A ball pit

Soft play is not for grown ups

Soft play is what dreams are made of for our little ones. Especially those big warehouse type buildings that have slides, steps and ladders stretching all the way up to the ceiling, and big colouful ball pits at the bottom to jump about in. They’re the type of place where our childrens faces light up as soon as they walk through the door, and they’re off climbing and running about without even giving you a second glance. Full of laughter, thrills and all the excitement of being a child. So you’d think it was pretty common knowledge that these places aren’t really made for adults right? Well no, and I learnt that the hard way.

Happy innocence

We visited a friend this week who has two young children, and they thought it would be a nice idea to take us all to soft play for the afternoon. I was quite excited because Cupar hasn’t really been before, so I was looking forward to seeing him crawling about and enjoying himself. I had visions of us climbing over blocks and building little towers to knock down together. It all sounded great and I was soon lost in my happy bubble of an afternoon relaxing with my son.

Play spelled out in wooden blocks

After a nice walk and excitedly chatting about soft play, we get there and order lunch. I take Cupar to the area that is made for little ones, not even noticing the big scary older children’s play area.  We have a great time pushing blocks around and taking balls out of the ball pit to throw on the floor. Lunch then followed, which was amazing, and as I was sitting there full of burger, chips, and coke, the older children decided now was a good time to take me on the big soft play area.

Can I do this?

I looked at this monstrosity approaching me, stretching up to the ceiling and thought to myself in blissful ignorance ‘It doesn’t look that bad, I can do this’, while ignoring the doubt in my mind. The first obstacle we came to had me wanting to run away and hide. Come this way, its really fun, I had ringing in my ears as I stared at the small gap on the floor that I had to crawl through. I tried to say I was too big, pleaded that I wouldn’t make it through, but this just made the little ones even more insistent.

Giving it a go

Spurred on, I shimmied under the bar, scraping my face across the floor, and looked up to see the kids disappearing over a small platform. They then limboed under another dangerously low bar and jumped up onto the next platform in a kind of zigzag fashion. Following them, I just about managed to pull myself up before I had to contort myself into an S shape to get through the next set of hurdles. As I looked up, I could see another 5 (yes 5) more of these contraptions to get through. With no time to lose, I persisted on with my efforts and kept going.

Mountains covered in snow

Sweating and out of breath, I was finally at the top and could have cried tears of happiness. I was tempted to phone my parents and tell them that I made it, that I climbed my Everest. But before I had time to give myself a big pat on the back, I saw the way down. A big dark hole, followed by what seemed like miles and miles of twisty turny plastic.

The slide

Come on said the oldest as she dragged me on the slide and jumped on my lap, let’s go. 5 seconds later and at the speed of light, we were at the bottom surrounded by colourful plastic balls. I stood up and nearly fell back down again. The spiral tunnel I’d just come down had done nothing for my balance and had made me feel quite dizzy! I steadied myself and started to walk away only to feel a tiny hand grab mine and heard those words I was dreading.

Having another go

Let’s go again! So up the zig zag platforms I go, pulling myself through gaps that look like they’re too small for a child let alone a grown adult to get through, and finally reach the tunnel of doom. The kids jump in and whizz down and before I can even catch my breath they’re shouting at me from the bottom to hurry up. So I take a deep breath and go for it. It’s actually quite fun until I stand up at the bottom and the dizziness hits me again. I manage one more go at the zig zag platforms and twisty slide down before I have to admit defeat and go back to the safe sanctuary of the baby’s soft play. I sit down on the floor and lean against a big squashy wedge while Cupar crawls around in front of me and the older kids attack the slide again.

The next day

With a new morning starting and the thoughts of soft play dissipating from my mind, I get up and make myself a coffee. Picking up the kettle, I notice my left shoulder feels a bit stiff, and assume it must be the way I slept. I drink my coffee which wakes me up a bit, and then run a nice hot bath. I usually have a shower but, after Aerons suggestion that it might be more relaxing, I think, yes, a bath does sound like a good idea.

Not a good idea

If only I could go back and tell myself, no, it’s the wrong idea, definitly the wrong idea. I get in, lay back and then find I’m stuck. My shoulder hurts, the other one is beginning to stiffen and the back pain is slowly creeping in. I struggle to wash my hair because my body just doesn’t want to co operate, and then I just lay there hoping Aeron will come in and help me. After what feels like an eternity of trying to muster the energy needed to hoist myself up, I slowly emerge from the bath while trying not to move my back or shoulders too much.

Admiting defeat

After carefully getting dressed I sit on the sofa in defeat. I’m 36 but I feel about 86! I’ve realised I shouldn’t try to keep up with a 6 year old, especially when there is a lot of climbing involved. So, no, soft play isn’t made for adults. I had a go, but I now know my limits. Maybe I’ll feel better after a nice afternoon nap on the sofa.

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2 Replies to “Soft play is not for grown ups”

  1. My kids love soft play. It’s such an excersise for us grown ups though 😂 he knew how hot sweaty and a cardio workout it would be trying to keep up with your kids in there.

    1. Even the mini toddler soft play areas are a bit of a work out for me 😂 I don’t know how the kids do it!!

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