Hi I’m Becky, the franchisor of Pop Up Play Village. I can’t believe it but Pop Up Play Village has
reached its fifth anniversary already; the last 5 years have whizzed by! Not only has the business
grown massively in that time, but also my little family has too. When we launched Pop Up Play
Village, I had a 7 month old and a 3 year old; now they are 5 and 8 and still very much my reason and
inspiration for growing Pop Up Play Village. My husband was also a huge catalysis in driving me to
start the business, I don’t think I ever would have had the confidence to do it without his support.
So much has happened during 5 years that I can’t possibly share it all in one article, however I would
love to share a few top highlights over the last 5 years.
For a long time, Pop-Up Play Village had just been a niggling in my brain, but the moment I saw it all
come together was the day I got my letter from Companies House in 2016 to confirm that Pop Up
Play Village Limited was the first ever mobile role play village registered. The planning for my first
ever play session was then to begin…
Launch day has got to be my second highlight! We decided to launch in Caversham in Reading (which
is the village I grew up in), with an action-packed day of three sold out play sessions! It was totally
petrifying as I hadn’t piloted the play sessions before the launch. Now looking back, it would have
been sensible to have tested a play session with a few friends and family prior to launch day!
Fortunately, it went so well and I was buzzing by the end of the day! From there, I was excited to run
more play sessions, but I took it slowly with my children being so young at the time and focused on
running weekend play sessions. Before I knew it, I was running birthday parties too and my diary was
filling up fast.
A few months later, another highlight was when I developed Outdoor Explorers; which is all about
exploring nature through play. I was running play sessions in a few venues with outdoor space and I
always loved running forest school sessions in my teaching career. It has been a great addition to
Pop Up Play Village and has enabled us to run play sessions with a mixture of role play and outdoor
explorers, as well as running exclusive outdoor explorers events.
After a year of running Pop Up Play Village, I saw that there was such a demand for it. So, we
decided to become the first to start a mobile role play franchise! I saw how Pop Up Play Village
worked so well for me and I wanted other families in other locations across the UK to benefit also.
Therefore, we took the huge step of franchising the business. With a lot of hard work and many late
nights working, we took Pop Up Play Village from being the first ever mobile role play village to
being the first ever franchised mobile role play village! Our first franchise owners Erica and Frank
who run our Basingstoke and Reading franchises were absolutely amazing to work with and still are
and made the franchising process so rewarding and exciting that it continues to grow!
Over the last 4 years, our team of franchises has grown steadily. We now have a total of 19
franchises spread over the UK. Our growth has been great but it would not have been possible at all
without a lot of hard work and dedication from our Pop Up Play Village team. I am hugely grateful to
them. Thank you very much to each and everyone of you!
For me, as an Early Years specialist teacher, another key moment in the growth of Pop Up Play
Village was the development of the schools and early years curriculum planning. This planning links
our play areas to both the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 curriculums. In 2019, I
decided to develop this curriculum planning to enable our role play village to be taken in schools and
early years settings to teach a group of children purely through role play. I went into two settings to
test the planning, one a reception class and the other a Pre-school. This was an incredible experience
as it brought both my love of teaching and my business together. So much so that I still continue to
work regularly in both settings today!
Just three years into running Pop Up Play Village, the pandemic came along which was a major,
sudden bump in the road for us. Suddenly, all of our events had to be cancelled and we couldn’t run
our business. This was definitely not a highlight for me but the way our team has handled it, and the
way in which they came together to support each other, combined with the determination to keep
going; has been a highlight. We introduced the hire of mini kits during the first lockdown which
enabled families to hire smaller versions of our standard play areas in their homes. This allowed us
to offer a service to our customers and support our local community by providing a way to educate
and entertain children at home. This adaptation to our business at this key moment in time showed
me just how flexible the business is and how special our team are.
There we are, these are my top highlights, it was so hard to narrow it down to just a few! To
celebrate this special occasion our team are having an online social to celebrate together. We are
also having a celebratory party at home with our family. And for our lovely customers, we are
running a week of competitions, 5 giveaways to celebrate 5 years! Do take a look over on our
Facebook page Pop Up Play Village UK to take a look at what we are giving away