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Things to do with a toddler in Basingstoke and Deane

Looking for inspiration for ways to keep your energetic toddler occupied? Whether you are a stay at home parent, have a day off with your little one during the week or are a grandparent providing childcare we have plenty of ideas for you and the toddler in your care!

Free stuff

Basingstoke and Deane is not short of parks, playgrounds and green spaces to keep your little ones entertained.  In the autumn and winter they can enjoy jumping in puddles and getting muddy. We hope for a sunny spring and summer and if so, the paddling pool at Eastrop Park or the splash pad at Chineham will keep them entertained.

You can follow the fantastic Streets Alive Trail at the Top of the Town in Basingstoke. Download the TrailTale App to find the route. You’ll discover street furniture that has been decorated by local artists to form Basingstoke’s very own outdoor art gallery.

You’ll find libraries in Basingstoke town centre, Chineham, Overton, Whitchurch and Tadley.  Join up for a regular supply of books to help your toddler develop their vocabulary and spark their imagination. It’s also a lovely way to fill an hour on a rainy day.  Chineham Library runs Story Time on a Tuesday for three to five year olds. You can also find Story Time at Tadley on a Thursday. You will find Rhymetime at The Discovery Centre in Basingstoke town centre on a Wednesday or at Whitchurch or Chineham Libraries on a Friday. Visit the Hampshire Libraries website for event listings.

Head to Basing Woods where you can enjoy the vast expanse of woodland all year round. Enjoy the nature play area which includes swings, rocks to climb, tree stumps to navigate and a large concrete tunnel to scramble through.

Toddler groups and ways to meet other parents

If you are looking for an informal play session and a way to meet other parents, grandparents or carers then there are plenty of toddler and playgroups in the area. These usually charge a small fee and there is no commitment to go every week. We’ve found these but if there isn’t one near you listed then look at your local community centre or hall to see if they run one or visit the Hampshire Healthy Families website which has a list.

  • Warren Tots is a friendly and informal drop in pre-play session on a Wednesday at Hatch Warren Community Centre. No need to book, just pop along, grab a coffee and make new friends.
  • Basing Beans Toddler Group runs on Tuesday mornings at Lychpit Community Hall. Each session includes a craft, story and song time as well as refreshments, biscuits and adult chat!
  • Popley Little People meets at Melrose Community Centre on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. All parents and carers are welcome with children from bump to school age.
  • Munchkins is a Baby and Toddler Group in the Rooksdown/Winklebury area of Basingstoke that meets on a Thursday morning.
  • Tuesday Tots at Oakridge Hall for All is a weekly local playgroup for newborns through to under fives.
  • Barn Tots at Viables Community Centre is a parent and toddler group for pre-school children that runs on Tuesday mornings during term time.


There is no shortage of classes to attend with your toddler in Basingstoke:

  • Spark that inner scientist with Mini Professors.
  • You can find Toddler Sense sessions at Oakridge Hall for All. The classes provide sensory stimulation, fun adventures and learning opportunities.
  • If you are looking for a cookery class to attend with your pre-schooler then check out Tot Cross Buns who offer classes for two to five year olds.
  • For those looking to introduce their little ones to music take a look at the classes with Caterpillar Music.
  • Go on a weekly adventure with Drama Tots through imaginative play using music, movement and props. You can find classes at Old Basing and Lychpit Hall. Most suitable for 18 months to five years.
  • Experience music, sign language, massage, yoga and sensory play with Tots Play. Basingstoke. Sessions from birth up to four year olds at the Roger Morris Centre, Sherfield Park Community Centre and Chineham Village Hall.
  • Fancy making mess elsewhere? Ages five months to five years can enjoy messy play with Little Learners at Basingstoke Soccer Centre.
  • Enjoy squidgy, squelchy, crafty, creative, splodgy, sparkly and most of all messy play with Messy Monkey Makers at Popley Fields Community Centre.
  • You can enjoy dance and storytelling with Collective Motion Dance at Hill Rise Hall, Brighton Hill, Basingstoke and St Gabriel’s Church Hall, Popley.
  • For swimming classes for your little ones take a look at Aquadrome or Basingstoke Sports Centre. You could also enjoy a family swim session in the 20m pool or the lagoon at the Aquadrome. The flumes and Under the Sea area remain closed at the moment.
    Children aged under six swim for free.

Indoor active play

  • Located in a converted barn in a rural part of the borough, Active Tots has lots on offer for toddlers including a garden for summer months, soft play and a toddle area with role play.
  • If you are in Basingstoke town centre and want something to entertain an active toddler take a look at the Jungle Adventure soft play sessions at Basingstoke Sports Centre.
  • Flip Out located in Festival Place offers stay and play sessions for under 5s on weekdays during the school term.
  • Atmosphere Trampoline Park have dedicated sessions for those of walking age up to and including 5 years old where they can enjoy a bounce away from the bigger kids.
  • There are a number of different pre-school classes available at Basingstoke Gymnastics Club including PlayGym drop in, Structured Parkour and MiniGym.
  • If your children enjoy role play, Pop Up Play Village run a number of sessions during the week. Explore different areas such as café, construction site, baby nursery, hospital, library, emergency services and veterinary centre.

Kid friendly coffee shops

For a relaxed cosy coffee house then head to Willows Coffee House on the corner of Cross Street. The café has a lovely range of hot drinks, sweet treats and freshly baked bread.  

Basingstoke Together

Located in the beautiful surroundings of War Memorial Park and full of community spirit is The Orchard Community Café. The café is open Monday to Saturday 11am to 3pm and now offering a menu with a range of paninis, baguettes, cream teas and children’s lunches.

Other inspiration

Milestones museum is Hampshire’s Museum of Living History. Under fives go free and adults pay once and can visit again all year.

Milestones Museum, courtesy of Hamphire Cultural Trust

Enjoy history, garden trails, wildlife spotting and a trip to the Riverside Café at Whitchurch Silk Mill.  Under fives go free.

Credit Whitchurch Silk Mill

Enjoy craft with your toddler, choose from blank pottery pieces available at Pots 2 Paint in Viables, have some fun and create a keepsake.

If your little one is craving new toys then why not take a look at Basingstoke Toy Library that runs out of The Roger Morris Centre. It has range of toys available to hire from board games to Baby dolls; puzzles to push-alongs!

Please note the inclusion of any business within this listing should not be seen as an endorsement of their services. Whilst the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. If we’ve missed you off the list or missed your favourite then drop us an email:

Blog written August 2021, updated April 2023

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