10 Things I Hate About Soft Play – The Sleep Thief’s Mummy Guest Post

I’m so excited to be hosting my first guest post and even more excited that it’s by Donna over at The Sleep Thief’s Mummy. Donna rants about everyday life with 2.4 children (whatever that even means) and 2 immortal cats. We’ve been knocking about Facebook together for a little while now and I love her funny commentaries and rants. I’d love to share a gin or two with this woman.

But enough of this talk of gin and onto the post. Soft play, what a gloriously hideous place to spend a Saturday but The Sleep Thief’s Mummy took one for the team this weekend and took on the garish plastic and germ-infested balls (incidentally this is also how you could describe some of the nightclubs I frequented in bygone years). She lived to tell the tale but here are her top ten things she hates most about it. Quite frankly, if my experience is anything to go by she did well to narrow it down to ten.

1. The (lack of) parking – there’s easily enough space for 100 people inside, but only 6 parking spaces. This is a mathematical conundrum that perhaps should have been addressed when they were setting up the business. Timing is a key factor when planning a visit if you don’t want to walk a mile there – and back (carrying your over tired, sugar filled little demon(s).
2. The noise – Does this really need an explanation? The screaming, the banging, the clanging, the siblings fighting – children automatically morph in to feral little urchins as they walk through the doors, and upon exit when they start screeching ‘I DON’T WANT TO GOOOOOO’, whilst rubbing their eyes and protesting ‘I’M NOT TIRED’. They are invariably tired. 👍
3. The money – By the time you’ve paid to get in, bought a couple of buckets of coffee, lunch for everyone, a surprise egg, a toy from the machine and a ride on Noddy’s car – you’ve managed to blow through twenty quid.
The calm before the soft play storm
4. The seating – If you’re really lucky, you might arrive at just the right time to snag one of the two couches that are actually comfortable. More often than not you’ll be stuck on the crap chairs, looking longingly at the abandoned bags on the chairs you’d like to sit on.
5. Helicopter parents – These people are a strange breed. They loiter at the foot of the stairs to the slide – getting in the way of all the other children. I’ve seen parents and grandparents crouched over children like rabid badgers  protecting their young before. Back off people and let the kids play. 👍
6. The big kid in the baby area – usually mine, while I’m trapped feeding the baby, feeling guilty as all the first time mums sit horrified, regarding with fear and hoping their small, immobile baby won’t be trampled by the big kid that’s snuck in – of course they’re fine, but I recall the fear all too well.
7. The air con – It’s  perpetually like sitting in either Siberia or the Sahara – why? WHY?!
8. The Food – Going to soft play when you’re on a diet is crap. You’ll sit there with your salad, silently cursing everyone else as the air around you smells of fried stuff with cheese.
9. The shouty parents – There’s usually at least one – they’ve had a really shitty morning and have resorted to communicating with their children as if they’re in the  next town.
10. The guilt – For not going in the ball pit, or down the slide, but choosing instead to sit and have a (mostly) peaceful coffee and a chat. For daring to take your phone out of your bag. For not having your child in your line of sight at every moment.
So there you have it. The children have zero clue, they’ve been treated to a lovely afternoon out – you’ve been subjected to purgatory, paid for the privilege and will now have to attempt to keep your child(ren) awake until bed time. 👍
At least there is coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

If you’ve got a list of ten that you want to share with the world* on here then please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

*world not guaranteed


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  1. Claire

    All very true! Have to admit my child is at that awkward age where he can walk and play independently but likes to have someone with him so I tend to avoid such places at the minute. Also why is there never enough changing facilities for those still in nappies?!?

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