I don’t know any parent who doesn’t struggle with childcare at some point, whether it’s difficulty finding a babysitter, an unpredictable schedule for freelance work or a side hustle, a deadline that is looming, or just to enjoy some quiet time to catch up on a to-do list. It’s not an easy problem to solve, but we are fortunate that a few area parents recognized this gap that needed to be filled and stepped up to provide co-working spaces with childcare that also create strong support communities for the parents who use them.
Workafrolic was started by a Mom who gets it. She wanted an indoor playspace for her little one, then thought about how great it would be if she could get some work done while her son played nearby. Not finding anything nearby that fit the bill, she decided to create the space herself. Workafrolic is located in a converted rowhouse in Eckington with two playspaces for babies starting at four weeks up to six years old. Upstairs is a quiet workspace with desks, couches, and chairs, and a conference room.
I recently visited with my three year old son and we both loved the concept. Workafrolic offers low caregiver to child ratios, lots of toys appropriate for all ages, and quiet space for kids who nap. Upstairs is a bright and pleasant workspace for parents with all-you-can-drink coffee and tea included. Sound-proof phone booths are going in shortly and there is an option to rent a conference room for meetings.
Kids can spend up to three hours at time with a caregiver while a parent works upstairs. Workafrolic allows parents to leave for up to two hours and allows children to return for up to another three hours of care after a thirty minute break. I really like how Workafrolic is flexible enough to allow drop-in care for an hour or two or makes it possible to get in a full workday.
Elemeno + Skillzone
Elemeno is a unique concept. It’s an oasis in the city for busy parents and active kids by merging a kid-paradise complete with a balloon room, climbing area, trucks, ball pit and more in an atmosphere that also appeals to adults, complete with beer and wine. Skillzone has long been a staple quickly became a staple for city families looking for a place to play, socialize, and have parties. Skillzone recently expanded to become Elemeno, including co-working and childcare options.
The co-working space is upstairs in a quiet, modern space with plenty of seating options, a conference room, and sound-proof phone booths. Parents work upstairs (or at one of the many nearby cafes and restaurants) while kids play downstairs with their assigned Play Buddy who keeps them company.
Elemeno is not a typical childcare facility so staff will not change diapers or feed your child lunch. Childcare hours are also limited to 3 hours a day. While not a substitute for full-time childcare, it is a fantastic option for parents with unpredictable schedules or those who need a few extra hours of childcare during the week or on weekends.
Elemeno is membership based and memberships include unlimited access to the co-working space, access to the Skill Zone play area, a limited number of childcare hours per month with the option to purchase more, and the option to rent out both the play area and co-working space for parties. Memberships that include co-working are for a family, so both parents are able to use the co-working space and childcare option with one membership.
Memberships with co-working start $189 a month including four hours of childcare. A two month membership is required to start then memberships are month-to-month.
Play Work Dash
Play Work Dash, located minutes from Tyson’s Corner, is the oldest of the co-working spaces in the area. It was founded by a Mom who ran a daycare center for 10 years. She recognized the need for childcare for parents who needed some childcare, but didn’t want to commit to (or couldn’t afford) fulltime daycare.
Play Work Dash is a bright, open space made with parents in mind. Co-working space includes desks and comfy chairs so everyone can work how they are most comfortable. Free coffee and tea are provided and parents can bring their own food and drinks as well. There is a sound-proof phone booth available for parents who want to make shorter phone calls or a private room that can be rented for more privacy. Also available for rent by the hour is a large conference room, a smaller office for holding private meetings, and dedicated desks that can be rented by the month.