One of the many common questions we are often asked about at House of Play is what size building does one need for their project? There is no absolute answer to this as the ideal building size range for each project is determined by a range of factors. These include the amount you would like to invest, how much you want to earn, what your preferred product mix is, geography, scale – and many more. For example, a small soft play café could be 1000 sq. ft. whereas a multi-faceted family entertainment centre could be 10’s of thousands of square feet. However, from our 25 years’ worth of experience at House of Play, we would suggest the following approximations to be reasonable guidelines for scale:

Café with soft playUp to approximately 2000 sq. ft.
Soft play centre for children up to 5 years of age*Up to approximately 3000 sq. ft.
Soft play centre for children up to 5 years of age*Up to approximately 5000 sq. ft
Soft play centre for children up to 7 years of age*Up to approximately 7000 sq. ft.
Soft play centre for children up to 10-11 years of age*Over 7000 sq. ft.
Family entertainment centre for children up to the age of 10-11 years of age**Up to approximately 10,000 sq. ft.
Family entertainment centre for all ages***The size is potentially limitless although 15000 – 40000 sq. ft. is usual.

*All of the above play centre options could include some role play with those over 5000 sq. ft. having the option to include another feature such as a climbing product, VR, etc. All could benefit from the introduction of interactive equipment to introduce a mental element to the physical play.

**These could include, say, more than one product type, selected to be appropriate for the target age range and differentiation from local competitors such as sensory room equipment. It may also be possible to spend money on theming to create a strong, unique identity.

***These could include a large range of products selected to provide maximum appeal across a wide age range, for example, soft play, agility courses, climbing, role play, trampolines, ninja courses, parkour, interactive features, VR, RFID tagging and a range of products currently in development.

Since the layout of your play centre will be one of the key influences on its commercial success, you must try and assess your preferred product mix. If, for example, you want to include a 5 a-side football pitch then the proposed site must be large enough to accommodate this. Equally, if your ambition is to provide facilities for children up to a maximum age of 8 years (for example), then a 12000 square foot building will be unnecessary.

Once you have determined your required product mix, an appropriate scale, analysed your likely funding profile and ideal budget for capital expenditure, site availability, competition, required remuneration and any other factors that may influence your choice, you can agree your preferred building size range and start the hunt for appropriate premises.

Whilst this is often the most difficult part of any project, House of Play are able to provide guidance on potential properties – call us on 01302 846876 to find out more.

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