As most parents will know soft play is a fantastic place to let their offspring run off a bit of steam and ideally give you an hour or so of not having ‘to parent’. I’ve been a Dad for nearly 12 years, Georgia has been going to soft play centres for at least 10 of those years, so I consider myself a bit of an expert. Within my guide to Soft Play I’ll impart some of my advice to rookie parents and give you the low down on how to survive.

1. Beware of the smell and touching the equipment.

Soft play places have a distinct aroma, it’s a sweaty plasticky bouquet with a hint of dropped Fruit Shoot. Avoid getting IN the equipment wherever possible, it generally smells a lot worse, and quite frankly riddled with every germ known to man. Just think for a second about how many children have eaten, sneezed on, pissed on and generally abused the balls in the ‘appealing’ ball-pit – yeah – NEVER enter the play arena unless you’ve had a full complement of jabs.

2. Watch out for the Mummies.

Soft play is a HIVE of women, it’s a veritable paradise of every female you could ever wish to encounter – it sounds amazing – yes?


Most of the women you’ll meet are prize thundercunts of the highest order. Generally if you’re a man entering a soft play during the week you’ll be looked at like you’re Jimmy Saville. You know those scenes in Westerns when a stranger walks into the Saloon and it falls silent? Think of that, along with judgemental looks and perhaps a hushed tut for daring to enter their inner sanctum. Don’t EVER ask if you can take a chair from their empty table, unless you want to be looked at as if you’ve asked

“Excuse me, can I bite your nipples?”

Weekends tend to be less cliquey, but weekdays are best avoided.


If you think that you’ve had bad coffee before now, I GUARANTEE the coffee you’ll consume at ANY soft play will be the WORST. I’m not sure if there’s a specific brand that they use, but the taste could best be described as that there’s a guy licking coffee beans, and then spitting into a spittoon. This is then bottled, and warmed through at your local soft play and served with a vague substitute for milk. Et Viola! Soft Play Coffee!

4. Learn your child’s cry.

You don’t really want to interact with your children too much at soft play, it’s your time to look at your phone or laptop. Occasionally you WILL have to ‘parent’ – soft play centres turn even the most mild-mannered group of brats into something out of Lord of the Flies. You’ll hear children cry, scream and whine. Ideally you only want to do something when it’s your child making said noises, and even then, only if it sounds REALLY bad.

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5. Prepare, Prepare, PREPARE!

Check that where you’re going has good mobile coverage, so many of these hell pits don’t even have WiFi, so good old fashioned 3G will have to suffice. If there’s no mobile coverage, you might as well sit in a box with a looping tape of children screaming for two hours – it’s essentially the same. Bring a book, a laptop, whatever, keep yourself entertained – you’ll lose your mind otherwise.

6. It’s NOT okay to punch other people’s sexcrement.

There’s always that ONE kid at Soft Play, the one that has obviously been born of Satan and Myra Hindly , that one little fucker intent on ruining everyone’s fun. Usually under the care of the softest middle class twat going, while they tear shreds out of your little one they’ll be told..

“No Darling, don’t do that!”

In the weakest voice going. You will find your blood pressure rising, and the wish to give them a swift punch for hurting your kin. Be firm, be reasonable and try to stay calm, and then trip the little shit up as it runs near you a bit later. Revenge is a dish best served under the guise of ‘an accident’.

Hopefully my pearls of wisdom will help you through a session in some way! Got any of your own? Add them in the comments.

One thought on “The Terrible Dad’s Guide to Soft Play

  1. olivia Kirby says:

    Top marks for persevering. I can’t stand them. I hated it when another mum invited us along on a soft play date. We went, the kids loved it, and I have taken them back once, as they had been very, very good. I really do not plan on taking them again. It’s park or nothing with me 😉

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