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Tell Bassetts Soft & Chewy Vitamins about your favourite family activities – iPad Mini up for grabs! NOW CLOSED

(262 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 28-Aug-13 09:20:28

Bassetts Soft & Chewy Vitamins now offer a free soft play session for one child with each purchased pack of promotional Bassetts Soft & Chewy Vitamins. To celebrate this, Bassetts Soft & Chewy want to find out what Mumsnetters' favourite activities are to have fun as a family.

Here's what Bassetts Soft & Chewy have to say, "Mums have told us that they want their kids to be healthy and active so that they can enjoy school. That's why we decided to make mums' lives a little bit easier with free soft play sessions on every promotional pack of Bassetts Soft & Chewy Vitamins offering a free soft play session for one child. With nearly two hundred great soft play centres around the UK taking part in the promotion, children around the country can have fun at their local centre, while mum enjoys a hot cup of coffee. Bassetts Soft & Chewy Vitamins promotional packs can be found in the UK (including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) in most major retailers."

You can find your nearest participating centre here.

So, what are your favourite family activities? Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children? If so, why? If not, why not? If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good?

Everyone who enters their thoughts to this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad Mini. grin

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!


Please click here for the full Terms and Conditions.

LadyMilfordHaven Wed 28-Aug-13 09:21:04

Favourite family activity? eating together.

chebella Wed 28-Aug-13 09:24:52

Messing about outdoors - beach or woods - and swimming!

Soft play - Head Over Heels in Chorlton my child's favourite when we are in the area.

aftermay Wed 28-Aug-13 09:26:12

Baking with the kids. We have a few favourites but will try new recipes now and again.

Tee2072 Wed 28-Aug-13 09:38:46

We actually enjoy soft play, Funky Monkeys here in Belfast. He gets to play, I get to either chat with his friends' mums or watch their telly and knit with no guilt that I should be doing something else.

Of course, I can't take advantage of this offer as the closest is in Londonderry, on the other side of the country...

Glitterfairys Wed 28-Aug-13 09:47:43

We love baking together or going on family bike rides and taking a picnic especially when the weather is lovely.I do take my children to soft plays quite regularly and my favourite one is Go Kids Go in Bilston. It's great for all ages ( adults too !! ) and has a specific baby play area.

babybearsmummy Wed 28-Aug-13 09:59:14

I love taking my little girl to soft play centres. Now that she's 14mths and a little more 'sturdy' she really enjoys all the toys, the bright coloured ball pits and slides etc. we've seen a few grotty ones in our area, but the nice clean ones have such a friendly atmosphere and are great for sensory and social development! (Even daddy likes a go on the slide with out littlun too)!

We also love taking out little girl swimming too as she's such a water baby and loves splashing around. She also likes trips to the park on her trike and hates to be taken out of the swing to leave!

Queen0fFeckingEverything Wed 28-Aug-13 10:05:30

We do quite enjoy soft play, though our nearest is a 50 mile round trip! But we still go once a month. I only ever go when its quiet though, its unbearable at weekends and in holidays.

I do think soft play places miss a trick with the food though, its invariably boring, beige, and overpriced for what it is.

MY DC have a 7yr age gap so finding things they both enjoy can be really hard. One of the most successful outings we do is agricultural shows - tractors and farm animals galore for my toddler DS, and show jumping and dog agility for my 10 yr old DD.

bamblolo Wed 28-Aug-13 10:06:25

We enjoy going blackberry picking at our local park. We take a picnic with us and a few games such as frisbee and skipping rope. There's always something new to see at the park.

Favourite family activities - Days out, holidays, and going for meals out together. Its lovely to be all together and have quality time as a family.

HeySoulSister Wed 28-Aug-13 12:05:14

can I be greedy and add 2?? two activities which tots to teens love,quite difficult to get all age groups involved,but these do the job....I have 5dc aged from 5 to 19.

we ALL love geocaching!! we try and look for caches everywhere we go....not just in the countryside,but in towns and cities too....central London has hundreds!! its also worldwide. they are everywhere (even on the top of ben nevis which I recently climbed)

second family activity is a new discovery.....trim trails.....we have 4 here locally in parks/woodland/lakes. we all run as a hobby anyway but recently discovered these trails of specially made and erected fitness equipment along the way. each has a board to show how to correctly use the equipment. so you run we do 5 k runs,then come to an activity,do on to next one.....great for ALL ages. we are looking further afield now for them.

HeySoulSister Wed 28-Aug-13 12:06:05

yes,we love soft play! i'm not so keen,but the teenagers love taking younger siblings on (if allowed)

Mine are teens now, so we don't go to soft play (although I suspect they'd enjoy it more now!).

Dp used to take them sometimes and they did like them. I loathed them - always too busy, crap coffee, too many unsupervised children, horrible loos etc etc.

The perfect soft play place for me would have -
an excellent cafe with proper coffee and homemade cakes, as well as healthy-ish lunches such as soups, hoummus and dips, toasties with salad.
Numbers would be kept at a sensible level and people would have set times in there - an hour's slot would be fine.
The staff would know how to smile and would actually like children.

Like Mady M, now that ours are teens our main family activity is going out for a meal. We sometimes have a DVD night together and we sometimes (not as much as I'd like) play a boardgame together.

DoItTooJulia Wed 28-Aug-13 12:17:06

We have recently rediscovered soft play! Ds 1 is 8 and ds2 is 9 months, so it's really hard to find activities they can both enjoy together! Soft play is PERFECT...the 8 year old gets sweaty and worn out and ds 2 can scramble all over everything, perfecting his new crawling skills.

I can feed them both lunch, and best of all, I get a coffee, a real, hot coffee, which makes me a happy mummy!

I'll be popping out later for a couple of promotional packs of Bassetts soft and chewy vitamins, so that the kids can enjoy one last soft play session together before its back to school, and best of all, it'll be free! Thank you Bassetts!

QuietUntil3 Wed 28-Aug-13 12:53:58

I used to go to soft play a lot with DD - for company and we lived in a bigger town so had a choice of a couple. It was a absolute lifesaver as we didn't know many people with children, we could go in all weathers and they were in council sports facilities so reasonably priced.

We went less frequently when ds1 arrived as by then we were further away from the nearest soft play (and it was much more expensive with not-so-nice food). Then ds2 arrived and it was ok to go occasionally until he was 1 when suddenly it got very expensive to take all three and get them a drink!

We don't generally go to soft play now because dd is too old (12) though she would actually enjoy it and likes "helping" ds2. All dcs are tall for their ages which meant that some soft play centres haven't allowed them in even at age 7 or 8 so that has also stopped us going and often seemed unfair.

Our equivalent family activity now is to go to a local adventure playground in the grounds of a country house - they do a summer pass which is a bargain and all three dcs are able to enjoy it. Our actual favourite activity would be taking a picnic and going paddling (it is safe enough that I can read a book in peace while they are playing in front of me smile)

MadMonkeys Wed 28-Aug-13 13:02:48

Swimming, going to the park, trip to the garden centre to see the pets, fish, play in their park etc. Soft play is great but there always seem to be some unsupervised kids there hogging the slides etc and dd1 is quite timid so she often wants to go home when this happens.

KateOxford Wed 28-Aug-13 13:31:49

Outside activities like walks in the woods, picnics, spotting and collecting bits of "nature".

aftereight Wed 28-Aug-13 13:42:34

Our favourite family activity is going on holiday - the planning, packing, travelling, exploring.
For days out it is going to mew places to parks and cafes, fresh air and food, great combination.
My children love soft play centres but don't like the noisyness of them, or older, boisterous children. I enjoy soft play for the chance to chat to a friend over a coffee, so more decent coffee please!

Piffpaffpoff Wed 28-Aug-13 13:45:59

Our current favourite activity is sandcastle building at the beach.

The kids love going to soft play, I tolerate it because they enjoy it! A good soft play has reasonably priced food and drink, with some reasonably healthy choices. And great cakes!!!!

Tiredbuthappy1970 Wed 28-Aug-13 14:02:04

We used to go to soft play centres when my 2 were younger but they have grown out of them now. We love going to the beach, it's cheap and we never get tired of it. Also enjoy going out on our bikes and if we have to stay inside we bake, do crafty things or puzzles, sometimes play on the Wii or read.

ouryve Wed 28-Aug-13 14:04:09

Soft play is our idea of extremely noisy, revoltingly sticky hell! The boys are really too big for it now, anyhow. We do enjoy long walks, occasionally - somewhere safe where there's no roads or ditches to worry about.

HarumScarum Wed 28-Aug-13 14:22:47

Soft play used to be way too scary for my 6 year old but she's started to enjoy it recently, particularly if we take a friend with us.

Our favourite activities are to have a making day with tons of boxes and coloured paper and sequins and glue etc, to have a picnic somewhere lovely if the weather is good, swimming, day at the park where there is a big paddling pool or a trip somewhere like a farm or the zoo. Also love Kew Gardens (so much to do even if the weather isn't that great), walks by the river, trip to the library or a day at the allotment.

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Wed 28-Aug-13 14:28:47

The beach.

We're very lucky we live quite close to a few beaches and we make the most of it practically live there as soon as the weather is dry.

Nothing beats being outside as opposed to soft play; the kids get to run free, explore, dig, paddle, fresh air, get their vitamin D topped up and it's all free!

We learn about nature from rock pooling and if we take a stroll along the pier sometimes friendly fishermen show them their catch, they get impromptu geography lessons spotting the foreign ships that pull into the harbour, we do maths and shape/colour sorting with pebbles and 'sea glass'.

Softplay is ok in small doses when it's midwinter but I'd rather be outside and the kids do too.

Cherrygrape Wed 28-Aug-13 14:47:35

So, what are your favourite family activities? Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children? If so, why? If not, why not? If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good?

We love walking, playing ball in the garden and going to the park .
We go in tern time sometimes to soft play, its great as its not too busy and there is free squash. The staff are really friendly too.

Pascha Wed 28-Aug-13 14:54:52

I quite like soft play when the weather is a bit dismal but DS1 isn't quite 3 yet and sometimes gets quite bewildered up in the top of the frame so I have to keep pacing round it to make sure he can see me. I'm more knackered than him at the end blush.

I like our local one because its huge - playframe, slides, cars, trampolines and family-friendly facilities. Unfortunately its not on the list of free-session ones, the nearest is quite a distance and not worth the petrol unfortunately.

DS would say his favourite favourite family activity is to watch banger or stock car racing. I would say swimming actually because all of us - mum, dad, DS1 and DS2 can have a bit of fun on a sunday morning.

FOMOphobic Wed 28-Aug-13 15:04:16

Mine are 5 and 8 and partial to a bit of soft-play. I started to enjoy it a lot more when they were old enough to be let loose and I could stay sat down reading waiting for them to return to ask for drinks and snacks!

One thing our family loves is a good walk in the woods/countryside with the dog. And if we can fit a hunt for a geocache into that so much the better.

wheretoyougonow Wed 28-Aug-13 15:10:06

Favourite family activity has to be on a Sunday. Taking the dog for a long walk and then returning home for a traditional Sunday dinner (with pudding). We do this come rain or shine and there is a lovely satisfaction at the end of the afternoon when everyone is worn out with full tummies.

wheretoyougonow Wed 28-Aug-13 15:12:02

Forgot to add my youngest loves soft play but it has become a bit harder to go now that my eldest seems too tall to enter (10 yrs). I think of it as more of a winter activity although they all seem so busy when it raining (obviously!)

IncaAztec Wed 28-Aug-13 15:38:37

So, what are your favourite family activities?
We really enjoy swimming or the park as activities. Cheap as chips and entertaining.

Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children? If so, why? If not, why not?
We enjoy going sometimes but we live fairly rurally and the drive can be a bit of a chore!

If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good?

The best one is very large with a massive playframe and the food is very good too. If we can get there on a rainy day, we really enjoy it.

