The Knackered Mums 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. But sometimes. We are crap. We've run out of friends houses to trash and the thought of a hot and stinking soft play wants to make us smash our own face in. 

We get desperate. After an hour of Peppa Pig we realise it is only 7am and 11 hours till Daddy comes home. In my four years of being a Mum I've developed a list of some alternative places to visit. If you're really bored, or hormonal, or 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.

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 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).

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 weird Jordan's wedding/Cinderella carriage that entertained my children for a good while. They also have animals! Like a zoo but free! 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 cough cough).

Ikea for me is the dream destination. My local one has a free softplay for kids 3 and over (you can leave them there! Amazing!). 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 £1". However I generally ram a plate full of meatballs down my gob, buy 1000 tealights and a pack of 3 pairs of scissors. 

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.

I often mention my love of Poundland. And Poundworld (which has really good Frozen 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 and I can give them one whole pound and it makes them so happy. Shops like this are also fab for stickers, books and also weird cartoon DVDS. And sweets for Mummy.

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

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