Back to school in eight easy steps

It’s always a bit of a downer when the holidays end. After the freedom and enjoyment of the summer holidays, when school was a distant memory for most children, it’s often difficult to get them back into the ‘school’ way of thinking and the necessary routine this inevitably involves.

Hopefully you will have had lots of fun, imaginative, outdoor play, lots of family time together and a family holiday, either here in the UK or to warmer climes overseas.

But now it’s time to get back to the routine. When the new term begins it can be a challenging time for many reasons for both children and parents, so here are a few ideas to get the youngsters into the right frame of mind and to ease them from holiday mode back into school mode.

Tip 1:

Reconnect with school friends

Often, for younger children in particular, they’ve spent time with family and family friends during the holidays so a few play dates with friends from school are always a good way to kick off the school mindset.

Tip 2:

Talk about school

Start talking about school to see how the children are feeling about going back. Highlight any exciting things to look forward during the coming year – Christmas plays, school discos, sports teams and so on – and tease out any anxieties or worries they may have.

Tip 3:

Reset the family’s body clock

Bed times and getting up times are always more lax during the holidays, so start bringing them more into line with the normal term times. Children – and mums and dads too – will need to get back in the routine so everyone gets the sleep they need – and gets up on time in the morning!

Young girl in front hallway fixing shoe and smiling

Tip 4:

Shop for school uniform

Involve the kids in shopping for their school uniform to get them further into ‘school mode.’ Obviously this isn’t a highlight for them but make it more acceptable by allowing them a choice in shoes or T-shirts within the realms of what is affordable for you and acceptable dress code for the school. And maybe let them have the latest or coolest back pack or lunch box as a bit of a ‘back to school’ treat if budgets allow.

Tip 5:

The big bedroom tidy up

During the summer holidays there will have been lots of opportunities to get out all the toys, including those long forgotten treasures hidden at the bottom of the toy box. Why not spend a day having a good sort out, getting rid of what is no longer used. This will help create a calm, organised environment when school starts and give children the satisfaction of achieving something positive.

Tip 6:

Create an Achievement Tree

This is a quick summer art project that can serve an important purpose all year long! Plus it puts a positive focus onto the academic year ahead.

Draw a tree with lots of brown branches on poster board and create a handful of ‘leaves’ on strips of green paper. Each time your child accomplishes something he or she is proud of they can record it on a leaf and tape it to the tree. By the end of the school year, they will have created a full, lush tree!

Tip 7:

Keep playing outdoors once term time has begun

Outdoor play is a key element of the summer holidays so while the weather is still warm enough, encourage your children to keep on playing outdoors when they get home after school. It will be another way to help ease the transition from holidays into school time at the start of term by still providing them with something they loved to do during the holidays. And why not invite a couple of school friends to join in.

Tip 8:

Stay connected

The beginning of the school year naturally brings with it a host of related activities, including homework, music classes, swimming lessons, PE and games, and much more.

With so much going on it’s important to make some one-on-one time with your child each day. It’s tricky to fit in, but a little goes a long way so try an extra story for toddlers, making up stories at bedtime for pre-schoolers or perhaps gazing at the stars with older children when their younger siblings are in bed. They will all definitely savour such precious time each day and everyone will benefit from simply making the effort at the end of the day for a bit of quite time.

Are you ‘stay-cationing’ this summer?

Most people have experienced a summer holiday in the UK. I particularly treasure the memories of my childhood on a beautiful Cornish beach, diving in the freezing Atlantic and playing jump the waves and then being harshly rubbed dry by my mum and hiding behind the wind breakers with a hot pasty to warm up! Ah, great times.

And I still love holidaying in the UK. Okay, the weather can be unpredictable at times which of course is the big downside, but when it’s good there is really no place I’d rather be. Beautiful countryside, stunning beaches, historic towns and villages, ancient castles, fabulous walks and simply loads of visitor attractions of all descriptions to go to make it a compelling place to spend a holiday, without the many hassles often involved with travelling abroad.

When the weather here plays ball it lifts everyone’s spirits, makes us smile and we simply delight in the fact that it’s a beautiful day in the UK. That doesn’t necessarily happen in a resort somewhere abroad. And it’s never been easier to holiday at home either. Hotels are less formal and welcome families more readily, the standard of accommodation is higher and the choice is wider. Food is much improved, there is again a wider choice and places cater much better for families with children.

So even though there’s a chance of rain one minute, wind the next but also, hopefully, some sun just around the corner, a ‘staycation’ can still be a hugely rewarding, relaxing and fun time for all the family – with special memories to take home too!

