Hello all! After a really positive response to my ‘part 1’ post on our trip to Butlins Bognor Regis (who knew there were so many non-believers like myself, who are now excited to give Butters a go?!), I hereby present part 2 of our holiday. This time focusing on the things there are to do there for those with children under 4 (or things our two found fun anyway!), with some tips to help your Butlins holiday with small people run smoothly.
Angelina Ballerina Dance Class
Whilst Freddie was off gallivanting on the soft play and 2p machines, Sasha was keen to see some of the live shows, including the Angelina Ballerina Dance Class, held on the Skyline Pavilion main stage. With the help of some extremely lively Red Coats, budding ballet dancers are put through their paces in this fun and informal dance class. At 2 1/2, S was still quite little and a bit shy to start with, but after a while she warmed up and was soon pirouetting with the best of them. What’s nice about the class (and when watching the other shows- we also saw Fireman Sam and a bit of Thomas the Tank Engine), is that parents/ older siblings can come and sit with little ones and make them feel more confident about taking part.
A definite favourite with both Freddie and Sasha, the under 4’s Soccer Tots class was held on a quiet corner of the resort on the astro pitch. The guys running the group were BRILLIANT, so good with this age group, and also helped get the parents involved. Adam was off having his massage at the time, so it was up to Mummy (i.e. me) to showcase my footballing talents (erm…). Whilst my dribbling skills leave a lot to be desired, I discovered that I can do a mean header when put on the spot! The class is free and 45 minutes, which went so quickly as we were having so much fun. The feminist in me was pleased to see there was also a mix of little boys AND girls too. I knew that they would both love any activity with a ball (we play a lot, against my better judgement of ball-use within our home), but I was really surprised at how much S in particular enjoyed herself. Whilst very outgoing, she often takes a while to warm up to attending a new group, or class, so I never know how she is going to be. Whether it was because she had her brother by her side, or just simply loved zooming around the pitch, she had a whale of a time! The Soccer Tots guys are obviously doing something right, as I’ve never known a bunch of children this age listen so well! A highlight at the end was going to collect a certificate and medal, both of which have pride of place in the kids bedrooms. Freddie loves talking about his! We would definitely do this class again if we returned to Butlins!
A no-brainer here when you’re in the Pavilion, is for your smalls to get their money’s worth by going on the indoor fairground rides, again and again and AGAIN! From the little car track, to the aeroplanes, from the ladybirds to the tea cups, it’s the perfect introduction to all the fun of the fair for tiny tots. We usually had a go on them first thing in the morning, lunchtime, and then before dinner. If they were really lucky, Freddie and Sasha would get to go on after dinner, as on some night’s Butlins runs late night openings of their attractions from 7pm until 9 or 10pm- great if you’re trying to fit other stuff in during the day, or are going out and about.
Messy Play Zone
We ventured in here when looking for some down-time for the children and for a bit of a breather away from the busyness of the main areas. The girls in the zone were friendly, but didn’t seem to get involved with, or show the children what each of the different crafts were- we were okay as we worked it out for ourselves but others less confident with this sort of thing might want some guidance and the enthusiasm of the Butlins team. That was our only criticism though- the area was well equipped and clean, and both children had a lot of fun in here. Sasha got to work with some Halloween finger painting, and Freddie really enjoyed some shaving foam gloop and the giant building blocks. Worth checking out for a change of scenery!
Little Tikes Vehicle Play Area
THIS is the place to be if your little one loves ride-on toys and cars! F & S each have a Little Tikes car at home, so this massive space was just heaven for them, with a huge variety of Little Tikes ride-ons, cars, trucks and scooters to whizz about in/on and burn up some energy! I’ve never seen to many Little Tikes toys in one place, it was amazing. The area is well staffed and ‘policed’ in a relaxed way, and I never once felt that it got too crazy. Like I’ve mentioned before, I love the fact that the whole resort, whilst home to so many guests, never feels too busy, and the same goes for here. The children never once had to wait for a vehicle, there was always something free for them to play with. We easily spent a good 45 minutes-1 hour a day here. Luckily there are some chairs for the grown ups to grab a drink, and sit and watch their charges have fun!
Give a 3 year old a pot of two penny coins, and you have GUARANTEED entertainment for a good hour! Our whole family went old-skool and thoroughly enjoyed the bizarre thrill of inserting 2ps into the sliding machine, only to get the same number of 2ps back a short while later. ADDICTIVE. We left Bognor with a bunch of troll key rings as prizes, and the new-found discovery that my Mum is extremely competitive when it comes to these machines. “Watch my spot” she whispered, trotting off to get more coins, whilst eyeballing the lurking 6 year old boy on her patch. Also, a special mention in the amusements should go to the static ‘Telly Tubby’ ride that both kids were obsessed with all holiday. It didn’t even do that much, yet we were dragged here morning, noon and night, by our delighted 2 and 3 year old (weirdos). Just shows that you never know what your kids are going to be into. Just don’t forget your stash of 50ps!
Literally, Bognor’s beach and main promenade is just outside the ‘back gates’ of Butlins. We took a relaxed pootle along here and grabbed an ice cream on the Tuesday afternoon. Freddie and Sasha enjoyed hunting for stones and shells, and spotting the little train that runs along here regularly. A nice way to have some down-time as a family, and breath in that good sea air- you really notice the difference when you’re a London-dweller!
If there’s one thing you do with your under 4 on your Butlins’ break, it’s to go to an early-bird splash session between 8.30 and 9.30am, especially for little ones. Here they have the run of the pool, but without the wave machines and hectic environment of the usual times- a perfect intro. There are some small waterfalls and slides open still, and Freddie in particular absolutely LOVED them- I think he would have stayed in here all day! Sasha, who is less confident in the water, still totally enjoyed herself, and was a brave litle sausage, even having a go on a slide by herself.
Does what it says on the tin, although I thought worth mentioning as the soft play is (thankfully) split in to two- older children and under 4s. This was a relief for us, as although Freddie is a big 3 year old, even he would be in danger of getting knocked flying by over-enthusiastic older children in the bigger zone, let alone Sasha, who wants to do everything her brother does. Luckily, even the smaller zone is still interesting enough to keep 2-4 year olds busy- several levels to explore and a tunnel slide of its own. Which made for more relaxed parental viewing- I don’t like my nerves tested too much watching the standard soft-play scrum before the day has barely begun! TIP: Get here early i.e. 9.15am to enjoy a good half hour of relatively calm soft play.
I hope you enjoyed an insight into our experience with little ones at Butlins!
Have you been before with a small child? What did they enjoy the most?
You can also find out more about Butlins special ‘Just for Tots’ breaks HERE.
Linking up with Let’s Talk Mommy and ‘Share with me’!