Blackcathaireverywhere Wed 28-Aug-13 15:48:53

We've enjoyed soft play over the years but my eldest is ten now and is seeming a bit grown up for soft play. An indoor play centre aimed at slightly older kids would be great.

I love going for longer walks with the family now (three miles +). The kids moan and don't want to go, but as soon as they get outside on a woodland trail they are away and love every minute of it!

We all also enjoy meeting up with other families for games of football.

SnowyMouse Wed 28-Aug-13 16:02:51

Playing in the park, followed by a picnic lunch.

laeiou Wed 28-Aug-13 16:14:58

Favorite activities with toddler are anything social- visiting friends, playing with friends in the park etc.

I don't like soft play. I've tried a few and find that toddlers are often not well catered for. There's an age when the baby area is too young but the older area is too old. Also it just takes one unsupervised child who is running around hitting and grabbing toys to ruin the fun for everyone else.

We like walks in the woods and visiting new parks - we live in London so there are lots to try!

We do go to softplay, but dd was a very late crawler and walker so I always looked like the worst kind of helicopter mother as I carried helped her round the equipment. It's better now she is independently mobile, but even now at 3.5 she hasn't quite reached the stage where I can just let her get on with it.

The best softplay I've been to was near Reading and had rooms full of dressing up equipment, all based on different themes (nurse/vet/builder etc) as well as the usual climbing stuff.

carovioletfizz Wed 28-Aug-13 16:19:02

Our two under fives love soft play, there are a few near our house. They also love baking, painting, Lego and the park.

Spirael Wed 28-Aug-13 16:25:54

I hate soft play places and avoid them if at all possible! There always seem to be a few rampaging, unsupervised bullies who spoil it for everyone. The facilities are tired, worn and inevitably sticky and dirty. The food is overpriced, deep fried, bin fodder. It's too noisy to think, let alone talk!

Our favourite family activities are either to go swimming or do baking together. We can all join in and it's a lot of fun!

Theimpossiblegirl Wed 28-Aug-13 18:09:27

My kids love a soft play but as they are getting older we have to go to bigger venues. An interactive map would be useful as I'd travel to a better one as the one local to me is a bit small.

I tend to find food and drink at soft play very overpriced and poor quality, although if they are attached to a pub that's always good. I begrudge paying for my children to play if we're buying a meal though, it should be included as part of the service.

It's a good way for kids to run off steam while I read or chat to my friends, although I prefer outdoor activities (woodland walks, the beach etc. soft play is a great rainy day alternative.

PickleFish Wed 28-Aug-13 18:45:34

not my children, but niece and nephew, and best activities are berry picking, or hanging around in a cafe in the bookshop and being able to look at as many books as they like before choosing one to buy. we never do soft play really as it's too crowded and sensory overload (for me as much as them!). We did a couple of times when they were younger.

Maggietess Wed 28-Aug-13 19:00:42

My favourite activity with my older two girls is getting the time when their little brother is asleep to sit down and do some arts and crafts type projects with them. They have so much fun for hours.
Outdoors I love taking a picnic on a cold but dry winters day and heading up the hill near us for a big walk then a picnic at the top (complete with blankets round knees, hats, gloves etc...makes it all amusing and cosy!

Best soft play is a new one near us called Funtastic, just outside Belfast in Carryduff. Absolutely huge frame, well supervised, great toddlers area (including soft carousel & rocking boat). Their only downside is they are too popular at the moment and are often full with queues!

Raahh Wed 28-Aug-13 19:05:13

I have been taking mine to the local soft play (a wacky warehouse) since ds was a baby, so over 10 years. But a few years back, they changed it to a 'coffee corner' , ramped up the prices, packed more seating in, and it never felt the same. I love soft-play areas, though- the dcs can play safely, and I can read my book and there's enough to kill an hour or 2.

I now take dd2 (3 next month, dd21 is 7 and has out-grown it a bit)to a different one, with nicer food, a huge choice of teas and coffee, and a lot more space. It's ideal during term time, and good for dd2, who hasn't been to childcare/nursery as her siblings did.

As a family the nearby large park is great in the summer. There's a small farm, greenhouses, big play area and usually other events going on. And it's freegrin apart from the ice-cream We also have a family pass to the lego discovery centre, at the Trafford centre, which was given to us as a gift. It's great to pass an hour, but I wouldn't say there is enough there to justify the costs for a one off visit, but the pass pays for itself over and over, even if we only pop in for an hour.

sassytheFIRST Wed 28-Aug-13 19:05:39

Local English Heritage property - big old ruin but fantastic gardens and completely safe. Ideal place to take a picnic and stay all day.

Lunch out at a country pub.

Pizza and DVD cuddled on sofa with the curtains drawn.


MegBusset Wed 28-Aug-13 19:06:30

I hate soft play and am really glad my kids are past that age now (6 and 4)!

Our favourite activity is going for a walk in the countryside, or to the beach.

Pozzled Wed 28-Aug-13 19:48:59

My girls both love soft play, and I think it's great exercise for them. However, I wish there were more soft play centres on public transport routes- they're often hard to get to without a car.

Our favourite activities are mostly outdoors ones- picnics, playgrounds, camping, walks. We also keep an eye out for local festivals and celebrations, always good fun.

Babycarmen Wed 28-Aug-13 19:53:08

We have a soft play near us called Playbarn and it is really good! It is an old converted barn so is HUGE but the best part is there is a separate area for younger children so they don't get pushed about, and there is a seating area for the parents to watch and a cafe which does special kids lunches etc. The only bad thing is they charge £1 for adults to go in which I don't see the need for when they will be spending money at the cafe anyway!

Some of our favourite family activities that we ALL enjoy would be river walks with a picnic, and movie days with popcorn and den making.

whattodoo Wed 28-Aug-13 19:55:09

Taking the bikes and a picnic to the park.

majjsu Wed 28-Aug-13 19:58:13

Favourite activities are walks, parks, beach, fun in the garden, visiting National Trust sites and watching a film together. My little girl has grown to like softplay. There is a great one called The Zoo at Cramlington. It is all on one floor, with bouncy castles, tunnels, ride-ons, building blocks, wendy houses and slides. She tires herself out there.

bluebump Wed 28-Aug-13 20:05:38

I didn't mind the soft play near us when my DS was smaller but he's too big for it now and the ones more suitable for his age are a 30 minute or more drive away so we've not bothered to go.

Our favourite activities are things like going to the beach, we are lucky we live in Devon so we have plenty to choose from with a packed lunch and some stuff to make sandcastles etc.

This year for the first time we got a National Trust membership which we've enjoyed as we have a property a mile away from us so it means we go far more than we used to and have a wander around the woods or the gardens.

hermancakedestroyer Wed 28-Aug-13 20:24:26

We used to love soft play areas when the children were a bit younger but now they are 8 and 10 we prefer to do outdoor activities such as the beach, kayaking, zorbing, zip wires, go ape, walking and cycling. Anything to get out in the fresh air - however I do recall the benefits of the soft play area with a nice cup of tea or coffee whilst the children played in the safe play area (happy days!!) grin

Lampshadeofdoom Wed 28-Aug-13 20:39:36

Running on the beach, digging sandcastles, splashing in the sea, jumping the waves is one of our favourites.

Mine still love soft play and we have a couple nearby where adults can play too which is even better but sometimes a cuppa and reading the paper while the kids play is bliss.

Nightwish Wed 28-Aug-13 20:44:19

Favourite activities are visiting family and going to the beach.

We don't mind softplay but don't go overly often as it is expensive for what it is.

HamletsSister Wed 28-Aug-13 20:49:51

We love soft play! Once, during a power cut, after a few weeks of new baby and energetic toddler, we all decamped to the local one. The baby slept, the toddler toddled and fell in safety and both adults went on the bouncy castle and came away, full of good feelings and ready to cope with another month or two of night wakings.

We also love eating together, either at home or out. We both cook with the children, usually separately (I am the pudding / baking / dough chef, DH does the main meals) and enjoy that. We explore places together a lot: woodlands, beaches, castles, cities. We love big walks wherever we happen to be, although the energy of the soft play and running around days is slowly being replaced by the "I'm tired / can't be bothered" of the later years.

Can we have soft play for exhausted grown ups and reluctant Tweens?

mummyofIandS Wed 28-Aug-13 20:53:21

We absolutely love 'Ice Cube painting' A fun activity we discovered recently after exploring with paint and water. Brings hours of fun and you can make pictures as big or small as you like. Great fun by all and very easy to set up.

serendipity1980 Wed 28-Aug-13 20:55:21

we tend to go to soft play during TD days, it's too busy for our 5 & 3 yr old during weekends and holidays. We love being in the outdoors though and we've just bought a canal boat which the children love. So I think that's going to be our best activity for the future.

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 28-Aug-13 20:57:07

Swimming, soft play, the beach, cycling, theme parks and farms.

mumnosbest Wed 28-Aug-13 20:59:09

Our favourite activity is going to the woods to climb trees and cycle but as British weather usually makes this impossible, soft play and bowling would be our second favourites, along with swimming, iceskating and cinemas.

BadRoly Wed 28-Aug-13 21:03:02

Our current favourite family activity is surfing/body boarding. This is the first year the youngest has wanted to join in - although mostly he is pulled along in a board in 3" deep water grin

We do go to soft play but as my dc are across a big age range, the best ones for us have big slides as well as the traditional soft play bits. Throw in a trampoline or those ball guns and we can easily spend half a day in one!

AtYourCervix Wed 28-Aug-13 21:05:58

Outdoorsy stuff.

Walking in the forest, building eeyor houses, picnics, exploring, sleeping out.
Beaches, sandcastles, rockpooling, bbqs.

domesticslattern Wed 28-Aug-13 21:10:30

My favourite family activities are ones which all members of the family enjoy ie not just for the kids. So museums, the beach, gallopping around woods, kite flying etc - basically things I used to enjoy doing pre-DC.
Which kinda rules out soft play tbh. I do go but with slightly gritted teeth.

BooksBooksEverywhere Wed 28-Aug-13 21:23:37

My favourite family activities are outdoor ones, going to the beach or a walk and picnic in the park.

We don't do soft play so much anymore (youngest dc is 6) but we used to go quite a lot when they were preschoolers as it offers a safe place to climb. I don't enjoy taking them. Some of the ones near us are so huge that I can't see or hear them when they are on the equipment and it makes me a bit nervous when it's very busy. Also in general the food is either poor quality or overpriced - or both. Also it's not cheap to get in to them in the first place.

CMOTDibbler Wed 28-Aug-13 21:25:38

Our favourite family activity is cycling or walking in the countryside - ideally woodland.

We do go to softplay occasionally, if the weather is really grim, but its a last resort generally

Letitsnow9 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:29:51

Fresh air, I love how kids can get joy from the simple things in life and how exciting being timed to run to a certain tree or hope around a bush can bring

babyboo1and2 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:30:26

Indoors, baking with dd aged 7 is always fun.

We also enjoy walking our dog in our local forest.

Family fun time sessions during school holidays are enjoyed.

babyboo1and2 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:31:05

That is family fun time sessions at our local swimming pool .

My favourite family activity is socialising with other families, this summer we have been to some lovely bbq's and picnics where the children all play happily together and the adults get to relax and chat. We haven't been to a soft play for a while as they aren't suitable for our children ranging from 12-5 plus I think they can be expensive. Our children would rather we spent that money on a picnic or parking so that we can have a trip out to the beach or Sandringham.

AFishWithoutABicycle Wed 28-Aug-13 21:40:01

I love head over heels in chorlton Manchester. They make such an effort to

make interesting and exciting. It rains a lot here so it's brilliant to

have somewhere indoors where the DC can run off some energy and have

lots of fun.

It even has a little night club.

