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 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.

And remember – we serve Wicked Coffee!

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.

Being 5

Your 5 year old, no longer the tiny demanding baby, past the terrible toddler 2’s AND 3’s and yet still not the capable child who welcomes independence, brushes off kisses and demands that you let them go out to play alone. Why is being 5 years old so massive?

The year our little people turn 5 is a huge milestone and not only for them. For us parents it sparks the change of everything that we were just beginning to get our heads around.

We have nourished, loved, taught, trained, nursed and held close these small beings through every aspect. We have sheltered them and watched as they learn practically everything about being human, but now, in their fifth year, we hold back the tears as we watch their tiny legs carry them off to school.

This is SCHOOL, where they will be with another adult for longer than you in any given day. Where we no longer decide what they get up to for a fair chunk of the day.

‘Let them go, be off with you’ said no parent ever.

So off they go, they are 5 (or going to be very soon). ‘I am 5’ says every child proudly, holding up their entire hand, all digits raised. It really is something special and here is why.

  • Independence
  • Capability
  • Responsibility
  • Growth
  • Understanding
  • Emotions

Inside such small little bodies, still with baby hair and speech too big for their mouths, they have an ever developing brain. Major changes are occurring. During the last few years, being a toddler, they have learnt about the world they live in, explored how things might work, had a go at controlling some of their emotions, grasped the majority of their basic language and even begun basic maths and English.

MY sweet boy, good as gold, was four. He followed the rules, hated me being upset with his behaviour, was polite and also held my hand and cuddled me A LOT!

BANG! He is off to school, he is 5! He is learning and making his own independent choices…………. And boy don’t we know it.

He has:

  • made ‘friends’ with EVERY child
  • learnt delightful knew ‘noises’ from said friends. The most pleasant of which is to imitate a foghorn for long periods of time (usually in the middle of the doctor’s waiting room)
  • kindly brought me TWO PE tops home in his bag
  • crammed an entire box of used tissues into a zipped school fleece (discovered AFTER a wash)
  • skinned 3 holes in 2 pairs of trousers, in 2 days
  • fallen over EVERY week in the playground, resulting in a ‘yellow card’ implying I must attend to the teacher for the details

Being 5 means:

I have to leave my parents, walk away by myself, sit on my own, listen carefully, be kind to other children, control my emotions, stop my lip wobbling when I am scared, hold it together, be brave, follow orders, follow the rules, know how it all works.

Being 5 means: I have time to think without my parents, time to decide alone, people to choose from, decisions to make, games to create, space for my own things, belongings to take care of, ideas to share and wonderful experiences to tell…..

And then I get to go home, still cuddle my Mum and Dad, still kiss them 1 million times before bedtime, still eat my dinner with my fingers and let Mum stroke my hair in bed. Mum and Dad can still sing me my favourite song to help me sleep and I can snuggle with my comforter. That is all ok because I am 5!

Just 5

Coffee time and play time rolled into one

It’s not easy when you’ve got little ones to find places to go for a coffee and a chat with friends. At best the youngsters might sit still for five or ten minutes if they have a drink and a snack to keep them occupied, but if they get noisy or throw a tantrum in a restaurant or a coffee shop it can become decidedly awkward and uncomfortable for parents.
Of course we can’t expect the under four or fives to stay still for long – it’s not in our nature at that age – but most parents of pre-school or slightly older children don’t want to spend every day on their own at home. They want to get out and continue doing things like meeting friends for a coffee or at least go somewhere where they can meet and talk to others in the same position.
A current trend in some towns and cities are play cafés where coffee shops also incorporate small play areas for very young children with toys and perhaps some soft play items to keep them busy while mums and dads enjoy a drink and maybe food too. But in addition to such places, a good quality play centre such as 360 Play can also offer some respite for parents and a genuinely comfortable place to meet up with friends with a place for the kids to play nearby.
We’ve carefully studied and researched all areas of play centre operation over the years and not surprisingly, as is apparent in the design of all our centres, mums and dads want to take their children to a warm, safe, clean environment which offers comfortable places to sit while the youngsters play. They also want a good cup of coffee and decent food, both for them and their kids, something else we have always provided.
Okay, 360 Play isn’t your high street coffee shop, but we have an F&B offering in all our centres that matches or betters many such outlets and provides a great alternative if you are looking for somewhere with a pleasant environment that will give you and your friends the coffee and chat experience you want, while at the same time letting the children use up some energy.
It’s hard enough as a mum or dad with young kids and it’s important you get out and mix with friends and peers. So if you haven’t already, give us –and our brilliant baristas – a try when you and your friends next arrange to meet for a coffee. You won’t regret it!

