Soft play

This child’s energy levels are like nothing I’ve seen before. I think this photo sums Emmeline up really well.

So my answer last week was to try and wear her out as much as possible so we could have an easy bedtime with her on Saturday evening.

Soft play was my initial decision.


Who the heck invented the notion of soft play? I know I could probably look that one up…hang on a sec, I’ll Google it…

Ok I’ve genuinely just looked it up and it the concept was initiated by a guy called Jack Pentes in 1982 to overcome the issue of safety surrounding outdoor play areas. Hmmm interesting one.


Anyway, Emmeline and I went to a new soft play centre on Saturday. I mentioned it on Twitter about how excited I was because it had dawned on me that Emmeline and I hadn’t done anything fun together for ages. I always seem to be either working, ¬†watching Elsa in cross country, food shopping or folding washing. What has become of my life?!


So Emmeline and I went along, both very much looking forward to throwing ourselves down some slides, screeching a lot and running about however, I was reminded very quickly of how shy Emmeline can be. For about half an hour, she refused to go anywhere without me no further than a foot away or even better, holding my hand.


We climbed squashy steps, slid under barriers, dodged swaying punch bags and “weeeeee’d” our way down wavy slides. It was fantastic. Her bravery grew over time and eventually she would do this little circuit on her own, climbing up enclosed platforms, running along a wobbly board, jumping down some foam cubes and then sliding down the slide. *And repeat*




Oh my god, I was exhausted!! We did this for over an hour and after that I felt like I needed a lie down. Needless to say, Emmeline was still bouncing off the walls but she agreed to leave on the basis we bought a drink and a snack and were off to see Granny (Granny is often my bribery with her!)


As usual, I watched the parents at the soft play centre. I love to see how people interact with their children, I guess it’s the Montessori teacher in me that will never depart. So many parents see these places as somewhere to sit and drink tea and leave the children to it…oh how I long for those days with Emmeline but at the age of two she’s still a bit too young. It was funny because there was a dad with his two children running around and you could tell he was struggling with the whole “letting go of control” thing that is pretty much the unwritten rule of soft play. He kept trying to tell them which way up the tunnels to go, who should go first, how they should tackle the next obstacle. Needless to say they pretty much ignored him.


Do you ever go to soft play?


Jude absolutely loves it. There’s a soft play centre about five minutes walk from our house and Jude regularly goes there with Faye. She told me last time they went there that it was the best time they’ve ever had together. I’m definitely going to take Jude to this new one next week as it’ll take him out of his comfort zone a little whilst retaining an element of familiarity. They host sessions purely for children with special needs however, Jude (weirdly for him) copes really well with the noise levels of these places. ¬†It’s really fantastic to get Jude into places like this as he’s turned into a really lazy (almost) teenage boy. He can’t even be bothered to walk into town with us anymore, the effort level is way too high. BUT when he comes to soft play, he can run around for ages. Also, he engages so much more enthusiastically with his sisters. Last time I took Jude and Elsa there (I have no idea where Emmeline was) they played so beautifully, following each other around and encouraging one another on what they’d liked to do next. It was lovely to watch. It gave me that moment of time where Jude was just like all the other children. I didn’t have to feel out of place because no-one stared because no-one looks hard enough in these places at children other than their own.


Anyway, we’ve found a new place to take the boy and I can’t wait to test it out with him on Saturday. Emmeline will be thrilled. She loved it so much on Saturday that we (embarrassingly enough) went back again on Sunday with Joe where her confidence returned in full flow and she even attempted to RUN down a large blue slide. Stunt woman in the making…

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