Now that the weather is cold, and I can’t take the kids outside, weekends are a constant struggle to find a way for the kids to burn off their energy. Thanks to global warming, this has been an unusually warm winter. But on days like today it’s hard to make it through the day without completely destroying the house. So I’ve been searching, unsuccessfully so far, for someplace indoors where we can go to pass the time.
The default venue, which is where we went today, is the local mall. We hit the JetBlue play area which has some things to climb on, but it gets packed. (Apparently, I’m not the only one with nowhere to go with little kids). Then we go to the carousel in the food court, a slice of pizza from Sbarro, then head home for naps. It gets us out of the house and the house stays intact, but even the kids are sick of the mall. Normally, you couldn’t get me near a mall except the day before Valentines to get a last minute gift.
I’m wondering why someone hasn’t come up with a fun, indoor place to bring toddlers and preschoolers. At least not in the Washington, DC area that I have been able to find. And it isn’t from a lack of looking. Here are some of the places and ideas I have tried or considered.
Chuck E Cheese – Has the right idea, but it’s geared for older kids that can play video games. My kids want to go on the rides which are too big and they inevitably fall off, get hurt, or throw a tantrum. By 12pm the place is bursting at the seams with birthday parties.
Little Gym – Great place but they only have birthday parties on the weekends. If they let anyone show up and use the gym, I’d be there every weekend.
Elementary school gym – I checked with the local school to see if they would let me use the gym on the weekends. I would bring some balls, toys, whatever, and just turn the kids loose. I’ll bet it would be quite popular. But they don’t do it mainly because the gyms are used for indoor sports leagues.
So, what would the perfect indoor play place be like? If you are looking to start a business, listen up. The ultimate indoor playland would be open every weekend. There would be a huge, open, child-proof (i.e. padded walls) area, with plenty of comfortable seating for tired dads. Big screen tv’s on the walls so I could watch football games without being forced to turn on Barney. Unlimited pizza, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs. Ok, maybe this is my fantasy land.? But there is a big market out there and I’d be the first in line.