You need your coffee fix and baby needs to play. You’ve tried taking your little one to Starbucks, haven’t you? They crawl on the floor, try to touch the burning fireplace, and pull the cord out of someone’s MacBook.
Oh, was that just my baby?
Well, trust me, there are better places in this city to drink your coffee while successfully parenting your babe. Luckily. Below are my personal favorites. (Criteria: Parent must be able to sit while enjoying their latte, location must be indoors (because I need coffee in all kinds of weather), tiny babies must be FREE, and coffee must be available onsite or you must be able to drive-through on the way and BYO!)
The Urban Chalkboard
Did you know there is actually a place designed for moms to drink coffee while their babies play??? (Or dads, or other caregivers, and older kids too!) If you haven’t been to The Urban Chalkboard yet, it’s time. This beautiful space is designed with intention in every detail. The open-ended toys and materials allow your kids to use their imaginations while spending time in a space that feels like your friend’s amazing home play space. Their studio offers story time, music classes, Baby Rave, and other activities (some paid, many free with admission). There is a special soft play area for infants. The coffee is delicious, bottomless, and you are actually supposed to sit there and drink it while your baby plays!
Admission: Free for adults, babies under 9 months, and kids over 8 years, kids 9 months-8 years are $12/day. Check their website for current deals and offers.
425 E. Carmel Drive, Carmel
Castleton Square, Greenwood Park and Keystone at the Crossing Malls
Remember how you used to go to the mall because you wanted to go shopping? Well life has changed. Now you can go there because you just want to sit and drink coffee! The play areas at both the Greenwood Park Mall and the Castleton Square Mall are enclosed, offer soft spaces, and have activities for the littlest of visitors. So grab your Starbucks on the way in, and have a seat.
Barnes & Noble
Another place to get your Starbucks fix is Barnes and Noble. They have fantastic areas for kids including train tables, lego tables, and other materials to explore as well as scheduled story times. If Babe isn’t into trains and legos let her check out the amazing toy selection (and get started on your Christmas list!). Or, you know, you could always read some books!
Conner Prairie is an often overlooked location for the littlest members of the family. If the last time you were there was your 4th grade field trip then it’s time to go back, ASAP. Among other additions and changes which make it more interactive and just more plain-ol-fun is a total overhaul of Discovery Station, their inside play area. The room is fully enclosed with an employee at the door (great for speedy crawlers), and multiple sections offer opportunities for climbing, lounging, train conducting, building, reading, art, and more. Bring your coffee and nod at the other moms relaxing in the nursing chairs. And if you get ambitious you can venture out to the barn to see the animals.
Find current admission prices here:
Many of the local libraries offer great free classes especially designed for babies. And you can definitely bring your coffee! Check out my article on Baby Lapsit classes at the libraries. Even if you don’t go during class time many local libraries have great areas where babies can play on soft mats, investigate beginner puzzles, and check-out the ever popular bead toy. Some favorites are Greenwood Library, Carmel Library, College and Nora branch of the Indy Public Libraries, and definitely Central Library downtown! So grab your favorite Joe and head to the local library to read and play with your little one. Or, just enjoy your caffeine buzz while she hits the keys on the computer.
Bonus: Confirm these events before attending
On Wednesdays, Mr. Daniel (You know Mr. Daniel, right?!) plays at Darrin’s Coffee Company in Clermont from 10-11am. Sip coffee and jam along while babies and kids sing, rock, and play along.
9122 Crawfordsville Rd. Clermont, IN.
(Call 661-3930 to confirm!)