Soft Play – 5 things which irritate me!

Yesterday morning, like thousands of other parents around the country I’m sure, I gave in and took my little gang to a local soft play centre – it was raining and they needed to let off some steam!  Now don’t get me wrong, soft play has it’s place – the kids love it and there’s been plenty of times where a trip to soft play has saved my sanity, particularly if I’ve been able to go and catch up with a friend over a bit of cake at the same time.  However, after almost seven years of visiting these places, I’ve come up with a list of things which really irritate me about soft play centres . . .

baby in a ball pool

1. Charging for adults to enter
Do you think I’m here by choice? It’s not like the kids can come without me or I’ve just come here to relax on my own!  I’m already paying for them, I shouldn’t have to pay for me too – particularly as I’m about to spend even more money in your cafe!

2. Extra stuff to pay for
I’ve just paid a bazillion pounds for the privilege of sitting in this noisy, too hot / too cold air hanger and now you’re trying to diddle me out of more money with rubbishy little ride ons, grab machines and naff vending machines? No.

3. Poor Internet connection
The least you can do to make this bearable is make sure you’ve got some decent WiFi. It’s fine if I’ve got another adult to talk to but when I’m sat on my own for two hours, a decent Internet connection is a life saver and one which means I’m far more likely to return to your establishment!

4. Uncomfortable seats
Hard, slippy seats are not conducive to encouraging me to sit here as long as possible spending money in your cafe… And let’s be fair that’s what you want me to be doing isn’t it?

5. Other people’s kids
I know. I know.  But I’ve got enough on my plate with three of my own children to look after without helping your child up the slide / stopping them from throwing balls at people / encouraging them to take turns.

So there it it, I could probably add more to that list given the time to think about it but, sat in the local soft play centre yesterday morning they were the first five things that came to mind!  Have you been to soft play yet this holidays?  What’s top of your list of irritations?


  1. August 3, 2016 / 11:10 am

    Oh I remember those seats too well! Hate chairs like that, especially as you’re not there to enjoy yourself lol you’d expect a little comfort.

    • Colette
      August 3, 2016 / 12:03 pm

      Absolutely! I guess they just have go to with what’s easy to clean etc but there must be more comfy versions available!

  2. August 3, 2016 / 12:41 pm

    Spot on with these points! It is so expensive to go to the soft play centres, and all the add ons are just ridiculous as well. Nice comfy sofas would be a treat, wouldn’t they?! x

    • Colette
      August 3, 2016 / 3:37 pm

      Wouldn’t they! How nice to be able to relax properly – perhaps I should open a luxury soft play 😉
      The add ons really grind my gears as, despite having spent all that money on entering, you end up looking like the bad guy when you tell your kids they can’t have any more money!

  3. August 3, 2016 / 1:16 pm

    Ha ha totally agree. We don’t get charged as adults for any of the soft play near us. I do think that staff should man them a bit better to intervene when the kid throwing balls in other kids faces or hogging the slide and not allowing other kids to have a go. I always watch my kids but clearly not all parents do this. Our local one is air conditioned to the point where you have to have a coffee just to keep your hands warm!

    • Colette
      August 3, 2016 / 3:39 pm

      It seems to be hit and miss on the charging for adults thing and I must admit they’re the ones I rarely return to!
      I agree, more staffing to ensure kids are behaving would be a good thing but then I guess it would hit us in the pocket with increased entrance fees to cover the cost wouldn’t it!

  4. August 3, 2016 / 1:36 pm

    I hate soft play….I’m so glad my girls are getting too old for it!
    We don’t have to pay for adults here but there is also no free wi-fi in our local one! Grr!
    I hate other peoples kids too….There’s always one which is a bit bossy and hits out.

    • Colette
      August 3, 2016 / 3:40 pm

      The phone reception in the one I visited yesterday was shocking – I couldn’t get online at all. I think it must have been something to do with the building though as it was fine as soon as I went outside.

  5. Jodie
    August 3, 2016 / 4:55 pm

    Omg I can’t believe some charge for adults it’s expensive for kids as it is.
    I also second the ride ons and bloody surprise egg machines! My daughter loves the eggs so yesterday at soft play I bought her one, she then wouldn’t let go of the small choke size toy and wanted to take it to play which would have been a very bad idea for her or other kids that could have picked it up if she dropped it. She then tantrumed very loud whilst I cursed those vending machines >_<
    Jodie X

    • Colette
      August 3, 2016 / 7:23 pm

      They just a nightmare aren’t they – I’m a bit of a mean Mummy and always say no 😉

  6. Saira
    August 3, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    The mess! Probably due to the lack of staff. I can usually spot staff at the sign in and taking food order counters but that’s about it.

    • Colette
      August 3, 2016 / 7:22 pm

      All the places where money can be made 😉
      In fairness the place I visited yesterday was very clean and someone came and cleared bits off my table three times as we finished with different plates or trays.

  7. August 3, 2016 / 7:26 pm

    I think that’s awful that they charge adults to enter. Like you say, it’s not like you can send your little one in by themselves.

