotted The Knowledge Nest, a unit in Princess Square that has been turned into an educational hub, a place to hear more about the fabulous local forest and green spaces.
We loved our visit to the Bracknell Forest Giants and all The Lexicon activities really brightened up our shopping trip. The children loved it and we can’t wait to squeeze another visit in before the end of the summer.
To find out more, visit The Lexicon website and make sure you book tickets to The Forest Den too – your children will love it!