I don't use soft play. Favourite activities are beach, local park or trip out in the country somewhere exploring, I suppose because that's what I did as a child. My DC's are 4 and 18 months and they both spend a lot of time outside in all weathers as they are both very energetic and can be hard to contain. We are the last ones building a giant fort on the beach, individually hermetically sealed in waterproofs and thermals, as the fog closes in around us!

If the sleet or gales defeat us then favourite indoor activities are baking or cooking or building dens in the house with cushions and blankets. Both mine are up a 5.30 am and don't stop for a moment from then until bed, so if we are all together as a family we tend to do one or two activities a day that will fill 6 hours or so and we take food and everything with us. Budget is also a factor so we tend to do free stuff if possible.

Joycey29 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:50:44

Woods walk with den building option!

My DS is too old for soft play now at 12.
He did really enjoy it when younger though. There are 5 places I can think of close to me in my town, and we me always preferred the cleaner / newer / refurbished ones. Some of them can get really manky.

Our favourite family activity currently is treasure trails or geocaching.

manfalou Wed 28-Aug-13 22:09:24

We love soft play areas! We've taken DS1 since being 1 (first time was on his 1st birthday!) and he loves it. Unfortunately he's not always big enough to be able to climb by himself as he wishes but he loves to go and burns off so much energy. Now we have a 4 month old too I can't wait for them to be able to go round together! The closest 'free' one too us isn't all that close, we'd still choose to pay to go to a closer one.

Our favourite family activity is going to country parks such as Chatsowrth or Rufford and taking the eldests balance bike with us. Theres so much to do with the ducks, bike rides and tons of space its great! Plus you only have to pay for parking if you take a picnic.

Theincidental Wed 28-Aug-13 22:15:50

Favourite family activity? Going to the beach and jumping in the surf or rock pooling, picnics and sand castles.

I like soft play for rainy days, but they have to be clean and well maintained. There are two locally - one is gross and the cafe is in the next room serving greasy food. The other is well laid out, clean and friendly with good equipment and cafe serving nice healthy food.

P.s love chewy vitamins... For me!

WeAllHaveWings Wed 28-Aug-13 22:16:03

Ds(9) is now a bit old for soft play, but a new local one has parties at night where they turn the lights down and the kids play laser tag. He loves it.

Favourite family activity recently is walking and trying to train our 5 month old labrador puppy, In between football training and ds plaing in matches.

sharond101 Wed 28-Aug-13 22:28:38

So, what are your favourite family activities?
Anything outdoors really. We love walking our dog to the park and running around after the ball when we get there. We love cycling together as a family and most of all going to the beach.
Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children? If so, why? If not, why not? My DS loves softplay so yes we do enjoy it. We go as a weekly or fortnightly treat and he has come on so much since we started going in terms of climbing and his confidence so I think it's a good thing. I don't like the food they serve (chips chips and more chips) so we come home for lunch.
If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good? One close to use has lots for younger children my DS's age so that stands out for us. There is lots of free spacce too so they can run around. The spacehoppers are a hit with all the children as is the little tikes car.

dahville Wed 28-Aug-13 23:10:44

Our favourite activity is walking! We both get on a carrier and get to the coast. Since our youngest is just weeks old we look for short routes and flat terrain these days.

We've been to a couple of soft play centres but haven't been impressed. Both seemed rather grubby, both were poorly lit, one had a lot of broken toys, and neither had good food.

In the end I think we prefer to be outside.

beeelaine Thu 29-Aug-13 10:36:04

our family favourite activities are wresting, picnics, ball games of almost anykind except football, camping, cycling and taking walks. Inside the home we like movies and board games.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Thu 29-Aug-13 12:24:55

baking cakes and preparing lovely meals for us all

LovesBeingOnHoliday Thu 29-Aug-13 12:28:00

Anything where we can laugh and be silly together

Ruby6918 Thu 29-Aug-13 12:38:18

there is a brilliant soft play activity centre called Jumping Jacks in Lisburn, its spotless, has great viewing so you can see the kids all the time, a lovely cafe and seating and its never overcrowded, if we are staying at home then we make rice crispy buns, or i get out a large roll of backing paper which is far cheaper than buying drawing pads! and let them draw and paint i also use my left over emulsion and put in into small pots so dont need to spend on paint either

ShatnersBassoon Thu 29-Aug-13 12:45:09

Cycling is our favourite at the moment.

I'm not a fan of soft play. They're not fun for all the family. I would never just pop along to one and pay to get it, but they are good party venues - other parents to chat to, lots of little friends to stop the children pestering you to get in the ball pit with them because they're lonely hmm

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Thu 29-Aug-13 12:48:35

Our favourite outdoor family activities are trips to the park or beach for picnics and digging the sand. Indoors we like baking together.

We don't often go to soft play and if we do we try to go when it's quiet with fewer big kids around or go to one aimed at smaller children.

DD aged 3 enjoys soft play but we don't go very often as they are a bit grotty and boisterous. Now that DS is 1 and crawling, he absolutely loves them. Our favourite is Monkey Business in Lewes

Oh and forgot to say that our favourite activities are walking in the woods or throwing stones into the sea at the beach

NorkyButNice Thu 29-Aug-13 13:01:07

We have family membership of a local gym and there is a soft play area there which both of our boys enjoy using. While they clamber around there is a comfortable area for me to sit and drink Costa Coffee and we can order quality food (proper meals, not just chicken nuggets or pizza).

As for other soft play, I can't stand them - too noisy, hot, parents ignoring their rampaging children... We generally go to the park to let them burn off some energy!

SoupDragon Thu 29-Aug-13 13:06:41

As a family, we enjoy geocaching - using billion dollar satellite technology to find Tupperware in the woods smile

My days of soft play are now over but my favourite ones where where they had comfortable seating and good coffee and were safe enough for my children to run about by themselves and have independence.

MaxinePeakedistrict Thu 29-Aug-13 13:13:32

Geocaching is a great treasure hunt in the fresh air - a country walk with a focus.

k8vincent Thu 29-Aug-13 13:29:45

Yesterday we tried to go blackberry picking - no ripe fruit but we did find some more sticks to add to our growing collection - and a tree swing. So I think at the moment our favourite family activity involves finding trees to climb/swing from and sticks to fight each other with (3 boys).

Soft pay is expensive, especially when you have to pay for adults as well. It just isn't worth it.

mamamidwife Thu 29-Aug-13 13:30:44

My kids are of an age that they love soft play, to the point of unbearable excitement! The soft play barn we go to is on a farm, so there are lots of animals to see which is an added bonus. At the moment every animal we see there is a 'cow' according to my youngest (they are her current obsession!)

We also love going to a place called Brock Bottoms. A big but shallow, pebble filled river where the youngest of kids can paddle, skim stones, build dams, & get thoroughly wet. It's a free day out perfect for picnics, wildlife, treasure hunts etc, you can make your trip in to whatever adventure you like.

BigGapMum Thu 29-Aug-13 13:31:25

Our favourite family days are beach days. Luckily we live near the coast and have several beaches to choose from to visit. We always take a packed lunch and stay for most of the day. DS loves playing in the sand or in shallow water. As long as its not raining too much we'll stay even if the weather changes.

When we do soft play it's usually a soft play area within another attraction IYSWIM. We always have annual membership for at least one attraction with soft play facilities, so tend to combine soft play with other activities on the same day out.

lilmrschatty Thu 29-Aug-13 13:31:59

Our favourite family activity is walking in the woods. The kids love putting wellies on and jumping in puddles.

I do like taking them to soft play as it gives me a bit of a break. My favourite one has wifi, nice coffee and good cakes. Lots of comfy seats would be a bonus!

puffylovett Thu 29-Aug-13 13:37:00

My 2 boys 3 and 6 LOVE soft play, but like others I agree the food and coffee could always be better...

Our favourite family activity is mountain biking - it's fun, free and keeps us fit. All our friends and kids love it. We love trailcenters or just picking out trails at the local park. It's a new thing for me and I've built up so much more control on my bike just following my two biking demons around on their bikes and copying everything they do, like wheelies and jumps grin

supergreenuk Thu 29-Aug-13 13:37:21

We love swimming and we also have a family kayak so love doing that too.

Soft play centres have there place but can be quite expensive. Swimming is £4.10 for me and 2 under 5 and play centres are way more than this. We like them but keep them as a treat and avoid school holidays.

Cooking and baking, going for long walks, reading, swimming, watching cycling tours on tv, drawing/painting, going to the seaside and the playground. I haven't been to a soft play centre. Don't know why really, just haven't!

fffinsake Thu 29-Aug-13 13:44:37

Geocaching is our favourite family activity.

We do like soft play, norovirus aside, but with little children we avoid it during weekends and holidays because they tend to get trampled by lumbering ten year olds playing in the toddler section.

The best soft plays are the ones where you can go in with your child to play.

aristocat Thu 29-Aug-13 13:48:37

Mine loved soft play too, sadly they are too old for it now. We enjoy bowling very much (they are so competitive) and cycling on a trail or just at the Park.

Soft play centres need comfy seating and a decent cuppa. Always go with friends so you can just sit and chat while the children wear themselves out smile

lottytheladybird Thu 29-Aug-13 13:55:51

Family favourite activities: going to the park!

We like taking our toddlers to soft play at less busy times. The best one we've been to is one in Newbury, where they had several different zones for the very little ones, an area with toy cars to play with, a disco room, as well as a brilliantly laid out soft play area for the older ones.

JulesJules Thu 29-Aug-13 14:20:43

Mine are too old for soft play now - they used to love it.

Our favourite things would be walks on the beach and paddling, and going to the Lake District

slev Thu 29-Aug-13 14:30:28

DS (3) loves soft play although his parents aren't always so keen on the clambering around... He'll also run round the models at Legoland for hours on end given the chance, but again, we lose patience!

Favourite things as a family - we like to cook and eat together, story time, going for walks, feeding the ducks, going to the local farm to feed the animals. And like others have said - the beach when we can, but there aren't too many of them in Surrey sadly...

GummyLopes Thu 29-Aug-13 14:36:51

Our. Favourite. Fun. Activity. Is. Soft. Play. Sponsored. By. Bassetts. We. Are. Lean. And. Healthy.

Will this do?

Just send me the fucking ipad.

GummyLopes Thu 29-Aug-13 14:39:32

Sorry for rudeness.

Moochicken Thu 29-Aug-13 14:54:58

We go to softplay fairly frequently as 3yo DD loves it. The difficulty is that she is still too little to go round on her own and I have to sit out with 6mo DS. Adults aren't supposed to go on our local one, but often do when it's not busy. This is really great fun when DH and I both go as we can take turns watching the baby and running round with DD. When they can both go on the equipment unaccompanied, I think we will go more often.

Our other favourite family is a trip to the beach. Even when it's cold we take a bucket and spade for digging holes and building sandcastles, followed by a walk along the sand.

Feeding the ducks at the local park. It gets us all out of the house for a bit, it free (apart from the cost of a few slices of bread) and nearly 2yo DS loves it smile

AllThatGlistens Thu 29-Aug-13 15:18:27

Favourite family activity has to be getting outdoors, recently had a day in the woods collecting pinecones and it was fantastic!

Anything that keeps us active, trips to the zoo, going for walks, picnics etc are things we all love to do.

Mekaine Thu 29-Aug-13 15:27:02

The beach DD scuba dives at her club DS surfs if there are waves. Me and the dog walk and photograph and watch, a hefty picnic and a walk together later with plenty to talk about. Lovely

AmandinePoulain Thu 29-Aug-13 15:34:43

Walks in the woods, or going to the beach. We're really lucky to live within walking distance of both smile. We also go to the library and local museum a lot because both put on good children's activities.