  8. August 3, 2016 / 10:37 pm

    I recently started taking my little ones to soft play!
    I completely agree with all your points. Luckily the one I’ve been to you dont have to pay for adults, how ridiculous!
    I still feel a bit wary of letting my 2 year girl off by herself though, i’m a bit over protective I think. But she’s so little, and the other children are crazy and often knock her over or rush past her :/ xx

    • Colette
      August 3, 2016 / 10:44 pm

      It’s really hard – I was definitely more cautious with the older two but now I tend to trust that they will be keeping an eye out for Bo when we’re there or, if they’re not there, then it’s during school time anyway when it’s much calmer!

  9. August 4, 2016 / 12:44 am

    I can definitely understand your problems with these centers. They should be a little bit more accommodating.

  10. Samantha (aka the Ethereal Editor)
    August 4, 2016 / 1:35 am

    Ugh, I hate how kid’s attractions (outside of some educational ones) charge for every little thing, including your presence. We’ve got a trampoline gym and playplace near home which is wonderful for the little ones (six and up) but its ridiculous how much they charge for adults to just sit around and watch! And, of course, for wifi.

  11. August 4, 2016 / 7:21 am

    Wow I never knew any of this. Something I’ll look into when I take my niece out for the day.

  12. August 4, 2016 / 9:34 am

    Ha that last point, if I had kids, would be me all over x

  13. August 4, 2016 / 9:38 am

    I think it’s awful that they charge for adults too, outrageous, as you said you don’t have a choice about being there x

  14. Tara
    August 4, 2016 / 10:03 am

    Sounds like you’re not the only one not happy with this!

  15. August 4, 2016 / 10:32 am

    YES to charging adults to enter……erm I think it’s the wrong way around and they should pay us! HAHA

    • Colette
      August 5, 2016 / 7:18 am

      Ha wouldn’t that be ace! They could at least reward us with a drink ?

  16. August 4, 2016 / 12:47 pm

    How crazy that they charge adults too for bringing their kids. My SIL’s local soft play centre charges on fee and thats for the kids entry and one snack.

  17. August 4, 2016 / 3:33 pm

    I don’t have experience of soft play but it would certainly annoy me if I were a parent and got charged to go in! xxx

  18. August 4, 2016 / 3:49 pm

    I dont have kids of my own, but i have friends that do and they complain about soft play too! Must be a universal thing between all parents!

  19. nicol
    August 4, 2016 / 7:22 pm

    charging for adults? really? that is ridiculous and shouldn’t even exist

  20. August 4, 2016 / 9:30 pm

    Haha other people’s kids – that made me chuckle. It’s one of the few things I don’t mind about soft play, I do actually like children, but I think my pet hate is kids that are being decidedly naughty and (despite having seen it… you can’t be aware of where the bigger ones are in the soft play all the time can you?) parents ignore it. I’ve seen kids barge past other, smaller kids and really hurt them, for the parents to just walk off and not be bothered. I let mine go off to play, but if I were to see them misbehaving or hear some one having to tell them off for misbehaving… we’d be off home!

    • Colette
      August 4, 2016 / 9:43 pm

      I agree – you can’t watch the big ones all the time – it just doesn’t work. But you definitely shouldn’t have to be watching other people’s kids as well as your own 😉

  21. Hannah
    August 4, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    The seats are SUCH a pain! I used to hate them when I would take my younger sister x

    • Colette
      August 5, 2016 / 11:52 am

      Yep, all the joy ? Tbh it wasn’t that bad but it did just remind me of all the rubbish!

  22. August 5, 2016 / 11:06 pm

    I have to agree with he charging parents thing, it really bugs me. Seriously it’s not like we are going to play and we pay for the kids anyway.

  23. August 6, 2016 / 10:42 am

    I’ve taken my little brother to quite a few soft play areas and also find it ridiculous that often adults have to pay to enter! We’re not the ones playing!!

  24. Emma Fox
    August 7, 2016 / 8:49 am

    I agree with your points 🙂 I always find it strange that my son wants to go as it seems like law of the Jungle takes over and it’s the survival of the fittest in there. As my son is five, he knows there is no chance I am going on the soft play with him we go with one or more of his friends and I wait to see who comes out injured first!!!

  25. August 10, 2016 / 10:55 am

    Totally agree with you. Last time i took my girls a boy kicked and hit my eldest! x

  26. August 22, 2016 / 4:30 pm

    Can’t believe they charge adults!! Luckily ours doesn’t but the wifi is such pants. Honestly, you just sit there constantly refreshing your Twitter feed or something small and then you give up. Bah!

  27. August 10, 2017 / 12:06 pm

    Yes to all of this! Soft play is THE worst

  28. August 10, 2017 / 7:07 pm

    I send hubby with Jaxon to soft play. I can’t sit there for two hours or whatever because I know there are 101 things to be doing at home or elsewhere. I took my journal last time and every time I got into it Jaxon wanted me to tag team with Chris and I had to stop again lol.

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