Pre-register for Farnborough now!

360 Play Farnborough opens on Wednesday 18th October 2017

Speed up your entrance on your first visit by pre-registering now!

All customers of 360 Play must register with us. Membership registration is a one-off payment of £5 per family group. This will be taken upon your first entrance to the centre when we will also issue your 360 Play membership card.

This registration enables us to maintain high levels of security at our reception allowing you to relax whilst visiting our centres.
Please note all information is kept in line with data protection and is not shared with any other party unless you agree.

CLICK HERE to pre-register

Socatots Football Classes Return to Milton Keynes

Socatots begins again on Friday 15th September

Times are 9:30-10:10 and 10:15-11:00

For more details and to book your class visit Socatots MK Facebook page or email mklb@socatots.co.uk

It’s a new term for classes

Our externally run classes are starting again so please check with your local centre to see what is on offer.

Messy Play is open as usual for all your creative little ones to enjoy.

Win Afternoon Tea for your Grandparents

Sunday 10th September is National Grandparents Day

Win afternoon tea for them at Patisserie Valerie

Attend 360 Play anytime in September and tell us why your grandparents deserve to win afternoon tea at Patisserie Valerie.

Visit our Messy Play area and write a short poem or story, or draw a picture for a chance to win.

One lucky winner will be picked at random and two runners up will receive a 360 Play day pass.

T&C’s apply. This offer has no cash value.

Family Day ticket – Summer 2017

Exclusive online Family Day Ticket – Summer 2017!

£20 admits 4 people, one of which must be an adult.

Enjoy a whole day’s play at any 360 centre.

Valid for use from July 22nd to September 5th 2017

To buy your tickets CLICK HERE

For Ts and Cs  click here

You can also buy a Quarterly Pass for £55 which lasts the whole of the summer holidays.

Our Annual Play Pass is £125 for a year’s unlimited play, which works out as only £2.40 a week!

Football Classes for Toddlers at 360 Play Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes

Every Monday 1.00 – 2.30 pm

Starting June 5th 2017

The first taster class is free.

If you sign up for further football classes you will receive a voucher entitling you to 50% off entry to 360 Play on your next visit.

The great news is our Annual Pass holders will receive a discount on classes.

Anyone attending Socatots will be eligible for a 15% discount on an Annual Pass purchased at 360 Play.

To find out more and book your class with Socatots visit Socatots MK Facebook page or email mklb@socatots.co.uk

Places will be limited so please book today!

Click here for terms and conditions

Please note these classes are only taking place in the Milton Keynes centre.

Remember to pick up your Coffee Loyalty Card

Our coffee loyalty card rewards you for drinking our delicious coffee, or, if you prefer a tea or hot chocolate. Collect a stamp for every hot drink you buy.

Surrender your loyalty card to receive a FREE hot drink after 5 stamps or carry on saving to 10 stamps for a FREE hot drink and a FREE cake.

As well as serving Wicked Coffee, we serve fresh food throughout the day from a snack to a full meal. Take a look at our menus.

T’s & C’s:

  • Free drink is a small size coffee, or tea or a standard hot chocolate.
  • One stamp per each hot drink purchased.
  • Cannot be exchanged for cash or any other alternative.

Fun Language Learning for Kids

Try Fun French or Spanish for little ones for FREE at 360 Play with Kidslingo

At Kidslingo it’s all about fun language learning for kids! Learning a second language at a young age has huge benefits for little ones & can be enormous fun in the process. In Kidslingo classes we use songs, games, actions, songs, stories & let’s pretend to inspire the little linguists of tomorrow to love languages from a very early age.

Kids get all of the benefits of a fun & entertaining class with bubbles, songs, musical instruments, toys and of course a parachute, but the added benefit of instilling basic second language skills which will stay with them for life.

Our baby classes are a musical & multi-sensory experience with a flavour of French or Spanish – children under the age of 3 have an innate ability to hear sounds that diminishes after that age – so exposure to a second language before that age is key. The adage of ‘they are like sponges’ has never been so true as with language development.

In our preschool classes – starting from around 18 months – the children are encouraged to start to speak the language and after just a few classes little ones are able to say their names, count to 10 & know a range of basic vocabulary. This grows & develops over time, setting a fantastic foundation for language learning later in life.

A headline in the Times last week was ‘Bilingual children often excel at school’. The article discusses how research has proven that children exposed to two languages from an early age have better learning capabilities, problem solving and memory skills.

At Kidslingo we are currently the only kids’ language class provider to have gold level accreditation from the Children’s Activities Association (CAA). The assessor, Dr Amanda Gummer PhD, one of the UK’s leading experts in child development and Founder of Fundamentally Children, said:

 “I was impressed with the holistic development opportunities within the sessions. The children were active, with kinaesthetic learning being a particularly strong feature. I was very impressed and didn’t realise language learning could be so much fun!”

