The Green Bean

It's an interesting world that we live in, and we want our kids to be critical thinkers so they can develop problem solving skills. Yet... we take away some of the free play in preschool. We give kids video games so they don't have to use imaginative play. We push reading and math earlier and earlier instead of letting them roam free and play. As a third grade teacher, I've started to see the repercussion of this. Kids don't know how to problem solve because they don't have to solve "playground disputes." My husband often gets frustrated when R doesn't share, but it isn't developmentally appropriate for him to because he doesn't know how... yet. What does this have to do with the Green Bean indoor play area? Well... it's a good place to start to develop these skills.
The Green Bean is an indoor play area in the Hilltop area of Virginia Beach. We walked in and R immediately went for the trucks. Big shocker there. Both kids and adults are required to take off their shoes. There are cubbies up front for shoes and coats. There is a little cafe area in the back to buy coffee and snacks. There is also free wifi for parents. Several adults were working on their laptops while their children played. If R was older, I would have brought my laptop and written the blog there! 
The Green Bean is open Monday-Friday 9:30-4 and Saturday 10-2. On Sundays they are closed to the public for private parties. Daily pass prices are $5.50 for under 13 months, $8.80 for above 13 months. There is no reentry fee for the same day. There are a few different price options. For $40.00 you can get a punch card for 6 visits. This works out to basically one free visit. There is also a 1 year membership for $60.00 a month, a 6 month membership for $65.00 a month, 3 month membership for $69.00 a month, 1 month membership for $75.00 a month, and a one week membership for $25.00. There is also a drop off option where you can drop off kids 14 months-6 years. This option is available M-F 9:30-2. I'd like them to extend to Friday and Saturday nights. There are so many restaurants around that I think it would be an awesome date night option! 
There are different activities on different days. We went on a Monday, so we saw the cookies (animal crackers) and story time. Although it says it starts at 10:30, it was more like 10:45. They didn't stop the play for those who didn't want to listen, but called kids over to the stage. R wasn't interested int he story so much, but he certainly liked the cookies. 

We got there right at 9:30 for the opening time and were some of the first people there, but it quickly filled up. It was a little overwhelming and I lost site of R a couple times, but I felt like he was safe and it made me a little proud that he ventured out a bit. It could also have been crazy because it was a holiday, so everyone was off. 

Story time selfie!

Sometimes I think about how crazy it is that my little man has grown up so much. In moments like today where he was venturing bravely further and further away, I wonder what his life will be like in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. My father's recent passing has left me with lots of thoughts about what R's life will be like once I'm older and even once I'm gone. I hope to instill the same love of life and laughter that my father instilled in me. I hope he grows to hold all of these adventures close to his heart.

**I just talked to Wendy from Zumbini. I did a post on Zumbini a little while ago, and she just told me that she will have another demo class at the Green Bean, Saturday, Feb 3rd. If you're interested check out the link here. First time demo families only!