If you have or have ever had toddlers in your life, you will know just how important it is to have places to go out and about with them. Staying at home all the time does no one any good and in my experience toddlers have far too much energy than they rightfully know what to do with (lucky things! I wish I could say the same). If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know just how much we love The Hen House, a local soft play cafe, and that hasn’t changed. But as the weather becomes a touch more unpredictable, it’s starting to get busier (quite rightly) and that doesn’t always work for us. Recently we’ve started to frequent (when we can get there and when the weather allows) Applegarth Farm in Grayshott. We’ve been going to Applegarth, since he was a tiny baby in his Maxi Cosi handbag car seat (you know, the kind you carry over your arm like a handbag?). They’ve always had a lovely restaurant and shop there. But recently they had something of a makeover (I say recently, it’s probably a year ago now!). They extended the cafe and really juzzhed (is that how you spell it? Zhuzzed, zhusshed… oh sod it, tarted) up the outdoor play area. Not only does it have swings, play houses and a slide, it also has animals, climb on wooden tractor and best of all space. Oh yes and a secure, high latched gate. I can’t tell you how important a secure environment is for any toddler, but when you’ve got a runner/wannabe Houdini (no one ever believes how quick he is, til they’re running after him) it’s essential. We don’t go to unsecure parks near roads for this reason and it is certainly why I’m mighty cautious of the new set up at The Herons (we’ve yet to try it in person, but no gate and electric doors scare the bejesus out of me). Anyway thats not an issue at Applegarth.
He loves a good swing and all the other wooden equipment they have there. He can have a jolly good run around and a look at the animals when he fancies. But most importantly for Oscar, no matter how busy it gets (which in my experience is never heaving) there is always somewhere for him to take himself off on his own for five minutes, allowing him to come back smiling. Everyone’s got their way of coping and that’s Oscar’s. In The Hen House he does it by sitting and playing on my phone for five minutes, but here he goes under the tree house, or down by the rabbit hutch, returning to join his buddies. It works for him and that keeps us going back.
As long as it’s not raining it’s definitely our choice at the moment (and the wonderful coffee and cake they do is by no way an enticement 😉 ) I just wish we could find somewhere more weatherproof that had the same kind of space. If you’ve got any suggestions then please feel free to let us know.