What equipment you will need? Ask around other local clubs: everyone is in the same situation and no-one wants to throw money away. Consult with children and parents to see what sort of activities they would like at the club. And let people know that you're in need of equipment—it's amazing what people want to get rid of.
Check out our Suppliers directory for sources of good quality and good value products. Our Product reviews section also contains recommendations for some 'must have' items for your club. Don't forget that if you are a member of the Out of School Alliance you can claim discounts on purchases from a wide range of suppliers.
When choosing play equipment, here are some areas to try and cover:
- craft materials (eg: felt pens, paper, paints, Hama beads, Fimo, Shrinkles, glitter, glue, etc)
- games (eg: draughts, bingo, snakes & ladders, Connect4, chess, Rummikub, etc)
- construction (eg: Lego, K'Nex)
- sports equipment (balls of all sizes, goals, skipping ropes, bean bags, bats, etc)
- small worlds (eg: cars, dinosaurs, Playmobil, etc)
- computer / video games (eg Wii Sport, Just Dance, Mario Kart, etc)
- role play (eg: dressing up clothes, bags, sunglasses, hi-vis jackets, play money, etc)
- quiet area (eg: rugs, cushions, blankets, books)
- den making (eg: blankets, tarpaulins, camouflage netting, ropes, cardboard boxes)
If money is really tight, just buy cushions and blankets and let the children use their imaginations, creating the most amazing dens. These, plus some balls and skipping ropes for outdoor games, and some basic felt pens and paper will be enough to get you started. Also, take a look at our Equipment on a budget article for ideas on how to acquire equipment and supplies whilst spending as little as possible.
You'll also need to provide drinking cups and plates for snacks, and accessible storage—IKEA is good for items like these.
Don't forget first aid and hygiene products, and safety and security items such as doorbells, smoke alarms, locks for gates etc.