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but there has to be a alternative to soft play centres.

(47 Posts)
Graceava Tue 11-Mar-14 13:33:56

I hate to complain but last week i took dd 3 to our local soft play centre. Whilst the place is clean and affordable i couldn't help but notice that they are very limited in terms of what they offer developing children. By and large children simply charge around, pushing and shoving each other over and generally getting hyper. What would be the alternative? If you could dream up the best place for your child to play what would it look like? What opportunities for play would you like a children's play centre to offer? Has anyone suggestions of great places to take dd that would offer her someting more than the chance to go wild?

DrHamstertoyou Tue 11-Mar-14 13:37:30

An art gallery near us does children's art and craft sessions, there might be something similar near you. Museums with interactive exhibitions are another idea.

DrHamstertoyou Tue 11-Mar-14 13:38:13

An art gallery near us does children's art and craft sessions, there might be something similar near you. Museums with interactive exhibitions are another idea.

ParkFun Tue 11-Mar-14 13:40:07

There's a soft play near us that has better stuff than just the play frame. Has a whole floor of little play shops with dressing up, xylophones on the walls that DC can play with, fiber optics, bumper cars, a carousel.

The kids still charge around in it, though, I think that's most kids enjoy doing.

ParkFun Tue 11-Mar-14 13:40:26

oh, it has lego and craft, too.

HolidayCriminal Tue 11-Mar-14 13:41:27

Woods is good for us. And public parks & playgrounds.
These are usually empty while soft play is heaving.
I guess most people prefer soft play.

DoJo Tue 11-Mar-14 13:41:34

Our local soft play has a lot more to it than yours, which makes it a lot more interactive. Perhaps suggest a few simple things that the soft play place could include to make it better - what would you like to see?

WipsGlitter Tue 11-Mar-14 13:42:03

To be honest I don't think they're in it to 'offer' developing children anything. I think they're there so knackered parents can sit and drink coffee while their kids hopefully come to no harm! A bit of hyper is ok!

We have three good ones near us, one is average sized but with massive windows so nice and light, decent café. Next one has a HUGE play structure - kids love it. Third one also has huge play structure as well as climbing.

When I was a SAHM I took them to mums and tots, rhymetime and the park.

emsyj Tue 11-Mar-14 13:43:02

Where is that ParkFun??

MikeTheShite Tue 11-Mar-14 13:45:58

im in the south but grew up near Halifax, and I can't express how much I wish eureka was closer.

I've very fond memories of being a child there and can't wait to take dd

dashoflime Tue 11-Mar-14 13:48:20

Garscube Play Rooms are my favourite place on earth.

They have a small soft play area but also crafts, jigsaws, trikes and ride one, dressing up, pretend play, puppets, small toys, you name it. They aim to provide a nursery school like environment that parents can take their kids to.

If your in Glasgow and have under 5's I'd heartily recommend it. For £15 yearly membership and a further £1.50 per session you can stay all day, bring your own food and snacks, make yourself as many cups of tea as you like. Its brilliant.

Failing that: I tend to view softplay as a sort of indoor park for rainy days. If its sunny- I go to the actual park.
If its rainy, I sometimes mix it up a bit with museums or the glass houses at the botanic gardens.

MiaowTheCat Tue 11-Mar-14 13:49:14

They exist so kids can go wild, not kill themselves and parents can get a couple of cups of coffee down their necks surely?!

Or is that just why I go?!

Art activities and the like are fab - but I have two under 2 to manage which is always harder unless you're positive it's a safe environment, which is what soft plays offer when we go - somewhere I can interact with one and monitor the other one out of the corner of my eye as well.

Jsa1980 Tue 11-Mar-14 13:49:40

Around here (Bristol) there seems to be a few play cafés opening up, children can still raz around but there are things like a kitchen area dress up etc (and you can get a decent cup of coffee!) they only charge abut a quid to get in

formerbabe Tue 11-Mar-14 13:50:55

A vote for parks here but I wish you could get a park just for kids...is: no dogs and sign them in and out like you do at soft play and is completely secure so you don't need to go into a panic if you lose sight of them.

Jsa1980 Tue 11-Mar-14 13:50:59

Such as this http://hungrycaterpillarbristol.co.uk

WoodBurnerBabe Tue 11-Mar-14 13:51:30

B&Q offer children's sessions making things - I think they are about £5 a go. But I do like soft play when I can just release my 3 and sit and relax for a while...

www.diy.com/diy/jsp/bq/templates/content_lookup.jsp?content=/content/support/services/kidsclub/index.jsp

Jsa1980 Tue 11-Mar-14 13:51:47

hungrycaterpillarbristol.co.uk

aquashiv Tue 11-Mar-14 13:53:40

You just cant get any better than the woods. I took my three to the woods where I used to play as child recently. As for me it has this mystical quality and I wanted to see if it was brilliant as I remembered.

I had to prize them out of there after two hours but it just shows they really don't need any of that controlled contrived play, its us. They have been begging to go back and there is nothing there but their imaginations.

I was bored shitless though.grin.

dashoflime Tue 11-Mar-14 13:55:41

formerbabe What your talking about exists! Corams Fields

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 11-Mar-14 13:56:02

DD, I have realised, is a free range child. Beach, woods, park. All better than cooped up. If people did more of this, no running around screaming and pushing.

Martorana Tue 11-Mar-14 13:56:44

It's called..........outside.

Birdsgottafly Tue 11-Mar-14 13:57:18

Have you checked out the sessions that the Children Centres offer for her age group?

On top of that depending where you live there will be events and activities in City Farms, Libraries, Galleries and Wildlife Centres, even Stately Homes. As well as stuff put on by the LA, which should be detailed on your Local Council Website.

Children Centres get discounted sport/swim activities, as well.

Nocomet Tue 11-Mar-14 13:58:47

Good parks.

When DD1 (who climbed everything) was small the one thing I really wished for was council websites to list every play area with photos.

No day trip or holiday could be survived without a decent climbing frame.

mousmous Tue 11-Mar-14 13:59:19

but that's what dc need: running and charging around and experimenting with their body abilities!

but they could as well be doing that in the park. for free!

MiaowTheCat Tue 11-Mar-14 14:03:40

Could be doing it in the park but since I've only just got the mud off the pushchair wheels from the LAST lot of running through the puddles in the swamp formerly known as our local park (STILL not dried out round here) - I'm going for clean and dry soft play for a few days instead!

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