Soft play – rules of play


You survived a long 2 week holiday, thinking of things to keep your little delights entertained whilst trying not to lose your shit as you watch another episode of the mini dogs that keep saving the city and find yet another melted Easter egg down the side of the sofa. Only to realise today is an inset day!!!!

The rain is pouring and I literally have no energy left to think of something creative or fun, the batteries on the tablet are dead. So we have ventured out to the soft play… aka hell.

I am sat in said hell as I write this, the noise levels rapidly increasing at about the same rate as my stress levels.

Rules of play.

  • Children must always be supervised

Translated too – the moment you hear crying and someone accurately describing your delight, “the boy with an orange t’shirt, glasses and blonde hair”  to their parent through sobs, quickly look alert and make your way to the exit swiftly. That or deny all knowledge of even having a child and make out you had just come out for a cup of coffee, whilst sighing to said parent, “people should really control their kids.”

  • Height and age restrictions must be abided by in each play zone.

Translated to – could the two twelve-year-old rugby players who are currently throwing foam blocks at full pelt in the baby section where my 4 month is having a little roll around minding her own business, please kindly f off. After a few very obvious head shakes and tutting appear to make no difference. It’s then time to stand up with hands on hips (yes you have to turn into this parent, there is no option) looking for the parents of these juvenile delinquents, after catching eye contact and ensuring they know your cross, but still no f**ks from them are given. You then pick your child up and huff loudly muttering about the selfishness of people and your wasted £4.

  • No jewellery, glasses or sharp objects in the play zones.

Translated to. If your delight wears glasses, mine does, a stylish pair of spiderman ones at that. Expect them not to remain intact throughout the play session.  Expect to return home with broken glasses that sit at a wonky angle on their face and a 2 hour wait in Specsavers.

Expect that if you are wearing any jewellery, especially bracelets, usually expensive Pandora ones, these too will not last the play session and you will spend the rest of your hour crawling around, no not after your child, after the 5 lost charms that are somewhere in the bottom of the pool.  Yak!!

  • Ensure your child has used the toilet before entering the play zone.

Translated to – No child is going to want to visit a boring toilet when faced with an amazing, bright and colourful play structure. And this only ends in 2 ways – Your child comes toddling up to you with wet legs crying because they couldn’t get out of tunnel of doom fast enough, you then notice a hard lump in their pants and pray to god no Nuggets have fallen out on the way.

Anyone fancy a malteaster?

And the worst, your child comes up to you crying because their bum is wet, no fault of their own, they’ve happily sped down the slide unbeknown to them a puddle of piss lay at the bottom. But that’s fine, because you’ve packed spare clothes for your 5-year-old right? Oh…

Same applies for the rule of play

  • Do not allow your child to enter the play zone if they are feeling unwell.

No we don’t want to be cleaning up the remainder of Mikey’s* up churned Easter egg he had for breakfast off our dear darlings new chinos, nor do we fancy dealing with 2 nights of puke patrol after they’ve caught the bloody bug!!

  • Keep away from the slide exits and do not climb up the slides.

Translated to – all children are going to try this and your child will be either one of these two.

The teller – the one that is running back to you every 2 minutes giving you a running commentary on Fred’s* movements up the slide and how this isn’t fair and that he is a bully and no one is listening to you. You sigh and give up even attempting to scroll through Facebook and enjoy your cup of tea and nod in agreement with your child whilst squinting trying to see where they are pointing, not really listening you pat them on their back and say, “off you go just play somewhere else don’t play with him anymore, we are going soon so make the most of your time.”

Or the tryer- Fred* is your child and he’s already halfway to the top of the slide, shouting at the little girl who is trying to go down. You can hear parents muttering around you wondering who is responsible for this child. You will have to get up, leave that cup of tea and intervene.  “Fred what have I said about not listening you have one last chance, blow it and this will be the last soft play you’ll ever lay eyes on, do you understand. ” all eyes are now on you with 100s of disapproving glares that you dare raise your voice, so that’s this soft play centre crossed off your list.


Finally –

  • No food or drink in the soft play zone and absolutely no consumption of alcohol.

So you have all this to deal with… and there is no alcohol to even soften the blow. *shudder*