Soft play on a Saturday? No effing way…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…every parenting blogger has a soft play post in them. If you’ve read one, have you read them all? Maybe…but with so much inspirational material, it’d be rude not to fulfil my bloggy destiny in creating my version of events.

Soft play. We hate it, or do we love it? Or do we just love to hate it? Either way, when faced with another long day at home, or  the inevitable ‘my place or yours’ (YOURS) conversation…it’s always a safe option.

Soft play venues are easily recognisable by their names which include any combination of  a number of standard words including: Monkey, Kidz, Zone, Mad, Bonkers, Jungle, Bananas, Go, Town, Krazy. You might also smell the grease coming from the ‘kid friendly’ kitchen from a two mile radius. It’s no coincidence the place is basically a padded cell with a splash of primary colour-tastic plastic.

You can get through it, for the sake of your kids, as long as you follow a few Golden rules. And I’m not talking about ‘Don’t climb up the slide’ here.

Golden Rule 1: Soft Play on a Saturday? No effing way. 

Soft play is tolerable, if you are able to find a table to dump your gear (hide decent shoes under a pile of coats). If you have ever made the mistake of deciding to take Daddy along one Saturday to experience the joys of soft play that he normally misses out on, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Where the hell did all these people come from? And has anybody seen my child? Oh there she is, being trampled under the balls in the ball pit… by a twelve year old.

The entry fee to soft play is pretty changeable. God knows what the cost is for 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 1-3, 3-5, 5-8, 9-11. Meal deal? Half price day? All I know is my unusually small child is going to be 11.5 months old for a very long time. (Feeling like a teenager trying to get into a over 18’s nightclub as I work out when her birthday would be if she really were 7 months younger…just in case I’m quizzed). Then there is the added complication of Meal deal? Half price day?  Oh…while we’re on that subject…

Golden Rule 2: Soft Play on discount day? No effing way. 

Just pay an extra quid and go to the one across town charging full price…it’ll be empty whilst all the hoards head towards the bargain basement. (Says she, skanking her way out of an extra few quid for her one year old).

Soft play, for me has to be a team event. Supervising two kids with opposing personalities means I will spend the afternoon rescuing a crying four year old from the top of a slide, whilst holding onto the toes of her kamikaze baby sister, already head first down that same giant slide. Buddying up with other Mums (or Dads) means you can tag team like a military squad…alternating rescue missions through human pasta making machines whilst leaving the sibling contingent in safe hands.

Team Super Mums have been seen throwing kids and babies down crazy slides whilst subteam Super Mums catches at the bottom and stops any getaways. Smooth. All we need to finish the look is some security style headsets. Therefore, for me…

Golden Rule 4: Soft play on a lonely day? No effing way.

Not so much of a problem if you’re supervising a solo child brimming with confidence and physical ability. But if you’re family is expanding?…

Golden Rule 5: Soft play near D-day? No effing way.

Some pregnant Mums may find soft play a haven – a place to watch your first born run around happily while you sit sipping a decaf green tea. In my experience, my sobbing petrified child will only be coerced down the huge slide by Mummy. Not recommended…but then again that’s if you can even get up there in the first place, let alone back down. Big bumps are somewhat of a nuisance when it comes to crawling through tiny holes made out of rope and foam. Your precious cargo may not take too kindly to it either. Avoid it all together… go to the park.

That said, if it were a sunny day that is exactly where you’d be? Right? Yes…you and everyone else…If you want to avoid the masses, consider the next golden rule…

Golden Rule 6: Soft play on a rainy day? No effing way. 

But where else do you go? Always a tricky one when your farm day gets rained off. But, so did every other buggers and you know where you’re going to find them…

Of course if you do brave it, remember it may be minus 3 outside, but always dress for the tropics. When your child reappears after 15 crazy minutes at Krazy Barn / Mad Kidz / Bananas zone they’ll be suffering from heat exhaustion and you’ll be stripping vests, t shirts, sweaters as quick as you can say ‘It’s hot in here’. As will you, when you climb up the floors of colourful plastic to the burning towers of hell the top level at soft play.

