In early February, a new play space called SkillZone opened in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of DC. The catchy name describes the space perfectly – different zones of play spaces for children to work on developmental skills. My daughter and I visited SkillZone on a Wednesday afternoon and we were immediately in love with the minimalist, modern design that caters to both children and parents.
Upon entering, we were greeted at the door by Liza (the owner) and the friendly front desk staff. If its your first time visiting, they’ll take some basic information from you and you’ll move onto the stroller parking/cubby area. SkillZone is a shoe-free play space for both children and adults, so be sure to bring socks for both parents and children if you aren’t already wearing them.
There’s an area for coffee and water for the parents to enjoy which is such a nice touch since often times moms forget to pack snacks or drinks for themselves.
There are “skillzone” areas for climbing, swinging, reading, building, and sensory play. We stayed for about 2.5 hours and I think this was plenty of time for the space. There is a plush and cozy area for infants as well, but most of the space is geared for ages 1 to 6. My daughter (20 months) really enjoyed the water play area.
The best part about the water play area is the jackets and water shoes provided. My daughters jacket was soaked after playing for about 15 minutes but she was nice and dry when we hung it back up to dry. If your child tends to be a little more adventurous, I would definitely recommend bringing a change of clothes just in case the water play gets messier.
In a more enclosed area is the “Focus Zone.” This area was also one of my daughters favorites since shes currently going through a stage where she loves to “read.” In the Focus Zone, kids can concentrate on more self-directed skills. This area has train tables, toy kitchens, books, blocks and a transportation play area.
Additionally, SkillZone now has weekly classes focused on different developmental skills – including music, dancing, and sign-language to name a few. They also offer their members a weekly morning or evening drop-off service. And another fun offering – they can host birthday parties before or after hours on weekends. Check their website for more details about these added bonuses.
- If possible, register online before attending. It will save you time at the front desk.
- Admission for OpenZone drop-in play is $20 for the 1st child and $15 for sibling. Drop-in fees include 2 adults per paying child (and infants in carriers). Extra adults are $5.
- You can reserve space in the FocusZone and you’re encouraged to sign up in advance for a 1-hour time slot.
- There is street parking available.
Photos courtesy of Kathy Fleming and SkillZone.