Question for Moms with Children 6 Years Old or Younger

Updated on September 27, 2010
J.Y. asks from Island Lake, IL
18 answers

I am opening an indoor playground for children 6 years and younger in about a month. It is a pretty basic play area with a bounce house, Little Tikes slides and climbers, playhouse, grocery area, train table, kitchen set, dolls and accessories, ride-on toys, and an infant area. I'm at crunch time to decide on some very important aspects of my new business: hours and price. I have researched similar competitors in the area to see what they are doing, but I feel that your input would be very helpful. If this is somewhere you would bring your children how much would you be willing to pay and when would you be most likely to come to a place like this? Thank you in advance for your advise!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all of your answers. It seems like most people's opinions fall right in line with what I was thinking. As to the couple of people wondering about is going to be called My Town Playground. I don't have a specific location as I am currently negotiating a lease for a place in Island Lake. If that doesn't work out, it will be in Prairie Grove. Thanks again!

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answers from Dallas on

$5.00 a kid, and parents are free. My husband and I have always talked about opening up a place like this (don't worry, we live in Texas and we are not going to do it - it's just a dream, so no competition)! We agree that for a place like this to be successful is to have a Starbucks inside (or any kind of coffee place - I realize a Starbucks would be expensive, although it's the most popular and would bring in more parents), couches and chairs for the parents to sit on, and free WIFI so the parents could bring their laptops and do work/emails. Maybe you have all of this, but if you don't, it would be a good idea b/c you need to give the parents a reason to go there, too. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

Yes, in bad weather I would bring my kids to a place like this, but mostly for the bounce house, slides, and climbers. I would pay around $4.00

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Philadelphia on

If it is a place that the kids would play for an extended period of time I would be willing to pay up to $5.00 per child. If it was an hourly rate place I would probably only be willing to pay $2.00 per hour per child. We have some pretty extravagant play areas around here with large bounce houses, 2 and 3 story slides and lots of games and it is $5.00 per child for as long as you'd like to play. Generally after abot 2 hours though the kids get bored/tired/hungry and want to leave.
Best wishes on your new endeavour!
T. (Mom of 5, 4 and 2 1/2 yo)

The times I would most likely come would be after 9:00 am and leave before lunch time. In the summer I would most likely come anytime that it's too hot outside. Also, if I could make a suggestion regarding older might consider having scheduled times just for the younger ones. I know from experience that an 8 year old might jump and play too hard when there is a 2 year old in the bounce house. Just a thought!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

We went to a similar place while on vacation in Hilton Head. It was AWESOME!!!! We paid $6/child. We pay $8/child for most of the bounce places locally - so, we don't go too often.

We're also both working parents with high-stress, high-demand jobs, so our time to go is limited to evenings and weekends. With Winter approaching, the neighbors are all talking about how to keep the kids sane with the bitter cold, and a place like that, with hours to perhaps 8pm would be great.

Good luck with your business- I hope it's a huge success.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

I think you also need to consider a reduced rate for siblings and maybe a per hour rate. I have 3 kids of preschool age and it adds up pretty quickly when I start taking them to indoor places like this. I've been to places that also have a group rate (8 kids or more) so if you can round up a few friends you get the group rate. I don't like to pay more than $5 or $6 per child, depending on the place and how long we can stay there. Having said this I would probably go more often to these places if they charged $4 per child or had a reduced rate for siblings.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Sounds like something great for winter time. As a parent I really would like the place to be clean, coffee and wifi would be great too. As a stay at home mom, I always brought my son to the play place during the day, when his older brother was at school. So opening hours from 9 till about 5 pm would be ok in my opinion. I would maybe coordinate the opening time of the place with approx. when the school starts. I always found it extremely annoying when I brought my son to school at 9am and then wanted to go somewhere with my little guy, many places didn't open till 10, so we had to wait around.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

