Vacation season has ended. But you can still take a beach break at a new indoor play space. Kid’s Island just opened in Lincoln Park — and it has a huge indoor sandbox where kids have a summery good time all year long.
Kid’s Island is the first play space of its kind in the U.S. and is still somewhat of a secret. Along with the sandbox, it has a playroom full of toys and games, an upstairs “oasis room” where enrichment classes are held, a WiFi-equipped cafe serving Julius Meinl coffee, and an adjoining spa where Mom can get a mani or pedi while the kids take classes.
Stretching from one wall to another, the indoor sandbox is filled with non-toxic superfine sand that brushes right off. Bigger and better than your average playground box, this sandy oasis has a slide, baby swing, a play kitchen, and tons of buckets and shovels.
To help you clean up, there is an air hose and sink onsite, along with coveralls and boots to wear. If you’re germ concerned, rest easy: Kid’s Island cleans the sand regularly by washing it in huge buckets.
The Play Space
The free-range fun in the carpeted play space is best suited for ages 0-6 and activities are divided into themed areas. Kids cook up imaginative play ideas in the market and kitchen that has a mini grocery stand with toy food. In the building and transportation area, a train table and wooden workbench attract little tinkerers. A dedicated learning center is stocked with age-appropriate boxes that contain educational toys and strategy and group games.
Another bonus: There are “Play Pals” (grownup educators) circulating in the room and they engage with your child while he or she plays. So you don’t have to feel guilty about catching up on emails or reading a magazine in the cafe while you’re there.
Upstairs, the oasis room has scheduled programming between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day. Sign your kid up in advance for 50 minutes of fun that includes an art project, story time and games. September’s theme is animals (expect pretend lion hunts and elephant crafts) and October’s theme is fall (learn how trees grow and make a yarn apple). You an also rent the oasis room for birthday parties.
Next door, W Spa has its own public entrance — but it’s a big part of the Kid’s Island experience for parents that need a break. While your little one attends a program in the oasis room, you can get a mani or pedi. If part of your relaxed bliss includes keeping tab on your kiddos, you can watch closed-circuit TVs that show you what’s going on in the oasis room.
Daily admission to the play space (which includes the sandbox) is $10/child (those under 6 months are free). Fifty-minute programs in the oasis room cost $8/child. You can get a combo pass, which gives you play space access and an oasis program for $15/child.
We’re ready to hit the beach. Are you?
Open Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.-noon (open later on weekends if no birthday parties are scheduled)
1358 W. Webster Ave.
Let us know what you think of this hot new play space in the Comments section below.
— Kelly Aiglon