The Woodland Play Patch opened in September 2019, in Fencehouses, Durham, and it quickly became our favourite play area!
This is a family-run, Montessori play area, with all wooden toys. Many of the toys are educational and open-ended, as well as ethically sourced - often they are second hand.
The play area houses a baby space, a toy kitchen and living area range, a playhouse, a pikkler triangle, a creative area and much more.
It's actually a play cafe, and that also gets top marks with delicious coffee and locally sourced treats at a very reasonable price, including a lunch box for the kids which includes sandwiches/pastry, cheese, crips, fruit and a drink,
Throughout the year they host various season events, as well as regular coffee mornings, new mam meetups, and breastfeeding support groups. You can even rent it out for your own special occasion!
I find that I really struggle to visit play areas due to my anxiety, and the Play Patch - as it's affectionately known to some of the regulars - has offered me a safe space to go, where I can leave my anxiety behind. It's big enough that my kids can have loads of fun there, but just the right size that I can sit and enjoy a coffee but still see them.
I do struggle with visiting play areas due to my anxiety. I want to go somewhere that is relaxed, easily accessible, and has somewhere nice that I can sit but still see my toddler.
It's a non-judgemental area for parents and carers alike, with a good mix of mams, dads, grandparents, aunties and uncles bringing their youngsters along for a play!
The owners, Sophie and Craig who work hard alongside Michelle, are lovely, and are also close friends of ours so we can personally vouch for their genuine, caring attitudes, and know that they understand from their own personal experiences of becoming parents, the challenges we face and the support we need.
They did have to close their doors temporarily during 2020 but they have reopened and kept the area so safe and spotlessly clean, you can really see them actively doing everything they can to keep their customers safe.
***Please note due to Covid some of their services may be slightly different. Please see their website, linked at the start of this post, to keep up to date with opening times, events, and to book a place.