I love school breaks and summer time for its lack of structure and opportunities for fun. Unfortunately, work keeps, you know, expecting me to work. Over the years, my family has explored all kinds of environments for some work-play time. Some work better than others, and it always depends on children’s moods and sometimes the phases of the moon.
The Urban Chalkboard is a parent-child paradise. Planned activities, along with free play areas abound for the toddler and preschool set. Parent-child play is encouraged, but independent play is a-ok as well. Which means you can answer email and write an article or two.
The Soho Cafe in Carmel is located right on the Monon Trail. There’s a large patio right outside- my kids have used sidewalk chalk there while I worked on odds and ends. Between the yummy snacks, the constant flurry of bikes and dogs, and the big patio, kids can stay occupied for a good long while.
Of course there are always fast-food restaurants with dedicated playgrounds. With reliable wi-fi and items at every price point, it’s a very convenient option.
The Bounce Options
Monkey Joe’s (in Castleton and the Southside of Indianapolis) is a great place for kids to burn some energy while parents get things done. Its ample seating area, including a little alcove with computers invites parents to bring the office in. Admission to Monkey Joe’s isn’t timed, so you can stay for as long as you kids can jump.
Bounce U is another northside favorite. Their 2 hour bounce sessions are usually long enough for even the most energetic kids. Each bounce stadium has seating off the to side for parents to watch tv, read or work.
The two Skyzone locations (in Plainfield and Fishers) are a great options, especially for older kids. Referees (employees) man every trampoline station, which makes the environment pretty safe. Kids can go off and jump, while parents log onto the free wi-fi during their bounce sessions.
The Outdoor Parks
While you can certainly bring your own wi-fi hotspot outside, there are usually plenty of things you can do while kids play on a playground. Founders Park in Carmel has a large picnic shelter with nice picnic tables. Spread out papers to grade, reports to read or correspondence to write, and get to work! Holliday Park on the northside of Indianapolis has a huge playground to keep kids busy if parents need to park at a picnic table and get things done. Garfield Park on the southside is also a good option.
The Indoor Parks
Several area churches offer indoor play parks as part of their community outreach. Trader’s Point in Whitestown offers a fabulous indoor playground for kids. With tables available next to the play area, it’s a great place to get things done while the kids are having fun.
Many area libraries have small areas for free play. The Central Library downtown has things to do for kids of all ages, including a green screen stage. Between the books, the computers, the puzzles and other fun things, kids can occupy themselves for a long time.
There are plenty of places around the Indianapolis metro area for a change of scenery that can keep kids busy and help parents whittle down their to-do lists.