If you were to ask my opinions on soft play I’m not quite sure what they would be – I neither love it or completely hate it. Like most activities aimed at young kids it simply helps fill up the day until you get to
gin time the bedtime hour.
We go to soft play for a number of reasons:-
1. It’s raining
2. They are destroying the house
3. I want a latte
4. They have chicken nuggets and I can’t be bothered to make dinner
5. I fancy a bit of adult conversation (even if it’s just saying thanks to the guy who puts the shoes in boxes)
6. The boys have got dirty stinking colds and it only seems fair to share their snot back into the germ pool that has cost us £400 in pointless nursery fees so far this year
7. It makes happy go on their faces
8. All of the above
We have a few soft play options near us, The nicer posher ones that cost about £50 to get in. And the one round the corner which is a bit old, a bit dirty and a bit violent. I usually go with the latter, cos that’s just how we roll.
I’ve observed over the years that there are two types of parents at soft play:-
Category 1, The parents of older kids who read Grazia, look at their phones, drink steaming hot coffee and deserve to die.
I’m not going to lie. I wish I was in this category, dicking about on facebook and occasionally shouting half arsed apologies on behalf of my ill behaved child.
Why does soft play make children so brutal? Also why is it even called soft play when it’s f*cking hardcore?!
Anyway lets get onto the second category. MY *sobs a bit* group.
Category 2, The parents of younger kids who follow their toddlers around whilst trying to ensure the older kids (whose parents are ignoring them as above) don’t take their little ones out with a drop-kick to the head.
My biggest guy is 5 now and no problem, he runs off and comes back every 15 minutes or so to shout his snack demands at me; but the younger one, he’s only two and sooooooo disappointingly irresponsible.
I mean I’m not trying to wish his life away or anything but he seems to have been 2 for FOREVER.
Just a little tip here. Eat three snickers before you leave the house and take some of those gel energy pack things that marathon runners use because BLOODY HELL…
I think I died for a bit on rainbow Mount Vesuvius there. Thank god for the kid who brought me back to life by dribbling a mouthful of Capri-Sun on my face.
IT SAYS NO FOOD OR DRINK ON THE PLAY EQUIPMENT YOU LITTLE TWAT!
Anyway at least I was alive and after 2 hours surely it was time to go home?! But no, It doesn’t matter how long you stay… 3 hours, 4 hours, 5! They still feel they’ve been short-changed.
And of course the category 1’s are ready and waiting to shoot you patronising, sympathetic glances as you try and wrestle your kids out of the life size lucky dip that is the ball pool. I won a half eaten Kit-Kat and a snotty wet wipe in there once, It was a special day.
Don’t worry though smug parents! I have made a mental note to do exactly the same when my youngest is big enough to defend himself and you get accidentally pregnant at 40 and have to do it all again :)
When we eventually make it out of the psychedelic hell-hole and back to the safe haven of our home, I collapse on the floor, relieved to experience a fleeting moment of calm. Before…
I just don’t get it. They get up at stupid o’clock, they hardly even eat! Where the hell do they get their energy from?
**************P.S. My new book The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks is out on the 3rd March 2022! It's aimed at 9-12 year olds and you can buy it here :)