Last week a friend and I headed to a special sneaky preview of the new play centre in town called Little Street. Think a smaller Kidzania and no sign of soft play hell. It’s located upstairs in the Royal Star Arcade in Maidstone. If you’re looking for an alternative play area in the Maidstone area, you’ve found it. They have based a lot of the play themes around the early years curriculum, so they will be learning through play.
There’s lift access for buggies and disabled access. Once upstairs, you then enter the light airy space that is Little Street Maidstone. There’s been a bit of buzz around my mummy friends and on social media, so we were thrilled to go and be one of the first to try it out.
Here’s my review, I had a little bit of help from my son Daniel, and his little friend who are both 2. Once you go upstairs and inside, you can park your buggy before you go in, then you both take your shoes off before going to play. The seating area and play area merge into one, and if you manage to get a cup of tea in, you can see your charge easily. The play rooms are all set out in and around the seating area.
First off in the middle is a large wooden fire engine emblazoned with the Kent Fire and Rescue logo, it has the uniforms, radios and a big old fire hose to play with! Around the fire truck is a road with different ride on cars they can play on, including a Ferrari, Daniel’s favourite!
I managed to prise him away from the cars for a little bit to explore, and we headed to the cafe, called Chicco’s Cafe. I was amazed at the detail they had gone to, there are a mixture of toys and real life cleaned props to play with. After each one and a half hour session they reset and clean all the play equipment so that each child has the same experience. They also only allow in a maximum of 80 people, that’s including children and adults. You can even hire out the whole place for an event.
Then we had a play in the medical centre, probably I encouraged him a bit to play there I admit, but he did like waving the medical instruments at the doll patient. I think he makes a fine Doctor in waiting.
Going round the room there’s the supermarket next which I loved. There’s little trolleys, baskets and cloth bags, a till that they can sit at and shelves stocked with everything you’d find at a real supermarket. They’re all empty of course! There’s a vegetable rack and a fridge too. There are even babies that you can put in the trolleys. Daniel loved being the shopper and the cashier, I did too!
There are also laminated shopping lists that the older child can take round and pick off specific items around the store. Next we tried the building area, which is smaller than the rooms, and has diggers they can ride on plus bricks they can lay and boulders they can move around with the diggers. Of course there’s dress up too, with miniature high vis vests.
If your little one is starting school, there’s a classroom called little learners that’s straight out of primary school, with interactive toys, uniforms and educational tools, whiteboard and alphabet magnets.
Next up was the police station and jail, it was so cute! I went to jail and became a prisoner. Officer Daniel and his friend banged me to rights.
We did manage a quick cup of tea and cake in between playing but there was so much for them to do we didn’t stop for long. Next was the theatre, which I know my little girl will love. There was every type of fancy dress, make up that is actually not real but had me questioning it and loads of accessories to make them feel like a star on stage and let their imaginations run wild.
There’s also two toy horses that are fixed to the floor that you can groom, put blankets on and ride, complete with riding hats.
Lastly, you may have noticed little post boxes outside the rooms, there’s also a post box, postman’s outfit and bag, complete with letters addressed to the different areas. Daniel loved posting them into the post box and getting them out again.
We had such fun trying it out! The sessions are timed as I mentioned before, so it’s not like some play centres where you stay as long as you like. We’ll be heading back there with my older children soon.
Little Street Maidstone Opening Times
It’s open every day 7 days a week and there are 4 play sessions per day. They’re only closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Easter Sunday and New Years Day. You can pre-book online or on the phone or you can just turn up but if they’re full you may get turned away or asked to wait. Play sessions are as follows:
09:30 – 11:00
11:30 – 13:00
13:30 – 15:00
15:30 – 17:00
Little Street Maidstone Prices
Sessions cost £5.85/£6.30 weekends and holidays and one adult free, extra adults £3.50/£3.75. Pre walkers are free. You can also get an annual pass which covers 10 child sessions at £50 off peak, £55 any time.
They have toilets and baby changing on site and every area was clean and well kept. There are hot and cold drinks and snacks available, but no hot food. They take debit and credit cards and cash. Hopefully I’ll see you there soon! Any questions, feel free to ask. They also have another Little Street in Surrey and there are more set to pop up around the country as the franchise grows.
Disclosure: we went to the preview event free of charge. All opinions are my own.