All of these rules, are of course null and void if you are that parent, chilling over a coffee, reading a magazine, scrolling through your phone, reading this blog right now, or chatting with the friends you’ve met with. A little part of me hates you, although I do of course, long to be you. The truth is, I never will know what that feels like, because by the time my needy children are of an age they can go off unsupervised and play, they’ll be in school. Leaving soft play dates behind, unless we work around our new term time schedule. WILL WE HELL!

Golden Rule 7: Soft play in the school holiday? No effing way.

I did it once, by accident. It was a mistake. A big mistake that cost £12.60 and lasted 7 minutes. The head ache lasted 67 minutes. Never again.

So for now, I’ll embrace my term time, soft play dates, with friends. I’ll pay a premium for the full price days whilst clawing back money by sneaking in my own food in tupperware containers (and my tiny toddler, not in tupperware of course).

Soft Play?


Ah, go on then.



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59 thoughts on “Soft play on a Saturday? No effing way…

  1. WhingeWhingeWine Reply

    I went there once on a Saturday… for a party….

    It was carnage and it smelled of feet and poo.

    Just say no to soft play!


  2. Kim Carberry Reply

    hehehe! I hate soft play. I am so glad my girls are getting too old for it…

  3. ourrachblogs06 Reply

    This is just brilliant AND SO BLOODY TRUE. I hate softplay, like literally despise it. I have to go as part of a team when I go, there’s no way I’d go alone with my toddler. I hate the smell, I hate the uncleanliness of it and it makes me anxious if truth be told. You’re so right about Saturdays being a non soft play day. Of course, it’s a necessarily evil when you’re the owner of a little one. I’ve adhered to your rules. I’ve never gone during the holidays and I think I once went on a rainy day and promised myself I would NEVER make that mistake again! #bigpinklink

  4. mumzilla Reply

    Haha, I comply with all those rules! Luckily I have a kamikazi child who knows not the meaning of the word fear, so I get to hide with a cuppa & my kindle undisturbed, bliss! (Apart from you know, the incessant hollering) (and unusual smells) #bigpinklink

  5. Katy (@hotpinkwellies) Reply

    I’ve not been to soft play for a few weeks – this has brought back all the horror! My child is the one who insists I go around everything with him – not yet pregnant with no. 2, but I’m destined to be that pregnant mum who gets stuck between some rollers, aren’t I? #bigpinklink

  6. Kat Reply

    For us soft play is reserved for other peoples childrens parties and a once a year trip to the local farm park. Also holiday kids clubs…go ahead, as long as someone else who likes children supervises and I can leave! #bigpinklink

  7. justsayingmum Reply

    so funny as always and totally and utterly agree with your sentiments “no effing way!” My teens have progressed on to these trampoline parks (jump giants or the like) – full of horrid teenagers so a big no effing way from me! #bigpinklink

  8. wendy Reply

    Haha love this. So funny and so true. I went in half term once by accident too, it was a nightmare!I never go on a Saturday either, it always feels like the whole town shows up at soft play on a Saturday!xx #bigpinklink

  9. Pink Pear Bear (@pinkpearbear) Reply

    Hahahha I was there today! I had the plan to get some work done and catching up on twitter but sadly small boy decided he wanted my company, (after I’d enjoyed my coffee and cake thankfully!), and his heart wrenching pleas made me feel like The. Worst. Mum. Ever! So I abandoned my work and had 20 minutes of play in there with him before bailing out! Your pregnancy one made me remember one we went to that had a rope ‘spiderweb’ across it with a hole in the middle to wriggle through. I REALLY struggled with that with my 7 month bump!! 😀 Thanks for linking up with us! #bigpinklink

    1. MMT Reply

      I’m there tomorrow…getting an early night tonight in preparation! Oh, hold on, I get an early night EVERY night 😉 x

  10. ljdove23 Reply

    HAHA this is hilarious, I laughed out loud! So so true!!! Rainy weekends are the WORST days for softplay, we made that mistake once and never EVER again!! #bigpinklink

