We arrived at Ikea at lunchtime, and I had pre-planned that we would have lunch in the cafe/restaurant first. As a vegetarian, and since Kit doesn't eat red meat, meatballs were not on our menu. I am hugely impressed by the offerings that they do have for children though, Kit had fish, chips and peas, and I had their organic pasta and tomato sauce (which you could also get in a kids size but I thought I'd give Kit a treat although I ate most of his chips, I think he thought that peas were the treat!). Kit got a free banana with his meal, and I could have got a free organic baby food pouch with my meal, all for £3.98. I'm a fan of anywhere I can get a decent healthy meal for 2 for less than a fiver! Also did you know that you can get free tea or coffee in the week with an Ikea family card.
Now Kit is only 2 years old at the moment, but when he gets to 3 Ikea will open up a whole new dimension of admiration for me Smaland. Smaland is a creche for children 3+ to play in (which is essentially a soft play area) while their parents shop. Did I mention that it is free? Now I'm not a fan of soft play - I'm more of an outdoor play kinda girl, but if the weather isn't playing fair, I'm thinking that Kit would love the chance to run around, climb, and jump in a ball pit.
So here is my plan. Once Kit hits the big 3 I can go on an exciting tram adventure with him to Ikea, where we can get cheap lunch. I can then drop him into the free creche while I go back to the restaurant for free tea or coffee, in peace! I know it won't work that way (in reality I'd be reluctant to leave him in a creche anyhow) but even without Smaland, I think that we could be popping over a few times this winter, because look at the fun you can have just in the toy department!
I'm not sure that Ikea aims to be a play destination, but surprisingly Kit did not want to leave, and that it enough to turn it into one for me!