Why not tweet us with your favourite childhood summer holiday memories or your plans for your staycation this summer. @360play followed by MK, ST or LE depending on your nearest centre. #staycation

That’s The Twitter Ticket!

Let’s solve your summer holiday boredom. We have 10 family day passes to giveaway!

Just tweet your answer to the following question with the #summerfun and tag us in @360playMK for Milton Keynes @360playST for Stevenage and @360playLE  for Leicester- depending on your nearest centre.

We will pick 10 people at random on Friday 14th August at 5pm. (terms and conditions apply )

Q: What’s the best thing at 360 Play?

You may want to check out the facilities section if you’re new to us! If you’ve been before we would love to see a picture of your favourite thing to do.

Good Luck!

Terms and conditions

Winners will be selected at random by 14th August. Tickets will be valid until 1st September and will be for 4 people, one must be an adult. Tickets cannot be exchanged and have no monetary value. New members will be asked to register and any additional persons will be charged at normal rate. For more information about our pricing please go to

Ahh it’s the summer holidays… Ahhh it’s raining!

In a TV advertising campaign which ran earlier this year, VisitEngland recruited Shaun the Sheep and his pals to help promote holidays in England. I guess now they’ll be hoping that people are ‘flocking’ to holiday destinations around the country (sorry, couldn’t resist that!)

Baa-ring (oops, sorry again!) the unpredictable weather, England and the rest of the UK is a wonderful place to go on holiday with plenty of things to do and places to visit for all the family. And it provides a fabulous opportunity for families to spend some quality time together on home soil too.

Inevitably the weather is always the big concern during the summer holidays and when holidaying at home and judging from the very mixed conditions we’ve seen so far this year most of us will experience some wind and rain at some point and probably quite often. But it’s not the end of the world if we are either at home or on holiday somewhere as there are still lots of activities to enjoy even when things get a bit cold and damp.

Hotels and other types of accommodation offer swimming pools, games rooms, gyms and other activities which come into their own on bad weather days, while this summer’s new cinema releases will also keep staycationers happy with films like Inside Out, Ant-Man, Mission: Impossible – Rouge Nation and more coming up to provide some big screen entertainment.

Hundreds of attractions also cater well for wet days, so places like historic houses, museums and of course children’s play centres like us can come into their own when the weather is poor. It’s really just a case of seeking out things to do and places to go, which isn’t that hard in this age of the internet.

Activities back at home can also keep youngsters entertained over the long holiday period. We at 360 Play love ‘free play’ so spending time making Indoor dens doing messy play activities, games and sleep overs with friends will all help keep children occupied and happy – meaning mum and dad will be happy too.

So as Shaun might say, here’s to a baa-rilliant (?) time this summer holiday – whatever the weather!

3 ways to play this summer

3 ways to play… and save this summer

£20 Family Day Ticket

£55 3 Month Pass

£125 Annual Play Pass

These fantastic offers can all be purchased here.

Just click on the image below to take you to the online form.


3 ways online form


Play and stay all day this summer!

3 ways to entertain your kids during the summer holidays

Here at 360 Play we’ve been entertaining young children for a long time and we reckon we’re pretty good at it – in fact very good at it! As experts in children’s play and entertainment, therefore, we thought we’d share our Top 3 ways to entertain youngsters during the long six week holiday, to help keep the boredom levels down to 0.

‘Freedom to play’ day

There’s a lot to be said for days out to local attractions – 360 Play is a great example – but you can’t go out every day. However, we often see in our centres the joy on children’s faces when they are allowed to roam around on their own or with friends, with no restrictions, no electronics and few rules.

So why not ‘keep out of the way and let the children play.’ Maybe set up a few activities around the house and garden and leave the youngsters to enjoy them, explore them and even make some mess (like we do in our messy play sessions at 360 Play). You can always do a clean-up game at the end of the day. Or take them out for some free play in the park, in the woods, at a friend’s house or in lots of other places.

Treasure hunt

These aren’t difficult to set up and they don’t have to be complicated, but with a little thought, time and effort they can keep kids occupied for ages and really are good fun. And when they’ve done their hunt, turn it all around and get them to do one for you to keep them occupied for even longer.

Project day

Last but not least, why not have a project day each week? Think about six projects the kids could do and set a day each week for them to do these. It could be anything from making something or planting veggies in the garden to a cookery session or helping with things around the house. It’s something that can benefit everyone involved, creates a sense of achievement and can help while away many an hour.

