Imaginative play is so important for development at any age, but for those in EYFS and Key Stage 1 it forms a significant part of their learning alongside more academic topics. Leo is nearing the end of his Reception Year at school and during his time there his imagination and creativity have come on in leaps and bounds. He really enjoys creating worlds, characters and scenarios using the resources available at school and reflecting those skills when playing with the toys he has available at home.
Amongst his favourite toys are his cars, wooden train set and building blocks, which he often uses to build towns and roads etc that all help expand that all-important imaginative play through which children learn so much. I’ve often looked at the activity play tables that are available on the market, but have always held off purchasing one due to a lack of space in our home. I was however recently contacted by Gopak who asked if we’d like to road test their new folding activity tables, which I’d personally not seen before and offer the perfect solution to our space issue so I readily agreed.
Gopak sell a huge range of furniture, storage and accessories suitable for use in schools, nurseries, play groups, community settings as well as being perfect for use in the home. The company started out back in 1947 as a one-man operation creating innovative pieces of furniture before expanding to become the UK’s market leader in the design and manufacture of lightweight, aluminium folding and trestle tables. This proud British company have an excellent reputation and plenty of satisfied customers including National Trust, Pinewood Studios and H M Prison Services as well as thousands of smaller organisations which include schools, youth groups and churches. In fact, they are so confident of their fail-safe folding mechanism that all their folding tables come with a lifetime guarantee, giving their customers that additional piece of mind.The activity tables are available in a choice of designs suitable for KS1 and KS2 children which include: Farm, Town, Zoo, Solar System, History and Map Of The World, and we chose the town. Due to Leo’s love of creating his own road system and town’s this felt like the natural choice for us and was perfectly pitched in terms of his age group. The KS2 table designs offer something that moves away from imaginative play, with plenty of facts and information to be gleaned from their table top designs and would be perfect for use in the classroom.
All tables are made to order, with the table top measuring 1220x685mm, however they are available in six different heights from a low nursery size to the largest being the buffet. We chose the adult size so that Leo could easily move around the table to play at standing height, plus we could also pull up a dining chair to play together. Once our choices were confirmed, we were given a lead time for delivery of 2 weeks and our package arrived just under that timescale, pretty impressive seeing as they are made to order. It arrived robustly packaged, fully assembled and had a wonderful smell of freshly sawn wood when we opened it!
Needless to say, Leo wanted to immediately open the table and get his cars out to play! I was pleasantly surprised by how simple the folding mechanism is to open and close, meaning I had the table up and ready to go in seconds, much to Leo’s delight. Despite being reasonably lightweight the table is solid and sturdy once up with no risk of wobble even with the most boisterous play!
The table top is bright, colourful and engaging with plenty of different areas and buildings including a fire station, post office and train track to name but a few. It’s perfect for children to add their own buildings and creations, whist incorporating those that are already featured. The edges of the table are metal with rounded plastic covered corners that protect from sharp edges, bumps and scrapes which are an occupational hazard with kids (and adults)! The best part for me though is that once Leo’s finished playing it’s simple and easy to fold and stores flat until next time – perfect for a family home severely lacking in space!
This table is a beautifully made quality piece of furniture which has obviously had plenty of thought put into its functionality and design and will be something we use for many years to come. It’s a multi-purpose table that has so many uses and we will be utilising it both inside and out for play, homework and dining to name but a few and I’m certain its sturdy enough to withstand anything we throw its way!
To see the full range of products available from Gopak please visit their website. All UK Mainland deliveries are FREE