Having spent what feels like more than half of my life so far in a soft play environment, (with the majority of the summer holidays being located in these areas) I felt compelled to write the rules of soft play, according to kids. I don't know about you, but it seems that whatever you tell kids', warn them or threat never to return, the following rules are what they play by!
THE RULES OF SOFT PLAY- KID STYLE
1. It's important that as soon as you see the entrance to soft play, you run through the door as fast as possible, mimicking the speed and swerve of a Formula 1 car.
2. Forget the 'shoes off first' chat, once the adult has caught you, there's plenty of time for that.
3. Get to the furthest point possible, making sure that there are plenty of really tight gaps that said adult needs to squeeze through to attempt to get to you, this will make you a comic genius with the other kids in soft play.
4. Make sure to sit at the entrance of the slide. This will enable you to be king/queen of the castle, allowing children that you choose to pass you, when you say so. Do make sure that adult is hollering at you to play nicely. This will go down well with the tough kids.
5. When you do decide to go down the slide, make sure you slow down enough before reaching the end, this will allow you to climb up the slide, as adult will, inevitably be waiting for you at the bottom with a frowny face.
6. Be prepared for adult to reach up said slide in an attempt to grab your ankle, potentially attempting to remove your shoes. Make the most of the grip of the sole as you can, to get you up the slide.
7. If you have siblings, make sure that you all run in different directions. One preferably running out of the soft play area, causing adult to chase them, giving you a little rest for a while.
8. Enjoy the sound of adult shouting for your sibling as they dash around the cafe/ toilets'/ offices'.
9. Make sure that adult is satisfactorily red in the face, angry and stressed before pleasantly ambling out of soft play and offering your shoes in the most angelic way.
10. Play 'nicely' while adult stands on watch, still frowning. A general loop of the soft play: smiling and being pleasant to the other kids in there is recommended at this time.
11. Once adult is comfortable with your behaviour, they will pointedly inform you of the table/chairs where they are situated and they will let you know that they will be watching you.
12. As soon as adult is in the queue for the coffee that they have been mumbling about for the last half and hour, begin the shouting and screaming. Adult will soon appear at the door, having removed themselves from close to the front of a lengthy queue. They will be frowning. When this happens smile angelically as you build a castle of soft blocks.
13. Once the adult is seated with their goodies, about to engage in conversation with the other adults be sure to pull on the legs of other children attempting to climb up the soft play. They will inevitably become disgruntled and leave the soft play to complain to their adult.
14. After your name has been linked to the leg pulling, smile sweetly as your adult, embarrassed, comes to have a word with you about your actions.
15. Continue in the same way as child after child leaves the soft play, thus whittling down the numbers in the area.
16. Eventually you will find that all children have left the soft play apart from you and your siblings. You adult will also be alone at the table, generally shaking and holding their head in their hands.
17. Enjoy your private play in soft play while you can before adult drags you out and takes you home, muttering that you'll never go back again.
ALWAYS REMEMBER SLIDES ARE FOR CLIMBING UP- NEVER SLIDING DOWN.