Your kids don’t want to stay cart-contained or they get a case of the gimmes once the rows of cookies and cupcakes are in sight. Tantrum in aisle three, anyone? Eliminate the hassle of shopping with your kiddos by visiting a shop with childcare. We’ve got the scoop on two great Bay Area spots that offer responsible adult supervision, games and cool toys for your kids all while you whiz down the aisles checking off your to-do list in record time.

Mollie Land
Mollie Land is located inside Mollie Stone’s Market. Known to many as the store with fabulous but costly items, it seems this high-end grocery should also be known as a shop ahead of the customer service curve. A couple of select locations offer free childcare for kids ages 2-12, with fun games, cool toys and awesome supervisors. Here’s the lowdown on how Mollie Land works.


photo credit: Mollie Stones

First up, everyone gets an I.D. bracelet. Parents, be forewarned, don’t take off this stylish little bracelet before checking out, children are not released unless a matching ID number is presented. Second, and how cool is this, there are video screens of Mollie Land placed strategically throughout the store for your viewing pleasure. Finally, the staff in Mollie Land  are not checkers, butchers or bakers but rather, certified child watch employees who only work in Mollie Land.

What are some of the no-no’s at Mollie Land?
No sniffling, coughing kids, because germs are just too easy to share with others. No food either, it’s easier to keep watch without having to deal with snack time.

Mollie Land at Mollie Stone’s Market

San Bruno Location
22 Bayhill Shopping Center
San Bruno, Ca
Hours: Mon – Sat: 10:00am – 6:00pm, Sun: 11:00am – 6:00pm
Phone: 650-873-8075

San Mateo Location
49 West 42nd Avenue
San Mateo, Ca
Hours: Mon – Sat: 10:00am – 6:00pm, Sun: 11:00am – 6:00pm
Phone: 650-372-2828

While it’s not exactly a grocery store, Swedish mega-store IKEA has been offering child watch for years. Once your kiddos are cool with their own potty breaks and are measuring in anywhere between 37” and  54” they are allowed to party it up in age-appropriate active play areas. Set in a Swedish forest-like environment, kids can color, play games or watch a movie or cartoons in the theater. There’s no charge and parents can get up to one hour of shopping bliss (head straight for the meatballs!) Be assured your little ones will be watched over with care and are only released into the care of the parent or person who checks in the child, as a photo ID must be presented at drop off and pick up time. This incredibly handy service does get used, so be aware, weekends and holidays may see you waiting for a drop-off.


photo credit: Ella Novak via creative commons flickr

What are some of the no-no’s at SMÅLAND? Children must be fully potty-trained. No diapers or pull ups of any kind are allowed. Kids must also be fully clothed, and if wearing swimsuits, get em’ covered up!

Insider Tip: If you join the IKEA family (aka: member program,) you get an additional thirty minutes to shop.


East Palo Alto Location
1700 East Bayshore Road
East Palo Alto, Ca
Hours: Mon – Sun: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Phone: 650-323-4532

Emeryville Location
4400 Shellmound Street
Emeryville, Ca
Hours: Mon – Sat: 10:00am – 9:00pm, Sun: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Phone: 510-420-4532

Do you know of any other stores offering child care while shopping? We want to know–fill us in below!

— Gabrielle Cullen