    1. MMT Reply

      Glad you had a giggle on us…good to know writing ‘just another’ soft play post was worth it after all 😉 xxx

  11. Lucy Reply

    Brilliant! I’m a hater…will literally go to the park on torrential rain and howling winds rather than risk anyone saying ‘how about soft play’…#Marvmondays

  12. Double the Monkey Business Reply

    Ha ha it is indeed a bloggers destiny to write a soft play post, I have also done this 🙂 So much good material it is very hard to resist 🙂 #fartglitter

  13. rhymingwithwine Reply

    Amazing and very very wise words! I loved “human pasta machine” and will never look at what I previously named the “human car wash” the same again. It is. It actually is a pasta machine!

    Loved it!
    Dawn x

    1. rhymingwithwine Reply

      Just popping by again through #coolmumclub Thank you for hosting! :0) xx

  14. Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap) Reply

    We have not been for ages! The gremlin now wants me in it the whole time with her. She refuses to go off and play so if I go with a friend = zero chatting! Need to rope hubby in but weekends?! Hols! No chance as you say! Heaving and huge kids!! Made me smile this list xx #twinklytuesday

  15. Coombe Mill Reply

    I’m with you all the way right up to the no soft play on holiday. We have just refurbished our soft play barn and it is a godsend to parents here on holiday on a drizzly day in Cornwall, that said as soon as it dries up the outdoor play areas, farm and beaches are the places to be. #Abitofeverything

  16. Elena (@Spanish_mummy) Reply

    I don’t think any parents love soft plays but they are a must of a boring day. My no nos are on a rainy day and during school holidays

  17. Something About Baby Reply

    With an 8 month old non-crawler, I’ve yet to really experience the joys of soft play as he’s too little to do anything. I am a lucky one, I know. I did however listen to my sister in law tell me a story recently of how she followed her daughter through a tunnel at soft play and got stuck due to her 8 month baby bump! Was a traumatic time for all concerned #fartglitter

  18. Coffee and Cuddles Reply

    I never attempt soft play without the other half- which means I get to play the ‘I was up all night’ card and drink coffee while he runs around! But so glad to hear that I’m not alone in cringing at the thought of visiting these places! Also, don’t get me started on the parking! 🙂 X #twinklytuesday

  19. nipperandtyke Reply

    You are right when you say that there are a lot of soft play posts out there – but this is one of my favourites 😀 The names being a combination of al those words is totally true as well! 🙂
    x Alice

    1. MMT Reply

      Wow. Now that is a compliment – thanks Alice! I spent the afternoon at one today and it was manic… Even though I didn’t break any of the golden rules it was hell!!! X

      1. nipperandtyke Reply

        Will we never learn, eh!

  20. dadbloguk Reply

    How about soft play on a rainy bank holiday when the closest one is closed. tried this once. Never, ever again. #TwinklyTuesday

  21. Squirmy Popple Reply

    Ha! I just wrote a post about soft play after taking my wee one for the first time. The soft play area near us is pretty disgusting, but my 9-month-old loved it – so we went back today. And she tried to lick pretty much everything. *shudder* #abitofeverything

  22. Mama Reply

    Haha, this is fabulous. Ah, I will miss our practically private and cheap soft play when we move back to Europe. I’m sure my regular answer will change from ‘Ah, go on.’ to ‘No, effing way.’


  23. Mum in Brum Reply

    Somehow I’ve only managed to venture to soft play twice so far – and that was because friends suggested it and they looked at me like I was a terrible parent when I admitted we’d never been before…well it was effing horrid. And so effing boring. Taylor loved it of course (but what does that matter?!) I’m sure I’ll be making lots more visits once she’s old enough to understand and puts in her requests, but I’ll definitely be adopting your mantras!! xx #bestandworst

  24. Renee @PeonieandMe Reply

    Soft play without wine? no effing way…

    I’ve taken Henry to soft play twice now and its a real eye opener. David Attenborough could film a year long series just watching babies/toddlers/kids in their natural habitat. How to survive the ball pool… How to outrun or at least jump out of the way of the bigger kids… How to not cry the first 10 minutes of arriving and how (for the mummies) survive without wine.

