What is Cafe O’Play

IMG_4325Cafe O’ Play is Northeast Ohio’s premier indoor play cafe created to offer families healthy food options and physically-active play in a safe, clean, and comfortable environment.  We are built for children age 12 and under who also are at or under 4’10” in height and 100 lbs in weight.

We seek to develop community through a relaxed setting that also offers birthday parties, live music, and a variety of special events for both adults and children.

Cafe O’Play is for children and their parents/caregivers who desire an imaginative, challenging, and fun indoor environment in which to exercise, play, and explore.

There are two main areas to Cafe O’Play: the coffeehouse/cafe area, where everyone enters through, and the large indoor playground.

The play area is separated from the cafe by a wall with large windows, giving complete line of sight into the play area from the cafe area.  The cafe is open to the general public.  For safety, children must be accompanied by an adult in our facility in order to be admitted to the play area. Adults are not permitted to enter the play area without the wristband that indicates they have come with their child.  Children are not be permitted unaccompanied entry, nor are “drop-off permitted, except for pre-arranged parties and special events.  Furthermore, each person admitted to the play area must receive a color-coded wristband identifying him/her with the rest of their party. Trained staff supervise the play areas at all times to ensure adherence to the Cafe O’Play rules while assisting the children to maximize their enjoyment.

Relaxing for Parents | Playtime for Kids

DSC_3773Our play area, approximately 5000 square feet in size, includes a toddler-specific play area for children up to 48 months comprised of cushions, ramps, toys, and a small climbing structure.  Our larger climbing structure for older children  consists of a series of colorful tubes, slides, climbing structures, obstacle courses, ramps, and stairs.

A unique feature to the attraction mix of Cafe O’Play is an EyePlay interactive floor.  This unique play system is developed by Eye Click industries and features an almost unlimited amount of games projected onto an 8’x12’ white floor.  Games can be changed in difficulty level based upon age group.

DSC_3817DSC_3761Next to the EyePlay, is our screened in Sports Court.  Besides sports like basketball and soccer,  this court can also include an assortment of group games led by our Play Monitors at busy times in our center.

On the other side of the climbing structure, is Gaga Ball; a kinder/gentler form of dodge ball that is very popular at children’s summer camps.

In the corner near the Gaga Ball court is our popular Dance Room with multi-colored lights, a disco ball and great kid-friendly dance music.

Lastly, the play area includes two private party rooms near the play structure that offer private space to birthday guests and other corporate events. Hosted by trained “Party Hero’s”, our parties significantly reduce the hassle and mess for parents because we take care of all the details. The design of the rooms – adjacent rooms with a portable wall partition –   allow for groups as large as 38 people at a time,  Cafe O’Play offers several birthday packages for parties, as well as Family Celebrations for children 2 and younger, and Extreme Tween Parties.



That answers “What is Cafe O’Play?”  Here’s the Why.

“Now, come back here. Ok, you just sit down while I order the food. Oh, wait! Put that back on the shelf. AH!! You guys are driving me crazy today!”

I immediately hopped up to see if I could help this Mom in the Cafe with her two toddler boys aged 2 and 4. Try as I might to get them interested in playing at the Imagination Playground Blocks, they weren’t about to come over with me.

“That’s Ok. They will sit right here and I’ll get at least this guy corralled in the high chair.” This Mom was wonderfully patient.

“I totally know how you feel”, I said. “I had 3 boys each 2 years apart.”

“Oh, my goodness,” she said, “I can’t even imagine having another at this point. How did you do it?”

“Oh, just like you are doing it”, I said, “making it through one minute at a time.”

I sat down at my computer in the Cafe since I was helping the staff intermittently between administrative tasks. Suddenly hit me: This was WHY! THIS was WHY!

People want to know how in the world John and I came up with the idea of opening an indoor play cafe in Northeast Ohio. We can explain that we took our children to one in Michigan and fell in love with what a comfortable setting it was. We can explain how relieved we were that our 3 boys could release their endless physical energy.