‘Team 360 Play’ set for 50 mile cycle ride in support of Sport Relief 2016

The UK fundraising event Sport Relief takes place once again in March this year – and the team at family entertainment centre operator 360 Play will be doing their bit to help raise money for this very worthy cause.

Managing Director Duncan Phillips will be joined by several members of the head office team at DP House in Milton Keynes for a sponsored cycle ride over a distance of 50 miles on March 20th. The route begins and ends at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s iconic Lee Valley VeloPark, part of the site of the 2012 London Olympic Games, and the 360 Play team will be hoping their efforts raise lots of money for Sport Relief.

Each team member will ride the 50 mile route and as well as funds being raised through individual sponsorships, 360 Play itself will be adding its own contribution to the pot!

Sport Relief has been running in the UK every second year since 2002 and of all the money raised by the public, 50 per cent is used to make a difference to people’s lives in the UK while the other 50 per cent goes towards transforming  lives across the world’s poorest communities. Just under £72m was raised through a wide range of sponsored events and activities in 2014.

“Supporting charities and the wider local communities in all the areas in which we operate is something we’ve done for a number of years,” explained 360 Play sales and marketing manager Billie-Jan Hills, “and when it was mentioned in the office that we should do something for Sport Relief this year the idea inspired quite a few of us. The 50 mile cycle ride is one of the official events organised by Sport Relief so we decided to have a go at that. We are doing some serious training so hopefully we’ll raise lots of money for this great cause.”

The 360 Play team’s admirable efforts also reflect the company’s philosophy as far as young children are concerned, in that the company believes strongly in providing fun activities designed to encourage physical, active, imaginative and creative play, enhancing and supporting children’s development. Its centres are filled with elements to ensure this is achieved among its young visitors who in being encouraged to enjoy physically active pursuits at a young age may one day themselves take part in a Sport Relief event.

For more information on 360 Play visit www.360play.co.uk For more information on this year’s Sport Relief visit www.sportrelief.com

Nativity plays – What do you mean my child’s not Joseph?

Nativity plays. One of my favourite things about being a mum is seeing my little ones perform in their nativity plays. It makes Christmas special for me. On that evening, I sit there, tall and proud, camera glued to my child, smiling like a wholly along with every other mum and dad there, however as every parent knows, the run up to that crowning moment of glory is never smooth.

Preparing for a nativity play can be pretty stressful, if you let it become so. From the moment you find out their role (a cow for my 4 year old this year, I mean, please! don’t they know how talented he is!) you’re creating costumes, practising songs and soothing performance anxieties not to mention listening to other parents gloat that their child is playing Mary or Joseph. Oh the pressures that many parents feel at this time of year in amongst other Christmas ‘to do’s, and I find myself asking, can this whole thing be a lot more simple?

The key, I have found, is to not take it too seriously and if at all possible, enjoy the process. When you are dealing with a whole class of five year olds, things are not going to run 100 per cent smoothly – in fact, far from it. Yes, be prepared and make the best costume for your little one that you possibly can, but then let everything else take its course. The teachers will do the rest and you can then just turn up on the day and hope for the best and know that be it Joseph or a cow (!) you’re going to love seeing them on stage doing their performance.

One thing I’ll never forget about my eldest son’s performance, in the nativity and one or two other primary school performances, was his timing. If arms had to be waved in the air, for example, his were always the last ones up there (and the last ones down), while his distinct lack of interest in performing and his reluctance to really get into the part, was plain for all to see. He’d rather have been playing football! I thought it was highly amusing, although I kept that to myself, but I realised that at that age such an attitude isn’t overly important so I didn’t stress about it.

So this year as my 4 year old takes to the stage, I will be as chuffed as every other person in there. No matter what his timing, commitment or believability as a cow (and eventually I’ll get over the cow thing and the world will see the talent his mum sees in him!) I am just going to enjoy the ride, laugh, probably shed a tear and capture every moment on camera to tease him with as a teenager!

Let those parents who want to take it seriously just get on with it and shower your young one(s) with praise after the event no matter what. Then enjoy a glass of something when you get home to celebrate the milestone. After all, it is Christmas!

Great value partnership offers for visitors to the new 360 Play Basildon

We’re getting very excited about 360 Play’s brand new children’s entertainment centre at Festival Leisure Park in Basildon, which is set to open to the public on Monday, November 16th. And to help with the launch celebrations, we’ve teamed up with other businesses on the site to bring some great money saving offers to families planning a visit.

For anyone wanting to make a short break of a visit to our latest venue, we’ve arranged a very special offer with the Holiday Inn, which is situated right next to 360 Play. The hotel is offering a family room plus entrance to 360 Play (for two adults and two children) for just £73, including breakfast, a great saving on the hotel’s standard rates but an even more value-packed offer with entry to our attraction too.