We hope our ideas inspire some fun activities – and help achieve a 0 boredom holiday time!

360 Play – experts in child development through play!

A free children’s meal at Frankie and Benny’s

Our good friends over at Frankie and Benny’s would like to offer all children using 360 Play a free meal* at any of their restaurants nationwide.

Frankie and Benny’s have restaurants right by our centres so you can come and play with us and then feed the kids for free with them! Brilliant!

*One free Frankie and Benny’s voucher with every child ticket into 360 Play Milton Keynes, Stevenage or Leicester.

360 Play announces Community Week winners.

A few weeks ago we offered 2,100 tickets to local community groups and charities

and we had an overwhelming response.


These are the lucky winners:

Whilst we couldn’t offer every single group entrance to our centre, we did give everyone a free family pass to use to raise money for their organisation.

We are so excited to open our doors to the invited community groups and charities to provide them, and those they support, with a memorable day out and hopefully a little respite from the difficult times some of those visiting may be going through.

We offer year round support to our local community. Here are some of the things we can do:


Donate a family pass to be used to raise money in a raffle.

Attend an event with our resident mascots Twizzle and Twirl.

Volunteer week, 1st-7th June. Volunteers get free entry during volunteer week on production of proof of volunteering.


If you would like us to support your event just send us an email.

No screen time at 360 Play!

We are always looking to encourage families with young children to be more active. Switch off the screen and let’s get playing, we say!

At a time when so many youngsters spend many an hour in front of a computer or TV screen, the industry leading team at 360 Play is seeking to promote healthier and more beneficial play which in turn enhances child development. To this end, there is no ‘screen time’ at its venues; instead all the activities on offer provide a fun, stimulating environment which encourages children aged 2 to 12 to be creative and use their imagination, whether it be enjoying the many indoor or outdoor elements available.

Research shows that today’s children spend a great deal more time indoors than outdoors – and that’s not good! Outdoor play increases fitness levels and builds active, healthy bodies, it provides a naturally stress-free environment for young minds to benefit from and it aids youngsters’ development both mentally and physically.

As we move from spring to summer and the weather becomes more conducive to outdoor play, 360 Play Milton Keynes offers a wide range of activities within its Club 360 outdoor area, providing children with another fun, safe environment to enjoy. With paddle boats, a huge sandpit, play houses and much more, youngsters can be out in the sunshine and fresh air for a healthier, physically active time.

jump hurdles SQAnd of course, if the great British weather decides not to play ball and the outdoor areas are unavailable, all the activities inside the centre also offer many great opportunities for a fun, active day out, be it the three storey soft play structure, dodgem cars, carousel or 360 Street with all its creative play opportunities.

To help promote a healthier, more active lifestyle for young children, particularly during the warmer summer months, 360 Play is encouraging its members and visitors to post pictures on its Facebook page of themselves having a great time in the great outdoors. The best ones will win a family day pass to 360 Play (for two adults and two children; be sure to tag 360 Play in the photos; Ts & Cs apply).

Everything at 360 Play is available for an all-inclusive price and there are no time limits. There’s also free parking right outside the front door so it really is the place to be this half-term – whatever the weather!

Exclusive special needs evenings, big success.

We provide a unique offering for families with children with special needs

The events take place on the first Friday of each month from 6.30pm to 8.30pm and provide an opportunity for children, parents and carers to come together for an exclusive period of play and activities in a safe, secure environment with friendly and experienced staff. A reduced charge of £4.99 for each child is made and parents and carers receive free entry.

Research shows that children who participate in regular physical activities develop the knowledge, skills, behaviours, attitudes and confidence needed to be active for life, while play also provides a welcome outlet for children to be creative and release stored up energy. These skills are especially important for children with special needs.

Sq pink carousel “We began our special needs evenings a few years ago following requests for such an event,” said 360 Play’s Group Sales and Marketing Manager Billie-Jan Hills. “These regular evenings bring children, parents and carers together to compare notes, make new friends and have lots of fun and have proved very popular with all who take part.

“Very often special needs children are unable to use our centres when other children are present so our exclusive evenings each month provide an environment that caters specifically to their needs and enjoyment.”

Brothers, sisters and friends are welcome too and all the usual facilities are on offer, including a three storey soft play structure, dodgem cars, carousel, 360 Street with all its creative play opportunities and a café area. Mascots Twizzle and Twirl also join in with games and party dancing.

More information on the 360 Play special needs evenings please email: