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Play Cafes in Brooklyn and Queens: Play Spaces for Kids, Coffee for Grownups

If you're looking for a new spot to grab your morning coffee or merely want to enjoy brunch in peace, these kid-friendly play cafes can't be beat. At these Brooklyn and Queens cafes you will find a welcoming environment, great food, and a caffeine jolt, as well as dedicated and safe play areas for your kids. Several of them are actually play spaces first, and cafes second.

So turn your meal into a play date with a friend, or just sit back and take some well-deserved breathing space. Either way, both you and your kids are sure to have a good time.

Check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for more great eateries, or our Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms.

NYC Bowling Alleys That Welcome Kids and Families

Bowling is a perfect indoor family activity when you find yourself with some spare time (sorry—couldn't resist). At about age 5, children really start enjoying it, making it an ideal family outing. Bowling birthday parties are a hit for the school-age set and most venues offer special packages and pricing.

There are traditional bowling alleys—think leagues, snack bars, pro shops—in the outer boroughs, but Manhattan's spots tend to cater to grown-ups. Don’t worry though: Kids can still find lanes—you just have to know when to go. Here are 16 places to bowl with kids all across New York City.

Ready, Set, Glow at Glowzone Houston: Indoor Fun for Kids of All Ages

There is no shortage of great indoor play spaces around the greater Houston area, that's for sure. And unique additions like Glowzone are what make that play scene so great - this indoor spot is lit by black lights and glowing colored lights and full of fun. From the go-karts to geometric climbing walls, there is so much to do it's impossible to feel bored. It's a great indoor playground for families with preschool-age children through teenagers. (And even just adults!)

Drop-In Play Spaces for Kids in NYC That Cost $12 or Less

New York City is packed with fun indoor play spaces to keep kids active all year. Unfortunately, the average price at these parental lifesavers keeps creeping up. Admission often runs $20 to $25 per child for a single drop-in. Pricey fees or membership commitments can quickly ruin your plans for a quick escape from the staying-in doldrums.

Of course, we're here to help. We've rounded up 16 options for drop-in play—all for under $12 a visit, and a few that cost significantly less!

Read on for open play sessions that won’t break the bank in nearly all five boroughs, and find more indoor fun spots in our local NYC guide, or at-home boredom buster games and crafts for those days when you really want to pinch a penny.

The Best Indoor Play Spaces for Long Island Toddlers

While many indoor play destinations cater to a range of ages, some parents feel more comfortable when areas are designated for younger children. With that in mind, we've rounded up a list of fun and imaginative play spaces on Long Island geared to little ones. 

At most of these locations, children ages 5 and younger are the primary focus and can play freely without being knocked down or bumped into by older crowds. They also offer age-appropriate equipment and activities for toddlers.

If your little one enjoys spending time at one of these venues, why not celebrate his or her special day there, too? Many of these destinations also host birthday parties.

For more seasonal fun ideas, check out our list of 50 things to do indoors with Long Island kids as well as our guide to LI-based indooor play spaces and fun centers.

There's A New Co-Working Childcare Lifesaver for East LA Parents

Let’s face it, it’s extremely hard to squeeze in some extra hours to work with a toddler at home. These days, my son’s schedule and needs are unpredictable: naps are shorter and hanging out with mommy is much more fun. The right daycare can come to the rescue, and the Eastside of LA now has a creative new childcare option with an appropriate name—Wiggle & Work. 

21 Brooklyn Drop-In Play Spaces and Kiddie Gyms

Brooklyn can't be beat for indoor play spaces. While Manhattan and Queens have about a dozen drop-in indoor playgrounds apiece, Brooklyn boasts nearly twice that number, from the Brooklyn Children's Museum's Spark, to Busy Bodies in Clinton Hill and Fairytale Island in Bay Ridge.

While we've included a couple of the more mellow tot spots with crafts or storytelling, this best-of-Brooklyn list is focused on active play spaces, where toddlers, preschoolers, and even bigger kids can conquer multilevel mazes, swoosh down slides, climb up rock walls, or just turn around in circles until they fall down exhausted, ready for a nap.

Read on for the best drop-in indoor romper rooms for kids in Brooklyn. Find more play spots in our Indoor Family Fun Guide to Play Spaces.

Cheap Thrills: 30+ Drop-in Play Spaces for NJ Kids That Cost $15 or Less

When it’s too cold for the playground, and another playdate at home seems dull (or, to be honest, too stressful), taking your kid to a warm indoor play space is a welcome respite for the whole family. 

New Jersey has no shortage of indoor playgrounds from North Jersey to South Jersey, plenty of which offer drop-in hours. Still, many of these hot spots require long-term memberships or pricey entrance fees that often run $20 to $25 per child for a single drop-in.

When you just need someplace clean, fun and warm for your kids to play—that's not your living room—we found more than 30 indoor gems, all for $15 per child or significantly less, and some that are absolutely free! Your kids still get out of the house to experience a play space where everything seems new to them, and you don't have to clean up after, or empty your wallet! 

And don't forget your nearby shopping mall, where you'll often find low-key indoor playgrounds where kids can work out the wiggles while you shop. 

Find more indoor fun spots in our local NJ guide, or try these at-home boredom busters for days when you just want to stay in. If you find yourself with a full day to fill and you're up for a little more adventure, plan a winter day trip.

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