That is a question that I get asked quite frequently when I tell folks that I own a drama café. “Is that like an indoor play gym with slips and rock climbing structures and trampolines?” I guess that is what happens if you introduce an entirely new idea to your town.
Indoor playgrounds have been around for a while, and there are lots of of them in our city of Burlington and neighbouring cities of Oakville and Hamilton. They are the places that you take your kids to when they wish to burn off their energy when it’s too cold outside to go to the park, or when you do not want them to tear your house apart. They’re the places where your children can run around through mazes, climb ropes, slide down slides and let out all the crazy!
It was really at an indoor playground that the notion of Chickadee Family Cafe was born in my head. I’d taken my then two-and-a-half year old to a favorite indoor play space within our hometown Burlington and tried to keep him up as he raced down slides and throughout mazes. I crouched into tiny corners chasing my little guy around and came out utterly exhausted (proceed, insert jokes about how out of shape I’m here).
As soon as I emerged in the drama arrangements, I looked around me at the other parents. Many were standing around trying to keep a visual in their own kids’ whereabouts. Some were phoning their kids’ names, hoping that they were not stuck in a maze…’cause c am on, most of us know no adult really wants to have to climb all of the way up those arrangements to retrieve a crying child. Mostly, they looked exhausted and tired. Maybe their kids awakened at 6am too.
I had fun with my son, which had been the major purpose of visiting the indoor playground, but in a place full of other moms and dads around my age with children around my son’s age, there was a massive opportunity for building relationship with my community that I believed was completely missed. However, the atmosphere did not really lend itself to using a real conversation.
I began to research what else was out there for some superior mother — son time that didn’t need me to crawl on my hands and knees and squeeze my butt through a tunnel match for a toddler. I discovered play cafes. Play cafes are relatively new to Canada, but are around the united kingdom, Australia and the US for several years. A play café combines the requirements of both parents and children, fueling parents with carbonated drinks while providing ample play area for kids to explore and have fun.
Play cafes take the community-focused way of a café and incorporate a play space for kids. At Chickadee Family Caféwe provide that coffee shop atmosphere which you’re used to sipping your latte in as well as an enjoyable child-friendly environment filled with creative and toys based drama activities. When the play space is closed and the kiddos are in bed, our space can quickly transform into an evening assembly space for parent workshops, a couples’ date night or a meeting place for mompreneurs.
While most indoor playgrounds either don’t provide meals or function up fast food choices or vending machine snacks, a play café is a full sized café with espresso based beverages and a hearty menu of healthy snacks and lunch items.
A drama café is a bridge between an early years’ center and your local trendy café. Most play cafes offer parent and child classes and parenting supports through workshops and support groups, many things you can anticipate at Chickadee Family Café.
I expect that helped to clarify the gap between an indoor park and a drama café.
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