So if you’d like your little one to come along to a fun French or Spanish class & give them a skill for life, please get in contact with your local 360 Play Centre or contact email info@kidslingo.co.uk. The first session is FREE & once you sign up you receive ½ price entry to the 360 Play centre after the class.

Learning Through Play

At 360 Play, one of our core values is all about making learning fun and accessible through play. It may seem like a slightly far-fetched idea to some, but in recent years especially, many studies have proven how effective simply playing with your child (at any age) can be as a learning tool.

From the moment your baby is born he/she is searching for answers about the world around them. From the sound of your voice to the simple scent of you, your child picks up on these small clues to make sense of the world. When interacting with and communicating with your baby, they learn about reading facial expressions to understand meaning, tone of voice to indicate playtime or quiet time and the feel of your skin for comfort and reassurance.

Early Years Matters (earlyyearsmatters.co.uk) states:

Babies and young children are learning all the time. They learn through looking, listening, touching, tasting, investigating, exploring, experimenting and through playing and talking. This means that young children need to have opportunities to

  • look at interesting things such as birds, animals, plants, trees, mobiles, shells, stones, boxes, tubes, mirrors
  • listen to a range of sounds such as songs, rhymes, jingles, stories, music
  • touch a variety of objects – hard, soft, bumpy, smooth, rough, cold, warm
  • taste a range of flavours such as those in fruit, milk, vegetables, bread
  • investigate things that open, close, float, sink, twist, turn
  • explore objects such as large boxes, things that make noises, things that move
  • experiment with water, sand, clay, dough, paint, glue, felt pens
  • play for uninterrupted periods of time, alone or alongside others, with help from adults, and in their own way
  • talk to other children and adults and to have their efforts rewarded

In general, by toddler age (3-5yrs) playing has become second nature and imitating real life through role play is a fun and interesting development. Children don’t always need to have the same ‘tools’ that adults use in order to understand their purpose. For example, a rectangular block can act as a ‘phone’ when put to the ear, or a cuddly toy could be used as a cushion – the possibilities are endless when imaginations are fresh and growing all the time.

Rolling over to get to a wanted toy or reaching out to grasp an object just out of reach are both physical activities which help your child to understand how their bodies work, how the space around them can be used to their benefit and how to think about solving problems. Physical activity is just as important as traditional learning methods such as reading, counting and spelling as it teaches your child about themselves and the elements around them. By running a race together, you can give real examples of how forces work with and against the body, how biologically, we need to breathe in the air and drink water to fuel ourselves and experiencing the thrill of achieving a goal – “I’m going to win”!

Bounty.com has this to say:

Different kinds of play will fire up different connections and promote different skills. Shaking a rattle will promote hand-eye co-ordination, ‘fine motor skills’ (small movements), and the understanding of cause and effect. Reading a board book will help with cognitive development, language, fine motor skills (from turning the pages), visual perception and attention span.

It’s by giving them a good mix of play that we will give them the best chance of developing a healthy mind.

Setting up a learning-focused play time for your children needn’t be time consuming or costly – basic, everyday items can be used as ‘props’ and toys and it all really comes down to the example you set. Parent involvement in play can be crucial to enhancing self esteem and your child will pick up on your reactions and responses to help them make their own judgements about activities they choose to engage in. You can also establish boundaries of safety and time when needed.

The main focus areas of learning through play can be concentrated into four categories –

Physical activity

Emotional development

Social play

Imaginative play

Try to come up with one or two activities a week from each category and make time to play with your child, exploring all of the different ideas that come up. Remember when your child is playing, it is their world you are entering so don’t be afraid to let them make the decisions and guide where the play goes next.

Some useful things to keep handy:

‘Treasure Baskets’ – baskets or boxes full of everyday items that can be used for heuristic play. Each basket should be a unique collection of objects – e.g. soft brushes, material and cloths in one, cardboard tubes and boxes in another, metal spoons/pan lids/bells…. the list is endless and it is super easy to create a basket as most things are already lying around the house!

Sensory/Messy Play items – this can be as easy or as detailed as you want! Simply cooking spaghetti with some natural food colouring can provide hours of fun or putting some brightly coloured paint inside a clear, plastic zippy bag to squelch and swirl about. Other messy play activities can be found on http://www.learning4kids.net/list-of-sensory-play-ideas/.

Outdoor games – from a football to giant chess pieces to a bat and ball to a hula hoop – so much fun can be had by getting outside and getting active! It can be even more fun when new toys and objects are introduced but if this isn’t an option for you, don’t forget that hide and seek, grandmother’s footsteps and hopscotch are just as fun and don’t require anything other than yourselves!

Autism Awareness Week UK

27th March – 3rd April is Autism Awareness Week UK. Below is a blog by Steph Curtis from stephstwogirls.co.uk which highlights just some of the challenges and experiences that a mum of a child with a form of Autism encounters from day to day. Let us know about your experiences by writing a comment on our Facebook Page.

Challenging behaviour is a phrase which has been mentioned at quite a few of the events I’ve been to lately, and every time I hear it, I want to stand up and ask if anybody has considered Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).

