A few weeks ago we were invited to go along to one of the Big Fish Little Fish Family Raves that was taking place in Engine Rooms in Southampton. I’d never even heard of a family rave before and not being someone to turn down a chance to do something different, I gladly accepted the invitation to go along and review the rave. This particular event was Heroes and Villains themed fancy dress and I was apprehensive as to how dressed up most people would be. We went for a cop out costume, of Cops and Robbers (sorry I couldn’t resist!). Darcie wore a striped t shirt and I made her a criminal ID number that I stuck on her top and Dan and I wore black and had Police hats that we could choose to wear depending on the level of fancy dress we encountered once we got there!
The rave took place from 1pm till 4pm and we arrived quite early on at around half one. As soon as we got near the venue we could hear the music so I would recommend taking ear defenders for any little ones that are particularly sensitive to loud noises. Inside the venue there was a bar, serving alcohol but only in plastic cups, an area with tents and play tunnels, an arts and crafts corner with a play doh station, the stage area with the DJ and the dance floor. Upstairs there was a baby area which was for non walkers so we didn’t go up, but I have heard that it is very good for the younger ones. I actually wonder if Darcie would have enjoyed being up there more as she does tend to get a bit overwhelmed by lots of older children, but I completely agree with the non walkers only rule. When Darcie was only just crawling I used to find it stressful having older toddlers clambering all over her.
From the stage they had a bubble machine which caught Darcie’s attention and there were also lots of balloons that the kids could pick up and play with. Darcie was happy as soon as she got hold of a balloon and was as mesmerised by the bubbles as she always is. We spent most of the time bopping Daddy on the head with a balloon and trying tos top her from stealing all the other children’s balloons.
The event is for children up to eight years old and I think it is probably such a good afternoon out for the older children. The only improvement I would have made to the event is to have an area specifically for toddlers, from early walkers to perhaps three years old, as Darcie was a little small to get involved in the play area while there were so many much older children than her there. That is just down to personal preference though and I’m sure if you had a particularly boisterous one year old they might be able to hold their own a bit more. Our Darcie is a tiny thing and it was quite stressful just watching her keep nearly getting knocked over by the older kids.
I think the whole concept of a family rave is brilliant though and as they are held quite regularly in certain areas around the country, I’m sure it would become something that kids would really look forward to going to again. I think we will be holding off going again until Darcie is a few years older but I would recommend anyone with older kids to look out for these events and try it out. It’s always good to do something different with the kids (soft play and swimming can become so monotonous!) and this is certainly something different!