Ikea crafts

Five shops that offer free toddler activities

Looking for a free activity for your toddler? You might be surprised to discover that local shops provide the perfect answer…

1) Pets at Home

Pets at home

Better than a farm!

Almost as good as a farm, Pets at Home has rabbits, fish and guinea pigs. And it’s free! Just don’t tell your toddler the animals are for sale!


2) Ikea

Ikea crafts

Regular free craft sessions are available at Ikea

Not only do several of their stores have soft play (including Croydon) but they hold regular activities on weekends and during holidays. Recent examples including an in-store treasure hunt and arts and crafts sessions for free. They also provide free baby food when you purchase an adult meal and free fruit for children.


3) Waterstones


Get your little one interested in reading


The book shop is a great way to encourage your little one to read. They hold regular events with children’s authors as well as reading sessions. Find out your nearest. Plus each store has children’s tables and chairs so your little one can browse books too.

4) Early Learning Centre

Early Learning Centre

Look out for ELC’s storytelling events

As well as being one of the best places to buy toys, the Early Learning Centre often hold storytelling events, where your little one can hear their favourite books.

5) Shopping Centre softplay


Softplay is a great way to entertain children

Everywhere from Bluewater and Brent Cross in London, to the Eden Shopping Centre in Cornwall and the Bullring in Birmingham offer free softplay for your little ones in the shopping malls. The idea hasn’t come from the goodness of their hearts – it is, of course, to keep parents shopping for longer, but it’s a great way to entertain your children too.