The Christmas period is over and done (Jan 5th) and the party season is about to start for us in Honies World. K’Boo has lots of friends born around the same time as her and many more (NCT, nursery, family, French for Tots pals and neighbours).
And so, before Christmas got hold and it was all too late to arrange, I booked her party at our favourite play centre ‘Cheeky Monkeys’ based in Chorley, Lancs.
Great family fun for play, parties, organised activities and after school care. Run by a family for families. Creativity & active play are focused areas of encouragement with professional, intuitive staff. The very best playcentre in the area by far.
Having an 11 year old Daughter and a 10 year old (disabled) Step-Son, I think I’ve earned the right over the years to qualify for ‘Party Organiser’ status and have tried most options from Home, to Village Hall, through Sleep Overs to Shopping Sprees, including Sensory Play Centres and Children’s Play Centres and the latter gets my thumbs up for toddlers every time.
With all the entertainment, party food, party host, games, music, party bags, toilet facilities, various things going on to pre-occupy every child & parking already catered for -it’s a bonus that they actually supply all the invitations, contact numbers and google maps to get the guests there in the first place!!!!
Most Play Centres have several rooms and different themes to choose from and if that’s not enough, there are usually different packages to suite your child’s interest and your budget.
My honest advice for those who want to do all the entertaining and catering themselves is that “by the time you’ve sorted the entertainment, bought the food in and struggled to get it all prepared on time, you’ve probably over-budgeted anyway and still have to clean up afterwards”
And so …. we are returning to our ‘favourite’ Play Centre (Cheeky Monkeys, Chorley) as not only are they good friends of mine, they are very much qualified to provide the levels of entertainment that children deserve to get these days, given that Lorraine used to run her own franchise of ‘Stagecoach’ (a fabulous academy for teaching and encouraging children to dance, sing and act -for children of all ages).
There are many extra activities provided at Cheeky Monkeys including Craft Sessions, Football, Stage Shows and Dance. In addition the owners encourage other businesses to run sessions at their Play Centre, including French for Tots, KinderMusik, Ballet, The Petit Acting Co. and Dance Classes.
If you are thinking of holding a party in a Children’s Play Centre and don’t know which one to choose: Check out their website, consider the location, check for availability and busy times (get them to pencil the date in), ask if they are OFSTED approved (some have after-school facilities and it’s important also that the staff are qualified and security checked)and have all the other inspection and approval requirements (see below), visit the centre and if possible with your toddler/baby before-hand (to see if it matches up to your expectations). Finally book your party when you have decided they do tick all of the boxes, as they are popular and you don’t want to be disappointed after all your research.
When you have booked, make sure you get the invites out a few weeks in advance (to make sure you have the right numbers confirmed). Don’t feel embarrased if the person invited has younger/older brothers and sisters – this is your child’s party and it’s for their friends (parents often bring siblings along, but they are ‘not’ your responsibility).
Make a point of saying that the party is for the person on the invite and that food, party bags and party entertainment is centered around your child and his/her friends – the centre has other continuous entertainment for any other children that are present and more often than not have a cafe.
As the party and play are usually limited to around 2-3 hours of play and use of the private party room, it is the norm’ to put presents aside and open at home later (you can send thank you notes later).
Do your research, have fun planning and sit back and enjoy watching your child and friends have fun (while you have a coffee with the other parents) and relish in the fact that you can walk away when there is lots of cleaning up to do :o)