View Full Version : Soft play- how to manage it

16-11-2012, 01:43 PM
There is a new soft play opening next week just walking distance from my house. I don't have a car for work so have never taken mindees to one.
I used to take my own two children, let them go and sit with a coffee and a good old natter with a friend but obviously I can't do that with mindees...damn :laughing:

I'm going to visit it first to see what it's like, the size,how it's set out, age abilities etc and also safety of external doors etc.
If i do decide to go along Ill probably go on weds as I only have two mindees. A 3yr old and a nearly 4 yr old.

How does everyone manage at these places? With children going off, not being able to see them all the time. What if its busy? What if one goes off 1 way and the other 1 the other way? I'm used to a toddler group room where I can see them and break up arguments or incidents before they happen.
I can just see myself following them up ladders and down slides and it sounds exhausting and with a lot of school children after school doesn't sound like a lot of fun for me.

16-11-2012, 02:04 PM
We have a lot of soft play around here. I have known most of them for a while with having 2 children of my own and the newer ones I tend to check out first with my own children. Depending on the ages of the children I have and how much I can trust them depends on if and where we go. We have 2 very small ones which are lovely for the 1 and 2 yr olds. I can sit and have a coffee and cake and see them all the time. If I have older children 3 / 4yrs I go to the larger ones as I know I can trust them and as long as I keep checking on where they are they are fine. If I have a mix of 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 yr olds at the same time I don't go. With me it's a case of knowing the soft play centre well enough and knowing my mindees well enough to decide if and where we go.
Must add that usually i go with another CM so is a bit easier :thumbsup:

16-11-2012, 02:30 PM
I dont go to them anymore as my kids have been builled in them as I cant see them and one child who was about 10yrs old asked my daughter who was around 3yrs old at the time, to pull her trousers down so he could have a look, we have never been to any since, the risk of things happening to the children by other children or adults are to great in my oppinion, especialy as we have to have the children either in sight or hearing at all times, you cant do that in a messy play unless you follow them around

16-11-2012, 02:56 PM
[with lo's of that age I make sure they know where I'm sat, then settle down with a coffee and the paper!
I'll get up every 15 mins. or so to see what they're up to, but other than that leave them to it. They'll be more than capable of letting you know if they're upset or hurt themselves.
Enjoy the break!

16-11-2012, 03:36 PM
I can usually hear my mindees lol.. but we all sit down go toilet come back get drinks then they go off and play i have been known to have little play myself we have to risk assess:-P. they know where im sat and i check for them every 2inutes if i can't see door i sat where i can see it in case of any escapees ..Grrrr should say 10 minutes on my phone wont let me go back

16-11-2012, 03:42 PM
I rarely go to soft play , cos the only local one is pants. I tend to go in the holidays when all our usual toddler groups are closed, and a number of CMs and other (non-client) parents all go together. The fact we go as a group helps, as children head off in different directions but still remain under somebody's watchful eye.

I usually find myself as the lone adult in the ball pool, surrounded by tinies - or being sent up a scramble net to rescue an over-ambitious toddler.

All the other CMs and yummy mummies play it cool :cool: and do that thing JC said about coffee and a natter. :D

16-11-2012, 03:43 PM
I take two 2yr old mindees to local toddler sessions at our soft play. Few mummies from toddler group go and we all watch each others toddlers. There is a locked gate to stop any one getting in or out without staff knowing. No matter where children are (except toilet) they can be seen at all times. The most adults there has never been above 15 so not great numbers of children.

I wouldnt go to ordinary sessions when much older children are there as it gets too busy and children are likely to be pushed over. toddler sessions are just great, we love it

blue bear
16-11-2012, 04:10 PM
I've not been to a big one for a few years, it was giving me grey hairs worrying where they were. We have a lovely small one locally with bikes and other activities t do too, more like a toddler session, the children love it and I can see them all the time.
Think it depends on the children you have and the set up of soft play.

