For those who have been reading for a little while you will know that earlier this year Bliss broke her leg and spent 9 weeks in a cast. Oh yeah, it was super fun.
During that time I got to explore more of Melbourne’s coffee scene for kids. I’ve always been of the opinion that if I don’t take the kids to places like this then they’ll never learn to go and I’ll never get to go… and I want to go. So we’ve slogged it out, taking Bliss to cafes and restaurants since she was a few days old. There have been times when we’ve wanted to give up, but going out is one of those sanity things for us – so we’ve persisted and I’m pleased to say it’s been worth it.
Last weekend I wrote a post about a local cafe experience that was less than stellar and was surprised by the number of comments that post got, and the dirth of truly kid-friendly cafes around so today I’m sharing with you my 5 face kid-friendly cafes in Melbourne.
What I love about all these places is that they have factored in the needs of parents and children and created really different spaces that work for both.
1. Tea Time & Tales, North Carlton
I discovered this little gem by accident one day and fell in love. It’s a cafe with toys, a library and bookstore, and a gorgeous little outdoor space out the back. The cutest part is that every week they run cooking classes for kids! You come along, your child cooks with a teacher and you can either join in or chill out with a coffee. It’s such a great idea and a really lovely, light space. I’m a big fan!
2. Little Creatures, Balwyn
Ok, so the website for this place really lets it down but you have to believe me when I say this place is incredible. It’s 3/4 play area and 1/4 cafe. The coffee is pretty bad and they say they do lunch (for adults) but I’ve never seen any there BUT putting those things aside it’s incredible. The owner takes real pride in keeping it clean and tidy so it’s never a mess and she’s really careful to tidy up after the kids as they move between the varying play stations. Yes, play-stations! There’s a reading corner, a dress up station, a home corner, a market shop, a lego station and a slide. Oh and a train table for the littles. It’s bright, clean and the kids LOVE it. It’s the sort of place I”m happy to go with 4 kids in tow and know that they will have a blast and I can either play with them, or sit and have a coffee. They also do a really simple lunch for kids which is great so I can feed my kids up before getting in the car and heading home. This is definitely my favourite play centre for kids in Melbourne – bad coffee and all!
To give you a better sense of it here are some pics from one of our visits…
3. Cafe Ivanhoe, Ivanhoe
A word about Ivanhoe in general. Ivanhoe is one of the most family friendly suburbs I’ve come across and every cafe I’ve been to on Heidelburg Road has been just brilliant at accommodating the kids. If am ever catching up with friends for coffee and Ivanhoe is a vaguely central location I suggest there because it just makes the whole experience easier.
Cafe Ivanhoe is great – they have a few toys, a high chair and even a booth seat at the back which works so well. The reason it’s so great though has nothing to do with that and everything to do with the attitude of the staff who are just at ease with the kids – bring out the babycino’s quickly and generally make it not just an easy experience, but a pleasant one!
4. Alfio’s Cafe, Fairfield
I first discovered Alfio’s during my brief stint with a personal trainer this year (ahem). Alfio’s was just around the corner from the studio and I rocked in one morning, both kids with me and all of us absolutely starving. The staff were so friendly and helpful with the kids it put me at ease straight away – not to mention they serve the best bircher muesli I’ve had in Melbourne! I had such a great experience that I kept going back. It’s not a super trendy cafe such as you might expect on Station St in Fairfield but it’s got outdoor seating, big windows at the front of the cafe, lovely food (seriously, try the bircher!) and they are great with the kids (plenty of pram room too).
5. Birdie Num Nums
No list of this sort can fail to include Birdie’s! One of the reasons I love Birdies so much is not just because it’s close to where I live and they have a sandpit (not to mention the yummiest corn fitters!) but because if you walk a few doors up from it you come across the most delightful children’s bookshop – The Little Bookroom. A visit to Birdie’s is a chance to kill two birds with one stone! (bad pun?)
Birdies has a large, comfortable inside area and an equally large outdoor area complete with sandpit and toys. It’s designed to be a place for families to come so it can be busy but we’ve always had a really good experience when visiting.
So there you have it – my top 5 places to go with the kids in tow…
Do you take your kids to cafes? What makes it work for you? Do you have a favourite?
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