I'm fussy about soft play areas. I hate going to dirty ones, or ones with loads of pay-per-go rides. The one in our local leisure centre is fairly nice, not too expensive and they've recently changed things around which means it hasn't got too same-y. The food isn't too bad there either - nothing exciting, just wraps and sandwiches but I prefer that to chicken nuggets and chips to be honest. They don't charge until babies reach 1 either - there's one near me that charges from 6mo which really annoyed me - why should I pay £3 to watch my non mobile then 8mo chew on a ball?! hmm

Our favourite indoor play area is a bit further away, the equipment is wooden rather than soft and there's also an outside play area and farm. It's really good value smile.

Crazyex Thu 29-Aug-13 15:50:47

Local gymnastics club does sessions which are great and not claustrophobic or smelly!

TheRedRabbit Thu 29-Aug-13 16:07:03

We love soft play but my DCs are 3 and 1 and find that the older kids pushing and shoving can make it a stressful time.

Our favourite thing is probably snuggling up on the sofa reading, or doing silly dances to music.

evelynj Thu 29-Aug-13 16:09:11

We love painting outdoors, much more relaxing & paint can go everywhere with no worries about furniture etc. Children get really excited and burn up more energy with outdoor art!

Going to a local park that has a huge play area and then a wooded den making area. We then buy ice cream (hot chocolate in the colder weather) and head off for a walk in the forest. Fab day out, kids kept active snd worn out and best of all virtually free!

nextphase Thu 29-Aug-13 17:58:58

cycling to the park, and having a picnic (lunch or just a snack) while out there.

The kids do love softplay, but our socks always come back filthy (apart from our local independent, but every birthday party is there, so it looses it appeal) which makes me reluctant to go.

Mandz07 Thu 29-Aug-13 18:39:50

My favorite family activity is messy time. We all have a great time painting usually each othergrin also love doing crafts with the dcs. It's great what their little imaginations come up with

billybear Thu 29-Aug-13 19:01:09

taking the dog to the park, for a kick about with the kids and dog, then a home made picnic, a cheap day out,

zimbamummy Thu 29-Aug-13 20:12:52

My DS is just over 2 and so far our favourite family activities are going for walks (in any weather) and picnics when it's warm. I've taken him to soft play a couple of times but found it quite pricey seeing as he won't spend a full day there so thought I'd wait until he's a little older.

SmallBee Thu 29-Aug-13 20:19:00

We really enjoy the zoo!

WhyIRayLiotta Thu 29-Aug-13 20:34:26

We have never been to soft play! I think I would be too worried about vomit in the ball pool to relax grin

Our favorites things to do are pretty much all outside... Visiting the local open farm. DD loves feeding the animals and getting to hold the chicks and bunnies.

We love walking in the forest beside our home. Bringing bread for the ducks and watching the swans and squirrels.

We love the beach. It's a bit away so we usually bring a picnic and - even in rubbish weather - run about and kick a ball. DD loves kicking it into the sea and watching it come back.

DD plays out everyday - in the garden with her ball / scooter / chasing the cat.

Trouvere Thu 29-Aug-13 20:42:00

Live everyone else, walks in the woods... although we've done the same walks so many times it is starting to pall a little.
Soft play is pretty horrible in my experience, just way too noisy.

Used to like soft play as long as it was cleanish and had tea with real milk.

Had fab day today with slightly older children- Guildford leisure centre has a good pool and an ice rink, did both with a picnic in between- wish we had something like that near us.

Charlene1 Thu 29-Aug-13 20:49:03

I live near a soft play centre that has recently opened - they listen to what the parents and children want - e.g. facilities, food, space, layout etc - it is a really good place to go with friends as we can see all parts of the centre from the seats, and relax with coffee and lovely home made cakes, knowing the children are safe and having fun - and adults are allowed on the frame too!

Lilpickle08 Thu 29-Aug-13 20:52:10

We love going to theme parks, or any other type of park with good slides / climbing equipment etc!

The kids are still at a good age for soft play (4 and 5) though my daughter dislikes the 'noise' of some of them and finds them a bit too intense! (so do I actually!).

The best soft plays are those with lots of space (for kids and adults), good coffee, reasonably priced food - and of course the equipment HAS to be clean (ish!). Unfortunately most soft plays churn out the same old food for kids (nuggets, chips, fish fingers etc). I would like to see healthier options on offer such as jacket potatoes and rice dishes.

A lot of the soft plays near us offer unlimited entry over the summer for a certain price - which is great when we are having one of our rubbish summers!

BlackeyedSusan Thu 29-Aug-13 22:46:40

the children love going to soft play parties and have both had their parties at a local soft play.

ou favourite soft play had a baby area and older area. dd loved it when she was one. you could stay in as long as you liked too and so we bought more food and snacks. it did not have enough tables for the adults though.

the childen like to spend time playing in the garden at granny's house., though our best days are when we can go to the seaside and play on the beach.

Hopezibah Fri 30-Aug-13 00:11:33

soft play has always been a fave activity - I took my son from when he was only a few months old and now he is 9 and STILL loves it and so do his younger siblings! I like it because I get to sit and relax for a while whilst the kids wear themselves out running around and having fun!

We have tried out all the soft play centers in our area and I like the ones where there is an area for very young children (but from which you can still watch the older ones), good food (often very low quality food in these places - so we prefer the ones that do nice healthy meal options), plenty of parking is important as often they are out of town in places where there is no other parking nearby.

Other family activities we enjoy are going to the beach, woods etc. and also swimming, bowling and cinema!

Happeningagain Fri 30-Aug-13 09:24:59

This summer we've discovered blackberry picking! Even the 16 month old can join in and we all muck in afterwards to make a crumble if there's any left. We combine it with a trip to the park where the bushes grow and have spent many a happy day there this summer.
We do go to soft play but I find it stressful with 3 dc and only one of me!

Tortoise Fri 30-Aug-13 11:26:03

We love beach trips but don't go very often due to hour long journey.
Also recently discovered they all enjoy playing badminton.

I did take them to soft play a few times when they were younger but I didn't really enjoy it but they certainly did.

We push the sofa infront of the TV, get some popcorn an a blanket, turn off the lights & phone and have a cinema night.

Geordieminx Fri 30-Aug-13 11:35:40

Ds and I love movie nights, the Glasgow Science Centre and Lego.

There are a few good soft plays near us but tbh as ds is an only child he tends to get bored easily, unless we take a wee friend for him to play with.

The best soft plays in my experience have separate areas for different age groups, lots of open spade, clean toilets and good coffee.

Also prefer "one price for everything" rather than paying entry then £2 for the go-karts and £1 for this slide etc etc

missorinoco Fri 30-Aug-13 11:51:28

We like park trips, especially those with water play.

We do enjoy soft play areas, but they can become very loud. I avoided them if alone when the children were younger, I found it hard being with the baby whilst keeping up with the young toddler unless the play area was very small. Too stressful.

What makes it enjoyable? Don't have the music too loud. Affordable coffee and teas - that makes if for me.

What about an offer? If come again within a month x amount off. That would bring me back on a rainy day.

Bluecarrot Fri 30-Aug-13 12:17:39

Swimming, cycling and exploring beaches/rock pools!

We did soft play before dd1 was too tall and look forward to it again with dd 2

Makeminealarge Fri 30-Aug-13 12:18:02

Favourite family activity has to be a long explore in the woods followed by a picnic (weather permitting)!

Love taking the kids to soft play, a secure safe environment for the kids to roam, climb and play! The only downside can be the cost, our local 360 children's soft play centre can cost as much as £15 for one adult and two children. shock So we save these trips for bad weather and special treats.

IloveJudgeJudy Fri 30-Aug-13 13:09:51

Favourite family activity is camping together, followed by going to airshows. Airshows give us a chance to learn things, plus to have a picnic together.

ImFineThankYou Fri 30-Aug-13 14:00:03

We like nothing more than packing a picnic (we have it in the car if it's wet out) and heading off to the local park. We feed the ducks, have a run about and when it's wet it's wellies on and splashing in the puddles. Even if we just go for half an hour in the evening it gets us out for some fresh air.

Much nicer than a softplay.

Gracelo Fri 30-Aug-13 14:19:50

We like to pack a picnic and go for a walk either up a hill or along the coast. This time of the year bramble picking is popular. I also take them swimming most Sunday mornings.
My children aren't keen on soft play. They enjoy parties there but not one of them has ever suggested to go there at other times.

Squiffie Fri 30-Aug-13 15:36:30

Our favourite family activity is going to the local RSPB reserve! There's loads to do - pond dipping, bug hunting, bird watching, walking trails and a fabulous playground that has a kind of 'tree house' feel to it all. In addition there's a lovely little cafe for lunch or tea and cakes!

We don't mind soft play if the weather is dismal but think the entry fee is often overpriced accompanied by overpriced and crap food and drink. I like the one local to me that does free entry after school in term time plus gives the kids a free soft drink! Don't mind paying for an overpriced coffee so much then. wink

I'm not a huge fan of soft play areas as they're usually very hot and noisy. I start to feel quite claustrophobic after a while.

My children love anything outdoors. Particularly being by the sea (even in the rain) we love looking for interesting shells, pebbles etc.

We also love riding our bikes but have done this much as its starting to be really difficult to do due to the amount of traffic on the road.

Silverfoxballs Fri 30-Aug-13 16:16:55

Going out to lunch or dinner, playing cards and board games. Though some of the board games cause huge rows. DS can cope with me winning but with DH and DS it is like watching stags rutting, so competitive it is ridiculous.

We also love the beach but live miles away unfortunately.
We also love visiting aquariums though we don't do it that often.

Silverfoxballs Fri 30-Aug-13 16:18:45

Also military history museums such as imperial war museum and the tank museum in Dorset. DH recently drove a tank as his birthday present from me was a good day out.

tinypumpkin Fri 30-Aug-13 16:23:17

Getting out and about on days out. Another picnic fan here as a good way to spend time out and about with the children.

Soft play does have its place but it is not my choice. The children love it. Better ones have separate areas for smaller children and a better choice of food (and coffee!).

littleoaktree Fri 30-Aug-13 16:44:44

Favourite family activity is exploring castles and ruins - both boys (4.5&16mo) love climbing up towers, playing hide and seek and working out where the people who lived there would have had their dinner (the most important thing to the dc grin)

Absolutely detest soft play - I am not comfortable letting either of mine out of my sight and you can never see everywhere, the areas are often not secure, other people don't supervise their children properly meaning that bigger children often push/hit etc - oh and ds1 gets scared at the top of things meaning I have to climb up and rescue him clutching ds2 while I do. The food at the cafes is always overpriced and unhealthy and the facilities dirty. <rant over>

The only type of soft play I don't mind is where there is a small soft play bit in say a museum/cafe/other attractions as it's usually compact and easy to see where the dc are and usually not as crowded.

Spottybra Fri 30-Aug-13 16:47:13

What is our favourite family activity? Definitely varies as to which member of the family you speak to;
DS 4yrs - swimming, going to the park with friends, going to the beach, riding his bike, soft play areas, basketball, football with daddy, ice skating, chase, playing monsters and sly fox. Dislikes - sitting still and school.
DD 2yrs - swimming, going to the park, playing sly fox and chase. Dislikes - mummy refusing to read another fairy story at half past nine at night.
Me - anything that makes my children laugh and smile and be active. Dislikes - dinner time. I just love cooking meals from scratch tailored to DS's special diet (food intolerances) to be told 'its yuk, I hate dinner times, can I just have a sandwich?'
DH - all the above, anything which means he gets to hear dc laugh, tire then out, get them to sleep so he can have ahem, private time with me. Dislikes - dc not going to sleep until 10pm. Keep telling him its a sign of intelligence, especially as they already have an answer for everything.

SmokedMackerel Fri 30-Aug-13 16:58:09

Favourite family activity - I think going to the seaside. The kids love building sandcastles, collecting shells, paddling in the sea, eating fish and chips and ice cream. It was DD2s first time at paddling this summer because she wasnt walking last year.

