5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN DESIGNING A SOFT PLAY CENTRE
If you are interested in starting a soft play business, there are a lot of things to consider. Location, size, themed or unthemed, age range – there are endless things to think about – design of your soft play area is key. Luckily, House of Play can provide you with the best advice to make your business a success thanks to our 25 years worth of experience. Here are our general top 5 tips when considering the design of a soft play centre that you may not have thought about.
CONSIDER THE WHOLE FACILITY (LAYOUT)
Any successful soft play business needs to think about the ‘flow’ of the building as a whole and the logistical needs of its customers. For example, baby and toddler areas should be closer to the toilet facilities at a centre as these will be used more frequently by customers or slides should face the seating area so parents can watch their children come down. Small touches like this will help customers feel comfortable, that the facilities are easy to use and keep them coming back.
DESIGNS ARE ALSO FOR ADULTS
When thinking about setting up a soft play business, there is a temptation to focus on purely the needs of the children who will be using the equipment. However, it is adults that take them there in the first place. If a facility doesn’t meet the needs of parents or guardians – i.e. is safe with good visibility of the children playing inside, with good facilities – a café, toilets, clean etc. than a facility can have the best possible equipment mix for children but this will not be used and your business will not be successful.
SPACE IS IMPORTANT
Any good soft play design needs to consider what a frame looks like when it is full. Space is important to achieve this – parents want to be able to see their children during their play and whilst filling a design seems like something children would enjoy, it’s important to give them both a place to breath and calm down (after all, play is hard work!) but providing ample ‘free space’ also helps prevent accidents.
Seating is one of the most important parts of a soft play area. Parents want to be able to monitor their children and if there is not enough space for them to be comfortable, this will negatively impact on any business. However, as discussed in previous blogs, up to 50% of a soft play business’ spend can come from a café – if there is not enough seating then this cuts into the opportunity for any business to make more money.
FUNCTION OVER FORM
Whilst it is important for a soft play area to look good – and with the experience and knowledge of our talented design team, this is a given at House of Play – it is even more important that a soft play frame ‘works’ – that it is easy for children to use with a wide variety of interactive features. Many of our competitors choose features that add no practical value to the experience of the children using it or haven’t considered safety features – can children easily leave in the event of a fire? House of Play take these practical considerations into every design.
These are just a couple of examples of how House of Play think about design differently in comparison to others. If you would like to talk to our experts about how we can help you realise your soft play project, please contact us on 01302 846876.