Hey kids, listen up. We all love soft play, right? I mean, what’s not to love. You can run indoors. Really fast. And not get told off. You can climb up stuff, jump down from stuff, and you can be loud. Really loud. Anything your Mum won’t let you do at home, you can do here. So here it is the definitive guide to soft play through the ages.
You’re pretty much on a winner here from the get go, because everyone thinks your cute and finds everything you do amazing. So go for it, pull yourself up, test out those new balancing skills. For optimum grown up clapping and attention you could even try taking your first steps. Just watch out for the bigger kids. The two year-olds will take any toy you have and the three year-olds pose a very high risk ‘squashing’ threat.
So Mummy thinks you’re fast and that she needs eyes in the back of her head. This is the perfect time to put her skills to the test. See that yellow ball that baby is playing with? That could be yours. Make a run for it whilst Mummy is still trying to squeeze through those big roller things. If you really want a laugh insist Mummy goes down the slide first. Hey even you know that’s a toddler slide and any adult bottom will get wedged in. If she says no, cry. Loudly. She’ll either do it to make you stop, or she’ll give you a biscuit to quiet you down. Win win. Just don’t do a wee wee in the ball pool. That just ain’t cool.
You’re now the big kid in the toddler area. You need to show these little ones how it is done. Always attempt to go up the slide and not down it. If Mummy gives you a green ball, say you want yellow, if she gets the yellow, say you want red. The ultimate skill you require is to prolong your stay for as long as possible. If you leave she’s only going to try to put you down for a nap. When Mummy says it’s time to go run to the smallest space you can find and stay there. There’s no way you can be physically removed from the space, which means she is going to resort to some serious bribery. If you miss the run and hide opportunity and your Mummy outsmarts you, now is the time to throw the mother of all tantrums.
This is a tricky age. You are too big for the toddler area and must now go in the big kid area. The slides are bigger, the steps are higher, it’s a bit darker, and there are really big kids in there who are really fast. There are lots of reasons why you must absolutely insist on not going in there without Mummy or Daddy. Mummy might be reluctant but it’s ok, Daddy’s love this place and all the bigger kids will get to see just how cool your Daddy is. And when you wear Daddy out it’s the perfect time to suggest you get some cake.
So you’re bigger, braver and stronger. You can get up those big steps all by yourself now. And you can run across the rope bridge. You even have the courage to take on the helter-skelter slide. Just watch out for the bigger kids, they can take you down when you are least expecting it. If this happens run and find Mummy. For optimum effect cry. Then insist the only thing that will make you feel better is chocolate.
You’ve nearly made it to the top of the food chain. You just need to hang in there for another year. Use this year to your advantage, check out every nook, cranny and dark corner of this place. You need to know the best places to escape the baddies, you need to know where to ambush people, and you need to know all the short cuts so you can win every race. Do your research, practice your skills. Just don’t go in the toddler area. If you get caught you will be kicked out and then it’s game over.
You own this place. All the other kids move aside to make room when you hurtle past. They all want to be you. You are the biggest, the fastest and the best. You make the rules now. Kids seek you out for directions and obstacle tips. Tell the others you were here when that kid broke their arm that time and you will become the stuff legends are made of. Just remember, don’t ever take your socks off.
This post was first published on the Huffington Post
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