I’m writing an article about The Urban Chalkboard, while enjoying a cup of coffee at The Urban Chalkboard. Kind of ironic, right? There’s been a buzz surrounding this new play café for months, but even more so recently since its soft opening right after Thanksgiving. I’ve personally been stalking them on Facebook, and eagerly awaiting their opening…although, I have to admit, I was skeptical. How great can it really be? Well, apparently, pretty freaking great.
What I want to write is: stay away, nothing to see here, keep on moving – because I love this place too much and want it all to myself – but it wouldn’t be fair to do that, since so many parents and children will get great use out of this space.
I referred to the size of the space to someone as “a little bigger than a Starbucks.” It’s not a large space, but it encompasses many different areas of play, making it easy to keep an eye on multiple children playing throughout the space. Developed by two PhDs in child development, you can tell everything has been well thought out. A soft area for children under 18 months, a kitchen, a wooden structure, teepee, train table, and reading nook are just a few of the spaces available to children. As someone with my own PhD in Early Childhood Education, it makes me smile to see so many developmentally appropriate, child centered, and open ended play spaces and toys. We’ve been twice already and in both trips my boys have played without pause the entire time.
Parents are encouraged to use the space to spend quality time with their children, playing alongside, talking, reading with them and it’s great for that. It’s also a great space for work-from-home parents to go to get some work done or for parents to hang out and have a cup of coffee while their children play. The coffee is all local from Liberation Coffee in Fountain Square and Noble Coffee & Tea in Noblesville. Healthy food choices are available, as well, with fresh items such as Chicken Caesar Salad, Turkey Roll-ups, and Hummus from Blu Moon Café in Carmel – as well as a variety of other kid-friendly snacks.
One of the other great features of this space is the number of included activities. During one visit, we got to attend a music class; during another we saw the end of storytime. During other times staff members would get out an art activity for children to participate in, if they so choose. In between all of these activities, the caring staff can be found sitting on the floor interacting with the children, asking them questions and playing along.
When we last visited, pricing for the Urban Chalkboard was $10 per child when booked online, $12 for walk-ins. Be sure to check their website for hours, current pricing, available drop in activities, and class schedule.
452 E Carmel Drive
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