With the lingering cold weather and the promise of a rainy spring, I’m constantly looking for ways to keep my active 3 year old busy. When I heard about the preschool playtime at the nZone in Chantilly, I jumped at the chance to check it out.
Preschool playtime is held from 10am to noon on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the nZone. It takes place on a large soccer field, and features everything preschoolers need to be active and have fun. My daughter first spotted the giant moonbounce, but quickly headed to the games set up with hula hoops and soft balls. There was a large open area to run, tons of balls and hula hoops, tunnels to crawl and play in, and lots of ride on toys for the little ones. The entire area is supervised, and the attentive staff kept organizing the eager kids into large active games.
I joined the many moms who were sitting along the edge of the field to watch the kids play, but you can also join in the fun or sit just outside the field on the bleachers. There is also a Mommy Boot Camp class that takes place on the other side of the field from 10 to 11am if you want to get a workout in while your kids play.
According to my daughter, preschool playtime is AWESOME. She spent most of her time playing the games that the staff organized, and told me that “the game with the running and the balls” was her favorite. She also loved it when the staff brought out the parachute to play with. As a parent, I was very impressed with how the staff held my daughter’s attention and encouraged the kids through active play.
It should be noted that The nZone is part of the New Life Christian Church. There are large signs for the church visible from the field where the playtime is held, and there were signs up advertising Easter activities, but otherwise there is little evidence of the connection to the church. We also were impressed that no one tried to sell us a gym membership or encourage us to attend church services. They just welcomed us and invited us to come back again next week.
The bottom line? Preschool playtime was a huge success for my daughter. Even though it’s a bit of a drive from my house, I know we will be back again soon.
Know Before You Go
- Preschool Playtime is held every Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to noon. The cost is $5 per child ($2 for nZone members) walkers to age 6. All participants are given a numbered bracelet with a matching number given to the parents to ensure that everyone leaves with the kids they came with. You do have to sign a standard waiver the first time you come.
- There was a good sized crowd the day we were there, but not too crowded that you couldn’t see your child at all times. It was busiest from 10:45 to 11:30am, and several moms say that some days it gets pretty crowded, but it’s always been manageable.
- The field where Preschool Playtime is held is covered with a very soft artificial turf. You have to take your sneakers off to get in the moonbounce, and shoes are optional for the rest of the activities. My daughter was playing in her socks for awhile until she got frustrated with the small pieces of “artificial dirt” from the turf that were getting stuck to her socks. Some of the moms said that the “dirt” (tiny pieces of black rubber) is the one downside of the playtime, since they always come home covered in it. We found the same thing – even though I thought I got it all off us before we left, I’m still finding it on our clothes. We recommend wearing older socks and then changing into clean socks when you get to the car.
- Large clean bathrooms are available by the field, along with baby changing facilities. My daughter was also thrilled to find a preschool bathroom with tiny toilets just right for little ones.
- Vending machines with kid-friendly options are available next to the bleachers. You can also bring your own snacks to enjoy (on the bleachers, not the field – no food or drinks are allowed on the field). There are also a number of kid-friendly restaurant options nearby if you want to have lunch after playing.
- The nZone is located at 14500 Lee Road, Chantilly, VA 20151. It is a large blue building. Drive around back to find the entrance and ample parking.