Activities for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers in Loughton

If you have young children and live in or near Loughton then here are some ideas of places to go with them locally. This post has suggestions of both indoor and outdoor places to go in Loughton with babies, toddlers and preschoolers, but if you have older children you will want to check out this post for local activities. Read on for ideas of free and low cost places to visit with young children including playgroups.  

Toddlers will love exploring the forest
Ideas of Place To Go In Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Outside Play

It is great to get outside with children when the weather is good and with Epping Forest, parks and 8 playgrounds in Loughton alone that's a lot to explore. Check out this post for details about local playgrounds and you can read more about good locations for outside play in this post

If you are happy to travel here are our suggestions of great playgrounds further afield. 

Forest School Activities 

Essex Wildlife Trust run events at Roding Valley Meadows Nature Reserve in Chigwell. There are weekly  tot sessions and holiday sessions mostly suitable for children age 3 to 10 (although younger siblings can come to the family sessions). They run forest school sessions as well as woodland themed crafts, storytime and pond dipping. Early booking advised. Check the events page and filter the location to "Roding" and "Chigwell Meadows" to see what is coming up. 

Essex Wildlife Trust run great forest school sessions for tots and families

Inside Play

Come N Play Cafe, 65 Debden Broadway IG10 2HZ

This little soft play on Debden Broadway is great for toddlers and preschoolers. As well as a small play frame for preschoolers and play area for toddlers there are books and toys and they sell food and drink. At weekends they can be closed for exclusive hire parties so check for availability. Prebook a 2 hour session on their website, walk ins welcome when there is space.

Come n play soft play cafe in Loughton
Come n Play Cafe is the perfect size soft play for toddlers and preschoolers

Church Cafes

Loughton has a number of church cafes which offer a warm welcome and small play areas for toddlers. 

Hope Cafe at St Mary's Church (201 High Road, IG10 1BB) is open  9.15am to 2.45pm.         

Wesley’s Cafe at Loughton Methodist Church (260 High Road, IG10 1RB) is open 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday.

St Michaels Church (Roding Road, 1G10 3EJ) is open Tuesday to Friday 9.30am to 2pm.

play area in st marys church loughton
St Mary's cafe has a small play space inside the church

Library Sessions (Normally Term Time Only)

Toddler Toy Time: Debden Library Fridays 10am to 11.30am

Baby and Toddler Rhyme Time (under 5s): Chigwell Library Saturdays 10am to 10.30am and Loughton Library Tuesdays 10am to 10.30am

BookTrust Story Time: Loughton Library every other Wednesday 11am to 11.30am, Chigwell Library first Saturday of the month 10am to 10.30am

Sensory Stay and Play For Babies: Loughton Library Tuesdays 2pm to 3pm and Thursdays 10am to 11am

Toddler Toy Time: Loughton Library Wednesdays 10am to 11am 

Storytime: Loughton Library second Saturday of each month 10.30am to 11am

Children's Centre Sessions

The nearest Children’s Centre is Brambles in Epping, but they run Stay, Play and Learn Sessions at True Stars (at the Limes Centres) in Chigwell IG7 5LP  Fridays 10 to 12 and Tuesdays 10 to 11.30am Little Oaks Delivery Suite, Loughton, IG10 3TD (alternate weeks). Check the Brambles Family Hub Facebook page for updates.

A baby about to crawl through a pop up tunnel
There are lots of great free and low cost playgroups in Loughton

Other free or low cost playgroups in and around Loughton (most term time only)

Noah’s Ark at Oakwood Hill community centre (IG10 3NB) on Mondays and Trinity church (IGD 2JD) on Tuesdays and Thursdays (all 10am to 11.30am). Book at, but walk ins welcome if there is space. £2 for an adult and child. 

St Mary's Church Tots Time in Hope Hall Mondays 9.30am to 11am (IG10 1BB)

St Michael's Church baby and toddler group Wednesday 10am to 11am book here (1G10 3EJ)

LBeebies at Loughton Baptist Church Wednesday 10am  to 11.30am book here (IG10 1RB)

St Johns On The Broadway (Debden Broadway) Baby and Toddler time Wednesday 10 to 11am (free)

Further afield:

St Mary's Church Hall, Theydon Bois 10am to 11.30am  Thursday 

The Playhub in Buckhurst Hill is worth checking out for a wide range of classes and activities.

NCT Redbridge hold regular coffee mornings for parents and babies, check their Facebook page

Toddler looking at the fish at Pets at Home in Loughton
Ok Pets At Home is a shop, but we love to visit and see the animals


Epping Forest Retail Park on Langston Road (near Debden station) is always worth a visit. Aside from the large Smyths Toy Store there is a Pets at Home where you can see animals and fish (and sometimes feed them too).

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