Thursday, 31 March 2016

The Exhausted Mum's Guide To Entertaining Small Children

Most of the time we are on the ball with this looking after small children thing. We can book in play dates. Or go to the soft play. Or even, gulp, get the paints out (vom). But sometimes? We are crap. We've run out of friends houses to trash. The thought of a hot and stinking soft play wants to make us smash our own face in and if we have to watch the crazy Kinder Egg lady on YouTube ONE MORE TIME? We shall scream.

We get desperate. After over an hour of Peppa Pig, we realise it is still only 7am. Which is exactly 11 hours till Daddy comes home. So in my five years of being a Mum I have developed a list of some 'alternative' places to visit. If you're really bored, or hormonal, or just need an escape. These are my fail safes. Some are free. Some cost a tenner. But one can't put a price on the sheer relief of not seeing Daddy Pig. Again.

A very exciting free zoo rabbit!

The 'Free' Zoo
OK so Pets at Home isn't technically a free zoo. But when you are three. Anywhere that has a rabbit, a guinea pig, a very exciting chinchilla and a fancy nemo fish can be classed as a zoo. One of my favourite places to visit if it is freezing cold. We have been known to spend a good hour at the 'zoo'. But be warned. One time? I left with two guinea pigs. My husband has still never quite forgiven me.


The Supermarket Cafe
Sometimes it is essential. We have to take our little ones to the supermarket. Horrific. But there is one thing that makes my two behave when we hit the local Asda. The joy of the cafe. You would think it was the Ritz. In the picture above I also let my daughter dress as a witch. And shout random things as passersby whilst I had a cup of tea. Happy days! And all for the price of one hot drink and two cakes (and illegally smuggled in Fruit Shoots. Shhhhh).


The Garden Centre
Garden centres are weird places. They are huge and contain the most amount of random tat any child could desire. See above the strange Katie Price's wedding/Cinderella carriage that entertained my children for a good while. They also have animals! Like the free zoo! And generally a cafe too. Just avoid any section with strange glass knick knacks. Accident waiting to happen. (Not that I have ever shoved back a snapped in half bauble or a candle where the lid may have cracked a little bit. Cough cough).


Ikea for me is the dream destination. My local one has a free softplay for kids 3 and over. I KNOW SUCH AN AMAZING JOY! Just next to this is a big tele showing cartoons which is handily right by the £1 milkshake machines. And outside? AN UNDERCOVER PARK! Now a saner woman would say "right we can have a full afternoon of fun for just £1". However I generally ram a plate full of meatballs down my gob, buy 1000 tealights, a pack of 3 pairs of scissors and leave £20 lighter. 

Bye Bye tree! You were pretty but your demise made my son's day

Making Crap Things Seem Fun
Near my house there was a big tree cutter machine taking down all the local trees (hey who needs trees to make inner city Birmingham look nice eh?). For three days. We walked down. Every. Day. And stood there and watched. See how happy my boy is. He was transfixed and screamed with joy. So often a good walk around will mean you may stumble upon something that to you may be sad for the environment but happy for your toddler. Yay!

Now where is the £1 Gin?

I often mention my love of Poundland. And Poundworld (which has really good Disney tat in). I seriously have spent so SO many hours in local pound shops with my two. The fact we can walk there, or if I am REALLY desperate drive to a bigger one for a wider range of tat. I can go in and give them one whole pound and it makes them so happy. Shops like this are fab for stickers, books and also weird cartoon DVDS. And sweets for Mummy. Sadly not gin.

So now you know where to find me on rainy days, or during certain times of the month or if you see a Facebook status from me saying I've been up all night. And if you ever want a tealight or borrow some scissors? I'm your girl!


  1. Haha I love this, as a parent to two cheeky toddlers I so need to try some of these out. I am sick to death of Disney jr, the park and soft play xx

  2. LOL, thought id comment here instead of clog up your twitter. pleased im not the only one that ends up standing around watching men at work ! what is it with boys and diggers and machinery!

  3. I need to move near you!! We dont even have a ikea close :( definatly going to be at pets at home next week x

  4. Ah I wish I had a poundland within walking distance, that little treat is saved for a day when we venture into town! The only problem with poundland is the amount of sweets/chocolate I buy...its a pound, I must have it!! My son has an unhealthy obsession with garden centres, he knows every single one within a 10 mile radius I swear. He goes out with my parents on fridays when I work and they always end up at the garden centre!

  5. Poundland gets everywhere! I love this list. Ikea, garden centres, supermarket cafes, Pets at Home - All of the above - the kids love it! x

  6. hahaha I have done every single one of these - spot on!! We LOVE Ikea and Poundland! x


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