Soft plays. Whether you love them or hate them, they are a necessity.

A necessity for a rainy day. Or a necessity for the toddler that woke up with the devil in them and full of energy at 5am therefore that energy that MUST be burnt!

This weekend just gone was rainy and we had no plans which is rare, so we thought we’d have a quiet one in the village, have a coffee, head home for some games and TV. But my son had other ideas. Waking up at half five in the morning meant by 8am we needed to be heading out. We held out for as long as we could. Safe to say we were in the soft play by 9:30am. And what a saviour it was. We stayed there for two and a half hours. He ran. He screamed. He played. He was loving life. And come afternoon time he was so much more settled and content with just chilling with his dads. Soft play- I thank you. I mean, we could’ve done a puddle walk in the rain but I just wasn’t feeling dealing with that after being up so early…!

While I was there I got watching all the other dads (and some mums!). And I was laughing to myself how we all have a role we play at soft play. I spotted the five below...

1. The ‘I can’t be assed’ dad

This dad will happily sit there the whole time while his kids run amok. Even when they come running to him asking him to join in, he will make an excuse and simply tell them to ‘go and play’. I’ll never judge though… maybe he was woken up at 4am, or has a newborn at home so literally got no sleep. This soft play visit is his time to rest!

2. The Man Child dad.

You know the one. He’s having way more fun than the kids. He knows the route through the soft play and climbing frames, when to duck and when to jump better than anyone. He takes it too seriously and it’ll all end in tears but he just HAS to win at whatever game they are playing. I used to be this uncle with my nieces and nephews... then i became a dad and got TIRED.

3. The ‘I’m far too engrossed in my phone to care about my child pushing yours into the ball pit’ dad.

This dad hasn’t looked up from his phone once to see where his kids are or what they are up to. Facebook will wait, mate! Watch your kids instead!

4. The Hot dad.

No, not as in temperature (although it can get rather hot running through nets and climbing up walls...) this is the dad that all the mums, and of course some dads, will check out as he plays with his children, helping them have their lunch, getting them juice and snacks and helping them down the slide all the while cheering and clapping proudly without a hair out of place or a dried food stain on his Ralph Lauren polo shirt. (I hate* this dad… I went to the soft play in my sweats last time… never again. I need to step up my soft play style game).

*am jealous of


This dad will follow his little one around like a hawk, trying desperately to fit and squeeze into the smallest spaces making sure the child doesn't injure themselves, fall off a slide or drown in the ball pit. These places maybe soft but they are bloody dangerous for little ones with zero fear! He'll spend his time looking like a giant sat on the tiniest seesaw or just hover over the child while they climb the climbing frame thinking they themselves are the worlds greatest climber without knowing that daddy secretly has his hand just under their botty in case they let go... true love.

So... which soft play dad are you? Have i missed any out? If i am being honest i have probably played every dad in the above (OK, maybe not 'the hot one'!) Of course they are all dependant on how early the wake up call was, if any alcohol had been consumed the night before and how many kids you have running around at your feet! But secretly, i love the soft play... even if you do leave with beans attached to the bottom of your socks.