By Jean Janes
There’s nothing I love more than spending time with my kids. Visiting fresh places, trying new things, and getting to know the little independent individuals my children are becoming is so rewarding. There are days, though, when even with my most lofty of intentions, the kid time gets old. I absolutely appreciate my four-year-old wanting to understand everything, but by the fifth time he’s asking why “that car is red,” it’s time for a parent break.
Getting a babysitter is not always an option, so after a little research, I have found three pleasant ways to spend time with my charming angels and enjoy some adult quiet time or grown-up conversation that does not necessarily test my expertise on trains, evaporation, or the scientific accuracy of SpongeBob. After trying a few places, I’ve selected three that are fun, inexpensive, and enriching in one way or another. I have tried to address the age appropriateness of each location, but it really will depend on your child or children.
For an easy day of play, I really like the Frog n Kiwi Café and Uplay Town Center. Located in University Place near the library, Frog n Kiwi Café offers an enclosed play area next to a charming café. The play area is secured with a coded door that you gain access to after you pay a fee for each child and sign a one-time waiver promising that you will not leave your kids unattended. Monday through Friday, kids from under one to eight can climb, play, or read. There are bouncy seats for the littlest ones, and climbing or educational activities for the older ones. Their hours and prices are subject to change, so calling ahead may be a good idea.
Frog n Kiwi has an assortment of beverages and snacks, which can be enjoyed in the Uplay room where the adults can sit, snack, talk, or utilize the free Wi-Fi. I appreciate the security of the closed room and it is an open floor plan that provides a clear line of sight from most of the tables. For the little ones, this location makes for a nice balance between independence and supervision.
For your older and more artistically inclined kids, the Java & Clay Café in Gig Harbor is a great way to pass a few hours. The café is attached to a ceramic studio where, once set up with a figurine, mug, or plate and some non-toxic paints, kids can decorate to their heart’s content while their loving guardian either sits in the café or brings their beverages to the studio side to supervise. While there is no age limit, my kids under five needed my hands-on attention, so for a true break, I’d suggest waiting till the kids are at least six-years-old.
The staff is attentive and friendly, and available for guidance or advice. It’s a nice way to get the kids doing something creative while you catch up on some reading, coffee drinking, or socializing. The items painted are fired and ready for pick up in about a week. The artwork is something to keep and treasure. We made mugs for the grandmas and they are charming prized possessions.
My last selection is Skate Tiffany’s! Roller Skating and Family Fun Center in Puyallup. This is another place that’s fun for nearly all ages, but you’ll want to take kids who are comfortable skating solo if you plan to grab some time to yourself. Enjoy a slice and a soda while your kids burn some energy accompanied by lively, cheerful music, lights, and lanterns. The pizza parlor is connected to the rink so you can sit at a table with the entire skating arena in sight, or you can take advantage of the large viewing screens located in the pizza parlor for your viewing pleasure.
If they aren’t feeling active and you have some spare quarters, Skate Tiffany’s also has an arcade with skee ball, video games, and a counter to trade in all the awarded tickets for prizes. The games are ideal for kids over about eight, but again, you’ll have to just use your best judgment for your child’s abilities and height. Prices vary, but are posted on their website or Facebook page. Colorful, fun, and excellent entertainment, Skate Tiffany’s will provide your kids with a memorable day of exercise and activity while allowing you to take some time to relax.
Certainly not an exhaustive list, these three places offer a nice way to enjoy your kids, but also make some time for yourself, your friends, and your own thoughts. After all, you need to take some time to formulate answers to all those questions about how sponges are real sea creatures, but don’t really wear pants.