16-11-2012, 04:20 PM
I used to take children and they had great fun but now the revised EYFS says they have to be in my sight or hearing at all times I am honestly not sure how to manage it tbh so we've not been for a while :(

hectors house
16-11-2012, 05:03 PM
I have been invited to one of mindees birthday party at soft play in the next town this weekend - his mum said "you can sit down, have a coffee and a chat" - I said "you have got to be joking, I'll be in there with them!" Two other mindees will also be there, I don't take them to soft play so will be interesting to watch them explore.

16-11-2012, 05:06 PM
Luckily my local soft play has an enclosed under 4's area that i can see them in at all times or I can sit in there with them :)

16-11-2012, 05:09 PM
I go to a small one at our local sports centre, but its more of a toddler group with a bouncy castle and foam things to climb on. Its brilliant as its never busy and all the mums get a go on the bouncy castle...lol

16-11-2012, 05:25 PM
I used to take children and they had great fun but now the revised EYFS says they have to be in my sight or hearing at all times I am honestly not sure how to manage it tbh so we've not been for a while :(

I'm sure it said that in the previous EYFS too??
Nothing new about keeping the children in sight or hearing.

I haven't been to one for years. Would only use if really bad weather and nothing else to do, but we do so many other things that I really don't think the children miss them tbh...I know I don't!!

16-11-2012, 07:34 PM
There are two soft play in my nearest big town; a huge one that is new and I can't see the children so we have stopped going, however, the old one is now very quiet and you can see the children at all times.

16-11-2012, 10:27 PM
We used to have a lovely small one, one room with foam shapes, padded floors and walls and a decent size ball pond. It was great to introduce small ones to soft play but still had enough to entertain the older ones. It has been closed because it needed repair work and there's no funds to carry out the work. Not keen on going to the bigger ones

16-11-2012, 10:44 PM
We go as a crowd ! So there's always a couple of minders 'on patrol ' walking round and keeping an eye on all the children while the other minders have a coffee and then we swap. We also tend to stick to the smaller groups.

16-11-2012, 11:41 PM
my local one is small and only for under 6yrs, although we go in school time and it is mainly under 4s there. I base us at a table and am up and down like a yo yo! often go with another minder to have extra eyes on all. It only has 2 levels, a small ball pit and small slides so mindees are in view. I put matching t shirts on them so they are easy to spot and I tell the rules when we are on the bus there about staying where I can see them etc. There is a good locking safety gate at entrance but I sit away from it anyway, no problems so far.

17-11-2012, 08:59 AM
I used to take children and they had great fun but now the revised EYFS says they have to be in my sight or hearing at all times I am honestly not sure how to manage it tbh so we've not been for a while :(

We go to very very small play centres where I can see and hear the children.

Big play centres are an absolute NO NO for us.

miss mopple
17-11-2012, 08:48 PM
The one I use has a small enclosed area that I try to contain the younger kids in and I stay in there with them. The older kids are allowed in the bigger area, but they know where I am and I always insist they wear a high viz so I can spot them easily, and I check on them regularly and can usually see or hear them because of the layout. I tend to go with friends too as there is safety in numbers :laughing:

19-11-2012, 01:15 PM
Thanks everyone :thumbsup:

It's opening on Saturday so I will nip in without the kids and have a look around. (if they let a strange person in without kids to look around..lol) i don't know how big it is...it's not huge but I'll know how it's laid out when I get there.

I don't fancy it if I can't have a bit of a sit down, I don't really want to be climbing up and down and in there with the two of them as weds is quite busy for me after school with 7 school children to pick up later on, so need to preserve energy.
I'd prefer to leave them to it, build confidence without me etc.

It depends where the seating area is, I don't think I'll be able to rest if I can't see the exit even if it is secure there's always that slight chance of someone taking the children.

Thanks for all your views, some mixed ones as usual which is good :thumbsup:

19-11-2012, 06:15 PM
I go to one but I am always with my husband. But if on my own I would be sat at a table where I could see both the big and small equipment. I would not be able to go on any of the equipment as I am terrified of heights so it would be a case of they would only be able to go on what they could do themselves but in the case of the 2 and a half year old he would be at the top of the highest piece of equipment so I would make sure that if he got up and couldn't get down would the staff there be able to fetch him for me. I know of one childminder locally who sits and ignores the children the whole time they are there. even with hubby with me and only one child I would be watching constantly