My girls really like arts and craft projects. Our basement (when we can limit it to the basement) is full of construction paper scraps, capless markers, crayons, play-doh, glue sticks and craft kits. I find glitter and beads in the strangest places. How did glitter get in the master bathroom shower? How?!
Once in awhile, typically when I don’t have the energy to open up the paints or face the prospect of a big cleanup, we will head out to a studio and let them do most of the work. Not the painting, decorating or other fun bits, but the set-up, clean up and generally messy parts. You know, the parts that get left to Mom or Dad. One of the girls’s favorite local places for projects is The Kids Place in nearby Needham.
Coming up on 20 years, The Kids Place is located right off Needham Center at 15 Highland Place. There is ample free (and meter) parking nearby. Typically we’ll do a project then walk over and grab some lunch at one of the numerous kid-friendly options nearby.
The Kids Place always offers a variety of drop-in activities. We’ve always done the drop-in to date and never have to wait long for a spot at a table. In the past the girls have done plasters, mosaics and painted pottery. They also offer candles, canvas painting, mining for gems and clay impressions.
Along with always available drop-in activities, they offer birthday parties, vacation camp days, takeout kits and Dads and Donut days.
It wasn’t a Dads and Donut day, but we did spend a recent morning painting some new pieces to hang in their rooms.
When we arrived the girls spent some of the brief waiting time perusing the shelves and picking out pieces to paint. The selection rivals or exceeds any of the others I’ve seen at similar local paint-your-own places. There must be hundreds of pieces and the prices are competitive.
Sometimes all the variety can work against us. Allison tends to settle on the first thing that piques her interest. Cecilia, on the other hand, likes to look at all the options and can sometimes just lock up over all the choices.
One butterfly and dolphin later, we were smocked up and set up with paints, brushes and miscellaneous supplies. The staff would check back in regularly to see if any more paint or brushes were needed.
Mostly the girls sat quietly and brought their unique visions for each piece to life. Unlike some times at home, where Ally can rip through 7 canvases in 7 minutes, they know these trips are more of a treat and I like to see them slow down and take their time.
Once they are done, the staff cleans up the supplies and there is a big sink to get the stray (or not so stray) flecks of paint off your hands (and face).
The plaster pieces can be take home that day, but the girls weren’t leaving before they got their free coat of sparkle applied. In our house, if it doesn’t sparkle, it’s not getting hung up!
If you don’t want to do your own piece amongst the hustle, bustle and occasional meltdowns of the younger set, there is an adults night the first Thursday of every month.
We have not attended or hosted a birthday party here. At least not yet. But we’ve witnessed them in the other room and they always look fun, especially the black light painting! You can check out the prices and activities offered. Prices look competitive (don’t get me started!) to other venues we’ve used in the past.
We often pair an outing here with some lunch (crafting can work up an appetite!) either before or after and I can recommend the nearby Bertucci’s, Hearth Pizzeria, and Cook as places my kids found more than one entree they would eat. If you’re brave, you might also try Treat Cupcake Bar for dessert.
The Kids Place has quickly become one of the girls favorites and if I need to kill a morning or afternoon alone with the kids heading to Needham for some crafts and lunch is well worth the price and keeping my sanity.