Cafe Play opened in December 2018 and from the outset they discovered an outpouring of support via Facebook. It’s clearly a venue that is offering something valuable to parents in and around Perth. We popped over for a visit to find out more about this new child-friendly resource in the heart of Perth.
What is a ‘Play Cafe’?
A play cafe is a space where parents can bring their children to provide a break from home whilst enjoying a safe child-friendly environment (and which also has good coffee on hand for parents).
Owner Louisa is a mum herself and she noticed the need for something like Cafe Play in the city. Recognising the role that imaginative play has in social and emotional development, Louisa took this as her lead on what cafe play would offer.
She decided to create a space in which children can enjoy imaginative play and spend quality time with other children. All without screens and other distractions. It’s a place for kids to just be kids. As an added bonus their parents get the opportunity to enjoy a few moments of their own, and perhaps even catch up with friends over a coffee.
Cafe Play has emerged from extensive research into what works best in other play cafes. Key ingredients seem to take the form of areas for role play and adventure that nonetheless allow parents to stay in line-of-sight contact with younger children.
Soft play environments, while fun, can leave parents of young, or vulnerable, children anxious when they disappear from view. Cafe Play isn’t a soft play facility; their space is big and robust with wide opportunities for imaginations to grow.
Learning through Play
Imaginative play is known to produce a host of beneficial effects on your child’s development. Add a bit of social development on top and you have a surprisingly solid argument for letting your child play-pretend that they’re a medieval knight, a chef, or a firefighter for an hour or two.
It’s important to Luisa that Cafe Play’s facilities offer stimulation and fun for wee ones. You just have to look at the play area to see that it’s an absolute wonderland of pretend play. There are so many types of play available; domestic play in the house, magic and adventure in the castle and in the gingerbread house, a puppet theatre for the dramatically inclined, and a whole blackboard wall for budding artists to make their mark.
It’s getting easier nowadays for kids to find their way to using a screen as entertainment. A place like Cafe Play is a refreshing step away from this trend; plunging them into a world of pretend play and of real-world interaction with other children.
A bit of peace and quiet
From Louisa’s research they found another key ingredient for play cafes is the availability of a quiet space; a place of calm for children in need of a quiet moment. Other successful Play Cafes often have a place in which very young children, and children who may need a break from noise, can enjoy a few moments of quiet.
Cafe Play’s quiet space is a cosy nook tucked away at the far end of the cafe. It has various uses. Primarily it is utilised by mums who want a bit of quiet while feeding their baby (Cafe Play is 100% breastfeeding friendly, and they also offer bottle warming as well).
Cafe Play’s quiet space is also useful for parents of children who may occasionally feel overwhelmed in public spaces. It’s a cosy corner with a multitude of uses.
It isn’t closed off from the rest of the cafe either so parents with more than one child are still easy to find if their other kids need them.
…Sometimes a bit of noise is good too
What’s more, cafe play also have their own function area. This space has been used more and more often since they opened, as they grow their calendar of events. On top of this, the space is alo available for event bookings like birthday parties (get in touch with Cafe Play for more details).
Cafe Play is quickly developing a calendar of activities, making full use of their function room. Among their upcoming events you’ll find a variety of workshops including (but not limited to) messy play, craft workshops, and storytime events. The room is also used to host pre-loved clothes sales (more details of times etc. on Cafe Play’s events page), and Louisa is also looking into offering early years mindfulness classes.
Free WiFi and a little window of time for parents working from home
Cafe Play is a place for children and parents to unwind. However, there’s nothing stopping parents from making use of the free wifi and play facilities in order to catch up with a bit of work. Working from home sounds idyllic but it can be a little daunting with a wee one.
At Cafe Play you can relax, catch up with an hour or two of work, and enjoy a couple of coffees (and a sneaky wee bite). All this, safe in the knowledge that your child is playing and enjoying some time with other wee ones.
A growing community of support
As we noted already Cafe Play have a loyal and increasing Facebook fanbase. Primarily these are made up of a growing group of parents who are telling their friends about the facilities at Cafe Play. When asked about the highlights of 2018, this fantastic level of support was the clear winner for Louisa.
Cafe Play has gone to great lengths to offer all the features that a parent of young children could want. It’s a venue with a lot more going on than you might think; from their fantastic(and HUGE) pretend play zone, to their ‘baby den’/quiet space, to their free WiFi, and their smooth and invigorating coffee (don’t worry we sampled for your benefit). On top of this their great little function room hosts a wide selection of different events, and can also be hired out for birthday parties at a starting price of £100.
Time to go
Cafe Play are open Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 till 3:30 (perfectly timed for school drop-off and pick-up). If you have wee ones and you’re feeling the need to get out of the house for a few hours, you’re in for a treat if you pop down to Cafe Play.
Find out more by clicking this link to Cafe Play‘s Facebook page.