The Toddler Takeover: Saving Family Time with Children’s Play Spaces

Toddlers, children around age 2-6, present a new set of joys for parents. Kids are gaining confidence and balance in their walking skills and their verbal interaction is improving by leaps and bounds. They are developing a sense of independence with the capabilities to more fully explore and learn about their new world. This age also represents a new set of parental challenges. The toddler years feature earth-shattering temper tantrums, intense frustration when wishes aren’t fully understood, and territorial fighting. And because toddlers aren’t quite old enough to play unsupervised, they typically demand more attention than their older siblings. These, along with other toddler-isms, often make it difficult for families to venture out in public where meltdowns can erupt at the smallest impetus.Toddlers Taking On the Outside World

Toddlers are in a vital period of development and need all the quality time they can get with their parents. While time spent at home is invaluable, errands and social functions give young children the experience necessary to function in the outside world. However, toddlers often choose to test their limits and fully assert their independence in public, making parents leery of venturing out in the general population. To avoid restlessness, misbehavior, or worse, sulky outbursts, experts recommend destinations that include kid-themed entertainment, such as theme parks, rec centers, community parks, and even some retail locations. When there are activities and sites that every member of the family can enjoy, these groups are more likely to stay longer, return more often, spend more money, and build happy memories that translate to future visits as these children grow in to adulthood.

Kid-Friendly Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Toddler-Friendly

While play areas in shopping locations aren’t a new concept, different types of spaces like amusement parks, restaurants, and hotels are realizing the advantages of offering this type of attraction. With toddlers, there is a much more complex relationship between the parent, the child, and the environment. A toddler’s needs, desires, or interests are first expressed to a parent, who then approves or disapproves the request. Once the approval is given, the child participates in said activity, and provided they have a positive experience, the activity or location is now endorsed by Mom or Dad. At this point, a multi-level, emotional connection is formed between the toddler, the parent, and the place, resulting in an enduring relationship which benefits everyone.

A Toddler-Friendly World

It’s not just retail that can benefit from toddler-specific play areas, though. Because there is nothing more frustrating on a family excursion than a bored, cranky child, amusement parks, stadiums, and other family outing sites can gain from these age-appropriate attractions as well. Places that have spaces geared towards toddlers appeal to both youngsters and parents alike.

PLAYTIME Plays to Toddlers’ and Parents’ Strengths

In creating these spaces, the challenge lies in engaging kids and parents simultaneously—the experience should be one that toddlers love, but parents don’t find boring. A play area dedicated to both toddlers and parents requires a significant level of planning and expertise with a deliberate, calculated approach to design, taking in to account decades of difference in communication skills, perceptions, comprehension, and physical ability. PLAYTIME can deliver this experience and proficiency. To view our portfolio and see how we install custom built, toddler-friendly experiences, visit

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