Why Should You Open an Indoor Playground or Play Cafe?

Why Should You Open an Indoor Playground or Play Cafe?

If you are considering opening an indoor playground or play cafe, please consider this my vote of confidence in you. When I think about why I began this journey, I remember that it all STARTS and ENDS with family. I have been able to spend thousands more hours watching my children grow up and raising them than I would have had I stayed at my corporate job. And now, my husband has been able to achieve the freedom to accompany us full time as well!

I love that I am able to pick them up every day from school, volunteer in their classroom, and be there to put my youngest down for his nap. It is so fun involving my sons and their interests in our special events as well. This coming weekend, for example, they’ll be able to meet some new friends, visit with Santa in a sensory-friendly environment, and get a nice professional photo taken! They love helping with the set-up and being our special helpers.

Are Indoor Playground Businesses Profitable?

Are Indoor Playground Businesses Profitable?

After doing a deeper dive into our own business plan, operating expenses, and revenues, it was easy for me to see where an indoor playground business can go awry. There are specific areas Climbing Vines Cafe & Play hinges it’s success on, and without them, we would surely have posted the same notice on our website during our first year of operation. This is NOT to say we did everything right when we opened our business. In fact, had we made a few simple tweaks from the beginning, we would be in a much more profitable position today. We are very lucky in that we did enough research and had enough experience, and simply made MORE “right” decisions than “wrong” decisions. This allowed us to be able to pivot and recover nicely enough (though we were sure to make corrections for our second location).

10 Questions You MUST Answer BEFORE Considering Play-Cafe Ownership

10 Questions You MUST Answer BEFORE Considering Play-Cafe Ownership

If you are one of the brave souls considering play-cafe ownership, congratulations! The time for diving in and implementing this business model is NOW. It’s important to note, though, that operating a play cafe is NO easy task. No one (except someone who has lived it!) can prepare you for the experience and the mental, physical, and financial hardships that can come along with following your dream.

7 Crucial Steps to Opening a Play Cafe or Indoor Playground

7 Crucial Steps to Opening a Play Cafe or Indoor Playground

If you’re considering indoor playground or play cafe ownership, then let me be the first to congratulate you! Four years ago, I was in your exact spot. I was at my desk job with my newborn baby at home, feverishly researching the play-cafe business model during my lunch hours, consuming as much information as I could. Here’s the thing: there’s not much information out there. After spending hours searching for answers and even more hours interviewing current play cafe owners (who rightfully charged a pretty penny for their consulting services) on their experiences, I’ve discovered the 2 reasons for this lack of information.

3 Mistakes to Avoid when Opening an Indoor Play Center

3 Mistakes to Avoid when Opening an Indoor Play Center

After 3 years in business at Climbing Vines Cafe & Play, I finally understand the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” As I was preparing to open, my never-ending task list seemed overwhelming.  As a result, I rushed through a few crucial phases of the opening process. While discussing this topic with other play cafe owners, I realized I was not alone. It’s certainly easy to make a few oversights and incorrect decisions when you face so many daily. That’s why I’ve compiled the three most common mistakes indoor playground business owners have made to prevent you from facing the same fate.

6 tips for Planning Your Play Cafe Space

6 tips for Planning Your Play Cafe Space

I’ll be honest, I didn’t do everything right when planning my indoor play area space. In fact, most of these tips appear on this list because I DIDN’T implement them and saw the immediate impact on my business. I don’t have a time machine (or the budget for a rebuild of my play cafe!), but if you haven’t broken ground on your construction yet, you need to read these tips before you do!


5 Great Ideas to Incorporate into Your Indoor Play Area or Play Cafe

5 Great Ideas to Incorporate into Your Indoor Play Area or Play Cafe

When I was pinning ideas for my indoor play space, I came across dozens (perhaps hundreds!) of amazing ideas, and just could not incorporate them all. After owning my play cafe for over 3 years now, I may be a little biased, but I still think our play area is the bees-knees! I want to share a few of the ideas that made the cut, and a few I wish we could incorporate that I think you and your customers will enjoy as much as I do.

A Train Birthday Party for a Two Year Old

Choo Choo Benjamin is 2!

I remember being so excited to plan this party for Benjamin because it was the first year he was really INTO something- TRAINS!

The party was smaller than his first, with mostly our extended family in attendance along with a few friends who came to play.

The atmosphere was wonderful- the children entered right into the play area and the adults got to mingle, drink coffee, eat, and RELAX!

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This birthday party was in the afternoon, so we went with subs, pizza, veggies, and fruit, and everything was a hit!

The only thing I regret is not blowing up the balloons well ahead of time.  With all the food signs and little details- we simply ran out of time! Next time, I will blow them up at home before arriving! The other details were nice and appreciated, but nothing makes your theme POP (pun-intended) like thoughtful and colorful balloon bouquets!

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Another way to take your themed party to the next level in an inexpensive way- cupcake picks!

They really stand out and are significantly cheaper than ordering themed cupcakes from a bakery.

Cupcakes are also much easier to serve to toddlers- I usually get BOTH cupcakes for the children as well as a small themed cake for the adult guests. These ones I made myself!

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Overall, this was a wonderful and relaxed event, and I LOVE looking back at the photos of Benjamin having fun!

Our youngest was just under 4 months old at the time, and I was suffering from some mom-guilt since I had been focusing so much on the baby.

It was AWESOME to have a day and a birthday party all about Benjamin!

He enjoyed his birthday party as well- especially the cupcakes and all the TRAINS!