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Go Ask Mom

Durham mom wants to open cafe designed for tots, their parents

Posted July 18, 2012

Emily McCall is a mom of two kids under two, but she wants to put even more on her plate.

The Durham mom has started a project to open a play cafe for young families in the Triangle. McCall envisions a place where parents and kids can spend time together in a space that is tailored to both of them.

McCall says she hasn't found many spaces in the region that cater well to both young kids and their adults. At the same time, there are days when she just needs to get out of the house.

"Some are too adult-friendly, kids either lose interest and melt down or drive the other patrons crazy with their happy antics," she writes. "Others are so kid friendly that moms leave just dying to collapse on the couch with something to eat and drink after chasing their babies around an overstimulating environment for a couple of hours."

McCall says she's heard the same complaints from other moms.

McCall wants to build what she is calling the Stay & Play Snack Cafe. Through, she hopes to raise $17,000 to help with the opening. A pledge of money toward the project could get you various rewards such as passes to play once it's open, swag or free coffee for a year.

Here's how she describes the cafe:

Young families need a place to go and hang out that is specifically for us. It should be the perfect compromise between comfort for a parent and excitement for a child. We need a space that is beautiful and bright, stimulating and cozy. It is full of fun toys, and really comfortable seats. Yummy snacks and coffee are available, as well as craft kits for both parents and kids. There is optional light programming with scheduled story times, singing and dance parties, also some art and exercise classes are offered. Bathrooms are clean and kid-friendly. Wifi is free, and music and decor are carefully curated. It is a refuge for families when the house is feeling like a cage. It is the perfect place to just stay and play.

McCall is scouting out possible locations around downtown Durham, picking toys, testing a snack menu and working on the interior plan.

"After a lot of thought, and some discussion with other parents, I am convinced that a place like this needs to exist here, and I am ready to make it happen for us," she writes.

To find out more about the project, go to its Kickstarter page and McCall's blog.


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  • smartmomma Jul 18, 2012

    Love that idea! Open one in Raleigh too!!!

  • TriangleMommy Jul 18, 2012

    Love this idea. Please take children with special needs into consideration in your design (esp those with physical limitations.) Making your place handicap accessible for kids would mean a world of difference to families looking for a place to go. (and Durham is PERFECT!)

  • swirlgirl027 Jul 18, 2012

    PS-can you please open in Raleigh? It's a long drive to Durham!

  • swirlgirl027 Jul 18, 2012

    Great idea! Something a step up from very kid friendly Chick Fil A craft night, which I love very much, but it is a fast food restaurant.