Soft play for adults? How children?s activities are attracting grown-ups!

Posted on Dec 24, 2015

Why should kids have all the fun? Suzanne Baum explores the world of child?s play through the eyes of a 42-year-old adult!

Dressing up, wall climbing and soft play are all part of a kid?s life but now grown-ups can get a piece of the action too!

With trampoline parks opening up all over the UK offering adult-only sessions, it seems that other places are following suit-with soft play, climbing walls and other activities favoured by little ones trying to conquer the adult market!

To experience first-hand what was out there, I happily left my kids at home and ventured into their world to see what all the fuss was about. I mean, how much fun can it actually be to throw yourself head-first into a ball pond, balance on a high beam and dress up as an air hostess?..quite a lot it seems!

Having spent years taking my kids to soft play centres (and counted the minutes until we could leave them), it has baffled me why they have so much appeal. Age and a bit of OCD has obviously gotten the better of me as I?ve sat there wondering if there is a child?s poo at the bottom of a ball pit and imagining lice from a child?s head crawling inside one of the police hats my son is racing round in. These concerns-for obvious reasons-have never entered the minds of my children who would beam in excitement at the mere thought of going to a soft play activity. I get it-bouncing on a trampoline is fun- but not when forced to do it at the pace of a toddler whilst singing ring-a-ring-of roses for the millionth time!

Suzanne Baume adult soft play jumpSo I was quite surprised to find myself jumping for joy at one of the new trampoline centres to open in the UK.

At the Oxygen Freejumping park that I visited in Acton  there is a vast 3000sq foot building made up of over 150 interconnecting trampolines- along with a dodge ball court, an obstacle course, balance beams, swing ropes and a soft play area. The last Friday of the month is all about the Oxygen Project where adults can take over without the fear of squashing a small child or being shown up by a pre-schooler doing flips! What?s more, the loud music gives it a real party vibe. I may not be the most graceful of people but it proved to be so much fun?and I even managed to convince myself I was losing weight exercising despite stuffing myself with pizza!

Suzanne Baume soft play climbingFrom one high to ?er, another. Climbing walls and kids go hand in hand but with a fear of heights, nothing was going to get me scaling the walls of Clip ?n? Climb in Chelsea. I get the fact that it can be a thrilling experience but even harnessed up by a hunky climbing instructor at my feet I failed to get even half way up. This funky family climbing establishment in SW6 offers adult-only sessions where you get the chance to test your resolve and determination across 22 climbing wall challenges ? climb commando style on the Jungle Gym, reach new heights on the Skyscraper, take the Speed Climbing challenge and light up the board on the Checkerplate. There is even a Vertical Drop Slide to get the adrenalin pumping! A high flier or not, this is great adult fun-with a viewing gallery for wusses like me!

Suzanne Baume soft play hostessAdult role play has definitely taken on new meaning and added an element of excitement into my 17- year-marriage, thanks to the children?s Kidzania attraction that is now holding adult evenings. Having always fancied bagging myself a pilot, I quite enjoyed hanging off the arm of my lawyer husband as he attempted to fly an aeroplane ? quite a mean feat when slightly drunk! For this amazing children?s concept in the heart of Westfied shopping centre -that offers kids the chance to try out different adult careers in a role playing environment-has opened its doors to grown-ups. A glass of bubbly on arrival helps dust away any inhibitions but I really did need my wits about me as I was taken through the health and safety instructions prior to making chocolate in the Dairy Milk factory and found myself crying with laughter! As well as working as cabin crew, I got a chance to practice my presenting skills in the Capital radio booth-and on slurring my words thought better of it!

Revisiting my youth was so much fun ? I kid you not- and if you are feeling nostalgic having read this, there?s so much more child?s play on offer-including a nightclub complete with bouncy castle, space hoppers and glitter artists. The Regressions Session organisers behind this clever concept offer a programme of club nights in London and around the country. As a mother of teenage kids and a six- year old am I too cool for school? No way??the club may have kicked off at 10pm when I?m usually on my way to bed but the excitement of bouncing on a space hopper made me act like a kid and gave me the perfect legal high!

For more details of adult-themed nights visit:

http://oxygenfreejumping.co.uk/

http://www.clipnclimbchelsea.co.uk/

http://london.kidzania.com/en-uk/

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About Suzanne Baum

Suzanne has worked in journalism for nearly 20 years and specialises in real life, parenting and family travel features. After a five-year job as section editor for the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, she went into freelance writing, where she has had work published regularly in the Daily Mail, the Mirror, the Sun, the Times, Red, Junior, Practical Parenting, Mother & Baby, Take a Break, FHM, Men’s Health, Zest, Conde Naste Traveller, Best and Bella. A former shopping editor for Your Family magazine and features editor on The Jewish News, she now specialises in writing on family travel and is a product reviewer for Babyworld, MadeforMums and Healthista.

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