This weekend, I took my daughter to a Baby Disco.

The Chapel was taken over for the afternoon with the idea of entertaining the under-sevens of Salisbury. One room became the buggy park, the main room was the "disco," and the third room was taken over by Jumparoo, who'd brought a bouncy castle, inflatable slide, ball pit and various ride-on toys.  There were also healthy snacks dotted around for little hands to reach,  teas and coffees for the grown-ups, and face painting. It was only £2 per head as well, which I think was pretty good. As far as I know the criteria was, if you're walking you pay to get in - but people have said they weren't happy that parents had to pay to get in. To be honest I'm not sure it would make a difference. For me, I would have paid £2 either way, for myself or for my daughter. I suppose for others though, it might have been a problem and I know soft play venues often only charge per child.

My daughter is only seventeen months old, so not really old enough yet to appreciate everything that was on offer - but she did spend a lot of time in the ball pit, wandering about amongst the other children and having a fabulous time. She tried her best to join the big kids on the bouncy castle, completely fearless as toddlers are wont to be; I had to stop her going fully into the crowd though, as I didn't fancy an afternoon at A&E. The older children did seem to be having a fantastic time though, and the toddlers bounced on the edges holding their parents' hands. 

We had a little dance in the disco as well, enjoying looking around at all the other children in the UV light and pulling faces at each other in the mirror.

The event was on for two hours, but we only stayed for an hour or so; I think the full two hours is only for the hardened children's party animals! It was quite busy, and there were a lot of over-excited children running around - as you would expect really, but it was a bit much for my little girl (and for me!) I can see her being one of the front-runners in a couple of years though - she loved the ball pit and the bouncy castle!

I think a lot of the things people complained about were things that can't really be helped with this sort of thing. When you put a lot of children in a room with loud music, lights and a bouncy castle, even without a ton of sugar they're going to go a bit crazy and get over-excited, aren't they. No parent enjoys that madness, but we grin and bear it because children of a certain age just love to run and bounce around on a Saturday afternoon. My personal bugbear was that there was a massive queue for face painting. Luckily I wasn't harrangued into joining the queue, but again - I think that's just one of those things isn't it. You go to one of these events, you queue to get your child's face painted.

On the whole, it was well organised, and definitely a great idea - but nobody expected it to be as successful as it was! There are definite improvements to be made for next time, for example making sure the doors are manned to avoid escapees or random walk-ins off the street, but I do think it's a great idea for a regular event in Salisbury. Also I think perhaps 0-7 is too large of an age range - the younger kids risk being squashed by the older ones, and the older ones can't play as raucously as they would like, for fear of squashing a smaller one. I understand the organisers have been responding to feedback on the Facebook page for the event, and hope to improve it for next time.

Helen Rynne, one of the organisers of the event, tells me they hope to make it a quarterly event which I think is good timing - weekly or monthly would be a bit too much, but quarterly would be a nice treat from time to time - at Christmas, Easter and so on. I'm sure with each event feedback will be noted and improvements made. I'm looking forward to the next one... but not to trying to keep my little girl out of the mass of bodies on the bouncy castle!