I have to admit to not being a great fan of soft play. I always lose sight of my child and find it hard to keep my eye on two at once, and my feet are always freezing because they make you take your shoes off. And the coffee from the cafe is always disgusting. My children love it of course.

ShelleyGal Fri 30-Aug-13 17:08:08

Favourite family activity, going down the river and feeding the ducks.. It's free and the kids enjoy it, so we do it as much as we can!

shash1982 Fri 30-Aug-13 17:08:55

We all enjoy going on adventure's from taking a walk though the woods to exploring the lake district. We recently went for the day to groombridge place & all of us loved the enchanted forest.

littlemonkeychops Fri 30-Aug-13 17:17:00

Favourite family activities are anything active and outdoors, fresh air and exercise means the DC sleep well :-) The best near us is a forrestry commission wood with lots of walks.

We do enjoy softplay though. The best are big ones with a cafe so we can watch the DC whilst having a cuppa.

HappySunflower Fri 30-Aug-13 17:28:11

Things we like to do together:

Baking cakes-and then eating them!!
Reading stories
Spending time together at bedtime talking about our days and having nice cuddles.

I like soft play, but some of the places we have been to are such a nightmare. There's one place we absolutely love though. The reasons are as follows:
Its clean and has an obviously good routine/policy for hygiene and cleaning routines.
They have separate areas for children aged 0-2', 2- under fives, 5-8's and 8-12.
There is clear vigilance from the staff aout numbers which avoids overcrowding
Decent coffee and wifi for parents!!

threepiecesuite Fri 30-Aug-13 17:50:13

So, what are your favourite family activities?
Going to country parks with something for all to enjoy - kids play park, nice house for me to look round, lake to mess about in.
Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children?
I do cos I get a quiet coffee with other mums and its a godsend on rainy days but my DD isn't that physical and gets a bit bored after 20 mins.
If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good?
We love Jellybeans in Widnes, Cheshire - it's clean, airy, you can see your child wherever they are as the play frame doesn't go too deep, there's lots of parental seating, and they do nice homemade cakes and chunky chips!

rootypig Fri 30-Aug-13 18:04:11

Baking bread together - making a basic dough and letting the kids make their own shapes. Bake and they eat their own roll for lunch!

Painting at home - taping huge sheets of sugar paper to the floor and letting them go mad finger painting, foot painting, covering themselves (with vegetable based paints).

Afternoon tea - making a cake together then having a little tea party on a random day in the middle of the week, especially in summer in the garden. Hilarious to see how formal little people get with their stuffed animals.

Fancy dress from the dressing up box and putting on plays on rainy days!

Making Christmas presents for family together - baskets of homemade cookies in Christmas shapes, mad child decorations on top.

Birthday parties! with smartie buns.

Jux Fri 30-Aug-13 18:12:08

Body boarding. DD (14) and dh both love it. I'm not strong enough but can bob about in the sea watching them. I love bobbing about, so we're all happy!

The other thing we all love is camping. Put me in a tent in the middle of a field and I'm happy. DD is the same. DH now has a wonky knee (old age catching up with him wink) and was finding camping harder this year.

MrsFrederickWentworth Fri 30-Aug-13 18:22:42

Soft play is brilliant. Used to take our son, have a cup of tea, rescue him on the slide, have a glass of water, rescue him on the nets, result exercise for parent and child with the possibility of a bit of socialising. And it wore him out so he slept well. We used to go often in the winter on wet and nasty days. I now take my godson there, and he met Santa for breakfast there two years ago. Magic.

But what we like doing is a water based picnic. It could be swimming, paddling in the sea or a paddling pool in the park , building sandcastles, fishing for minnows in a stream, with a family picnic. That way everyone has fun including the dog, it is age and gender unspecific and children love it, even if in the local park. They never get tired of the excitement of eating outside and running around where noise doesn't matter and you make your own fun.

SLINKYDREAMER Fri 30-Aug-13 18:27:04

We love being outdoors as there is so much to see and do for all age groups. Feeling all the different shapes and textures of leaves and bark, the power of the wind blowing on our faces, the shapes of the clouds passing in the sky and watching all the birds, animals and insects about us so we can try and draw them later.

JaquelineHyde Fri 30-Aug-13 18:47:34

Our favourite family activity at the moment is walking round our local farm, while the weather is nice it is a perfect day out.

Once the winter starts drawing in we shall once again be visiting our local soft play centre.

When the children are younger I always find them a bit of a nightmare but the dc are now 8, 7 and 6 and so as long as I manage to bag a big comfy seat (rather than one of the wooden benches) it really is quite fabulous. The children disappear and I sit with a hot choc and read/play on my phone or talk to the baby. Better than sitting in doors and getting Mummy, Mummy, Mummy every 5 mins.

LegoAcupuncture Fri 30-Aug-13 18:54:55

Our favourite family activity is going for a walk somewhere scenic where there is a park for the boys to let of steam and somewhere to picnic. Our most favourite place is Kielder Forest.

Do we like soft plays? Depends on the soft pay and depends on how busy it is. I prefer going when they are not too busy as I find the soft plays too noisy and more often than not leave with a headache. Our favourite one is in a huge warehouse, the soft pay area is massive, over 4 floors high and the DC get lost in there for a good hour. The food is good quality as well, all home made and they sell jugs of squash for £2.50 rather than the obligatory fruit shoot.

Lilyloo Fri 30-Aug-13 19:02:48

My youngest dc is 5 now and eldest is 11 so we are moving away from the world of soft play.
I did take mine a lot when they were little though. We limed those that served good food at a reasonable price, good comfy chairs, clean toilets with good changing facilities and we particularly liked this that offered discounts for extra children.
We like to go to the beach, bike rides and long walks with the dog.

Mumtochops12 Fri 30-Aug-13 19:16:00

I have recently discovered the world I soft play! Have taken my 8 month old to a few in the local area and he loves it. I meet friends there so I get to socialise over a cup of coffee and charlie gets to have a good at with his pals. He is currently free in most of the centres near us until he is 1 so we are making the most of while we can!

Iwaswatchingthat Fri 30-Aug-13 19:33:01

Jumping on the trampoline - I even join in....but after two kids only with an empty bladder.

They love playing on their swings and taking their babies out for some fresh air in their pushchairs.

Making assault courses and racing each other on them has become the number one pursuit of the summer this year - crawling through a tunnel, doing six star jumps, spinning the hula hoop ten times, then repeat until exhausted!!!

Iwaswatchingthat Fri 30-Aug-13 19:37:05

Whoops - I have mentioned my dds activities when they play together. But as a family we like to go for long (ish) walks which usually end with an ice cream, ride the bikes around the park, all go on the mini train at our local park (really fun despite only doing one mile per hour) and this holiday our dds have got really into playing 'poo sticks' when we cross a bridge on one of our local walking routes. The competition can get quite serious. We also often have a stroll to our local town and the dds often bring their babies in their pushchairs too.

Iwaswatchingthat Fri 30-Aug-13 19:39:08

Ps: we tend to do 'soft play' more in the winter months. The one near us is reall good as it has a decent coffee shop with nice cakes, and this makes it a pleasant experience for both adults and children.

Yonilovesboni Fri 30-Aug-13 19:41:08

Our favourite family activity would have to be, going on a family walk (inc new puppy!) finding treasures, eating picnics, finding exciting new playgrounds.
There's nothing better than an adventure together!smile

ViviDeBeauvoir Fri 30-Aug-13 19:45:40

Aside from the usual trips out/the park etc. my favourite activities with the DC are vacuuming, washing, cleaning and using the 'sheen' (machine- kitchen blender) <evil mum>

DS1 (2) is obsessed with all 'sheens' and is therefore a great help around the house.
He loves baking (if he gets to use the sheen or the microwave), loading and switching the washing sheen on, using the vacuum cleaner (this could be improved further if I invested in a Henry but my old vac will do for now).
Here's hoping it lasts until he leaves home!

Bubbles85 Fri 30-Aug-13 19:47:06

Our favourite family activity is definitely camping (when it's not pouring with rain of course!)

monkeymax58 Fri 30-Aug-13 20:02:07

We are in Cornwall ATM and crabbing off the pier is by far our favourite pastime! We love it and are all thrilled to catch a crab!!

We love parks, nothing beats a good stomp round our local one. We have water play, a cafe and trampolines and a nature trail. Ds1 loves it!

RedBushedT Fri 30-Aug-13 21:12:05

I don't mind soft play occasionally, but I much prefer spending time with my children outdoors. Going for a ramble through the woods, bug hunting under logs and feeding the squirrels. Or going to the beach and skimming stones, building waterways for the approaching tide. Just generally being together

Fraxinus Fri 30-Aug-13 21:20:44

Like soft play. Giant's den and the like, Especially in winter. However love cooking the dinner, packing it in a bag and walking to the nearby woods to sit at eat it. My girls love this. We all like Going to the sweet shop on the way home from school and taking our sweets to the riverbank and watching the water and sharing the sweets. It might sound like we are rural, but we are urban, and I am so happy we can do these things while still being able to get to the city centre in 15 minutes.

Mine are a bit old for soft play now (youngest is 7), but we did used to go sometimes when the weather was bad in the winter.

They've always been outdoorsy kids though and were happier in the park or on the beach. We do a lot of walking and cycling together as a family these days.

Fraxinus Fri 30-Aug-13 21:25:13

Do I enjoy soft play with the kids? No not is difficult for adults to join in. You are definately supposed to sit and drink coffee while the kids play. The kids love it, but it is not a family activity. Also i need to check out the public transport, as they are in out of the way places, and I previously had a car and drove there. Now I don't have a car, I don't know how to get them, and wish they were near bus interchanges!

DizzyPurple Fri 30-Aug-13 21:34:31

The great outdoors! There are a few lovely woodland areas near us, one is a nature trail at a garden centre with animals to see. Small children (DD-3 and friends) love it. Great way to burn off energy and make as much noise as they like!
We do go to soft play sometimes but it can be chaotic and out of school time it's awful! Luckily I have another year until Dd starts school to enjoy the calmer times there.

lisad123everybodydancenow Fri 30-Aug-13 22:16:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TiredFeet Fri 30-Aug-13 22:21:26

I think one of our favourite family activities would have to be just having a kickabout / game of piggy in the middle, whether in the back garden or in the park. my son (nearly 3) always ends up howling with laughter and its just good simple fun

another favourite is to go out for a (toddler length) walk somewhere, my son loves it if we play hide and seek or if we walk through woodland he pretends he's the mouse from the gruffalo

Pantone363 Fri 30-Aug-13 22:30:05

Board games, film nights under the quilt on a sofa.

I don't really like soft play, too expensive, too dirty!

I would probably go more if I found a nice one.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 30-Aug-13 22:31:35

We like exploring. DS1 (ASD) likes to plan the exploration, print maps, do an agenda, organise backpacks and spends much time packing for every eventuality. DS2 is an energy bundle and loves the game of it all and just running around outside without an apparent care in the world. DD just tries to keep up with her big brothers but her wibbly legs don't quite let her. She's not deterred and doesn't fret at muddy hands and knees when she tumbles for the 10th time.

I think we'd enjoy geocaching but we've never got around to it.

We've just moved so lots of exploring/ summer adventures have been finding our way to walk to playparks we've glimpsed driving past and things like the library.

GwenCooper81 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:32:22

Walks and park visits are our favorite things smile
Camelot play centre in south Yorkshire is our best soft play smile

racingheart Fri 30-Aug-13 23:32:24

Soft play is brilliant. As are bouncy castles - they really burn off the energy. Our favourite soft play areas have usually been attached to bigger attractions like Hobbledown - they love all the clambering round on high rope bridges as well as the ball pits and soft slides.

A city farm or family farm like Bocketts is great too. Runs off a lot of energy and gives them fresh air.

