Park Slope specialty toy shop Norman & Jules is set to open a new outdoor play space in the store’s backyard this Friday. Launching with a concert featuring one of kindie’s biggest stars Suzi Shelton, this new spot already has an impressive schedule of activities lined up and a wonderful selection of play areas. Keep reading to learn all the details on this sure-to-be-a-hit spot.
What’s the deal with Norman & Jules Backyard Space?
Avi Kravitz and Courtney Eber, the couple that owns Norman & Jules, had a vision to transform the store’s backyard, which was neglected by the previous owner, into an outdoor playspace. They got the project off the ground by sharing their idea on crowd-funding site Indiegogo. While they didn’t reach their ultimate goal, they were still able to create a pretty amazing backyard — Avi did all of the hard work shaping the land and building the play space himself.
What is there to play with here?
The Backyard is reminiscent of the store’s general aesthetic for natural, handcrafted, wooden and eco-friendly toys. It’s a one-of-a-kind fresh-air spot for city kids ages 6 months to 5 years to play in. The ground is covered with artificial turf and a there’s even a hill kids love rolling down and a few smaller hills to run across. You’ll find a sensory play table filled with cork bits, cups and scoops; a play house; a pebble-filled “sandbox,” a table of blocks to stack, a magnetic wall with Tegu blocks and more.
The Backyard also reminds us a bit of Prospect Park’s natural playground and it shares a similarity. The log pieces at Norman & Jules were also reclaimed fallen trees knocked down by Hurricane Sandy.
Besides drop-in playtime, the space will host story times, sing alongs and tot yoga. You can even host your child’s next birthday party here, and what a perfect option it is for families that don’t have a backyard of their own. Parties are $595 for 15 kids and available on weekend afternoons. The charming parties feature foods from neighborhood eateries Buttermilk Bakeshop and Pino’s La Forchetta Pizzeria.
What’s in it for you? There are plenty of benches for you and other caregivers to sit on, as well as stroller parking.
When can I bring my child?
The play space opens on Friday, June 6, and the big concert kickoff featuring Suzi Shelton is this Sunday, June 8 at 11 a.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the toy shop.
From June 6 through Nov., the Backyard will be open for drop-in playtimes Mon.-Wed., 10 a.m.-12 p.m; Mon.-Fri., 1:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m., and Sat. & Sun., 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. The cost is $12 for the first child and $6 for siblings. Or, purchase a 10-pack for $108.
Catch a book reading and playtime on Thursdays and Fridays, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., for $10 per family or a 10-pack for $90.
The Backyard will also host sing-alongs for $12 per family. Ms. Nina will be leading the show on Mondays, 4 p.m.-4:45 p.m., while Mary Jo will sing tunes on Thursdays, 4 p.m.-4:45 p.m.
You can even bring your preschooler for Tot Yoga with Molly on Fridays; ages 2-3, 9:15 a.m.-9:45 a.m. and ages 4-5, 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Go: Norman & Jules, 158 7th Ave., Park Slope
What’s your favorite play space to drop into with your kids?