Soft Play Torture?

I spend a lot of time at soft play, (when I’m not at work anyway)

From experience, kids are happier when they’ve had exercise. Weather does not allows permit a walk to the park, and differing children ages mean my little crawler ends up left in his pushchair whilst my larger child runs about.

So… The solution.
The Soft Play Area…
Sticky surfaces, germ infested ball pits, screaming kids, excessive sugar, tantrums, manic races to get small people to the bathroom, practising your yoga to follow your small person through impossibly small places, overcoming claustrophobia, rescuing stuck children, lukewarm coffee, small people who refuse to leave….

I really could go on all day! What’s not to love?

We frequent a toddler group, based in the play area of a pub chain. For £2.50, I get to set the large one free (he likes to make friends, then come and play me and small) he gets juice and biscuits, and I get a coffee. Small one is currently playing for free, until he’s less small, anyway.

I get to down my coffee, then walk/crawl round in my socks for an hour. Not my idea of a fun morning! But the small people very much enjoy it.







And smallest person gets to learn new skills in a slightly safer environment. Last week I taught him to climb up steps, and this week (unsurprisingly) I focused on getting down them safely.

Then I bribe them with sweets, and bring them home for food, and hopefully some quiet playing while I my housework done. That’s where we’re at now, so wish me luck!

What does everyone else do to tire out the kids?

2 thoughts on “Soft Play Torture?

  1. Gwynn Torres

    You’re right about soft play areas being a great way to wear out kids. But you’re also right to be concerned about what’s lurking in ball pits besides balls. An Arizona State professor took some swabs of a McDonalds’ ball pit and found bacteria that would make you rush your kids to the doctor for an inoculation, if not quarantine. That story is here:

    There are school- and home-size versions of these that give caregivers the control over the cleaning of them as often as they feel necessary. Washing machines on cold settings do the trick. (The balls are vacuum-sealed, so heat can cause them to get misshapen.) Children’s Factory and Wesco have a wide range of sizes to fit different budgets and space requirements.

    The public play areas are kid magnets, but we let our kids use everything but the ball pits.

    And carry hand sanitizer.


    1. mammylu

      That link is scary! We haven’t space for things like that in our house, unfortunately. When I only had 1 and he was small, he used to play in a travel cot with soft play balls in (I never thought to clean them in the washing machine though, that’s a great idea!) I carry hand sanitizer everywhere with me, and keep a spare in my nappy bag. My oldest has learnt to use it also, so he’s either catching a bit of my OCD, or learning a life skill – I’m sticking with life skill! 🙂


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