Soft play – heaven or hell?

Soft play – heaven or hell?

On Sunday, we went to soft play. I think I hate soft play, or maybe I love it…I can’t decide.

The benefits are that it keeps the boys busy, makes them happy and burns off some of the endless energy they have.

When I say endless energy, I am not exaggerating.  They are always on the go.

Never tired.

They don’t consume any caffeine.  I don’t get this.  As someone who struggles to even speak in the morning without a cup of coffee, I marvel at the way they jump out of bed in the morning.  Anyway, what our mornings are like is for another post.


Money, money, money.  I better make sure I have lots of coins on me as the boys love the dodgem cars!


So back to soft play, what else do I like about it?

Well I guess I like the slides they are pretty good fun.  The trampolines too, although I really, really would like to go on the trampoline on my own but I guess that is against the rules as I am probably a little over the age limit.

Oh and I really love the grabby machines.  You know what I mean, ‘The claw is my master’ for all those that have watched Toy Story – which is everyone right?  If these games have a real name I would be interested in hearing what that is.  For now, they will be known as grabby machines.  I am pretty good at these, but I guess anyone would be good if they spent a small fortune honing their skills!

My grabby machine winnings

So what do I hate?

This is going to sound old but soft play is exhausting; really, really tiring.  I find myself desperate to have a sit down and enjoy a hot cup of coffee.  But I can’t, and here is why…  my boys are three and therefore need to be accompanied around the soft play at all times.  I am guessing there will come a point where I will be happy to let them run free?  I doubt it will be any time soon.

So with this in mind, here is the thing. It’s those massive rabbit warrens, the huge climbing frames that are built for children.  Not twenty-something adults….ok, who am I kidding, thirty-something, but who is counting?  So as I squeeze myself through these labyrinths after screaming three year olds. I feel a bit silly, fearing I may get stuck, all the while pretending I am looking after a little person.  In reality, the only person who is truly in trouble here is me.  It is very likely I am never going to get out of here, stuck in soft play forever.

I am not the only one, of course.

As you crawl through these stupidly small spaces, you always meet another knowing adult.  You nod, maybe say hello and always exchange sympathetic glances.  Both of you know what this means.  You are in it together.  You are not alone!!!

The tables; you can never ever find a clean table in these places.  They are always sticky, even if just cleaned.  Wet wipes save the day once more, they are truly the best invention known to man and I am not sure how I got through my day without them B.K (before kids)

Bob D, king of his castle, waits for his lunch

Here is the other thing: other peoples children.

By this, I mean the eight-year-old who is charging through the toddler area.  What is with that?  As I look around trying to catch the eye of said child’s parents, I notice there are no parents around.  Said child is running free, creating havoc in the toddler area, knocking my little ones out of the way, high on sugar from fizzy drinks and too many chewy sweets.   The other thing is how is the eight-year-old diving into the ball pool head first and not hurting themselves?

One thing I noticed this weekend is the Dads competing to do the climbing tepee.  Not many kids but lots of Dads.  Taking their shoes and socks off for a better grip.  Showing they have no fear, running half way up and then slipping rather inelegantly down to the bottom.

And the absolutely worst thing about soft play…leaving.

Not because I don’t want to leave, I do.  I am done.  Tired.  Need a coffee.  But the kids, they never, ever want to leave.  They make bold claims like, ‘just leave me here all by self’, ‘I want to live here’ and ‘it’s ok mummy, they sell chips here you can go’.  They have a meltdown; you bribe with promises of sugar and treats (that’s probably why the eight-year-old is running around manically).  You finally get out to the car and heart sinks as you remember they are now old enough to remember your bribes and demand payment.

Bouncing around at soft play

Bob L bouncing around rather manically and screeching in delight

So there you have it, I am still not sure if I love it or hate it.

What I do know is, when it is chucking it down and in the absence of any outdoor activities being an option, it beats being at home with them and the kids LOVE it, or at least I think they do if the screeching as they arrive and the crying as they leave is any indicator.

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  1. 2nd March 2016 / 2:58 am

    I feel torn in the same way. Defo a hater of the out-of-control-and-out-of-bounds-8-year-old with absent parents but it least it kills and hour and keeps the tot happy. Can’t wait until I can be the absent parent!


  2. 1st March 2016 / 9:27 pm

    Ha! I’m not entirely sure whether I love it or hate it yet either! Love that they get worn out but I find it so stressful keeping an eye on both of them, they run off in opposite directions.

  3. 1st March 2016 / 7:51 pm

    As much as there are things that drive me crazy about soft play, it saves my life on those days when my kids are climbing the walls! At least I can unleash them into the madness and let them destroy somewhere else other than my lounge! #anythinggoes

  4. Becky, Cuddle Fairy
    23rd February 2016 / 11:37 am

    I love bringing the kids to soft play but like you pointed out – there is always that one kid who is tearing around the place with no parents looking. The parents are always sat far away from the play area with their backs turned – probably because they know their child is up to trouble. Besides that we always enjoy the experience – the kids love to play & mum gets some time to relax with a cup of tea & wifi. Thanks so much for sharing with #bloggerclubuk x

    • 25th February 2016 / 7:59 pm

      I know, always that kid running around. I am looking forward to the day when they can go on the labyrinth on their own and I can drink tea!

  5. Morgan Prince
    18th February 2016 / 5:43 pm

    Haha, I remember that time, having to climb around following my young one. Now though, I have an 11 year old and a 6 year old. They love soft play, and now so do I. I get to sit and have a coffee while they go mad! It’s awesome. 🙂

  6. 18th February 2016 / 2:32 pm

    Ha ha definitely a love/hate relationship with the soft play. Mini R is 20mo and needs supervision but likes to go in the big bit. I long for the day he can adventure on his own and I can sit with a cuppa! #BloggersClubUK

  7. There's always time for tea
    18th February 2016 / 10:24 am

    I have a love/hate relationship with them! They are just so busy! Kids enjoy though so I suppose I shouldn’t moan..xx

  8. anywaytostayathome
    17th February 2016 / 12:00 pm

    oh it’s a puzzle isn’t it. I’m so with you on the sticky tables and other people’s kids, I try to avoid weekends if at all possible and did hit upon a small, over priced magical gem of a softplay near me where the tables are right next to the play area and it’s is so small older kids aren’t interested, I can watch my son’s every move and actually sit and enjoy a drink, uninterrupted. If the bathrooms were cleaner and they sold gin I would move in!

  9. 17th February 2016 / 10:12 am

    Ah, soft play! Us parents love to hate them don’t we! They make great blog material! I believe every parenting blogger has a soft play post in them 😉

  10. Kat
    17th February 2016 / 11:12 am

    Soft Play is a very, very rare occurrence in our household…usually only if it’s free whilst we have lunch or at a birthday party. I’m far too large to be running around those places and I probably would get stuck!

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