Pedalos on a lake in the park or at the seaside are a favourite in our family too.

Pony riding.

Junior zipwires and treetop trails are great as they get older - don't forget the older children. There's way more provision for pre-school and infants than for juniors and they need to keep active as they grow.

Turnipvontrapp Fri 30-Aug-13 23:39:40

Going off for a walk up the hill or through the woods. Playing badminton in winter. Having friends round. Camping in summer, sledging in winter.

Swimming, biking, going to the beach.

Mainly outdoors stuff.

CheeryCherry Fri 30-Aug-13 23:48:58

We like going to the coast as a family, walk the dogs on the beach, take a picnic or have fish&chips. We walk the dogs in our local parks or on the surrounding hills. We also like dining out and visiting friends&family, both near and far.
We also have board game and card game sessions.
My DH used to take thr children to soft play places when they were tiny, on a Sat or Sun morning, to give me a break! There was a flurry of parties at them when they were little, I always stayed but never visited them at any other time, I found them too busy and noisy and plastic! I preferred taking them to the park or the woods to play. Because we have dogs, we are out in every type of weather.

westcoastnortherner Sat 31-Aug-13 01:30:07

All snuggled up reading a book grin

MickleMe Sat 31-Aug-13 01:56:18

So, what are your favourite family activities?
Reading stories, watching films, going to the park, going to karate, playing football.

Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children?
I don't really enjoy it but the kids do and it gives them a chance to run off some energy.

If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good?
Good facilities for parents and children. Staff who are helpful and visable. Clearly defined areas for younger children, magazines and papers for parents. Good view of the equipment from the seating areas so I can keep an eye on the kids. Reasonable pricing of drinks and snacks.

stephgr Sat 31-Aug-13 02:05:37

My family love going out to eat together because they're not restricted to my cooking so they can order what they want. I love it because I don't have to spend ages shopping, cooking, serving and clearing.
We really like days out which are quite relaxing such as safari parks, boating and picnics.

kateandme Sat 31-Aug-13 02:16:02

getting a picnice together taking a rug to somewhere green with the rounders bats and just have that time together sharing food and sharing fun.

Bakingtins Sat 31-Aug-13 04:57:32

Favourite family activity - family cycle rides on cycle path - we stop off at steam railway to watch the trains and at converted stations or the pub for an ice cream or lunch. Cycle about 14 miles with 3yr old on the back of the bike and 6 yr old under his own steam.

Do you enjoy soft play - no. Too noisy, claustrophobic and dirty and the food is always massively unhealthy. We only go at parties and then under sufferance. The kids do enjoy it though.

RubySparks Sat 31-Aug-13 06:31:16

Favourite family activity now kids are a bit older is walking the dog in the country park or at the beach, going to dog training classes and local monthly meet ups for the breed!

Kids loved soft play and we went regularly to one at the local swimming pool, usually going for a swim too. There was a bigger one for older children which was good and we had a few parties there, only downside is unhealthy food in cafe and noise levels!

dancemom Sat 31-Aug-13 08:59:15

Just playing together - outdoors would be being on the scooter, practising cartwheels, snacks on a blanket on the grass, indoors would be playing hide and seek, a treasure hunt, a board game - just being together smile

asuwere Sat 31-Aug-13 09:01:46

My kids are always asking to go to soft play - they love it! I like it as it keeps them busy for a few hours and they use up a lot of energy but it can be expensive. I never buy food there as it's always rubbish and I'd rather the kids spent their 2 hours running about rather than sitting eating. It would be nice if there was water freely available for the children rather than being forced into buying super-strong squash (or fruit shoots of course!)

We also like going to park or zoo - outdoor stuff is always good. (of course I just asked DS1 what his favourite activity was and he said x-box!)

We like going for days out to local National Trust places, often we don't actually go into the houses but just explore the gardens and grounds as there are so many things to do - bird hides, climbing trees, seeing the flowers and greenhouses, picnics...

I do like softplays too, especially for bad-weather days, as we're lucky and have several nice ones near us - they're clean, with plenty of variety for the kids and nice food and coffees for the adults! Good for letting off steam and getting some exercise when it's not particularly nice outside - I also like them for days when I'm feeling particularly tired or not quite 100%, as the DCs can run around on their own now they're old enough, and let me sit down and rest a bit!

My main pet hate though is the occasional parent/carer that sends their small DCs off on their own and then doesn't watch them, when they are actually not really big enough to get around everywhere safely. A few times I've seen quite tiny children get stuck at bits they couldn't climb back up, or trying to lower themselves down actually quite high bits which they weren't really safe on, while their adults were oblivious nattering somewhere! Otherwise I like our ones though. Sadly none of our local one are on the list!

not very exciting sounding but my favourite thing is walking the dogs through the fields with my son and meeting lovely people and dogs as we go round. love seeing the dogs and boy running about happily, love chatting to happy doggie people and seeing dogs run around and socialise with other dogs and love being out in nature.

also like the way we end up having quite deep chats in an easy going way as we potter and that we end up laughing together a lot.

and it's free which is a bonus.

therumoursaretrue Sat 31-Aug-13 10:10:10

DS is 1 and we have never been to soft play but I'd be encouraged to take him now as I have seen one local to us had a good mention on this thread!

Our favourite thing to do as a family is probably the local market, DS loves it as there is so much to see, hear and smell. He claps his hands and sings when we walk around and waves at all the stall holders! DP and I can get a nice coffee and a crepe or freshly made waffles for breakfast, and the lovely lady always gives DS a mini croissant which he really enjoys. Afterwards we usually go to feed the ducks and have an ice cream which DS absolutely loves.

The DCs love softplay, so I tolerate taking them occasionally because I am such a lovely, kind mummy. I wouldn't count soft play as a family activity though.

There are a few places we go locally where there is lots of outside space plus a few children's activities. I can sit around with the picnic and the children can knock themselves out. I'm thinking of places like RHS Gardens and Maldon's Promenade Park especially.

We do a lot of outdoor activities with DDsmile bear hunt in the park, adventures on the beach etcgrin

Soft play is our choice for rainy day activitiessmile the yellow sub in Liverpool is a favouritesmile

DifferentNow Sat 31-Aug-13 12:39:49

So, what are your favourite family activities? Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children? If so, why? If not, why not? If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good?

Our favourite thing do with the DC would be an outside all day with a picnic type thing. We like going to St Andrews because the beach is amazing, there are historical sites to mooch around and the town is quaint and pretty with an ace ice cream shop.

We've been to many a soft play. I only really go occasionally now if it suits me to meet a friend there on a rainy day perhaps. My children range from 11 to 10 weeks so it just doesn't suit everyone now. Also it's expensive and you can't take a picnic in. I prefer my kids running around in the fresh air to a noisy, smelly, hot centre. The best ones we've been at though have had large play areas with good visibility (so that you can easily spot the DC), a decent café (v important!), none of those annoying toys that you have to put money in and no silly policies of charging you extra if you go over your time by 5 mins because you're putting shoes back on or taking kids to the loo.

TeaJunky Sat 31-Aug-13 13:06:44

Me, Dh and the DD's love getting into our pjs, making a huge bowl of popcorn, getting the fluffy blanket out and watching a DVD together on a Saturday evening grin

TeaJunky Sat 31-Aug-13 13:10:43

Oops forgot to add about soft play.

We go to head over heels in chorlton too shock although dd (4) is a bit of a delicate flower and needs a helping hand all the way around , and I'm scared of heights confused so we don't go as frequently, but with dd2 being alot more robust already at nine months I expect this will change soon grin

Outside ones really: surfing, body boarding, moor walking, horse riding.

I didn't mind soft play tbh when the kids were younger (they all still like it now). Once they were of an age where I could have a cup of tea and they could just run off it was fine. They'd come back knackered - ideal

MikeLitoris Sat 31-Aug-13 14:15:51

Favourite things to do all together as a family is anything out doors. Beach, farm or local outside museum.

Dd2 loves soft play but I only take her if its part of a larger group of friends. If we go alone she refuses to leave and we always end up in a huge stand off. It really spoils the day to have it end on a tantrum.

WowOoo Sat 31-Aug-13 14:47:08

We also tend to prefer outside activities. A large park, the woods or local beach are all options on a nice day.

If it's been days of rain, soft play is great for the kids but I find it tedious if no other adults come. I tend to go with friends or not at all.

I like them to be clean and spacious. There are some small and cramped soft play that I avoid.

gazzalw Sat 31-Aug-13 15:20:09

o, what are your favourite family activities?

Favourite family activities are ones that don't cost more than about £50 for a day out, entertain the whole family with a tween boy and a 7 year old girl (not always easy to achieve!) and provide a varied experience which includes some physical exercise!

Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children?

We did when they were younger but not any more. I think we might take our DD more frequently if one didn't have to pay (as an adult) to sit around 'enjoying' oneself and find that even such a simple and local activity can easily cost £15 per child/accompanying adult for an hour or two of play.

If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good?

I can't think of one that stood out as being brilliant but I do remember one we visited up near Newcastle - we visited on a Sunday morning and it seemed to me that every parent there was severely hung-over from a heavy night of partying/drinking - it was truly a hellish experience.....

I agree with Mumsnetters who say that really softplay is a pretty poor and more costly substitute for getting out and about in some fresh air!

burwellmum Sat 31-Aug-13 15:44:37

I have 5 children aged 8 to 22 and increasingly we do little together as an entire family but they are still keen on a trip to a theme park or occasionally to the beach armed with footballs, cricket etc for those who don't want to sunbathe or paddle.

EmmaVincent Sat 31-Aug-13 15:58:31

I am lucky to have 4 soft play centres locally. My favourite 2 are good because although smaller, they are quieter and the children much calmer. An added benefit is that my children can always spot where I am sitting, easily, as the tables are not crammed in!

Marne Sat 31-Aug-13 16:26:26

Favourite family activity - We find national trust days out our great fun for the whole family, we give my youngest daughter a back pack and she becomes 'Dora the explorer' along with a map of where we are visiting, we walk through woods hunting for bugs (and monsters) and then we have a lovely family picnic (with naughty food that we don't normally eat, cake, crisps and fizzy drinks). Both my children enjoy this more than going to theme parks so its a cheap day out that we all enjoy.

SoonToBeSix Sat 31-Aug-13 16:45:33

We love going to museums and national trust properties. We try to have a family day every other Saturday.

SoonToBeSix Sat 31-Aug-13 16:47:38

Forgot to add I do not enjoy going to soft play but my children do so we go and they have a great time.

mummy1973 Sat 31-Aug-13 17:43:54

Love soft play in the bitter winter when it is freezing cold and too bitter to be outside for long. It gets us all active and warmed up!

GlitzPig Sat 31-Aug-13 18:26:50

What are your favourite family activities? - We love swimming and playing in the garden (DS is interested in EVERYTHING and likes bringing me slugs and worms. I like reading and watching him potter around)

Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children? - Yes-great way of letting him burn off some steam, and we often arrange to meet friends there so I can catch up with parent friends and know the children are safe and happy

If so, why? - DS loves playing, and now he is big enough to go on some of the slides and things I can join in too grin

If not, why not? - It is expensive-if we stay for lunch, we can easily be looking at £15-£20 and he's an only!

If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good? - Great coffee for me and freshly cooked food that was more interesting than the usual fish fingers and chips stuff. Really good process for keeping children inside and safe. A MASSIVE slide grin

NeatFreak Sat 31-Aug-13 19:24:05

So, what are your favourite family activities?
We like swimming, cinema and playing in the park.
Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes. good ones cater fir every age ( I have big age gap), decent cafe and free wifi.

Florin Sat 31-Aug-13 19:30:33

We love taking our 1 year old out on our boat. He adore it and loves picnics on it and tottering around and helping with the fenders and the lines. It is also the only place he will sleep on me so lovely for a cuddle. However when it is cold we adore soft play as a great way of burning off some energy!

