This time, we caught up with our friends Clayton & Mandy at Lollipops Play Centre in Narre Warren.

Clayton & Mandy are parents of twin girls, two months younger than Tyson.  Though they haven’t had a lot of time together, experience has seen them co-exist quite well.

So, we dared to take it to a new level.  A play centre would enable us to have time chatting with our friends, with our children entertained.

I have been to only a handful of play centres in my time, but Lollipops has to stand out as one of my favourites as far as the equipment provided.  They have an area for the littlies that is separated really well by soft padded walls.  They have play stations, an area for the older kids to enjoy, a tea cup ride, an air hockey table, a few private rooms for parties, a great coffee shop and massage chairs for the adults!

We took turns supervising the children in the play area, which is my area of most concern.  So far, it seems every play centre I take Tyson to, he ends up pushed over by an older child whose parent is conveniently absent.  I never know what to do in this situation.  I know I can’t follow my instinct.  It would be quite inappropriate for me to stand domineering over the offending child yelling, “Don’t you dare touch my child!”, with the single intent of them running away screaming.

The mere fact that this pushing of my son has occurred several times makes me rather cautious.  And yes, there is that little part of my brain that thinks, “They’re just jealous, ‘cos he’s so cute!”.

My experience at Lollipops was quite the opposite though.  One child in particular was sharing beautifully with Tyson, bringing him balls to play with until he couldn’t carry any more.  Parents were present with all children in the area and seemed equally concerned to see that the children played well together. 

Now, I don’t suggest for a second that this is because Lollipops attracts nicer parents and children than other play centres.  Rather, the setup of the centre ensures that there are only toddlers playing with toddlers and requires that parents supervise toddlers.  This has put Lollipops in my mind as the best play centre I’ve been to up til now.

But onto more important matters.  The food.  Well, the entry fee for adults comes with a free drink.  We decided to have lunch there as well.  Let me just say, the portions are very generous.  We ordered two dishes and didn’t finish either!

I’m starting to think that maybe I could create a job where my role is to go from play centre to play centre, evaluating their safety, equipment, setup etc.  That’s not my role, but if it were, Lollipops would score highly on all fronts. 

This was definitely a great way to have Tyson engaged with some fun play in a safe environment, whilst creating space for Luke and I to share some time with friends.  Lollipops – we’ll be back!