During the last year, we’ve spent a lot of time at various soft play areas. I consider myself a bit of an expert.
We’ve been to:
- Tumble in the Jungle – Walthamstow
- The Idol – Barking
- Mudlarks – Docklands
- The East London Gym – Beckton
- Discover – Stratford (it’s far more than a soft play area, but makes the list because it is also a place to go when it’s rainy outside and you’re searching for somewhere to take a toddler who can’t stay still)
And probably a few others that I’ve blotted from my memory.
My favourite -and more importantly my little girl’s favourite – is the East London Gym. I just wish it was open to toddlers more often (click here for opening hours).
It’s a proper, huge gymnasium with a sprung floor. At one end, there’s a floor to ceiling three level soft play area, with slides and another fun ways to get up and down (I speak from experience).
The central area has balance bars to walk along, parallel bars to swing from and even a horse (non-equine) to jump off – your little adventurer is guaranteed a soft landing in a pit of sponges.
There’s also a floor level trampoline that is a firm favourite with the younger visitors.
The first time we visited my toddler exhausted herself so much, she was nodding off over her lunch afterwards. And for the first and only time in her life went for a lie down in bed during the day.
There’s also a cafe (but I haven’t visited it).
What? Soft play for toddlers
It’s actually a really great DLR journey for toddlers – there are plenty of interesting things to see out of the window including London City Airport.
When? See timetable
How much? £4 (price at November 2015)
Access and facilities You can leave your pushchair outside the gym, but there’s no secure area. There’s a toilet with a baby change in it on the ground floor. There’s a free carpark if you’re driving.