Case Study - Soft Play at Home
It's no surprise that 2020 has been a difficult year for everybody, including the indoor soft play market. Various lockdowns have seen soft play centres across the UK closed for extended periods of time, some still remaining closed as of April 2021.
The news coverage soft play has had throughout the pandemic has highlighted just how important indoor play is for the young children of today and just how much it has been missed by kids across the nation.
So with play areas closed, parents had to look elsewhere to ensure their kids got the much needed exercise and stimulation soft play provides - they looked right at home.
The growing trend of introducing soft play at home actually started many years ago, although typically reserved for the rich and famous, it's now much more accessible to the mass UK market. This includes the ever expanding range of loose soft play products designed specifically for use in the home, but also smaller structures specifically designed to make sure the 'play value' of an otherwise redundant space (bedrooms, nurseries, basements, garages etc) is maximised.
We are going to look at both soft play and structure options together with examples, costs, and what requirements we need to be able to give you a bespoke quotation.
One question we get asked a lot..."do you do soft play for hire?" No, unfortunately we don't. We supply a lot of soft play for hire companies, but it's not something we do direct, sorry! However, we do sell some amazing kit, so let's get on with discussing what options are available:
The Soft Play option(s)
When we talk soft play, what we are referring to are the foam shapes wrapped in PVC - this typically excludes the structure side of things (i.e. multi-level steelwork frames with slides, climbs etc).
Soft play areas without structures tend to be cheaper and don't require specialist installation. They can be fully fitted within hours rather than days! Cheaper doesn't mean inferior though - often, it makes more sense to have a great soft play space, full of products and play value than it does to have a play structure with minimal features because there simply isn't enough space to fit the big stuff in! We can of course advise on this throughout the design / sales process.
How much does it cost?
Individual soft play items are available on our online shop:
- The range features the same quality materials and manufacturing you've come to expect from a commercial Soft Brick product. Where applicable, the foam is 24H density (slightly less than a commercial product) giving great strength and resistance to indentation, whilst still being light enough to be easily lifted / stored by an adult.
- PVC products designed to reduce the number of seams so you get all the strength, durability and scuff resistance in a simple wipe-clean package.
- Products designed to be less than 400mm high, so they don't have a Critical Fall Height (CFH) rating so you don't need padded flooring - although we recommend it!
Colours and theming are more in keeping with the subtle palette of a modern home interior design - you won't find any garish colours here (unless of course you want to stand out - we won't judge!)
Many of our products are even available in up to 99 colour combinations, so you can choose PVC colours to compliment your home decoration!
These loose soft play items are available from as little as £175 (inc VAT) for a full corner set!
Need floor padding too? What if you have more space and want a dedicated soft play space - including padding? Well, we have you covered there too - with our packaway kits!
These kits are available online and are specifically designed to be 'packed away' when not in use. Not only do they look great they also provide a dedicated soft play space to contain the loose soft play items. We sell kits including soft play product and even those without, allowing you to fill them up how you like.
What about wall padding? We can of course design areas to include floor and wall padding, but given the bespoke nature of these spaces (designing around doors, windows etc) we would need to provide a bespoke quotation.
The Structure option
Commonly called 'jungle gyms' or 'play structures', our high quality Soft Play Structures are built with steel frames and wrapped in soft foam and PVC and generally cater for children from the age of around 5 years old.
The steel framework that we use features a 1.2m x 1.2m grid system, which we recommend as the best method to maximise the play capacity and imaginative use of the space.
So how much space do I need for a structure? Ideally the minimum space required for a domestic style structure is approx 5m x 3m and approx +2m in ceiling height. This typically allows us enough space for a slide and small ball pool and we can then populate the rest of the design as required to ensure we make the most of the space.
What does it cost? Depending on the variables mentioned below, a structure of this nature starts at approximately £10,000 (Excluding VAT), but there are many things that can influence this price!
What goes into the design? Really, this is dictated by the space we have to work with. Some of our designs have included some electronic items like our LED Infinity decks and Eye Spy panels. Some want to focus on the play without any electronics. Some would prefer we cater more for sensory or SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) which leads us to...
The range of options and products available to the SEND market is varied and can also be very specialist. The good news is, we work very closely with some of the leading specialist equipment providers on the market to ensure you get the best overall design adapted specifically to your requirements.
We have a core product range of sensory equipment available online, however, given the specialist and bespoke nature of these products, we prefer to discuss these requirements directly with you. So please get in contact with our team or call us on +44(0)1925 837733 and we will be happy to discuss with you.
We recently carried out an at home play structure for the 'Dad V Girls' YouTube channel - as you can see, the kids (and adults!) love it! The video not only shows you how we've crammed the space with play, but also how we went about installing the structure. It's worth a watch!
See more on Instagram:
We've also got other examples of some smaller builds:
Do you charge for design? Can I get a quote?
We don't charge for design! There's just a few details we need in order to provide an accurate cost - these things can influence the cost massively, so they are important to consider:
Where you are
Not only for delivery, but should you need installation (i.e. a structure or soft play with wall padding)
The Size of the space
Not only the width x length of the room, but also a rough sketch of where doors / windows are is ideal. Don't forget ceiling height too!
What type of things would you like in the design? Are you thinking soft play or structure? Keep in mind, our products are great - but they are BIG! So as good as we are, we probably won't be able to reproduce your local soft play centre in your home nursery! :)
Get in contact with our team or call us on +44(0)1925 837733 and we will be more than happy to discuss your requirements in person!
- The Soft Brick Team