When you have pre-school children the school holidays fill you with a sense of dread. Everywhere you normally hang out is manically busy, usually more expensive and energetic older children often end up sending your ‘only just walking’ toddler flying. When the dreaded holidays arrive I often find myself desperately seeking alternative fun – hence this blog post on ‘how to have fun at your local indoor shopping centre’!
I should stress from the outset that the whole reason this is fun is that I am not actually trying to achieve any real shopping. Our entire requirement for the trip was a birthday card for a friend of mine. This meant that our entire morning was focused on The Terrorists enjoying themselves and trying not to get in anyone else’s way (too much!)
My local undercover shopping centre is Centre Court in Wimbledon, I am lucky as they are fantastic and in each of the school holidays they set up a mini activity centre for children with lots of fun activities. This time it was (needless to say) all Easter themed, and The Terrorists spent a wonderful 45 minutes colouring in Easter eggs, have bunny’s painted on their faces (The Bear is determined his is a green spider!) and kicking around in a ball pit. As we left we got given a balloon each and a free voucher for our local soft play (It’s a Kids Thing – post on there to come). The whole thing was completely free and it was fantastic (well done Centre Court!).
The rest of our activities went something like this:
1) 20 minutes play with the wooden train set at the back of the Early Learning Centre (I ended up buying even more craft kit – so to be fair the lure of toys to play with in a safe environment is a great way to generate extra sales!)
2) 30 minutes playing hide and seek between the pillars on the 1st floor
3) 5 minutes of going up and down in the lift taking it in turns to push the buttons
4) 30 minutes of coffee at Bills (that was one for me as it’s one of my favourite cafes)
5) 15 minutes perusing the supermarket – they both got to choose something to buy for lunch and then go and pay for it themselves – they absolutely love this activity – who would guess buying a banana and a yoghurt could be such fun?
6) 15 minutes playing on all the moving cars (luckily they still have no idea that if you put money in they move so they think the treat is just to climb on and in them and press the buttons!)
All in all a whole morning of indoor fun (the weather was pretty rubbish) and all it cost me was the price of a coffee, 2 babychinos, a yoghurt and a banana – I would recommend it to anyone!