The Search for a Decent Play Centre

Ada’s now mobile, full of energy and into EVERYTHING. Sometimes, we need to take her somewhere where she can crawl, climb, explore and adventure without the chorus of, “No! Don’t touch that,”; “Come away from there,” and “Don’t chew the toilet seat!”.

Living in the East of Derbyshire, there are 10+ play centres within a ten-mile radius of our house; we’re slowly working our way through them. One thing I’ve noticed about them so far is that although most of them are awesome for big kids, none of them cater well for babies.

Often, the baby area consists of a small ball pool (LOVE a ball pool) and some old, ripped soft play shapes that Ada has NO idea what to do with (she mainly perches next to them and slaps them). I’m all for rolling my sleeves up, whipping the shoes off and diving in to the baby zone to guide Ada in the right direction, but even I get bored after 5 minutes.

So far, the play centre with the best baby area that I’ve seen had a sea of baby toys for different developmental ages (from play gyms to walkers and pull-along toys). Ada was in her element here, crawling and climbing from one toy to the next. However, it didn’t have a ball pool suitable for babies or much in the way of soft play, and the toys – although varied and well-stocked – were a bit tired.

I guess what I’m looking for is a Baby Zone within a play centre which includes:

  • clean, non-tatty, varied soft play equipment;
  • a ball pool sans half-chewed rusks;
  • engaging, clean, working, developmentally-appropriate toys;
  • sensory toys (clean, non-scratched mirrors; different textures; lights etc);
  • decent coffee (and cake, obviously).

I’m sure this play centre exists somewhere… I just need to find it.

(Oh, and if this dream play centre were to have a room where Daddy can be entertained – I’m thinking WiFi, phone chargers, an XBox, OLED TV and surround sound – that’d be great…)



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