Clip Climbing And Sliding At High Rise NI!

Yesterday the three boys were invited to test out a new indoor activity centre in Lisburn. A venue that boasts a whole clip n climb section, a soft play area, cafe, and the piece de resistance- sensory rooms!

When we arrived, Middle and Baby set off with my mum to the soft play area whilst myself and Eldest got ready to do some climbing. I hadn’t expected to have an active role in this part but, it looked like too much fun to say no to. We were provided with a safety briefing first and foremost. Eldest was chomping at the bit by this stage but, it’s so important that they know what they are doing (as I later established). We got adorned in our harnesses and off we ventured. I cannot tell you how huge these climbing walls were! They were literally to the roof! Before they can just speed off attempting everything, they must first complete a practice run. Once this is done, they are free to roam and climb their little hearts out. There were so many options that Eldest was running manically from one to the other, completely unable to make a decision. When he finally made one, there was always an attendant on hand to strap him in and supervise him at all times. This placated me and I felt confident that he would be safe at all times.

Then, this mama decided to have a go! Not wanting to be outdone by my firstborn, I decided to climb nearly to the top of one at breakneck speed, glance down and totally panic as to how high up I actually was. I hate heights, why did I even do that? In my moment of sheer terror, I totally forgot the protocol of getting back down. So, I just kind of flung myself down and hoped for the best. I imagine it was not dissimilar to Bridget Jones when she does that piece to camera from the fire station. Entirely ungraceful and highly embarrassing to all who witnessed it. See why the safety briefing is so essential? I would say I have learned a lesson but, there’s no point at all.

Middle and Baby loved the soft play area whilst I was nearly breaking bones. I don’t think my mum knew if she should be watching them or me by this stage as I was being so reckless. There was a baby/toddler area that Baby thoroughly enjoyed dandering around and twirling things and building foam blocks. Middle was running about like a mad man going up and down the different tiers, crawling through tubes and flinging himself down the slide. He didn’t shut up about the slide the whole way home infact.

Just before leaving, I asked to be shown the sensory room. I know that a lot of my followers have children who are autistic and this was important to me before writing any review. They led me to a sensory stimulation room. It was dark to begin with then, gradually made more colorful. This is essential to avoid kids becoming overstimulated. There were things on the floor that children could stand on or touch that looked like paint was splodging, items on the wall that they could play and interact with, a projector, a vibrating plate and lights that they could feel and touch. There is also a separate quiet room. You can pay to use the rooms for an hour or if you would prefer your child/children to be fully alone, you can hire the rooms for the hour too. I think this is such a great approach and shows the level of thought and understanding that has been put into all aspects of this place.

I walked away feeling very impressed. Even more so as it is a social enterprise. So, 100% of their profits go back into helping working families. I think this made me feel much better about buying them a load of drinks and snacks afterward. Because, whatever you spend, you are ultimately helping others. All whilst having fun and, hopefully, some peace and quiet whilst they play!

High Rise NI is based in Blaris Industrial Estate Lisburn. Prices are as follows:

Clip ‘N’ Climb– Adult £12 and Child (under 18) £10, Soft Play– Baby (under 2) £2 and child (up to 8) £5, Sensory Room– Baby (under 2) £2, Child (under 18) £4, Adult £4, Parent or carer £1. Check their website out here: https://highriseni.org/

Yes, this 34 year old scaled one of these!
Always know the price of tea and coffee before you go anywhere….

Soft play areas: A survival guide

 Who doesn’t love a soft play area? Me, that’s who! They are literally the most horrendous places on earth. I would much rather spend an hour listening to someone scrape their fingernails down a blackboard than go to one. But alas, sometimes you need burn them out mentally and physically and they are the only option. Here are my tips for survival when you have no other choice but to drag your spawn to one:

1. Never ever go to one hungover. It might seem like the better option to lying on the sofa, trying to die, whilst the kids throw things at you. But trust me, you will live to regret it the second you enter. These places have a decibel of their own range and a fragile brain cannot and will not cope.

2. Other people’s children are little shits and you only become fully aware of this once you have frequented a soft play area. Biters, pushers and thieves are swarming everywhere. Beware of the innocent looking ones- these are usually the worst culprits!

3. Sharing is caring, that is unless your child has something and some little cretin tries to pry it off them. You will find yourself whispering to the would be thief “oh but he/she had it first, you find something else to play with” until you spy their owner out of the corner of your eye and immediately direct to your child  “oh just give the other kid it, you’ve had long enough!”. There are unspoken rules when dealing with other parents, adjust your usual parenting technique to reflect a more serene, unbiased person.

4. Be prepared to do battle with fellow parents still, in spite of the above. Most go solely to drink their tea, read their phones and relinquish any parental responsibilities. With this being the case, they tend to not observe their little darling knocking the crap clean out of your beloved child. Be aware that , in the end, you will get into a fight with them and express language you never thought you’d utter in a venue filled with children.

5. Your child will insist on bringing one of their own toys then proceed to lose said toy in the ball pit, which will of course be huge! This will cause a monumental meltdown from child and result in you on all fours, flinging balls everywhere, trying to locate the item. You will not look good when this occurs but you will resemble some kind of flustered maniac.

6. Condition yourself for the onslaught of climbing up and avoiding swinging things by paying your local gym a visit at least once a week. This will ensure that your body is at optimum capacity to tackle what seems like an assault course and to run wildly after your toddler. The food choices on offer will also ensure that the gym is essential as you will eat your weight in buns and chocolate to keep your energy levels up.

7. The only other thing worse than having to go a soft play area is having to go to a birthday party in one. Kids party + soft play + small talk with parents you don’t know = total hell on earth. There’s no alcohol either which is pretty dismal.

8. “You would save so much more money here if you just took out a membership”. A membership to hell on earth? No thanks, I would save money taking out shares in Echo Falls, not here!  Never ever agree to a membership offer. You will feel like you have to go everyday to get your monies worth and nobody’s got the time nor the energy for that.

9. Thank me later for this advice!