To help others understand PDA, I often use this description from the PDA Society:

‘The central difficulty for people with PDA is their avoidance of the everyday demands made by other people, due to their high anxiety levels when they feel that they are not in control. Many children avoid demands to some extent, but children with PDA do so to a far greater level than is considered usual. This is why it is called pathological.’

I’m planning to cover the second sentence above in a separate blog post but have left it in for now to explain the term. Some would have preferred PDA to be called Newson’s Syndrome, as the ‘pathological’ seems to be often misunderstood, but demand avoidance alone doesn’t explain the full extent of this condition. So Pathological Demand Avoidance is where we are at.

This basic chart shows that PDA is a sub-type of Autism Spectrum Disorder, in the same way that Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) or classic autism are. There’s a slight confusion over terms in society now, as the word ‘autism’ seems to have become an umbrella term for ASDs. So it may be said that ‘PDA is a type of autism’, but what is actually meant is that PDA is a type of ASD.

There are few children or adults with a straight forward PDA diagnosis so far, mainly because the term is relatively ‘new’ in medical terms. I say relatively, because this term has in fact been around since the 1980s when Elizabeth Newson published early research on PDA. If we compare that timescale to that of Asperger’s Syndrome though, which was first diagnosed in 1944, but not recognised in diagnostic manuals until the 1990s, then we probably still have a few more years to go for wider recognition of PDA.

I strongly believe that there are more children out there who should be diagnosed with PDA, and that many of them would currently be classed as children with challenging behaviour. Some will have been given a diagnosis of ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and I discuss that more in a previous post (The Difference between ODD and PDA).

The truth is that the more you try and make a child with PDA fit into the system, by following typical parenting or education strategies, the more likely they are to feel forced into behaviour which challenges. I’m not naive enough to think that every child classed as ‘challenging’ should have a PDA diagnosis, but I am convinced that more children have it than has yet been acknowledged.

Of course, as with all types of Autism Spectrum Disorder, there’s a spectrum (the clue is in the name). That doesn’t mean that everyone of us is on that particular spectrum (I’m not a fan of the ‘we’re all a little bit autistic’ phrase that I’ve heard before, and there’s a great blog post over at Unstrange Mind which describes it perfectly) but it does mean that some children with PDA are able to hide their difficulties in school and work extra hard to conform when there. What that leads to though, is the pressure cooker effect – as soon as they are home, the lid flies off because they have to release that stress and anxiety somehow. For some, that can happen at the school gate on their way out; for others the comfort of home is what can enable them to feel comfortable enough to let rip.

I’ve always counted myself lucky that our girl is ‘constant’. She doesn’t mask at school, her struggles are obvious. She’s not violent or aggressive when unhappy or anxious; instead of ‘fight or flight’ she tends to freeze. As a young child she would ‘mushroom’ – by that I mean crouch down on the floor and become as heavy as a sack of potatoes. These days she is more likely to stay sitting at her desk but with her head on the table, as a way of withdrawing from it all when it becomes too much. On the school days which have not gone so well for any reason, I have to go in and collect her from the classroom, where I will find her in this position. It always seems strange that she doesn’t want to just run out of the school doors to get home where she knows everything will be OK and comforting, but it’s as if she is rendered incapable of functioning properly.

The children who struggle with the build up of everyday demands and who lash out are seen as challenging. People wonder how to ‘deal with’ them. I’m a strong believer in ‘all behaviour is a form of communication’ and tend to think it’s whatever has caused that behaviour in the first place which needs to be understood and worked on.

In the case of PDA, there are different strategies to use which will be totally alien to most parents – going round my head is that famous line ‘this is parenting, Jim, but not as we know it’. Typical parenting strategies involve showing the child that the parent is in control. With PDA, the child needs to feel like they are the ones in control – which involves some pretty exhausting forward planning and game playing (that those with PDA must never find out about….). I’ll come back to strategies another time, as I could fill pages with them, but for some quick reading try the PDA Society suggestions, or the Autism West Midlands advice.

A man who has spent a lot of time with children and young adults who have behaviour which challenges is Dr. Ross Greene. His belief is that kids do well if they can. There are a lot of free resources on his website which I’d heartily recommend – start with the Walking Tour for Parentsor for Educators. His strategies are not specifically for those with PDA, and many can benefit from them. As adults, I believe we need to look at the cause a bit more often and help find a solution, rather than opt for the generic carrot and stick approach which really doesn’t work for a whole group of children.

If you know of a child with challenging behaviour (and I really have refrained from using that word ‘naughty’), then please pass on information about PDA and Dr. Ross Greene to whoever works or lives with them. It might just change the life of the child and of all those involved with them. The PDA Society website www.pdasociety.org.uk is the first place I’d point them to, and for young children up to the end of primary school age there’s a great booklet to download here. I’m always open to questions too!

Steph Curtis from stephtwogirls.co.uk