it started with a stowaway snail
The first play box I made had hand-scribbled ideas for play and (amongst other items) a lovely little shell I had found in our garden. When the parcel arrived, a snail popped out of the shell and the mum contacted me to say, “thank you so much for including the snail, we have adopted it as a pet”. You may be sad or pleased to know that I am more careful now to rehome any stowaways before the postie arrives.
When you open one of our boxes you will notice the textures and beautiful scent of nature. I love the fact our felting wool has a slight smell of sheep. (Hold it close to your nose and see!) Opening one of our play boxes instantly fills your kitchen with the scent of a forest because we include fresh leaves and moss. For children and parents who love creative play with less mess and appreciate unique vintage haberdashery, our craft boxes have endless possibilities for creating happy memories and keepsakes you will treasure.
I gather my materials responsibly from my own garden and private woodlands within a ten-mile radius. For the items I need to purchase, I only work with suppliers who happily share the source of their products so that I can trace the origin of everything in the boxes. We all want to lead more sustainable lives and make ethical purchases. I believe I should be helping my customers on that journey.
MEET KAREN & THE TEAM
The most wonderful feedback I consistently receive is the length of time children stay engaged with our boxes and that they use them again and again. “I couldn’t believe three hours later they were still happily playing”. “The next day she asked if we could go for a walk and find something to add… she had an idea.”
My passion is free, messy, creative play with anything natural. We frequently hear in the media that connecting with nature is good for our well-being; but how do we do that and how can we encourage a love of nature in children? My hope is that families who do not have easy access to forests and woodlands, will have a joyful experience with each of the Forest Craft & Play boxes.
It is my genuine aspiration that I can offer parents a stress-free way to give children a break from screen time and that these boxes bring joy and a happy shared experience of connecting with nature at your kitchen table.
This will always be my aim and I make sure the people on my team feel as passionately about this as I do. We work together and play together and have the most fun thinking of new ideas and bringing everything to life!
Karen Griggs, Chief Forager
Fran is the Old Forge York Forest School Leader. Her background is in childcare and she has experience as a Nursery Practitioner, Forest School Leader and Preschool Manager. Fran has two girls who spend loads of time outdoors. They love long walks in the woods, hunting for minibeasts and creating all manner of natural creations.
Diane is our "Girl Friday". She makes the holiday cottages sparkle and creates the play pack unboxing experience. When she isn't in the barn she can be found building dens or cleaning out the hens with Karen. She lives on a farm in Yorkshire with her husband and dogs, and loves woodland walks.
Sid is shy, so here is a photo of his doppleganger instead. Sorry Rege Jean Page, please don't sue us! He is our carpenter who saws all the sticks, twigs and bark to the right size at a secret location in the woods close to Old Forge York. He has a pet pheasant and a wild cat. When he isn't sawing sticks Sid likes to make beautiful things out of wonky pieces of wood.
Laura is our Graphic Designer. She works with Karen and the rest of the team to bring our characters and their stories to life, both digitally and on film. When not at university studying Fine Art, she can be found up a tree photographing Pixie Tea Parties.
Freja is one of our product designers. She has a degree in Costume Design and created the Christmas Woodland Angel shown above. She helps Karen develop new forest play packs for children of all ages. Freja loves finding vintage and left-over fabrics and ribbons for us to repurpose. She also works at her family's Montesori school in North Yorkshire.
Karen is passionate about wellbeing and loves messy creative play. Adam prefers it when she does this outside. He is our accountant and the sensible one who makes sure that at the end of the day we stop playing with sticks and eat tea.
Lucy is our newest member of the team and looks after the Marketing and telling people how much fun they'll have playing with peg dolls, Forest Crowns and sticks! She has a cat called Bandit and is very fond of her new friend Boris. She lives next to Roundhay Park in Leeds and can often be found there jumping in muddy puddles in the woods or saying hello to the dogs she meets. She is married to a real-life Viking.
Boris loves drinking pond water and digging.
If Boris likes someone he wags his tail so hard his bottom wiggles!
You can come and meet Boris when we are able to open the Forest Craft & Play barn again. Because we believe in full provenance. Our studio where we pack the boxes is open for customers to see and collect their purchases.