Moms of littles will soon have a new option for indoor play on the west side.
TeenyTown Playland, which opens later this month at 12958 West Indian School Road in Litchfield Park, is a learning-based center geared toward kids ages 0 through 10. A grand opening event set from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 27, will feature bounce houses, games, half-price admission, booths from around the city, and more.
Owner Courtney Kovats came up with the idea last August, after she herself wished there were options on the west side for her child.
“I had taken my toddler to a few places like this,” she said.
The down side? She had to drive way out to the East Valley for it. Now, with TeenyTown Playland, she won’t have to go far for her little ones to play.
“It feels a little selfish, doing this because I wanted it for me,” she admitted.
But if feedback from the local area is any indication, there are plenty of other moms who want an indoor playland geared toward younger kids.
Since Phoenix summers are blazing hot, it makes sense for her to launch a fun, indoor, air-conditioned space for kids.
TeenTown Playland will be just what its name describes: a tiny town. Complete with a house, school, fire department, doctor’s office, café and grocery store, young children will get the chance to pretend they live and work in their own little town. The space is about 2,000 square feet.
While she has seen similar playlands in other areas, Kovats has some things planned to make TeenTown different.
“It started with idea, just want to have a place for them to be,” she said. “Through all of my research, I wanted it to be themed, fun – something different.
“We’re going to change things up once a month,” she continued. “There will be standard spots for things, but activities will change. For example, the doctor’s office can become a veterinarian’s office, and the café can become a different type of restaurant.”
Part of the town will have rotating activities like a lemonade stand and camp site. Little cars will be available for kids to drive around to the different destinations.
Kids can certainly engage in freeplay there, but also unique to TeenyTown will be learning-based play.
“There will be opportunities to learn through play. For example, in the grocery store, when they put stuff back on the shelf, they can sort by color,” Kovats said.
She said while her younger kids love the concept, even the older siblings have a good time.
“My daughter is turning 11 and she loves to do all these activities with the 3 year old because she can show her how to do things,” she said. Some of the different spots in TeenyTown are even named after her kids and other relatives, she explained.
There will even be an area designated for babies who can’t walk yet.
When people visit TeenyTown, they will first encounter the front desk. Parents can sign a waiver there or online, before they arrive. Then, each kid will receive a nametag. But it will have more than just their name on it.
“When you check in, your child can choose their job: doctor, cashier, teacher, mechanic, construction worker,” Kovats explained. Of course, that doesn’t mean they can only play in those types of areas.
A small snack and beverage area will also be available. In the front is also a retail area, where parents can purchase toys found around TeenyTown. Plus, anyone who hosts a birthday party at TeenyTown can register for toys from the retail area, and those attending the party can receive a 10% discount at the registry. TeenyTown will gift wrap at no extra charge.
“We’ve all been there – driving to a party last minute, and we spend as much on the gift wrap as the gift,” she said.
As a busy mom of four kids, Kovats just wants to make the whole experience as simple as possible.
Kovats has a background in marketing and worked downtown for years until having her fourth child. She became a stay-at-home mom, and that’s when the idea for TeenyTown was born. Funny enough, from idea to birth, the TeenyTown process has also taken about nine months.
“It’s like birthing another child,” she said.
Jokes aside, despite how busy she’s been getting ready for the grand opening, she’s excited for what’s to come. Already on the calendar are craft days, story time and more. She plans to host science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) days, as well as premium arts and crafts days.