Do’s and Don’ts of soft play

As a mum of a very energetic two year old, I spend a lot of my time at the local soft play centre. It is a good way to tire Leo out and a good excuse for us to get out of the house. Leo and I have been making regular trips to soft play since he was about six months old, sometimes we have loads of fun and other times, well, it can end in tears.

I have learnt through our several visits to soft play, that there are things you can do to ensure you and your toddler have a good time, and  the possibility of one of you sobbing at the top of the slide can be significantly reduced.

So, here they are. The do’s and don’ts of a trip to the soft play with your toddler…

DO remove your child’s shoes before you leave the car to avoid said child having an emotional breakdown when the member of staff at the counter asks you to hand their beloved wellies over.

DON’T forget to wear socks. At worst you will be asked to leave and at best people will give you dirty looks.

DO give your toddler a snack in the car before you get there to avoid any demands for chips as soon as you arrive.

DON’T go when your toddler is hungry. unless you want to pay £5 for a little lunch box that they NEED MUMMY, for them to ignore the sandwich and piece of fruit and only eat the packet of crisps.

DO wear sensible clothes. With all the running and lifting you will be doing, I would say your gym gear may be a good outfit choice.

DON’T wear a skirt. No tights results in friction burns on the slide and potential indecent exposure. Tights results in flying down the slide at speeds too great for you or your toddler to handle.

DO get involved and run around with your toddler. No one will judge you for having fun.

DON’T send your two year old in alone when it’s busy. Hyperactive older kids are terrifying and are not always nice to the little ones (Leo has been pushed over even when I have been stood right next to him before).

DO fantasize about the day your child will be one of the older kids and you can sit and have a coffee, chat with friends, check Twitter etc..

DON’T be jealous of or judge the mums of older kids who are sat having a coffee, chatting with friends, checking Twitter etc..

DO expect to get stuck in those double roller things and have to wiggle out like an uncoordinated worm.

DON’T laugh at other parents who have got stuck in the roller things (if you must laugh be discreet, it is embarrassing enough as is).

DO expect your toddler to get themselves stuck right at the top in a corner too small for your adult size body.

DON’T stop your child exploring for fear of them getting stuck. It may be difficult, but there’s always a way for you to rescue them.

DO let you child play and explore in anyway they want.

DON’T let your child climb up the slide though. Not because I think it’s inappropriate but because there are signs everywhere saying not to do so and if you let them an angry voice will come over the loud speaker telling them to get down.

DO stop for a coffee and juice break. You will both need to refuel at some point.

DON’T sit next to the sign saying ‘Only food bought in cafe can be consumed on this premises’ while giving your child some sandwiches and a biscuit you a brought from home.

DO have fun playing silly games with your little one.

DON’T appear to be having more fun than all the children. You might come across as a bit of an odd ball.

DO expect your child to throw a massive tantrum when it’s time to leave.

DON’T cry when your child is screaming on the floor by the exit. You will get out of there, eventually..

So, there you have it. My do’s and don’t for a trip to the soft play. I am not saying these apply to everyone but they definitely help me survive an hour or two a week in the minefield that is the soft play centre. Do you have anything to add? Does your little one love soft play? Let me know what you think 🙂

This post is linked to..

A Cornish Mum
My Random Musings

Cuddle Fairy

Mummuddlingthrough

You Baby Me Mummy

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56 Comments

  1. February 10, 2016 / 8:14 am

    Haha, great tips! These unwritten rules would a great addition to the actual rules! X
    #BloggerClubUK

  2. February 10, 2016 / 9:29 am

    I long for the day that I can sit with a cup of coffee while my son happily plays! Currently I spend most of my time being led by the hand to one of those train things that you put money in and it moves while my son sits in it pushing the buttons, happily oblivious that it moves, since I've never put money in! I dread the day someone does and he sees it moving! #BloggerClubUK

  3. February 10, 2016 / 12:16 pm

    Haha thanks. Maybe I should print this off and hand out to soft play owners?xx

  4. February 10, 2016 / 12:18 pm

    Haha, one day we will get to be the coffee drinking mums! Haha, I can imagine he won't be very happy once he realises the train moves!xx

  5. February 10, 2016 / 4:16 pm

    hahaha very useful tips that I will try to remember next time I am soft play #bloggerclubuk

  6. February 10, 2016 / 7:15 pm

    Thanks. I hope some of them work for you too 🙂 xx

  7. Baby Isabella
    February 11, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    Hahaha! Very good tips. My mummy made the mistake of wearing tights to a soft play once and they came back like fishnets!! #TwinklyTuesday #BloggerClubUK x

  8. February 11, 2016 / 1:14 pm

    Thanks for sharing. These are excellent. Like other comment on here, it would be good to see these widely used at soft play.

  9. February 11, 2016 / 1:33 pm

    Haha, oh dear! I won't be wearing them again after I went down the slide with Leo on my knee and we crashed in to the wall at the bottom xx

  10. February 11, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    Thanks! Maybe we should just print them off and start sticking them up at our local soft play?Haha xx

  11. February 11, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    Ha ha I am that mum feeding the kids illegal packed lunch!
    Thanls for linking up to #coolmumclub – loved it…soft play has just endless blog material!

  12. February 11, 2016 / 10:51 pm

    Honestly, wrong way up the slide over and over again. Just shoot me if I ever go again. Great list #coolmumclub @rainbowsaretoo

  13. February 12, 2016 / 7:55 am

    Glad I'm not the only one who breaks that rule. Thanks for hosting xx

  14. February 12, 2016 / 7:56 am

    Oh no, it can be pretty hard going especially when the kids insist on climbing up the slide.xx

  15. February 12, 2016 / 11:57 am

    Fab, I will definitely remember these next time we head for soft play fun!

  16. February 12, 2016 / 4:22 pm

    Sounds like you've covered most things about soft play here! We have a very small soft play area in the garden centre where my best friend and I meet and I have to confess we are now at the stage where we both mostly just sit and chat over a cuppa whilst occasionally glancing over to make sure the children are ok and not creating havoc! I'm not sure we could manage it at bigger ones though!

  17. Little House Lea
    February 12, 2016 / 4:26 pm

    Some of these points made me laugh – like don't wear a skirt or be jealous of other mums who have older kids. As another mum of a hyper two year old, I hear you! See you in the soft play this weekend x

  18. February 12, 2016 / 7:43 pm

    You have so much to look forward to 😀 xx

  19. February 12, 2016 / 7:44 pm

    Let me know if they makes your time there any more bearable 🙂 xx

  20. February 12, 2016 / 7:46 pm

    Trying my best not to be jealous! I can't wait for to be a chatting, coffee drinking mum. Hopefully I won't have to wait too much longer?! Soft plays in garden centres are much less intimidating than the big ones though xx

  21. February 12, 2016 / 7:47 pm

    Glad I am not the only one! Yes, never ever wear a skirt I have made that mistake too many times. Soft play on the weekend, are you crazy? Only go during the week, it's much safer then haha xx

  22. February 12, 2016 / 11:11 pm

    haha great tips! I have only just ventured into the world of soft play and I really do have so much to learn! I wore odd socks too which was a bit embarrassing! xx #picknmix

  23. February 13, 2016 / 8:29 am

    Haha, odd socks can be a bit embarrassing you will soon get over that though :). I'm still learning the ways is soft play and Leo's 2 and a half. Happy soft playing 🙂 xx

  24. February 13, 2016 / 10:32 pm

    Love this! My favourite soft play memory is from many years ago when I was in my teens. My cousin was stripping off in the ball pit so my nan (in full nan outfit of skirt, sensible court shoes, bead necklace, etc) had to wiggle through the double rollers and then haul a pre-teen back out with her. It shouldn't have been funny, but it was… xD #KCACOLS

  25. February 13, 2016 / 11:11 pm

    Leggings are also not a good option when coming down the slide – unless you want to go so fast that you get whiplash!! My son is 3 now and its great because he's happy to go off on his own at the softplay, I get to sit and enjoy a natter with my friends! #thelist

  26. February 13, 2016 / 11:23 pm

    Oh my such a long list but some great pointers, love the not wearing a skirt one! #KCACOLS

  27. February 14, 2016 / 11:41 am

    Haha, I'm avoiding soft play until Piglet is old enough to be one of the older kids! There is a baby cafe not too far from us though that I love as it's just toys as opposed to soft play equipment, and you can have a coffee and watch the little ones, as there's not much they can do to hurt themselves. Much more civilised! #KCACOLS

  28. February 14, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    Great tips! I can't stand it when you see kids wandering round eating on the soft play equipment… #KCACOLS

  29. February 14, 2016 / 3:24 pm

    Great tips – I am 28 weeks pregnant and got stuck in some upright rollers the other day but I had no choice as it was the way in and out!! Note to self must find a different soft play! I always take a spare pair of socks since monkey took his off once in the ball pit (honestly)!! Thanks for joining us at #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again next week xx

  30. February 14, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    I have one!
    Do remember to put a nappy on your 20 month old before going to soft play. Failure to do so will result in you noticing that your child has wet socks, asking everyone else if their child has wet socks, checking to see if their nappy has leaked, realising they have no nappy on, a cold-blooded feeling as you replay the final fraught moments before you left the house and an emergency trip to the toilet to put a nappy on them, keeping your fingers crossed that Mr Absorbent Socks has soaked up most of his own wee as you make a quick exit with your child now wearing nothing but a nappy and a t-shirt.
    true story! :/
    x Alice
    #kcacols

  31. February 14, 2016 / 9:08 pm

    Oh I love this! I absolutely hate soft play with a passion and so we have only been twice in Mia's life! I find it far too stressful however we did go to a friends birthday party with a huge inflatable so I know what its like to bounce so much you fall backwards off the bloomin thing, in front of 20 kids and their parents! 🙂

    #KCACOLS

  32. February 15, 2016 / 1:07 pm

    Love this! Soft play is a minefield isn't it. So many rules and politics…and that's just the parents!