    Great post. I’m printing it out and popping it on the fridge, just in case this weekend I have the bright idea of avoiding the rain on a half price discount Saturday. #bestandworst

    Renee @peonieandme x

  25. Square Peg Mum Reply

    I was a soft play virgin until last week. We went to one that had a smell of cheese and feet or maybe it was cheesy feet. I think we enjoyed it more than the 11 month old though lol! #abitofeverything

  26. cupcakemumma Reply

    I hate soft play. It’s dirty and I don’t really have time for lots of children I have no control over who insist on pushing or pinching my kids. They’re bloody awful places that kids love and parents (most!) hate!

  27. Kate Tunstall, The Less-Refined Mind Reply

    Excellent, excellent post! You NAILED it! X

  28. Franjones Reply

    Soft play is a nightmare. My big girl is good now as she can entertain herself now while I have a coffee but I guess with the new arrival I’ll soon be venturing into the ball out again before long

  29. islandliving365 Reply

    I was feeling rather smug recently as I had thought that I had discovered a nice soft play! I had gone during the holidays and it had been amazing, nice and cheap coffee, clean play area, calm children playing nicely……then I went on a Saturday morning and it was hell on earth! #coolmumclub

  30. Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap) Reply

    Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst xx

  31. beautybabyandme Reply

    Ha ha brilliant – I’ve got all this to come, I’m taking your post as guidance 😉 xx #coolmumclub

  32. This Mum's Life Reply

    Yes! You’ve nailed it!! I’ve made all the big mistakes-gone on Saturdays, school holidays, half price days (the latter 2 I just didn’t realise about!!) and it’s a harsh lesson learnt!! Although I’ve found there’s 2 types of softplay, the ones in huge industrial buildings with the crazy slides and layer upon layer of never ending climbing stuff, or the cafe ones that have a gentle toy section in one corner-these are my favourite ones!! My husband works some weekends, and if it’s raining when he’s at work on a Saturday, I cry into my coffee at what seems to be the only possible option for me to entertain the children…!

  33. Emma Jones Reply

    My soft play days are behind me although tempted for one last visit at one that’s been refurbished near me. The 5 yo still likes them but 9 yo is too cool now. #coolmumclub lifeinthemumslane

  34. Tall Mum in Manchester Reply

    I can feel your pain. Luckily the one time my friend has dragged me with her so far, under the guise of meeting up for lunch at a place where her little one would be occupied too (!) it was in the morning and term time, which meant there were only and handful of other children there. We were lucky, the food was surprisingly good – paninis and no grease in sight – try the one near Buxton. I would have been less than impressed if I’d had to negotiate a host of other children to entertain her little one.
    I guess our meet ups will get more like this as her baby grows, but it won’t be long till I get my revenge. #coolmumclub

  35. Emma - meandbmaketea Reply

    All true 🙂 The only time I don’t mind soft play is Friday mornings with my boy. it is quiet!

  36. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    I went once on a Saturday – never again. Unless you are effing CRAZZZZY! Not saying you are lovely #coolmumclub partner in crime 😛 xx

  37. Ellen Reply

    Haha I love this! Soft play definitely seems to provide a lot of material for blogs, he’s still too little at the moment for us to go though… But I’m not sure I’m looking forward to when the saga starts! #coolmumclub

  38. Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods) Reply

    Ha ha brilliant. I don’t do soft play very often purely because I don’t drive so when I have gone it’s always been with a friend. Usually with my childless friend actually because she loves all that so I get to sit down and drink my coffee in peace. I guess soft play ain’t too bad for me when u put it like that. I should do it more often 😉


  39. Mess and Merlot Reply

    URGH the big kids in the toddler bit really winds me up! My parents live in Belfast where the terms are different to England so sometimes when we visit “FUNWORKS” we have the place entirely to ourselves which the kids love, but not half as much as I do! Another latte? Oh go on… 😉 #coolmumclub

