Drop-off childcare spots that don’t require reservations are a parent’s dream — but they’re hard to come by in Chicago. That’s what makes the opening of one new kids’ activity center so special. Take a Break Playcare just flung its doors open in Lakeview and welcomes kids ages 3 months to 13 years for a day or even just two hours of supervised play while you go to work, run errands or just relax. Nope, you’re not dreaming. Read on.

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A Flexible, Playful Concept
You probably know the uh-oh moment of having a sitter bail on you last-minute. And also the feeling of just needing a little “me” time during the day or a much deserved date night. Take a Break Playcare is open morning through night (and even until midnight on weekends!) so you have backup. It’s an intimate spot filled with toys, play structures and organized activities and, best of all, offers drop-off, last-minute care at prices comparative to a sitter, and discounts for bulk, weekly and monthly packages.

You don’t have to worry about calling to see if your child can stay a little longer than whatever time you estimated you’d be away. Just pick them up by closing time. Reservations aren’t required but are recommended for infants (ages 3-18 months) and for all ages on Friday or Saturday nights.

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Activities for All Ages
Littles and bigs both find their niche in a divided space that has a little something for everyone. For older children there is a tech lounge, video game lounge, mini sports court, books and board games. For younger ones, there is a separate infant and toddler playroom. The larger playroom is best for active and imaginative play and features a slide, costumes, a train table, dolls, LEGOs, blocks and more. Bouncing babies have goodies needed to develop their social and motor skills, including busy boxes, rattles, a pounding bench and musical toys.

To give it all structure, there are designated quiet times when children are encouraged to rest, do arts and crafts, or read books. There is also organized snack and meal times (food isn’t provided but parents can bring a meal or have one delivered). On weekends, expect movie nights, air hockey competitions, karaoke bouts and more. At all other times, it’s open play.

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Other Perks
The staff at Take a Break Playcare is CPR/First Aid certified, fingerprinted and background checked. For children with separation anxiety, parents are invited to visit the center with their child for a half-hour to acclimate them. And parents are invited to be on hand to celebrate during birthday parties — this friendly spot hosts bashes for all ages, and gives party hosts two free hours of childcare for a future date when they book a party.

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The Nuts & Bolts
Take a Break Playcare is located at:
2855 N. Lincoln Ave., 1st Floor, in Lakeview

Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday, 8:30 a.m.-midnight
Saturday, 9 a.m.-midnight
Sunday, noon-6 p.m. Before noon and after 6 p.m. you can reserve the space for birthday parties
The last check-in time is 90 minutes before each scheduled closing
A 2-hour minimum charge is required for all children

Fees:
Rates are $13.50/hour for first child ages 3-18 months
Rates are $12/hour for ages 19 months and older
Bulk hours are also available for purchase and never expire
10 hours first child, $102
15 hours first child, $144
Weekly play package is $175 includes up to 4 continuous hours of play each day for 7 days from the first use
Monthly play package is $400 and is good for 31 days from first use
Discounts are available for siblings; the 4th sibling is free

Contact:
773-661-9944
Online: takeabreakplaycare.com

What do you think of this new spot for drop-off childcare? Let us know in the Comments!

— Kelly Aiglon