Elainey1609 Sat 31-Aug-13 19:41:26

We try to mix it up some as children love a little of everything
try to be outside when ever possible
The park, beach swimming
The swimming one is great as we all do it and the park ..we often take kites with us
Or just baking and reading a book together
For me sometimes the snuggled on a sofa reading a book together is the most precious as they wont alow me to do it much longer

OPeaches Sat 31-Aug-13 21:21:53

We like going to the local forestry comission forest. It has miles and miles of cycle tracks - the kids and DH cycle, I run. Swimming is a favourite too, although I hate it because of the getting changed at either side, what a rigmarole! We also enjoy going out to cafes with soft play areas, I can relax over a coffee while the kids run round like loons.

we like going on forresty walks, down by rivers, through country parks, if there is a big wooden play park hallway through all the better!

Fraxinus Sat 31-Aug-13 22:51:17

Lots of votes on here for outdoors activities. Perhaps bassets would do better to sponsor bits of local woodland and free to access parks. Probably better for the immune system, too.

pinkponk Sun 01-Sep-13 00:07:36

Taking the kids on a walk along the canal, feed the ducks on the way & end up at the play park. Simple fun.

Eagleeye13 Sun 01-Sep-13 00:07:57

As a family we enjoy going to farms,baking,reading together,jumping on a trampoline together and playing games.
We especially like zoos and museum visits the best

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Sun 01-Sep-13 00:14:12

We all really love swimming, walking and bike riding. Soft play is ok but usually only as a sort of last resort when it's pouring, to be honest.

firawla Sun 01-Sep-13 02:36:24

yes we do like soft play, i like gambados but most of them are good really
we also like outdoors stuff like national trust places, castles, lighthouses,woods, that kind of thing

cheeseandcrackers Sun 01-Sep-13 07:35:33

I can't stand soft play. D's is 2 and too young to go off and play by himself so I have to crawl after him through tiny tunnels and down slides too narrow for me. It hurts, feels claustrophobic and is very hard work. I won't be going again until D's is old enough to run off and play by himself and I can sit and watch in peace. Even then, though, it would only be a very occasional visit on a rainy day as it's very expensive and often crowded.

Right now, I'd rather just go to the park or save my money for a trip to the zoo.

HanShotFirst Sun 01-Sep-13 08:19:22

My children love soft play centres, but I'm not so keen as quite a few in my area are very run down, visibly dirty and serve terrible food. I prefer using ones that are attached to attractions as they seem to be maintained a bit better than those that are independent.

In an ideal world, I'd love to have a nearby soft play centre that had a proper cafe attached that served something other than fried food and rubbish snacks - more healthy snack options other than chocolate and crisps with good coffee and friendly staff. Also, maybe a system that had timed sessions of an hour.

Our favourite way to spend time as a family is at the beach or just in the garden - anything with no pressure as our children are young and can sometimes the pressure involved in trying to have fun if you've paid for something can end up ruining it for everyone.

letsgetreadytoramble Sun 01-Sep-13 11:14:25

My son is 13 months and thinks that all soft play areas are magical places of wonder. For me, they're an affordable way for me and his dad to have some fun with him and to get out of the house for a while. And as long as they have tea (and cake) on the menu, I'm happy... :0)

Other things we like to do are go to the park, go to our local Bookbug sessions at the library and read books together. We sometimes go swimming but he always seems to catch something there so it's not my favourite activity. I'd love to take him to the zoo, to deep sea world, to castles etc, but cost is an issue. Maybe if I stopped spending so much on cake...

AllSWornOut Sun 01-Sep-13 14:05:02

Family bike rides and going to the park.

Soft play is great for cold and wet winter days when you just don't fancy running around in the rain.

jenny77 Sun 01-Sep-13 15:05:00

We love swimming, going to the beach, picking mushrooms or brambles and having discos in the house. Looking forward to the children being able to go for longer walks - but we are always busygrin

xxxkadzxxx Sun 01-Sep-13 15:33:02

Both of my children love soft play centers and i think they are perfect for a rainy day. I am unable to take them as much as they would like as they are so expensive to enter and a lot of my local centres also charge for adult entry as well! Food and drinks cost the earth and we are unable to take our own in!
I don't particularly enjoy taking the children as they are noisy places with little to do for adults but i go for the kids not for myself and i just ensure that i don't forget my book when i am visiting! I think they should offer free wifi for the adults to use, i'm sure it would bring much more custom.
I haven't been to one which has stood out for doing anything different to others except from one near me has a bubble machine with light beams which operates every half an hour which the children love.
I think Bassetts offering free play is a great idea but unfortunately i wont be using the voucher as my nearest participating soft play center is 30 miles from where i live.
As a family, we have lots of favourite activites. We enjoy going to the cinema, woods, park, taking the dog for walks, going on days out to local activity parks, going to the zoo, beach etc. As activities and days out are all so expensive now a days, I try to take them for a 'proper' day out at least once a fortnight in the holidays and stick to the free activites with a picnic on the other days as demonstrated above.
I am a lucky Mummy and my children are pretty easy going, they are happy doing anything really-indoors and out! smile

Catmint Sun 01-Sep-13 15:49:43

We love getting our warm gear on in autumn and going for walks in woods, kicking up the fallen leaves and spotting weird fungi. Best of all is den building and then drinking our flask of tomato soup in celebration of a job well done. smile

Catmint Sun 01-Sep-13 15:51:06

I forgot to say, our favourite soft play is Cyril's Nut Hut in Long Eaton.

julesjam Sun 01-Sep-13 16:09:09

Our new favourite thing is going for a 'family cycle'.

Me and Dh on our bikes, dd1 on hers and dd2 on the child seat on dad's. We're lucky enough that we can cycle from our house through short cuts to the woods and then to a wee grassy playpark next to a reservoir.

It's good exercise, fresh air and we all enjoy it.

julesjam Sun 01-Sep-13 16:11:45

Also I don't love soft play - it's often noisy, sticky, the food/coffee is poor and I worry about safety. We go sometimes, but I can never relax when we're there and I tend to avoid it.

Princessdivaaa Sun 01-Sep-13 17:46:17

Swimming, soft play, parks and picnics..

Happiestinwellybobs Sun 01-Sep-13 19:52:13

Favourite family activity is something that we can all do - and that includes the dog. So walks in the park, with a trip to the swings and slides, blackberry picking at this time of year, visits to farms, picnics on the beach, feeding the ducks and very recently a brilliant day out at the wild boar park near to us.

If its raining we don our coats and wellies!

We like soft play but only really mid week and in term time as our local ones get very busy. We do play dates at a couple near us. I can chat with friends with my little one gets on with the serious business of climbing, sliding and running off all of her energy.

Happiestinwellybobs Sun 01-Sep-13 19:52:53

Favourite family activity is something that we can all do - and that includes the dog. So walks in the park, with a trip to the swings and slides, blackberry picking at this time of year, visits to farms, picnics on the beach, feeding the ducks and very recently a brilliant day out at the wild boar park near to us.

If its raining we don our coats and wellies!

We like soft play but only really mid week and in term time as our local ones get very busy. We do play dates at a couple near us. I can chat with friends with my little one gets on with the serious business of climbing, sliding and running off all of her energy.

DelayedActionMouseMaker Sun 01-Sep-13 19:56:26

So, what are your favourite family activities? We are outdoor people, so this year we've been doing a lot of 'wild' swimming (lake, river and sea swimming) which my eldest loves, (though takes a bit of getting used to as its very cold!!) and we're looking at doing some geo caching this winter.

Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children? If so, why? If not, why not? I dont generally love them tbh, but in term time they are just about bearable, as long as we go in the mornings before it gets busy. In school holidays and at weekends??? Not if you paid me to go!!!

If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good? Once near us has a huge indoor space with areas for younger and older kids, an outdoor kart track, ice skating and an outdoor play area with huge sand pit and water pump and an animal area. For £5 each for the kids and £2 for me we can spend the whole day there if we so wish. It's very good and almost has me converted to soft play places!! smile

Puppypoppet Sun 01-Sep-13 20:50:52

Favourite family activities include bike rides, eating out and going to the beach. DD also enjoys meeting her friends at the park. As DD is almost 11 she has grown out of soft play now. I didn't find them particularly enjoyable as I found they tended to be too chaotic - children going the wrong way up slides, running about bashing into others etc. The cafes were usually overpriced and poor quality - the coffee often very poor. Also from the age of 2 to about 6 DD would not go on the slides etc without me because she found it too noisy.
2 softplay I didn't mind going to were crazy tykes at Thorp Arch as it usually was well supervised - staff would say something if children were acting dangerously (to be fair it should be the parents) and the homemade cakes were nice and Creepy Crawlies at Wigginton York because there was a great variety of outdoor activities available such ad go-karts, ice skating, farm animals to look at etc.

GetKnitted Sun 01-Sep-13 21:07:39

We love taking the bikes and a picnic to the park, this year has been great for picnics smile We do enjoy going to soft play because the kids can get a good run around whatever the weather, I don't have to worry that my only just 2 year old is about to fall over and you can even have a cup of coffee. The most exciting ones are in taller buildings, they can fit in a longer slide or two, but our local one has a really nice 2-4's area which is exciting enough for a little one when there are too many big kids in the more adventurous end.

UKcanuck Sun 01-Sep-13 21:19:34

So, what are your favourite family activities? Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children? If so, why? If not, why not? If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good?

Favourite family activities: anything outdoorsy, we are frequent wood-walkers, cyclists and swimmers. Give us a park and a football and we're happy; a beach, even better.

Soft-play areas: mine are getting a bit big but they used to love going to these. The 9year old still asks to go and enjoys them but the 12 and 15 year old are getting too cool now! We liked Gambado's near Watford. I enjoyed taking them to play areas, too - a chance for a coffee and a read or a catchup with a friend.

Witchesbrewandbiscuits Sun 01-Sep-13 21:32:30

we enjoy soft play, especially in winter when outdoor activities are limited.

ones that stand out are ones with a choice of slides, sensory activities, climbing walls, go karts, football pitches, and good food!

we also enjoy swimming, baking, days out, crafts.

MrsH2010 Sun 01-Sep-13 21:37:07

Favourite activity is just all being together - whether reading, walking the dog, building a den in the living room- time together is the most important.
I've been put off soft play areas in some cases as they can be fairly expensive as a regular outing for several kids, and can often be crammed with parents more interested in having a sit down than watching that their children are behaving properly towards others, especially to little ones. One of the best I've been to was in fact the smallest- and that is part of what made it great. With several kids to watch it made it easier and contained to do so easily and safely without being strung out, and meant that the kids and I played together too whilst there. Sometimes warehouse sized soft play areas are just too much room/ space/ choice for it to be good!

androbbob Sun 01-Sep-13 21:37:14

We have quite a few soft play centres locally - the nearest being 1.5 miles away and is very good. particularly love going on a sunday morning when first opens as is empty!

Having a 6 and 11 yr old is tricky though unless take little friend with us, as they wont play together as 11yr old is too old! She takes her tablet and uses the free wifi.

lorka Sun 01-Sep-13 22:49:07

We love doing anything outdoors - cycling, going to beach, picnics, exploring. Swimming is also a favourite. smile

CointreauVersial Sun 01-Sep-13 23:00:48

Soft play has always been a fun trip for us as a family over the years, but now the DCs are 13, 12 and 10 it is waining. DS (13) now considers himself above such things, but the DDs will still run and climb in a "playbarn" if the place is sufficiently challenging.

For me, the best places are those where the parent/adult can actually sit comfortably, have a nice cappuchino, read the paper, but be within easy sight of the DCs. And a place where there is comething for all ages. I used to like Kidspace in Croydon for that reason.