Additionally, 360 Play Basildon has come together with the Fitness First outlet on the leisure park to offer all visitors a free session at the gym, which is also just a short walk away. Visitors will be able to sample all the excellent Fitness First facilities which include the latest gym equipment.

We already offer a real value-for-money experience for visitors to 360 Play with the opportunity for guests to stay as long as they want, free parking right outside our door and much more. But being able to link our offer with other businesses on the leisure park to create additional benefits for families is a great move for everyone and we are sure lots of visitors will take advantage of these special deals.

As is the case at our other three centres, all the facilities a family needs for a great day out –whatever the weather – are provided at 360 Play Basildon, including some new ones, and we are really looking forward to opening what will be our largest venue to date. We hope to see you there and look forward to hearing what you think.

Extending the 360 Play family – to Basildon

It’s exciting times here at 360 Play Towers! Not only are our three existing centres continuing to keep us all busy but our fourth centre will be opening very soon at Festival Leisure Park, Basildon, Essex – and we just can’t wait!

360 Play Basildon will be our largest site to date with 28,000 square feet of fun, active and creative play opportunities for young children and their families to enjoy. It’s all spread over two floors and in this latest venue there’s a host of new ideas and attractions for visitors to sample, as well as the tried and tested ones that have proved so popular over the years at our other three centres.

Of course a new centre means a whole new team of staff to extend the 360 Play family to another part of the UK. So it’s a very warm welcome to the fold to our new managers Paul and Ricky who will lead the team at Basildon and who are currently busy with other senior members of staff training our latest recruits on how to provide the best possible service and experience to our visitors.

360 Play is a family owned business and with two young children of his own our MD knows a thing or two about what makes a good day out with youngsters. In fact we all do, which is why 360 Play has become renowned over the years for just that. Our new Basildon centre has been carefully planned and designed to take the brand and the concept behind it to another level and we’re very excited about the opening and really looking forward to seeing visitors’ reactions to what we’ve created.

And it’s even more gratifying to know that we are a key element of the redevelopment of the Festival Leisure Park by the landlords who are making every effort to create a much more family-friendly site with a variety of new openings and tenants. If you live in the Basildon area, or anywhere else for that matter, a warm welcome awaits when we open to the public on November 16th. Why not ‘come on down’ and give it a try – you won’t be disappointed.

Half term already? 5 ways to tackle the Half Term Terror!

Just as we are getting back into the routine after a long summer holiday, half term shows up!

It’s a tricky time for parents with young children, youngsters aren’t quite yet fed up with the school routine and learning and with the nights drawing in and the crisp bite in the air creating a weeks worth of activity can prove challenging.

So here are 5 tips from 360 Play to help you and your children through this half term.

1 – Baby, it’s cold outside!

As the weather starts to turn colder we all tend to stay indoors for longer periods of time. A child’s imagination can only last for so long in the same environment, so take every opportunity to get out and about, even if it’s cold. Wrap up warm and go for a walk, a particular favourite of my family this time of year is leaf jumping! Like puddle jumping but more autumnal.

If it is too cold though you could always come down to 360 Play where we specialise in stimulating young minds with a host of great activities.

2 – They miss their friends.

During the first half of term your youngsters have just rekindled many friendships after the summer holiday, so they’re probably not ready for a break from them yet. Why not invite a friend or two round for a play date? It’s sure to keep them happy and will pass an afternoon or two with no boredom factor.

3 – Eager, bright minds!

Try new things and keep their minds active. Children, especially under 10’s, love to learn. Learning comes in a variety of different formats.

Younger ones will do this through play while older ones will want to challenge themselves in various ways. Why not create a project for them to do? With Halloween coming up they could design their own costumes or masks, or maybe research different pumpkin styles on the computer and then create a pumpkin lantern for real. And of course it’s always fun to make some tasty Halloween themed treats, with lots of easy recipes available on the net.

4 – Time for some new toys?

Most children seem to have an endless supply of toys these days, that’s a given, but it’s been a long time since Christmas, and maybe birthdays too, so they are probably looking for some new things to play with. Charity shops are a good source of supply for some less expensive treats or with a bit of work on the internet, there will be lots of ideas for ‘make your own’ toys too.

5 – Kids like a routine.

At half term children go to bed a little bit later than on a school night but will get up at the usual time as their body clocks are still in school time mode. The days are therefore just as long but with no structure, so try and keep things predictable so they know what to expect, rather than letting the days just drag on with no plan.

Happy half term to all!