We know our children love a good tumble at the soft play areas but if you’re like me, I’m often a little disappointed with the baby/toddler areas. The age range 0-4 is just too vast and I spend a lot of time glaring at other people’s unsupervised children! Oooops! Let’s face it too: they smell of feet, often have questionable stains, rips and marks and they charge a fortune for a cuppa! Don’t get me wrong, they are a great alternative for a play date if you don’t want to have to bring in a team of cleaners to clean up the damage in your own home afterwards. However, when it is just you and your baby/toddler, I quite like the thought of recreating a soft play experience for free. I can still wear my pj’s and have as much tea/coffee as I so wish! So, today Baby G and I had a great time with our own version of soft play!
For this, I simply created a tunnel using two of the seat cushions from my sofa and draped some of my beloved rainbow scarves over them. I also put the two back cushions and smaller cushions on the floor to create bouncy, climbing obstacles and put a sea of rainbow scarves in the centre as an alternative to a ball pit.
As Baby G is now cruising the furniture, I covered the footstool in a blue shiny piece of fabric and put her mirror and stacker on there to make it look different and inviting.
Baby G couldn’t wait to get stuck in and had a huge grin on her little face. She investigated the stacker…
… climbed …
… and navigated her way around the obstacles. All this is a fantastic gross motor workout for baby and toddler and develops their muscles all over their body. They need to be able to take risks, evaluate how to get around and manoeuvre their bodies in order to take part in all future forms of exercise, sport and day to day moving around. Without tumbles and falls, children will not learn. Baby G had a number of tumbles today but without that she wouldn’t learn how to control her limbs. If I want her to walk, I’ve got to let her experiment!
G was a little reluctant to go into the tunnel so I put her favourite teddy bear in there to tempt her in and low and behold, she went in. She had a blast crawling in and out and eventually knocked the cushion over.
G thought it was hilarious when the scarf roof fell on her head and we had a game of peekaboo which G just loves.
G is only ten months old but as we played with the scarves, I said the names of the colours and sang the rainbow song to her. Immersing our children in language is vital for their speech development and rather than using ‘baby talk,’ it does no harm to talk about what they see, hear, smell, touch etc using the correct vocabulary.
Throughout the play, G kept going back to the ‘standing station’ to play with the stacker rings and look at her beautiful reflection in the mirror!
This was a very simple DIY soft play activity but G loved it. She absolutely exhausted herself and slept for two and half hours after this!! Bonus!! If you ‘build’ your own soft play in your living rooms, I would love to see the photos! Seeing how and what other people do, will definitely inspire each of us to try something new! Another cheeky bonus was my cushions got a much needed plump!! Hope you have fun with your own DIY soft play!