Now the DCs are older, we enjoy days out, such as cycling, tourist attractions, shopping and meals out.

VestaCurry Mon 02-Sep-13 05:02:56

Going out together for a meal, watching our favourite football team, going bowling, baking cakes, watching Saturday night tv all cosied up together on the sofa.

Probably the most special family activity is the annual decoration of our Christmas tree. We have pics and video of every year since the dc's were born. Now, me and dh put the lights on and then sit back with a bottle of champagne and let them do the rest smile.

Trigglesx Mon 02-Sep-13 08:54:57

We enjoy going to soft play places - the one we as parents like best is the one at our local TenPin, as it only has one exit and it's quite easy to monitor the children there. The boys like the one in town, as it's bigger and I think they have more fun there. DS1 has ASD/ADHD and is a runner with no sense of danger, so being able to monitor the exit closely is important to make sure he doesn't escape and disappear.

I like letting the boys play in the back garden, as going to the park is difficult (again due to DS1's disabilities). We have a trampoline, so they love going out there and taking turns jumping.

sonjachall Mon 02-Sep-13 09:46:14

Definitely combination petting farm / soft play such as Bocketts Farm and Hobbledown in Surrey. The play is varied for the little ones so that an entire day out is feasible, and importantly it's fun for parents too, with cafes on site (preferably with on tap caffeine and cake!). They provide safe environments to enjoy indoor and outdoor fun, learning and entertainment. We love them! grin)

itsonlysubterfuge Mon 02-Sep-13 13:34:05

Right now with my daughter only being 1 our favourite family activity is either cuddling together in the bed with lots of books or going to the park and feeding the ducks. We haven't been to soft play yet, but are thinking of trying it soon. I think the main reason we haven't done it yet is just because we aren't really sure what to expect, a voucher for a free soft play session might just be the motivation we need to try it out. We always have Bassetts soft chew vitamins as my husband can't swallow pills and the Bassetts are always the most flavorful, so I am looking forward to the voucher.

HannahLI Mon 02-Sep-13 15:56:45

Our favourite family adventures are walk across the country fields, exploring and looking for bugs, twigs, leaves, and my son gets to ride his bike too.

We like soft play sessions, my kids love to climb. What frustrates me is all the parents that sit drinking coffee whilst there small kids that still should be supervised run riot, or they let older children into the designated baby section. However on the whole we have had a really positive experience.

Tyranasaurus Mon 02-Sep-13 17:26:12

We like outdoor activities, park, walks etc

Favourite soft play has homemade healthy food. Worst just sells junk, even the adult food and some of teh kids that go there aren't the nicest bahved well supervised type

PrincessYoni Mon 02-Sep-13 19:42:56

So, what are your favourite family activities?

Walking the dogs together, going to the park to the swings and slide, doing adventure treasure trails, tickle chase, gardening, eating out.

Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes. It's good for my DD to go exploring and try new things like a steep slide and run around in a safe environment.

If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good?

It had a separate toddler area that was just as fun as the area for older children, there is a separate bouncy castle, break out party rooms, a basketball area, a snack bar serving good quality products. There was a relaxed atmosphere about parents helping children on the equipment and the whole area unobtrusively kept clean and tidy.

unionjackcovered Mon 02-Sep-13 21:47:29

Walking through the woods to the top of our local hill. Especially in the rain in wellies andwaterproofs!

AndHarry Mon 02-Sep-13 22:21:45

DS is 3 and his favourite activity this summer has been rock pooling. He wasn't too pleased when I actually caught a crab though; it was too wriggly and he wanted a whale grin He's talked about it all summer since.

Closer to home, his favourite activity has been going to the local water park. We're lucky to have 3 fairly close by and they're all free. The best one is double-fenced with high fences to prevent children escaping, with trees for shade, plenty of room for parents and picnic mats on the grass, an ice cream stand and warm water. It's made for very cheap days out.

AndHarry Mon 02-Sep-13 22:27:14

Will actually answer the questions now...

Favourite family activities are rock pooling and splash parks, as above.

Yes, I quite like going to soft play with DS, although it's harder now I have baby DD to hold rather than charge around with DS and make sure he's ok on the slides wink I don't like soft play centres that are dirty but luckily we have a nice one near us. It's brilliant for days when even the best outdoor clothing wouldn't stop a trip to the park from being miserable and has a great baby area for 0-2's. My favourite bit is the 'vacuum cleaner' that sucks up balls from the baby ball pond. DS would play with that for an hour at a time if I let him.

Our local leisure centre also puts on lots of mininastics sessions for children under 5, which have soft play and gym equipment out for the children to play on.

bundle Tue 03-Sep-13 13:58:53

we like to stroll across the south Downs and go for a pint afterwards smile

DS is only little, so right now the best activities are anything where we can let him run around freely without having to worry. So soft play areas that have a devoted under 2/3 area, or outdoor areas which are safe for him to run around without having to constantly call him back. I want places where he is free to explore and enjoy.

ThePearShapedToad Tue 03-Sep-13 14:04:47

Favourite family activity- walking to the top of a hill and then rolling alllllll the way down!

jojane Tue 03-Sep-13 14:37:19

Soft play needs lots of sofas, a locked gate/door to get put of the building, free magazines to read and cheap snacks and food.

Favourite family activity is a farm park and a picnic

BoysWillGrow Tue 03-Sep-13 14:42:40

Our nearest participating play centre would be almost 30 miles away and I'm not driving at the moment.

Favourite activities are simple ones gardening the park, beach or a walk in the woods with the dog.

smokinaces Tue 03-Sep-13 16:31:42

Favourite family days are organised ones here, with lots of stimulation and open space and not much queuing and not too much interaction with other children - mainly as ds1 has asd. The cinema is a firm favourite here, we can have a wonderful time out the three of us, and often get lunch as well which can be hit and miss. If I could afford it we would go to the cinema almost every weekend!!

Pipsy6712 Tue 03-Sep-13 18:52:35

Walking in the park with new bee backpack and reins. Touching all the walls on the way down the road and all the shiny parked cars!!

Neena28 Tue 03-Sep-13 19:34:20

Still love feeding the ducks together even though ds is 12 and dd is 8. It seems timeless and wonderful to them whenever we walk that way. Ds forgets he's supposed to be cool for a moment and dd looks up to him as he's a bit braver than she is to go closer. When the ducklings are there its even better.

Long may it continue.

Ellellie Tue 03-Sep-13 20:11:01

We all really enjoying going to soft play. My 18 month old gets to run off some extra energy while we have a coffee and hopefully he'll sleep when he gets home so we can relax there too!

givemeaboost Tue 03-Sep-13 20:33:00

So, what are your favourite family activities?
We try to do things that everyone is able to do as ages range from 3-10, we go to alot of fun days/fetes/fairs and enjoy a good look round a carboot. We look for things that are cheap or free or that i have vouchers for.

Do you enjoy going to soft play sessions with your children?
I don’t really enjoy it no, I find it quite boring unless i remember to take something to read.
If not, why not?
If it cost alot to get 3dc in, I feel obliged to stay for longer to get my moneys worth. I don’t like softplay centres that don’t stick to a strict wear-socks policy, I don’t like softplay where there isn’t enough seating for adults, I don’t like softplay centres that specify only food&drink bought there to be consumed, I don’t like softplay centres that get arsey about ball pitt balls going everywhere and constantly tell the kids off for getting them everywhere!

If you have been to one which really stood out as being ace, what made it so good?
Its one local to me and is far the best around for the younger dc, they are v relaxed there, serve homemade cakes, teas+coffees-let you run up a tab till the end if youre paying by card, don’t mind if you bring your own food and drinks. They are very relaxed about toy“mess” and don’t attempt to clear up till the end. They are very friendly and chatty and the admission is very reasonable (half of what some charge for an entry round here)

linoleum Tue 03-Sep-13 21:02:27

I hate soft play. But we love going for family bike rides!

mimitwo Tue 03-Sep-13 21:56:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fusspot66 Tue 03-Sep-13 22:08:56

There's s fantastic soft play and pedal cars place at
stowmarket leisure centre. We visit whenever I go to stay at my mum's. Otherwise we love to spend family time making pancakes on Sunday mornings.

flamingtoaster Tue 03-Sep-13 22:09:29

We never used soft play - we much preferred walking in the park (trying to identify flowers and insects we spotted), on the beach (even in winter), puddle jumping, playing ball games, baking, making junk models, etc. When the children were small we had a season ticket to the zoo for a few years and they really enjoyed that as there was always something very interesting to see. It was expensive but we really got our money's worth as they had an adventure playground etc.

We like going out dog walking and picnicing. Ds is in full castle obsession at the moment too so we have done countless numbers if lovely EH events this summer.

He loved soft play as a toddler but less so now at 7. I think he would only go in now if with a group of friends.

maxmissie Tue 03-Sep-13 22:57:25

Favourite family activities - baking, geocaching, walking/exploring new places especially ruined castles, beaches and places where they can build dens!

The kids love soft play (they recently had a joint soft play party for their sixth and fourth birthdays) but as they are now older and at school we go less, mainly because DH and I don't want to spend our free time with the kids in soft play places! I do prefer going now then when they were younger though as now we can have tea and cake and don't actually have to crawl around the climbing frames etc.

Ones that the kids enjoy are Jungletastic and Pirate Play in Nottingham.

Freemilk Tue 03-Sep-13 23:10:30

Favourite soft play is adventure island it is in tooting, like others I find them Ok occasionally but then the noise, lights, overpriced expensive coffee, rubbish food and other people's badly behaved children start annoying me.

Favourite activity would be going on holiday/going to the beach, love new things and new places, love the beach

GaryBuseysTeeth Tue 03-Sep-13 23:21:42

Love soft play (the DC like it a bit too, I suppose), best softplays are ones where the other parents look after their children, although that's rare around here sad

In our household the favourite activity of the week is spinning around in a circle until dizzy & then laughing. It's usually something more messy...

ataraxia Wed 04-Sep-13 04:17:50

Soft play is great fun ( I used to love ball pits as a kid) but as an adult I have to say I'm concerned the equipment is unhygienic with so many kids using it each day. Jungle jims at Blackpool Tower is good but far too expensive for regular use. nice overall day out as a one-off though.

Fave family activity would be a National Trust property with big house and gardens, especially if they're having a free entry promotion on!

kellestar Wed 04-Sep-13 07:30:08

We live being outdoors, DD is so active that any efforts to try and contain her in the house go badly. She has just started to throw and catch a ball successfully, at the moment we have to take a small ball with us everywhere, just in case she wants to play. DS is too small to play as such, he does love watching DD burn about or the leaves on the apple tree, clouds in the sky, that kind of thing really.

I take DD to a gymnastics class weekly, it has really helped her find her balance and learn some great skills while having fun and using up some of her endless energy.

We pay a membership to the club, who also have a brilliant soft play that we get reduced entry to. It was a real life saver in my early pregnancy as DD could burn off steam while I felt sick in the corner, then when DS arrived it was handy again to let DD have a play while I fed DS and could rest.

They have a dedicated under there's section separate to the older children's section. It means it is easier to see your little ones play and not so easy for the bigger ones to sneak in and take over. It has a good seating area for parent and a small cafe! The equipment is clean and in good condition.

We attend Go Banana's at Writhlington Sports Centre, Radstock.

cindersinsuburbia Wed 04-Sep-13 08:58:20

My children love soft play - it does a great job of getting them tired out!

Our favourite thing to do as a family is going away on day trips and holidays., just the change of scenery re-energises us and improves the childrens mood no end grin

MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 04-Sep-13 09:43:39

Thank you everyone for adding your thoughts. The thread is now closed, and am pleased to announce dahville as the winner of the prize draw!

dahville Wed 04-Sep-13 09:49:56

Thank you Bassetts & Mumsnet! That's lovely news for a Wednesday morning.

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