I can easily pass a fun morning at Ikea with my kids – Miss 18m, and Miss 5. My first tip is to get there early, and by that I mean 9:30am on weekdays.
First call of business is to go straight in the doors, up the escalators and drop Miss 5 off at “Smaland Magic Forest” play area. This area is for kids between 3–8 years old who are toilet trained (no pull-ups) and you can leave them fully supervised for up to an hour. All you need to do is sign them in, leaving your contact details, and both child and you will receive a corresponding number (the child wears a bib, and you get the number stamped on your hand).
The friendly staff then take your child from you and show them around. Inside the play area is a big pit of balls to tumble into, a tunnel to hide out in, and a colouring-in table with plenty of paper, as well as a comfy theatre area where a kids movie is screened. Miss 5 loves going to Smaland, and always seems surprised that the hour is up when I collect her. There are toilets inside the play area too.
One kid down. And GO. Ideally if you have a baby who is happy in the pram then you can spend your entire hour browsing Ikea at your leisure, but in my case Miss 18m has a ceiling on pram time. So I usually make my way through the display rooms first at a decent pace, pointing out fun things to her and getting my fix of design and clever home décor… and then when she’s starting to squirm, I dash towards the last stop which is the Children’s furniture and toys section.
Here you will find samples of Ikea products that the kids are allowed to play with: tents, swings, chairs, a wooden play kitchen and various wooden and soft toys. It keeps Miss 18m occupied and happy for a good 10–15mins.
This area leads directly on to the Swedish restaurant/canteen.
The food prices will amaze you and are pretty unbeatable in Perth – for example a coffee and a cinnamon swirl cost me a mere $3.50!
There is an enticing choice of hot and cold lunches as well as Swedish pastries and sweet treats. Swedish Meatballs are a popular choice. Or how about a full hot Breakfast for $2.95 (only available before 10:30am though).
Kids meals are well thought out too. Try the Snack Pack which contains a wholemeal cheese sandwich, fruit bar, popcorn, muesli bar, fruit yoghurt and a soft toy for $3.95. Or meatballs or chicken nuggets with chips and veg for$2.95. There is also a new Organic Meal option for kids (pasta, yoghurt, apple, juice box) for $4.95.
You can also get free organic baby food when purchasing any adult meal. (babies 12 months and under).
I position myself near the kids entertainment area which has a Gazebo play area that Miss 18m loves. Inside the gazebo are various tactile games and things to look at that fascinate the kids for ages. Miss 18m likes going up and down the short steps on repeat.
Nearby is a small area with a bench seat facing a tv screen with an animated movie running constantly.
In this area is also a nursing corner with a comfy chair, and a microwave for baby feeding requirements. There are plenty of highchairs and plastic plates and utensils (the Ikea brand of course) for use in the restaurant.
After a satisfying coffee and pastry treat, it’s time to collect Miss 5 from Smaland.
If I were on my own I could have shopped and then paid and made my way back to collect my child all within an hour.
Miss 5 is still bursting with energy so we usually grab some of the kid sized trolleys and push them through the Market Hall all the way around to the checkouts – this is great fun for both kids. And I get a chance to grab a few small items as we fly through the shop.
Just past the checkouts in the Swedish Food Market, is another kiddy heaven: The Pick ‘n’ Mix display. It contains 64 assorted lollies and chocolates imported from Sweden at a cost of $2.25 per 100g. Its fun to choose a colourful paper bag and pick your mix!
There is also a takeaway food option situated near the exit – here you can buy cheap combos of fast food and drinks or even an ice cream, for a snack on the way home. Hotdogs cost a ridiculous $1, and a kids ice cream cone costs 25c!
You can quite easily have a cheap and entertaining time visiting Ikea with kids.
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