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Why we love indoor play centres

We invited Sydney blogger Seana Smith, of Sydney Kids, Food & Travel fame and author of Sydney For Under Fives, to road test Jungle Buddies with her full-of-beanz 8-year old twins. Here what she had to say…

I’m into my 18th year of mothering – no wonder I feel exhausted!  Over the years myself and my four children have visited many indoor play centres. I even wrote a chapter about them in my book ‘Sydney For Under Fives.’ We are always on the hunt for new family-friendly, tot-tastic places to visit and write about in Sydney.

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My 8 year old twins are pretty active kids and they love a challenge, so they were thrilled to be let loose in Jungle Buddies at Five Dock recently.

Five reasons we visit play centres

  1. Great for wet weather and also fantastic to visit when the weather is stinking hot.
  2. There are other children around to make friends and play with.
  3. They are excellent spots to meet up with friends, even with large groups when the café area is huge as it is at Jungle Buddies.
  4. The colourful play equipment and the flying foxes, tunnels and slides are all excellent motivation for kids to move.
  5. If you’re too busy or lazy to make your own picnic, you can always eat at the café in an indoor play centre.  Warning! Most are not half as good as Jungle Buddies café which has a real emphasis on health and flavour.

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Five things to look for in a good play centre

  1. Terrific equipment, with lots of variety for the bigger kids, as well as a nice safe soft play space for little children. And it’s ideal if the age limit for the soft play area is tightly enforced.
  2. Natural light streaming in through huge windows. I really don’t like indoor spaces with no windows or with just a few. Even on days when rain is pelting down it’s still good to be in light, airy spaces.
  3. An easy way to get to the play centre from the car park. You don’t want to be walking far when you are shepherding kids, and maybe pushing prams, especially in bad weather.
  4. Space in the café, it’s awful to be jammed in tightly with other families. Everybody gets stressed and it’s all too noisy.
  5. Easy to find toilets with space and good areas for feeding babies. A separate nappy changing area is ideal. Kid-sized toilets are a nice touch.

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Oh… let’s also raise a big cheer for friendly, helpful staff who can loan your child a pair of socks, host a birthday party and clean up spilled drinks all with a cheerful smile.

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The twins really enjoyed their visit.  Me too, and I was especially thrilled that they could eat such a healthy and tasty meal there. Big bonus.

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Jungle Buddies is definitely a destination play centre, well worth travelling too. It’s in such a central part of Sydney too, great when you are meeting friends who live all over our huge city.

We’ll be back!

Seana Smith is the author of the book ‘Sydney For Under Fives’, now available online at Sydney Kids Food + Travel

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