Play Avenue in Messingham (near Scunthorpe) opened it’s doors on 7th September 2019. It’s the idea of Amanda, mum to Charlie age 3, and over the summer she’s been busy building and bringing her idea to life. We went along last weekend to find out more about it and for my children to try it out. She was there to greet us all to the play session, and Charlie opened the gates for us to go in!
Sessions last for 1 hour 30 minutes, there are 4 time slots throughout the day and you book onto your chosen slot. This prevents it getting too busy at one time and allows staff to in between sessions and tidy up and put the items back ready for more children to use. We went early and did the 9.30am Saturday session, it was 35 minutes drive from Hull so not too much of an early start for a weekend! It’s in a rural area and easy to find, there was a large car park too.
I’ve not been anywhere like Play Avenue before. It’s a street (the Avenue) lined with various shops and buildings, a village green with a caravan and ice cream van on and a beach with a boat, all which the children can go into and play in. It reminded me very much of Biggleton on CBeebies! My children didn’t know where to begin. They ran around for the first 5 minutes just not sure what to go in first, then they settled in and started exploring each shop or building on the street.
They started off in the post office where there were envelopes and parcels to sort, they both spent ages emptying the letterbox and delivering letters to the rest of the street.
My son then discovered the police station and spent a lot of time arresting his sister and putting her in jail!
We all went into the hairdressers and I had my hair washed and cut by my kids (all pretend!). The attention to detail was fantastic, the hairdressers had uniforms for the kids to wear, a cape to go across my shoulders, lots of rollers, clips and brushes and then a till and card to pay on, everything was as it is in ‘real life’.
You can let your children go in and play and watch them from the lovely cafe area or you can go in with them, I was as fascinated as them to be honest and spent most of the time in with them playing together and exploring.
I did pop to the cafe for a coffee and cake which was excellent; a really good coffee (I drink a lot of coffee and know what I like!), a very good and enormous slice of cake and very reasonably priced at £4 for both. There was a lot of kids food too on the menu which all looked good and very reasonably priced as well.
Back in the street my daughter had discovered the ice cream van, she had the apron on and served me a variety of ice creams and ice lollies before pretending to drive on to new locations. We then went in the caravan which was very cute indeed!
Another big hit was the theatre; there were lots of dress up outfits and a stage with a curtain to perform on. I was sent away while they got into outfits and rehearsed a show then I was called in to watch the performance!
We also really liked the vets where we bandaged a toy cat with a poorly paw and put a collar on a toy dog! Then we went to the maternity hospital and looked after the newborn babies, changing their nappies and feeding them. That room was very popular, as was the building yard next to it.
Everything was so well thought out, there was everything my children could possibly need to play at being grown ups. For example the cafe had aprons in that they could where to serve, there were take out cups or cups to stay in. It really was like a miniature world that they could let their imaginations run wild in.
The only slight problem we had was that my daughter had been given the class bear, Geraldine the giraffe, for the weekend and we’d brought her along with us. I’d managed to put her down somewhere then panicked because she had gone missing! Of course she was fine, someone had found her, picked her up and put her in a cage in the vets assuming she was part of Play Avenue! So I didn’t have the shame of losing the class bear to deal with.
It was a completely new experience for both of my children (and myself), they both said they had really enjoyed it and are asking to go back. It was absolutely perfect for my 5 year old. My 8 year old was getting towards the top end of the age range but I’d say it would be good from babies up to 10 years, he just couldn’t fit in some of the dress up outfits! It was lovely to see him using his imagination though rather than just slogging his football around which is all he wants to do normally.
You can walk in for a pay and play session but they recommend advance booking onlineto ensure availability. They also do Kids Parties! Contact them for details.
Play Avenue, Kirton Road, Messingham, Scunthorpe, DN17 3RD. 01724 761686.