    I have to say I would never attempt it without socks though, who know what you might step in! #fartglitter x

  33. February 15, 2016 / 6:26 pm

    Haha this really made me laugh!! My four are always the ones with no socks, eating a home brought sandwich and going up the slide the wrong way! #KCACOLS

  34. February 16, 2016 / 8:06 am

    Ha! I love these! It really took me back to when my son was younger and we used to spend every week at the soft play centre. I remember the slide and tights incident as if it was yesterday!
    Laura xx
    #KCACOLS

  35. February 17, 2016 / 4:25 pm

    Awww great list and the day will come when you can still back and chill whilst the younger child parents look in envy X #thelist

  36. February 17, 2016 / 10:45 pm

    The worst part about soft play is…..the children. I'm sure some parents just get them inside and then leave them to run feral, hoping they'll let them drink a hot coffee for a change ha, but oh we have come across some badly behaved children at soft play. Luckily now my boys are 10 and 11 they rarely want to go and only to the big places, plus they can go off on their own whilst I read a magazine 🙂
    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix
    Stevie x

  37. February 17, 2016 / 11:10 pm

    Haha great post. I hate the way other mums judge me for taking my laptop…just kidding. I don't actually mind softplay too much, we must have a good one! Thanks for linking up to #thelist x

  38. February 18, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    I had just got to the point of being able to sit with a coffee and one eye on them the other on my phone when I had another and now it's a nightmare again haha. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

  39. February 19, 2016 / 2:05 pm

    Haha, oh that does sound funny..not for your poor Nan though!xx

  40. February 19, 2016 / 2:06 pm

    Haha, yes leggings are almost as bad as tights! Ohh you are so lucky, I can't wait for that day xx

  41. February 19, 2016 / 2:07 pm

    Thanks. Haha, I only wore a skirt to soft play once and I won't be making that mistake again xx

  42. February 19, 2016 / 2:08 pm

    Oh that sounds lovely, I wish there was something like that by me. Good idea with the whole waiting until he's one of the pig kids, I would love to do that but I don't think Leo would let me get away with it xx

  43. February 19, 2016 / 2:09 pm

    Thanks :). Yes, I don't like that either, although Leo did run in with a slice of pizza once and I had to chase him to get it back resulting in a major tantrum, oh dear!xx

  44. February 19, 2016 / 2:11 pm

    Oh no, that sounds awful! Glad to hear you managed to get through the rollers unharmed. If I ever have a second child Leo will just have to go to soft play with his Dad, I can't imagine trying to fun and climb like that with a big bump! I take it the socks were lost forever in the ball pit? 🙂 Thanks for hosting xx

  45. February 19, 2016 / 2:12 pm

    Oh no!! Poor you, that sounds awful. I will double check from now on that Leo has always got a nappy on!xx

  46. February 19, 2016 / 2:13 pm

    Hahah, oh dear! Bouncy castles are really fun though so I don't blame you for getting a bit carried away :).xx

  47. February 19, 2016 / 2:14 pm

    You are so brave for going while pregnant, I think I would be too terrified to do that! How lovely of the lady to help you out. Yes, I will be there co hosting next time, exciting!xx

  48. February 19, 2016 / 2:16 pm

    I don't even want to think what you might step in if you went bare foot! Soft play is most certainly a minefield, definitely not one for the faint hearted 🙂 xx

  49. February 19, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    Haha, happy it made you giggle. I always take Leo lunch from home too and he is just starting to try and climb up the slide, won't be long before he's the one the staff are shouting at!xx

  50. February 19, 2016 / 2:18 pm

    Haha, glad I am not the only one who has made the mistake of wearing tights to soft play! Aww, I am happy it made you remember old times haha xx

  51. February 19, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    Haha, I so can't wait for that day 🙂 xx

  52. February 19, 2016 / 2:20 pm

    Hahah. You are very right though, some kids do act like wild animals in there. I am not jealous of your magazine reading, stress free soft play time at all…:) xx

  53. February 19, 2016 / 2:21 pm

    I would so take my laptop if I could get away with it haha. You must have a nice soft play by you, the one near my house is like hell on earth xx

  54. February 19, 2016 / 2:21 pm

    Haha, atleast you got to enjoy it for a little while. You will get your coffee to yourself days back again at some point 🙂 xx

  55. February 23, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    I hate soft play haha! Thankfully SB isn't overly fussed yet but I'm dreading the day she demands to be taken to our local Runaround! Great tips though! #KCACOLS

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