To say I was excited that a new soft and sensory play centre was opening in Ballasalla is an understatement. I know people often refer to them as ‘soft play hell’ but I have always enjoyed taking my eldest to soft play. Mostly, because it would mean a catch up with my parent friends, coffee and cake! I have certainly missed the wide range of soft play centres I was used to before I moved here but, then again, the nearest beach to us used to be a 90-minute drive so I am certainly not complaining…
The Cub House owners have certainly put a lot of love, hard work and thought into their new venture and you can tell from the moment you walk in that everything has been considered.
If you’re new to the island (I still class myself as new after two years) or are as bad at finding places as I am then have a look at the map below to help you find The Cub House. In a nutshell, they’re on the Castletown to Douglas (A5) road, opposite a residential area called The Paddocks in the old Isle of Man Bank building. Parking is limited on site with 5 parking spaces (one of which is an accessible parking space for Blue Badge holders only).
However, there are 30 2-hour spaces in the nearby Malew Parish Commissioners/Ballasalla Medical Centre car park (near to The Whitestone Inn). If you park here, you don’t need to cross the road, there is a path the whole way to The Cub House and it’s only about 150m down the road. Perfect!
To get in and out, a button out (of children’s reach) has to be pressed so you can be sure your children are safe. Some room has been made by the front door for prams but if you’ve parked out the front and can avoid bringing it in with you, then I would leave it in the car. Head over to the cafe counter to check in and pay!
The central part of the building is the cafe area and you can pretty much see everything from any table so you really can feel free to enjoy your cuppa and let them play without watching their every move. Talking of cuppas, the cafe serves hot and cold drinks and the most delicious cakes. The coffee is a firm favourite of mine and I LOVED that the cakes were labelled with allergy information (other cafes need to take note!). The Cub House have 4 Ikea highchairs (without trays) and there is plastic cutlery, cups and water available.
CHANGING FACILITIES / TOILETS
Let’s talk toilets…in one there is a step stool, non-slip toddler toilet seat and a potty and the hand washing facilities are all at child height! In the other there is a step stool and built-in toddler toilet seat. Not only that but there is a full changing table which will take the weight of an adult, meaning no matter the age or weight of the child, you can change them easily. And there are even a couple of steps to the changing table so older children don’t need to be lifted on to it.
There is also a range of nappy sizes as well as wipes and nappy bags, just in case you’re having one of those days and have forgotten or run out of the essentials. If you’re having a right ‘mare and your child needs a change of clothes after a poonami but you’ve forgotten them, The Cub House have got you covered; there are spares in the unit by the front door along with spare socks as all areas of the soft play require socks to be worn.
See what I mean now when I say the owners have put a lot of thought into this place?!
ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN
On to the fun stuff! The soft play area is small but lots of fun with building blocks, soft steps to climb, sit on toys, two slides, a ball pit and a hidden ‘den’. There’s also a separate small room with a racing car that can be fully dismantled and put back together again. If your child loves Paw Patrol (or cars for that matter) as much as mine does, then they will have so much fun pretending to be the Pit Stop Crew! Now I’m referring to Paw Patrol in my reviews?? Oh dear..!
Ear defenders are available for anyone who needs them and there are also books provided if your little one needs a little chill time too. In another separate room is the sensory play and I love this room, as did both The Biggest and The Smallest. There are cushions, play mats, lights, soft toys and a huge variety of musical instruments, handheld lights and all things sensory in there. It’s really wonderful!
The recommended age for neurologically typical children is 6 years old but there is no upper age limit for children with additional needs. The Cub House state that the recommended age is only a guide as every child is different and unique. There are sessions put aside specifically for children with additional needs and these are held on the first Sunday of each month between 10am-12noon [information correct September 2020].
CAPACITY & HOW TO BOOK
Booking at The Cub House is no longer required and you can stay and play for as long as you like during the week. Saturdays consist of three session times (10-12, 12:30-2:30 and 2:30-4:30).
The Cub House, in my opinion, is something we have been missing and I cannot wait to go back again…literally this week!
PRICE LIST [correct February 2021]
UNDER 2s £3.50
OVER 2s £5.00
SENSORY ROOM ONLY £4.00