Indoor Soft Play Centres

Indoor Soft Play Centres

Indoor Soft Play Centres.

Our local indoor soft play centre used to be great for taking the kids.

They would burn some of that energy off by running around for hours and we found this was a great venue for those rainy days during school holidays.

However, as time went on, we noticed a few things that we didn’t like or agree with and in the end, we stopped going.

Image courtesy of Keerati at

#effitfriday – My Rant About…

Indoor Soft Paly Centres – This week, I’m going to rant about why we have stopped taking our boys to our local indoor soft play centre.

Cleanliness – When we first started going to our local indoor soft play area, it had only been open for about a year. This meant that everything was new and basically kept clean.

However, as time went on, we noticed that they had cut down on the staff and this in turn, affected the general cleanliness of the centre. Apart from the obvious being dirty tables, or tables waiting to be cleared, we notice the actual soft play area was starting to look dirty, grubby and littered with empty crisp packets. Add the further up you climbed, the worst it got.

I realise businesses went through some hard times during the recession, but this centre was busy and I feel by cutting back, it affected the overall service of the centre.

Parents Using it as a Baby Sitting Centre – Untill recently, our local soft play centre had two play areas, one for under five’s and the other for 6-12-year-olds. Although these are suggested ages for these play areas, they are not compulsory and therefore not imposed.

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Now, I can’t speak for other parents but when we use these centres, we never leave the boys unaccompanied. Yep, that’s right, I’m one of those parents that will squeeze themselves through the tiny tubes, just to ensure the boys are safe.

“Safe? Safe from what?” I hear you ask.

Safe from the older kids that are left to charge around, with no care or consideration for other, younger users, that’s who. These are also the same kids that once they have knocked the little toddlers of their feet, rather than apologise and help them up, decide to disappear in the abyss of the climbing frames and other great hiding places these centres provide.

And where are their parents? Sitting down have a coffee and a chinwag with their friends, that’s where.

These are not just the parents of the older children either. I have seen three-year-olds wondering around looking for their parents and members of staff seeing to young children that have been knocked over with no idea of where the responsible parent is.

And There’s More! – On a recent trip to Cadbury Wolrd, we discovered an indoor soft play centre near where we were staying. With a few hours left until closing time, we decided to finish the day at Funky Monkey.

We went in and instantly felt like we had made a good choice. It was clean, the tables were clear of dirty dishes, there were plenty of staff and they were friendly too.

However, the practice of leaving the kids to just get on with it still existed. This time though, I’m not just talking about leaving them on the apparatus, oh no, I’m talking about leaving then in the centre whilst the parents went shopping!

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I picked up on this when I went to buy a drink for two hot, sweaty and thirsty boys. Whilst waiting to be served, I noticed some people were waiting to get out. I think it’s standard for these centres to have exits that can only be activated by the staff.

Before the member of staff let the group of adults out, she noticed they were minus a child.

“Where is your child?” I heard her ask.
“He’s over there” they replied, pointing to a young boy sitting down, having a drink.
“And where’s his career?” she continued to ask.
“There,” two or three members of the group said at the same time, whilst pointing to somebody on the same table.

Satisfied with their answer, she then let them out, turned around to me and asked “yes please, how can I help?”

I asked for my bottles of water then commented on what I had just witnessed.

“It’s like trying to out of Fort Knox in here,” I said.
“We have to be careful the parents don’t drop their kids off and go shopping.”

Not quite believing what I just heard, I asked her to explain what she meant.

“Only today somebody dropped their child off and went shopping for a few hours. They treat this place like a creche.”

I have to say that even though I have seen a few things whilst on my parenting duties, this surprised me. No, actually, to tell the truth, it shocked me. Seriously, this can’t be, right?

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again,

“Children should not be an inconvenience”

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  • WOW just WOW. How can any sort of parent leave their child in a place like that to go shopping. That is just so wrong!
    When I take my girls to a play centre {not often, as it is always full} I always take them into the younger kids side and never let them in the ‘big kid part’ because of much older children who don’t care about the younger ones.

    But I always get the problem of older children being in the part I take my girls – frustrates me so much! But I have told many children to stop pushing my kids.

    • Martin

      Hi, Beth.

      Yep! I couldn’t believe it either. Good for you for having words with other kids. It’s the sort of thing we’re not frightened of either.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. #effitfriday

  • Now, in Dubai, some of these soft plays are designated as creche services. But they are DEDICATED. With extra staff.

    That said I still wouldn’t do it.

    I hate soft play but it is a necessary evil when it is too hot to go out! #effitfriday

    • Martin

      Hi, Laura.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Maybe that’s something they need to bring into this country? Or would they take advantage and go to the pub?


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