But the REASON is the story above. The REASON is that, from very personal experience of having 4 children in 6 years, we discovered that parenting was just plain hard. As much as our love flowed for those darlings, the demand of caring for young ones was relentless. When I overheard this Mom wrangling her boys I FELT everything she felt in the way that only someone who has been there can know it.

This is why Cafe O’Play exists in Northeast Ohio. It’s because John and Carolyn Green had 3 boys and a girl and struggled desperately to make sure they didn’t tear the house or each other apart with their extra energy. It’s because both of us just plain love kids. It’s because we think parents ought to be valued. The chairs ought to be nice. The Cafe should look comfy. The coffee ought to be good.

We bring the food out to you. We clean up the mess. We arrange the craft and the character visit, and events and hope beyond all hope that you get a wee little respite.
It’s because….well, we know how it feels.

  • John & Carolyn Green, Owners

“Why does he even need alone time?” my 2nd boy said.

I had just told my son his younger brother was going to stay home from the outing because...he just needed time to himself. And that was ok.

You see, we added my 12 year old nephew from Oregon to our ranks for the past week.

It’s has been great overall! It turns out he loves dogs and even has some experience with training puppies. (WIN! We have a 9 month old puppy).

He also loves the same card game my boys all play. (Double WIN!)

The only challenge is that this addition of all-cousin-all-the-time can be my delicate for my 12 year who is craves alone-playtime.

We’ve navigated these waters before, and when the two boys were younger, there were rough moments for my 3rd boy.

So when said introvert opted to stay home from the outing yesterday, I recognized what he really was saying was that he needed alone time.

But it cracked me up that my 2nd born, ever-the-extrovert, asked this question.

“Why does he even need alone time?”

Every child has a different, unique personality, with a unique set of needs and interests.

As parents, we do well to recognize that one size does not fit all when it comes to our kids. Though we might instill a common culture and values in our family, how we apply those per child varies. As a parent of multiple children, I’ve definitely learned each child is completely unique personality and is motivated by different goals.

When the boys were really young and needed to pick up toys, I would attempt the “I can pick up more toys than you”-playful challenge. My oldest never fell for it. The other two would predictably turn their frown to a grin and help me pick up because they couldn’t resist a competition.

It’s really important for us parents to respect these differences and provide our children the paths that best suit their personality. We should be willing to investigate and be students of our kids, wondering what makes them tick.

By way of example, at Cafe O’Play we recognize that all kids need physical activity, but some prefer it in the form of dance rather than dodgeball. To appeal to a large range of interests, we compliment this active environment with fine-motor play (like crafts and cooking class) or critical thinking (like in Mad Science class and Camp which begins July 31 (cafeoplay.com/site/event/mad-science-summer-camp/?instance_id=1949).

From the time my oldest boy was able to talk, he was more interested in telling stories than sports. He put on spontaneous “shows” for us at home, recruiting his brothers to be his actors. Consequently, we’ve made the trek for him to be in Performing Art schools these last few years even though that isn’t always easy on us transportation-wise. (He would have loved our up-coming theatre camps in his younger years (cafeoplaytheatrecamp.eventbrite.com).

Part of the adventure in parenting is allowing our children to be who they are and follow their interests and skills. Part of work we have in front of us is to help educate siblings who don’t really understand that personality.

When all of us returned later in the day from our outing, boy #3 was much more willing to engage in play. He and the rest of the guys sat and played cards for a good hour and a half.

And it wasn’t bad that big brother had to learn that little bro was wired differently and needed the balance of alone time.

As an extrovert, that’s hard for him to fathom.

See, years ago, his older brother mentioned he liked being alone as well. What did my extrovert say?

“Yeah, and I like to be alone WITH you!”

View on Facebook

It's so hot out ☀️ Our little snowman has started to melt ☃️

Thankfully it'll be nice and cool inside Cafe O'play tomorrow for our Christmas in July celebration. 6:00pm-8:00pm

Snowball fight • candle making • cookie decorating • Jingles the elf • Christmas music and movies 🎅🎄❄️🎁

View on Facebook