  40. Agent Spitback Reply

    Hahahaha…brilliant post! We indoor play areas here where we are and I stay far far away. I was quite traumatised the first time I went to one. I think I was in anxiety overdrive with masses of kids everywhere! I used to force my husband to come along as well, like you say, it was not possible to watch two kids at the same time. I had a panic attack when my #2 got stuck on one of the higher levels and there was no way I could get myself up there. Luckily those days are long gone, thank goodness! Thanks for sharing with #abitofeverything

  41. anxiousmummyblog Reply

    As a novice mummy, I am mentally storing this for when A is older. I recently met a friend at our local soft play on a Tuesday morning which was bad enough, I cannot imagine what it would be like on a Saturday! My husband is a big kid so I may just leave him to the soft play duties! Jemma x #coolmumclub

  42. Diapers At Dawn Reply

    This made me laugh so much, love it! We usually go to a small soft play which is inside a mothercare and only one level so he pretty much goes crazy without me having to panic. The first time I took him to a proper soft play was most definitely the last, he was scared of the area for smaller kids (he’s 21 months) but was all for the junior area where I had to accompany him up to the burning towers of hell (hahaha) I felt like I needed a nap by the time we left xxx #coolmumclub (thanks for hosting)

  43. Claire at Tin Box Traveller Reply

    I dont mind a bit of soft play – but saying that we probably don’t go more than once every other month so it seems bearable. My worst experience was running around after the tot while six months pregnant. I don’t know what I was thinking! #coolmumclub

  44. Emma Reply

    absolutely. I hate those places on quiet days, on busy days they’re literally a torture zone. I never understood why they were such a mecca; give me a rainy playground any day!!

  45. tammymum Reply

    Ah soft play, love to hate it and hate to love it. It has been my saviour plenty of times but I too have made the fatal error of taking daddy on a wet weekend. Double whammy that will not be repeated under pain of death. Back to flying solo in the week with two babies for me, argh…. #coolmumclub xx

  46. susankmann Reply

    Kids love soft play. I think it’s fab. But goodness not at the weekends. It’s like hell on earth. It’s loud, smells funny and you can never find your kids, not matter how many eyes you have on them. I love taking my little one when the schools are in and I can climb about with her xx Thanks for linking #abitofeverything xx

  47. butterflymum83 Reply

    Ha ha – brilliant! I actually kinda like soft play but ONLY on a quiet weekday. And it’s also made much more bearable by the fact that our local one is brand new and still really clean and also part of a theme park that we already have an annual pass for so essentially free. Otherwise, no effing way 😉 #coolmumclub

  48. Silly Mummy Reply

    Haha – funnily enough, I HAVE steered clear of writing about soft play because I know so many people have! Not that they have ever been the same, or that I haven’t enjoyed reading them all, just I have a personal fear of writing about things that I know I have read a lot of posts on in case everyone turns round & yells ‘YOU COPIED US’! Not that I’m paranoid!

    I completely agree with you – never do soft play on Saturday, school holidays or rainy days! & I definitely would not have done it pregnant! #coolmumclub

  49. My Petit Canard Reply

    Ha, ha! Love this! If only every parent had these golden rules the world would be a slightly better place 😉 I know that one or two of these would have stood me in good stead all those moons ago when we frequented soft play during mat leave. Less so now, thankfully. Although, I do feel a little guilty that our litle one never gets to see the light of day in these places anymore, but after reading this I am reminded that its for the best for us all 😉 Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Emily

  50. lizzie ( firstooth ) Reply

    Agreed! We only ever go during the week and when I have the safety of a second pair of hands. It’s carnage at the best of times so I’d never enter at the busiest!

  51. Something Crunchy Mummy Reply

    Agree with all of these. I am so not looking forward to becoming a weekend/holiday mum once my eldest goes to school! Thanks got linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

  52. Life as Mum Reply

    I am actually going to brave going to the play centre twice during the easter holidays! I am bricking it!! Thank you for linking up with #justanotherlinky

  53. fancypaperblog Reply

    Great rules actually. I think soft play should have a running soundtrack of Guns n Roses overhead. It just had the aura of a head banging nightclub back in the day

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