ok this is something i wish we had in the states, but in europe there are indoor playground places with bounce things, little swings, tables for drawing and paper, while outside (meaning a small plastic fence) separates from a place where parents sit and have coffee and pastries. the charge was in US dollars about 2 dollars per hour and only 10-15 kids allowed at the time. a place like this is open from 8 am to 6 pm, and a lot of kids come and go. then from 6 to 9 they have the doors open and the area open while the employees strip down everything and clean top to bottom for public to see, replace broken stuff and replenish materials (for drawing etc). the floor is covered with plastic mats.
as an idea it is awesome. when i take my kids overseas we go there every day for an hour or two. i had spoken to one of the owners about whether it's worth it and was told between parents sitting in the outer space drinking capuchino and eating pastries (also lemonades, teas, small finger sandwiches), and kids coming and going it is well worth it.
also the idea was if a child stays for let's say 1 and 15 minutes they still get charges for 2 hrs. and parents are aware of this.
if there were places like this in the states, where i would feel the area is clean, and there are no kids on top of each other then i'd definitely take my kids there. most important thing to be besides sanitation is the fact that there were never more than 15 kids in that area.
also very affordable.
good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Congrats and good luck with your new business. I would pay between 5-8 dollars and most likely would play 9am until lunchtime.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I agree that about $5 a kid sounds good to me (it is what places like that around us charge). Don't charge the parents (we have a place that does that and we tend not to go...adds up too quickly!). We either go before lunch (9-12) or after lunch (1-4), so I would think any time between 8 and 5 would probably be best! Good luck...sounds like tons of fun! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I've been to some larger places like Pump It Up and Monkey Joes and Jump Zone for about $8-$10 per child. Since yours sounds smaller, I would go for about $5. And like others have said, parents should be free! I've often been drawn to the places that offer a special, like pay for one child, get one free. Maybe you can start with a promotion like that to get people to come check it out! Sounds like a great place for moms who want to meet uo for playdates! Good hours for little ones are about 9:00-5:00. Good Luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Maybe I am wrong, but I am assuming this is just a play area, not a daycare so my answer is reflecting that. I would be willing to pay between 6-10 dollars per kid. I wouldn't be happy to be charged as an adult, as some kids places do. As for hours, I would be happy with daytime hours maybe 9-4, perhaps open later one night a week. I would most likely visit at opening time to have my child play before her nap.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

$5 per kid. I would think opening 9-6 would be good hours

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sounds like a great idea! We have something like it about thirty minutes away. I only take them once in a great while because:
- I can see the dust on top of all of the equipment~ I would post your cleaning schedule and what you use.
-It's pretty pricey; but there are coupons that make it affortable~even though I know you are trying to earn money, no one want to break the bank going for a few hours for their child to play.

One aspect I really do like is the potential for birthday parties. If you come up with a package for people where it's completely done, its a great advertisement for other parents and at least in my area, something people really want.

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I agree that $5 is a good price for toddlers. They have a short attention span and tend not to play too long. I wouldn't charge the adults. I would love to find a place around here (I live in Volo) that was open decent hours on the weekend (at least 8 -12). Please tell us where you are located and when you will be opening. I would love to take my daughter there.



answers from Chicago on

There was a place like this in downtown Arlington Heights. The price to get in was around $8/child and they had a small snack bar to choose from as well. However, in these tough times with shopping centers having their own free play areas, it's a tough sell. I pay $9 as a non resident to go to Pirate's Cove which is a great amusement area for younger children.

All that being said...I agree with the $5 charge. I would suggest going for high-volume, charge less and hope to get more kids that way.



answers from Huntsville on

We have a similar place where I live. It's called KidVenture ( if you'd like to see what they do).

They are open 9 to 5 Mon thru Thurs; 9 to 7 on Friday; and 9 to noon on Saturdays. But, I think it is closed for birthday parties Mon - Thurs afternoons, and Sat & Sun afternoons.

As a working mom, their hours & birthday parties don't leave us much time to go. Our only option is Saturday morning!

They charge $8 per kid and parents are free. You can get a membership for $30 a month. I'm assuming that's for 1 kid to go as many times as they want during the month. Of course, that's not feasible for working parents.

If I had a choice, I wish this place would be open later in the evenings during the week, even if it were only certain days. Especially when the weather isn't nice for playing outside. I'd love to be able to pick up dinner and eat at the indoor playground (they have a special section with tables - outside the play area - where you can bring in your own food/drink), then let her play!

Good luck! I think our place is pretty popular, I guess mainly for stay at home parents.



answers from New York on

There was a place near me just like that and charged $9 per kid and it ended up closing down.

There is another place that is a basic indoor playground that charges $5 per kid and it's been around for years.

I found that people were willing to pay $5 and stay for an hour or maybe two. But no 2 year old can handle a place for more than 2 hours. So to pay $9 is tough.

I'd say from 9am to 5pm would be enough. Maybe 8-4. Some moms are early birds!

Can I also suggest a frequent client discount? Coupons, or bring a friend at half price. Things like that really get moms in the door.

Good luck!!



answers from Chicago on

Fee - $5.00 is good, but maybe charge less for extra kids. Like, $5 for the first, $2 for any others. I would use this for mine and they are 5 and 2. Hours we could use this is 9am - 6pm. Where are you opening and what is the name? I would be a repeat customer, if I saw that the toys were not broken and it is kept VERY clean. Especially with winter coming, I am a nut about being in clean, indoor areas. Coupons are always a good idea too!

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