Next up in my local tour of soft play centres is 360 Play in Redditch. This is a play centre which we visited frequently pre-lockdown (I pretty much lived there when on maternity leave). 360 Play is a soft play and role play centre with a special feature of a carousel.
We visited last Friday after the schools had gone back. Like many soft plays centres, you need to pre book online for a two hour timeslot. 360 Play is within Kingfisher Shopping Centre and you need to park in the shopping car park (parking fees apply).
I was quite surprised that despite having timeslots there was only a small queue to get in. We were greeted by a member of staff who took our temperatures on entry and provided with hand sanitiser. It is worth noting that a mobile signal in that part of the shopping centre is not very good so download your email ticket in advance to show on entry.
First thing, don’t do what we did and miss the bags just after entry. These have some of the toys normally found in the role play areas to help yourself to and enjoy as they are unable to have all the normal toys out. It did feel a bit strange going into all the role play areas and there being no toys out. I was a bit worried that my four year old would find it a little boring – silly me forgetting the imagination of kids. She had a great time pretending without the props – probably more so than with them (note to self – time to get rid of some of the plastic).
The role play areas are still there but all the toys inside have been removed. Each play area states how many family groups are permitted at a time (most of them are one or two). Whilst I was there, everyone was respecting this and children were being closely supervised. Some of toys we picked up earlier could be used in these areas and we had great fun playing shop keeper. For a change, it was the fire engine that my little lady loved the most (I was a bit big to keep getting in and out to be assistant fireman though).
360 Play used have ride on cars. These have been removed since our last visit and now there are lots of large building blocks – we couldn’t resist building a castle (my little girl wanted to be Rapunzel locked in the tower). There seemed to be no restrictions in this area but there is plenty of space to spread out.
The soft play area has had a few adjustments. There is now only one entrance and a one way system to follow. This was clearly marked although I did have to guide my 4 year old through it. There is a member of staff on hand at the entrance to give each person who enters sanitiser. My little lady did not seem that interested in the soft play bit this time although there is plenty to climb over and play with, so we only went around there once.
The best bit was the carousel was still open. Both my girls can spend their whole day on this. Again sanitizer is given when you enter and as the teddy bears are also enjoying a ride it was suitably set out for social distancing. That said, the staff were still helping out children where they needed it.
We didn’t eat whilst we were there but it looks like there is a limited menu available and food is served on disposable plates. Drinks are also available as normal.
I must admit I was very impressed with how clean and well set out 360 Play was. There is plenty of sanitizer given and you can see how things are cleaned with limited toys available (although this doesn’t stop kids dropping them but there were not as many as I thought). This is not a sit and let them roam play centre at the moment, I found that I did need to supervise closer than normal to make sure we kept to the rules and only made friends from a distance (probably the case for most play centres now I guess).
The staff were mainly wearing masks as were the majority of other people who were there (masks are required unless drinking or eating or if exempt). It was also very quiet when we went – although that may be due to it being the early session during term time. We would happily return.
Open 7 days a week
Entry prices and more information on the 360 Play website.