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One mum’s solution for an entire community

Publication: Forres Local

Mother and daughter at a play area
Ania with daughter Chanelle. | Photo by Marc Hindley | Licensed for use on Scottish Beacon | All rights reserved.

In Forres, a mum-of-two with nowhere to take her toddlers to let off steam has taken matters into her own hands and opened a play centre that fills that gap.

Former hairdresser Ania Kanafek has moved converted an old fishing tackle shop into a safe play area for infants and toddlers, with a small cafe for mums and dads.

My Little Play World will open to the public on 17 July and features a huge soft play area, some electronic games, jigsaws, puzzles and, of course, that all-important kids menu for playtime fuel.

Ania said:

“There are places for adults that are child-friendly, but I wanted to focus on the children, so I’ve turned it around and made a place for children that is adult-friendly!

“I’ve gutted the shop and added a kitchen, and there’s a dedicated, gated play zone with a ball pit, giant caterpillar tunnel, building blocks and much more.

“My menu is reasonably priced, and I’ll offer hot drinks, sandwiches, toasties, paninis, waffles and a children’s menu with picky plates and kids’ favourites like beans on toast.”

Ania was a hairstylist for several years, and she has two children, an 18-month-old boy and an 11-year-old girl, Chanelle, who has been helping prepare the place for opening.

My Little Play World will host a storytelling session on the first Monday of every month and will be available for exclusive use as a venue for birthday parties, baby showers, etc. Kids can play for 90 minutes for £4.99; each child gets a balloon and a lollipop when they leave.

Ania added:

“I wanted to keep the upper age limit down, so the little ones can play without the older kids. I didn’t like playgroups, and I think people will enjoy this as an alternative. Mums and dads, grandparents and babysitters can all keep an eye on the children and have a drink or a bite to eat while they’re here.

“I will have times for older kids, like Halloween and glow-in-the-dark parties, where I’ll black out the windows and remove the soft play area, but these will be exclusive events in addition to the regular play sessions.

“I’m very flexible about hosting parties. I can decorate the place entirely, or parents can come in and do it themselves. I can provide the food, the cake and the venue, but I want to make fun possible for all budgets, so I encourage anyone to get in touch to discuss their options.”