Mid-term break – entertaining the kids

This mid-term break we took the kids to Base entertainment centre in Celbridge  and had such a great time I thought I’d share our experience.

Trying to occupy kids on a wet and yucky day when they are bored of being stuck in the house and miss the social interaction with other kids can be hard. We live in the country and have been neck deep in DIY over the past couple of weekends so time for family fun was on the cards.

My son thinks if he asks enough we can move to an estate where he can play with his friends all day, every day. We’re a car drive away from his pals so it means constant forward planning and in between my regular job I moonlight as a taxi driver for the rest of the family so I take his point.

It sure would make my life easier but then the neighbours might notice my OCD for cleaning my insanity-inducing counter tops and mistake it for being a nosy neighbour or sometimes when I’m not sure whether something goes in the green bin or not I pop it in the black bin and my carbon footprint is not as low as I like to think – so on balance perhaps staying in the country is the best option for now.

I should have been more organised and invited his friends over but with one thing and another I didn’t so himself and I decided to take all three to Base entertainment centre in Celbridge and ended up having a ball.

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As well as a bowling area there’s a really well stocked soft play area for kids up to approx eleven yrs (based on height rather than age) and a games section for small kids right up to adults. There’s a café that serves both hot and cold food so a longed for latte was on the cards once we got settled in. The staff are always friendly, helpful and considerate which adds to the whole experience so needless to say, my hopes were high.

We thought we’d start with bowling and work our way around. We hadn’t booked anything – surprise surprise but thankfully, they had a lane free. Bowling was great fun and everyone got to take part, even our competitive three year old.

A quick look around indicated that there were many parents just like us occupying kids in the bad weather which was reassuring and allowed us to relax knowing that if the kids got a little loud it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Beside us was a rather rambunctious group of delightful elderly ladies giving it socks and putting us to shame. They looked like they were part of a social club and it was so lovely to see them enjoying themselves. My three year old leaned over to me at one stage after staring at them for ages and whispered theatrically “those nannies look like they are having a great time, don’t they?” to which I answered, “I hope I’m like that when I’m older”. Ladies – I salute you.

Each lane has a leather chesterfield type couch so once we settled in I ordered a latte for myself and pitcher of juice for the kids. Himself got a diet coke and we had a platter of hot food – wedges, chicken tenders, onion rings, samosas, spring rolls and cocktail sausages. One platter was enough for all of us. They have different options and you can mix and match to suit tastes.

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After thirty minutes (you can do an hour if you’re feeling that brave) we moved into the soft play area. The soft play area is situated adjacent to the cafe so its location allows you to relax with a coffee and still be able to see the kids playing. My fourteen year old had a book – yes a book (so proud) to occupy her. The other two loved the play area – with climbing frames and slides and tunnels they had a blast.

There were groups of moms, lots of families and chilled out dads reading tablets or watching the large TV hanging out of the ceiling. It was quite busy but not overly so and it had a friendly vibe.

My three year old constantly asks me if she could have a play date with her friends from play-school so this seems like the perfect place to invite moms to meet up and get to know each other socially while the kids get to mix outside of the school environment.

We finished off the day upstairs in the games section. The three year old went on some of the smaller rides – a jcb that lets you control the digger, a hot air balloon and duck splashing game. The older kids loved the basketball hoops and simulator ride. There were lots of older kids in the bumper cars and playing table hockey. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and the games were suited to such a broad range of ages that the whole family could enjoy themselves.

Himself and I decided to try the simulator ride and choose a roller coaster trip. It started off great and usually I’m the one who gets in trouble – I chickened out of a big water park ride last summer to mind the towels… (totally scared) but this I thought was fine but himself – who loves roller coaster rides – started to feel nauseas towards the end. The kids wanted to go again to try another trip but someone had to mind the coats so we decided not to.

It was coming up to nap time so we reluctantly headed home but we all agreed that it had been a great excursion. A success for family fun during mid-term. We’ll definitely add it to our list of ‘must dos’ for rainy day activities and the best part is that I have enough points on my loyalty card for free soft play area next visit. It certainly lived up to expectations.

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