Doing Time At Soft Play

monkeyIf 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.


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. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)


14 thoughts on “Doing Time At Soft Play

  1. lucy

    Love this! We don’t go often but at 4 &6 I’m Def category 1. Sit and chat with my friends and glance up if we think we hear our child yelling lol

  2. Becky

    Tee hee! I’ve been giggling like a fool reading this post – I cried with laughter over your pictures. Thank you for cheering me up on vaccination day X

  3. Matt Robinson

    Your reasons for going to soft play are spot on (especially 7.) and in my case I would only add:

    9. To stop my 4 year old boy saying “Daddy, can we go to Clowntown? Daddy, can we go to Clowntown? Daddy, can we go to Clowntown?” in a perpetual loop that can only be halted by a tantrum or a trip to Clowntown.

    Clowntown, as said 4 year old astutely points out, is remarkably bereft of clowns or anything remotely clown-like; unless you count the sad-faced parents strong-armed by their more forceful progeny into a trip to Clowntown.

    It does however sport the most gigantic soft play arena into which my son will disappear, chased eagerly by his over-aspiring two year old brother. There are places inside it that are undetectable by a bystanding human eye which create increasingly fast-paced and panicked laps of the perimeter, until two year old is reassuringly spotted with his foot trapped in some netting.

    Like Clowntown, soft play is one of the greatest misnomers. Make no mistake: it’s hard work

  4. Lindsay

    We were once trapped in the local soft play bogs, by a river of vomit produced by a small girl. I then spent the next HOUR glaring at the child’s mother, telepathically insisting she TAKE THE VOMMING GIRL HOME. She did, eventually. Meanwhile my two were high as kites on copious amounts of sanitising gel

  5. Sugar&Rhubarb

    there is nothing more humiliating than one’s trousers falling off as you, as parent from category number 2, try to slide through the rollers. Or when you get stuck on the slide….. soft play is really just a source of total humiliation for me!!

  6. Carie

    Oh I’m still firmly stuck in category 2! And I’d add to the exhaustion potential the fear that when you take your older child/children to burn off some energy because you’re expecting their brother or sister and you don’t want to do anything but eat cake, either you’re going to get stuck or they’ll get stuck somewhere you can’t get to! Actually I have been Cat 1 once thinking about it; the girls were pleading, it was raining and so we took Daddy – poor H raced around while I sat and had a drink and read a book!!

  7. Katrina Chambers

    LOL this is amazingly funny! I’m between categories, but desperately crawling my way into category 1 and hope you will be hating me real soon as my 3 year is soon to be 4!
    2 didn’t last forever but it definitely felt longer than the other years.
    Kat x

  8. Sarah

    Ha ha! I have never enjoyed a soft play experience EVER! The ball pit smells of bum, and I never get to sit down, and when pregnant I almost got stuck squeezing through a tight gap rescuing my stuck child. And there’s the time a little girl came bare arsed down the slide with a pair of wet leggings n her arms, followed by a load of other children who’d all slid through her wee. My girls are older now and I avoid taking my three year old son because I tell him it’s closed! You have summed it up perfectly! Sarah

  9. lynn sayers

    Love this, try doing this when your looking after your two year old grandson, and your less than a year off 50, but think your still 24 in your head!!!!!!! Been on most of the equipment in the soft play, will definitely have 3 snickers before I go next time :)

  10. Rob

    What an epic read – laughed so hard while reading about your soft play experiences that I woke one of our twin 13 month old boys up. Thanks for nothing !! – I’ll be back for more later when it’s JD o’ clock


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