I've mentioned one or two times recently on my blog how Little One and I have fallen out of favour a little bit with our usual soft play venues. Once we had finished attending baby groups when he was about 11 months old, we started making quite frequent trips to different soft plays all over our local area, sometimes driving over an hour's round trip to get there. Once he was more mobile, we went even more, with three or four trips a week at one stage. After paying for entry, drinks, a greasy panini and a children's lunch, these trips were getting to be quite costly.
Since Spring, we have changed our weekly routine a bit. Instead of soft play, if the weather is good, we drive to one of the nice parks, play in the playground, run around with a football and get some lunch. There's something about the fresh air and the feeling of having space to move around which is so refreshing, that and not having to pay of course. In our weekly routine, Mondays are one of our favourite days and we often go to a playgroup with our friends, or go to a lovely park with them and have some lunch- fish and chips at a picnic bench, a picnic on a rug, or lunch in a little cafe.
I was looking at my Instagram only this morning and realised just how often we go to the park- people must think we camp out there or something daft, but what's not to love? Lots of green open space for Little One to run around and let off some steam, swings, animals to look at, and more often than not, a little cafe selling pancakes and ice cream. Sometimes we do go through slight lack of imagination on my part- although I'm with Little One every day except Tuesday and Thursday, we don't tend to venture very far afield or go to new places unless it's at the weekend with Mr F. I'm not sure why we don't but the park seems to be out comfort zone and it's very much become our little routine together.
This week alone, I think I counted up 4 or 5 trips to different parks, none of which are even in the village where we live. We blew dandelion clocks, had loads of rides on swings, said hello to hundreds of dogs, spotted and chased squirrels, played football, took a beachball for a walk on a lead, picked flowers, enjoyed pancakes and milkshakes at the cafe and had thousands of giggles together. Even though the weather has been a bit hit and miss, it really has been one of those weeks where it's been so simple yet so perfect in every way. I love those weeks where we don't really make plans but everything spontaneous just seems to work.
And while we do sometimes miss the paninis and the odd bowl of chips at soft play, the park is so much more fun and doesn't cost a penny. It sometimes feels like we have the entire place to ourselves. I suppose when we get the inevitable British rain, I will swallow my words and head straight back to good old soft play, but for now, it's all about the park life for us.