CARMEL, Ind. -- Finding balance is a struggle many moms, dads and other caregivers know all too well.
They're juggling a busy schedule at work and trying to be a great parent who throws great birthday parties, comes up with creative activities and then handles the mess.
If you’re not a superhero, trying to manage it all can be truly overwhelming.
But one Carmel mom decided she wanted to help by creating a place that made fun for the kids and productivity for parents possible within the same space.
“I was working a lot at home, not giving my kids the attention,” explained Amy Sample. “ And when I was giving my kids the attention, I felt the guilt of not giving my business or my coworkers the attention that they needed.”
After plenty of research and planning, Sample officially opened The Little Village Playroom, located at 9850 N Michigan Rd. in Carmel, in January. Almost immediately, it became the newest must-visit, kid-friendly destination in Hamilton County.
“I was actually astonished at the social media out pour,” said Sample. “We have a lot of mom groups in West Carmel, Carmel and Zionsville that they have a weekly play date now scheduled.”
But the idea behind The Little Village Playroom was rooted in Sample’s understanding of the need for something like this in the area.
“I’m a west Carmel mom and there’s nothing over here for us to do for birthday parties and during the day. It’s all either in Fishers or downtown Carmel,” she said.
Now, The Little Village Playroom has filled that void for not only west Carmel parents, but also those in Zionsville, Indy’s north side and beyond.
This 1,900-square-foot space located in a strip just off Michigan Road north of 96th Street offers a weekday refuge for moms and caregivers and a fun, stimulating environment for kids.
However, the need for a place like The Little Village Playroom went beyond the convenience of their physical location.
“This was something that was absolutely necessary for the new movement of work from home, the new movement of home schooling. So it’s just another piece of the puzzle to help you keep your balance,” Sample said.
Four Things You Need to Know About The Little Village Playroom:
- Open Play takes place Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. But on Friday evenings and weekends, The Little Village Playroom is available for private parties and special kid-friendly events. There is no Open Play on weekends at this time.
- For drop-ins, a day of play costs $15 for your first child and $10 for a second. But if you reserve online, it’s just $12 for your first child and $8 for a second (kids 8+ years old are considered “helpers” and are not charged). They also offer 5, 10 and 15 visit passes as well as a monthly membership for unlimited days of play.
- Parents and caretakers love The Little Village Playroom because they offer a simulating, creative atmosphere for their children to play as well as an adult café area with a perfect setup for grown-ups to be productive.
- It opened on Jan. 21, 2019, and has already become a popular spot for local mom groups who now schedule weekly play dates. Fortunately, they offer a group discount if you have a group of 6 or more moms/guardians.
Inside, you’ll find interactive areas like a child-sized fresh market grocery store and pet clinic, a train table, puppet theater, kitchenette, reading corner, building blocks, toys and fun activities planned each day.
“We have kids' toddler yoga during the afternoon. We have story time, craft time, arts and crafts,” Sample said. “[And activities are] included with your day of play so you don’t have to pay extra for them.”
One big bonus is no matter what their child does that day, they don’t want to stress about cleanup because it’s all handled by the Little Village Playhouse staff.
“We’re really trying to bring in activities that are messy play,” she explained. “Things that moms want to do with their kids but it takes a whole day to set that up and then clean it up. So we want to provide that here.”
On the day we visited, they even had a kid-friendly dance party—complete with bubbles.
While the kids play, parents and caregivers can hang out in the adult café area and get work done, answer emails, enjoy free coffee, tea, and Wi-Fi or even grab a book from the take-and-share library.
According to Sample, the adult-friendly area (with a clear view of the children’s area) is a perfect place to be productive.
They also have snacks for purchase or you can bring in your own snacks or food or even opt for delivery.
On Friday nights and weekends, The Little Village Playroom transforms into birthday party central.
“Our parties are 100% private so when you rent out our place, there is no open play, there’s nobody else that will be here,” Sample said.
They can accommodate 65 individuals for a private party. You get access to the play area, private food area and an additional activity room for crafts and other activities.
“We can have princess appearances, we can theme anything that your heart desires,” she noted. “Then my crew stays, works the party and cleans up 100%”
Here, Sample and her staff know it really does take a village to raise a child. And sometimes that requires getting a little help so you can truly enjoy creating memories with your children.
“We don’t want you to be the one taking the pictures and doing all of the entertaining,” she said. ““We want you to enjoy your little one and their birthday party.”
To see more photos and local reviews of The Little Village Playroom, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them via Facebook and Instagram.
While in Hamilton County, check out some of these other hot-spots for kid friendly fun: