Best Indoor And Soft Play Areas In Wandsworth
(This post is about the London Borough of Wandsworth in England, United Kingdom.)
Living in Wandsworth as a parent is a huge advantage, after all, the heart of it is called the "Nappy Valley". I have been living in the area for over 2 years and have been to most of these places so you can consider this a list of mini reviews too.Here is my list of places with soft play areas in Wandsworth for babies and toddlers:
Let's start with something free: your local children's centre:
Most of the centres are suitable for children under 3 years old. You will just need to register in the beginning then you can can drop in for most sessions that they call "come and play".
Other nice sessions also are the messy play and sessions for those who are not walking yet.
Other services include "come and weigh" sessions to go and check your baby's development. Each of the centres has its own contact details and quarterly timetable for its activities which you can easily find on the website (check the link above).
Some of the activities need to be booked in advance. I used to go to two centres as I lived almost in the middle but at some point, they started saying that I should really stick to the centre for my designated area as the other one was becoming too crowded.
Bertie and Boo!
Bertie and Boo is both a restaurant/cafe with a play area for babies and toddlers. They have 2 branches: in Northcote road and another in Balham.
The Balham branch has a larger area that is shaped as a ship with plenty of padded areas for babies and young toddlers. Both branches offer a good menu of food and drinks.
Basically, you can just drop your child in the soft play area while you sip a coffee or have a quick snack. They charge £5.50 for entry to the play area or £3.50 if you have a meal (free for under 6 months). You will need to accompany your child if they are under 2. When I went they also charged £1 for an adult.
What I really loved about Bertie and Boo was their "magical story time". The person who "tells the story" it is really nice and engages with the children, and it is also done in an educational way with some preparation including gestures, motor and verbal skills, etc. I found it much better than others we had in the children's centre. I also have to say that the facilities were great.
You could say the prices are a bit expensive when it comes to the food but I guess that will be relative (there is also a kids menu). I really suggest you go and try it for yourself and I would suggest if you only choose 1 branch, make it the Balham one. Please check before going on weekends because they hold parties so you won't be able to use it at this time.
Battersea Arts Centre:
Battersea Arts Centre has a lovely playground area for kids up to 5 years old and they call it the "Bees Knees" which is an open play area and costs £3 only. They also have a regular class for sensory development that uses music to engage the children. You will need to book through the website to attend the regular classes. Please check their timetable for the open play times and the regular classes. You can also eat or drink and they also have a kids menu.
The arts centre also has activities and workshop for older children (6+ and beyond).
The Fresh Ground Church of the Nazarene is obviously a church but also a community hub. They have a lovely large cafe overlooking an open play area with a glass wall and door in between. They have "play and stay" sessions which you can just drop in to without booking and it costs £5 for the first child. This is available in the morning during the week.
There are also other activities that you can check on the website including ballet classes, yoga and pilates, there is a running group, etc. It is such a nice space and one of my absolute favourite in Wandsworth. Oh, and both Fresh Ground and the Bright Emporium are a short walking distance from Clapham Junction.
Weekend Messy Play at The Bright Emporium:
The Bright Emporium is an interesting place: they are a literacy agency specialising in children's books but on weekends, they hold different workshops and classes for children of different ages. My daughter was thrilled and enjoyed one of their "Messy Play" weekend sessions (you can see the piece of art we created in the photo below).
They also hold various story time sessions on Sundays. What is nice about it is that the stories are read by the authors themselves! This is later followed by some crafting. Depending on the book for that week, it can be suitable for different age groups. Check my review of The Bright Emporium messy toddlers.
Eddie Catz call their space "Play Paradise!". They have a few branches, the closest are in Putney and Earlsfiend. They offer spacious soft play areas suitable for all kids with plenty of padded areas for babies. The facilities are also great including a microwave and a bottle warmer.
They also offer other classes including messy play, arts, ballet and also events during school holidays. They have sessions for different age groups as well as after school workshops.
Play time at your leisure centre:
Various family friendly children's centres accross Wandsworth offer different activities for a wide range of ages. You should check your nearest one for the time table of kids activities'. Wandle Leisure Centre for example, has a massive soft play area or "Adventure Zone" which your toddler can enjoy for less than a fiver! Search for your nearest centre or check your Google Maps. I only mentioned the ones close to me but there are also others in Roehampton, Tolworth, Tooting and others.
Other activities include a children's gym and sports including swimming pools, dancing, etc.
They offer high quality activities suitable for all ages. From sensory play to music and art, Gymboree offers well designed and lovely classes for all kids in numerous areas across the UK. They even offer baby massage! They have branches in Putney, Wandsworth and one for Calapham and Balham.
You can pay per session or sign as a member and pay for the membership but get classes for free. But they have more good news:
You can try a FREE session before you commit to paying monthly membership fees.
Search HOOP for activities on the day:
With a smart and easy to use website and mobile app, Hoop is able to find almost all of activities happening in your area. You can also narrow your search results or filter through them. You will always find something going on near you anywhere in London.
We have come to the end but I will keep this list updated. All information mentioned on this page were valid at the time of writing in October 2018. Please share some of your experience, reviews, opinions and suggestions. Wandsworth is one of the best areas to raise a kid in the UK and it is a dynamic community with lots going on. So, please feel free to correct me if anything here is outdated or if I missed any place you think is worth mentioning on the list.