Friday, September 14, 2007

My Brilliant Ideas

We had a particularly offensive trip to the local Outback Steakhouse with three starving kids tonight, but it gave me some ideas (as well as an almost free meal—kudos to the manager who realized the travesty that was their service) My ideas are for kid-friendly businesses that I would freqent Every. Single. Day.

My first idea: An honest-to-God kid-friendly restaurant. One with good food for adults. I'm imagining a central play area where kids can eat their nasty french fries and chicken strips and yell and play, while parents can sit at the tables ringing the chaos and eat delicious, grown-up food. This central area would be gated so that the kids couldn't wander off. And all the adults there could realize that dinner will be loud, but relaxed—and the food would be better than that served at the local fast food joint with a playland.

My second, oh-so-briliant idea: Drive through grocery store. I would have the big grocery stores have an online site where you could print out an order form with basics like milk, bananas, ground beef. Maybe ice cream. Definitely ice cream. Then you could take your list to the drive through window and the clerks could collect your food, pass it through the window, and you would pay them. No waiting in line. No forcing unwilling kids into shopping carts. And there is the added bonus that you could have some extra time waiting while your kids are strapped down into their car seats. Which is really the best part of some of my days.

This would be good for parents, but not so much for the busybodies in the grocery store who like to regale parents of screaming children with stories of how THEIR children NEVER misbehaved in public.

Idea Three: Another drive through, but this one for a fast food restaurant that serves food you don't feel bad feeding to your kids. I'd totally pay three bucks to buy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my kids when I don't have the time to make lunch at home, but I don't want to stuff them full of Chicken McNuggets for the third time in a week. They could sell bananas and apples and ham sandwiches. Maybe yogurt too. I'd totally go there.

My final idea: An indoor playground. When I lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, there was a place referred to as an indoor playground that cost $5 a visit. Basically it had some climbing equipment and toys and you could go there if it was raining or too hot or too cold. There are places like this, but usually they have open play time or open gym for only an hour a day and it always seems to be during lunch time. This is the only time parents are unwilling to sign their children up for the classes these places offer. There needs to be a place dedicated solely to open play.

There is a place like this in Montgomery County, Maryland, the Parent Resource Center, which is set up like a preschool with circle time, art, and toys, but it is only open during the school year. There also used to be a place called TimberTown, which was a playground equipment store that was open all day for kids to come and play. I LOVED this place. Right up until they closed their doors and left town shortly after I bought a 20-visit pass card. That's eighty bucks I'll never see again.

Do you know any places like this? And what are your great ideas?

Stimey's brilliant ideas are cross-posted at DC Metro Moms.


  1. Oh boy, I LOVE your fast-but-healthy-drive-through-food idea. I would definitely go there.

  2. Healthy food place, YES!! I would go there without kids - just because I don't like cooking for one - and I don't generally want 17,000 calories in every meal I eat just because it's fast.
    I keep wondering why no one is doing that!

  3. Come to Neenah, WI. We have Mom and Pop Place in downtown Neenah. It is a parenting store and cafe. Half is a store with toys, books, nursing gear, the other half is a cafe with play area for kids. They have things like Mediterranean Veggie Wraps and kids plates with lots of fruit, etc. See their wedsite
    Love and hugs,

  4. The drive-through grocery store! I LOVE this idea.


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