Lizzie Catt knows how serious playtime is.
When you have a baby, soft play sounds like a dream…
Once your little one has learned to potter about, the pair of you will meander to the local soft play where you will order a latte and gaze on adoringly while your toddler frolics in a ball pool. Only, it’s not quite like that. It’s a bit more… hectic. But when it’s raining and you’re cooped up with a kid who needs to let off steam, they’re a godsend. Get it right, tucker out your toddler and become the queen of the playframe.
1. What to take
Bring as little as possible other than nappies, wipes, snacks and a drink as it will all end up being left unattended in a pile as you chase after a giddy kid. Most soft plays sell food if you need it. Oh, and hand sanitizer. Don’t forget the hand sanitizer.
2. Don’t bother ordering a coffee
Hoards of children charging about. The body heat generated when a demanding small person insists that you repeatedly commando crawl though a plastic tunnel designed for four-year-old. Suddenly, that bucket of scorching hot coffee doesn’t sound so alluring after all.
3. What to wear
Think gymnastics meets cleaning the toilet – and avoid anything that will flash your bum while you’re diving through a 2ft portal trying to stop a toddler topping down the MegaFlume. Wear socks you’re not too ashamed of and leave your new suede ankle boots at home as they will, most likely, have to be left in a pile of Stranger Shoes by the door.
4. The rules of engagement
You can’t stand by while another child pushes yours over but removing your child from the situation should avoid cross words with another parent. If you have to intervene, keep it minimal and polite: ‘Please don’t push, we should all be kind’ rather than ‘Don’t think you can get away with jumping on my child’s head while your mum’s yacking on her phone, you snotty little monster’.