Not every little one can run with the big kids. If you're looking to plan a fun day with your toddlers or preschoolers, there are many places on Long Island that cater to children 6 and younger, offering special open play hours, jump sessions and classes just for them.
Unplugged, imaginative play is what Sandbox Playspace (51 Gibson Ave, Huntington) is all about, catering to children 5 and younger. Open play is offered 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Here imagination is key, with toy kitchenware, a playhouse, a playboat and a play hardware store. Most of the toys are made from plain wood. There is also a chalk wall for coloring or drawing and a magnetic wall that allows kids to get creative. Everyone is required to wear socks while in the play space. Price: $20 first child; $10 second child; free for adults. More information: 631-421-1600; sandboxplayspace.net.
Liddle Bites Play Cafe
Children 8 and younger can enjoy open play at Liddle Bites Play Cafe (132 E. Park Ave, Long Beach) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and hours vary Saturday and Sunday. Known for their life-size, two-story dollhouse, this play space encourages little ones to use their imaginations. The kitchen in the dollhouse looks out on the play area, where there is a small cafe, Thomas the Tank Engine train table, a rocket ship with a ball pit inside, puzzles, costumes for dress-up and more. Price: $10 child; $7 crawlers; free for adults. Everyone must wear socks in the play space. More Information: 516-442-3131; liddlebites.com.
Xplore Family Fun Center
Every day is open play at Xplore Family Fun Center (200 Wilson St., Port Jefferson Station). The fun center has a special toddler zone for kids 3 and younger, which includes soft squishy toys, a ridable train, a fire truck, a floor piano and large rings that look like doughnuts. The play space also features an arcade, a soft indoor playground, two large slides, an inflatable obstacle course and laser tag. There's also a cafe serving kid-friendly food and gluten-free options. Xplore is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Price: $17 ages 3 and older; $12 ages 2 and younger; free infants and crawlers ($12 without older children); adults are free. More information: 631-743-9955; xplorekids.com.
Long Island Children’s Museum
The "TotSpot" exhibit at The Long Island Children’s Museum (11 Davis Ave.,Garden City) is for children 4 and younger. Maureen Mangan, director of communications and marketing for the museum, said, "It's the one gallery in the museum that has a limited capacity and timed entry with little ones in mind." Kids can climb to the top of the lighthouse, press buttons for a foghorn, ring a bell and then slide down. There's also a small bridge, a train station, a post office and a farm stand, where kids can sort through produce. The exhibit also features a child-scale motorcycle, tugboat and digger, a puppet stage and a reading area. The museum also offers classes for toddlers and preschoolers during the week from 11:30 a.m. to noon for $4 or $5 with museum admission. Weekly classes include stART (Story + Art) on Tuesday and Thursday, Music and Movement on Wednesday and Kids in the Kitchen on Friday. From 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, kids can play with oobleck, slime and more during Messy Afternoon sessions. Price: $14, free for members. More information: 516-224-5800; licm.org.
“PreSchool Playdate” is the open play time for kids ages 3 to 6 at Bounce U in Smithtown (2 Lake Ave., S Bldg 33, Nesconset; 631-265-5867), Farmingdale (101 Carolyn Blvd., Farmingdale; 631-777-5867) and Oceanside (3495B Lawson Blvd, Oceanside; 516-593-5867). Kids can play on inflatable slides, hit some balls in the Tee Ball area or climb their way up to another jumper. There are six different bouncers to choose from. “PreSchool Playdate” times vary by location: 10 a.m. to noon Fridays in Farmingdale, 10:30 a.m. to noon in Oceanside and times vary due to the party schedule in Smithtown. More Information: bounceu.com.
Momo’s Clubhouse (140 Eileen Way Suite 200, Syosset) is a play space for children 2 to 8 years old. Inside, kids can play on a three-tier jungle gym with four slides and an obstacle course, a play farmers market, art nook, Legos, a bean bag wall play, ride-on cars, a play bus and an open area for crawlers and toddlers. There is also a (real) cafe, which serves coffee, snacks and baked goods. The venue hosts open play 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, times vary on Saturday and Sunday. Price: $18 walker; $9 crawler; $5 additional adults (rates are for one child and two adults). More Information: 516-921-1004; momosclubhouse.com.
Bounce Trampoline Sports
Kids 6 and younger are welcome to use the whole facility during “Toddler Time” at Bounce! Trampoline Sports (310 Michael Dr., Syosset). There are eight trampolines with some featuring foam pits, basketball or a rock climbing wall. The Bounce Jr. section is specifically for ages 6 and younger and features a large trampoline, junior swings and soft foam pits. “Toddler Time” open play is offered 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday through Friday and 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Price: $15 per child; $3 for grip socks (required to jump). More information: 516-762-1300; bouncesyosset.com.
Although Safari Adventure (1074 Pulaski St., Riverhead) caters to kids up to age 10, there are many features that are perfect for infants and toddlers. They host open play every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. There’s a soft indoor playground, a disco dance dome inflatable, an arcade and more. There is also a sensory calming space for those that may get overstimulated by the play space, a hands-on area with small handheld toys, kinetic sand, train table, Legos and a toddler zone with a smaller playground dedicated to little ones. Price: $17 ages 3 and older, $12 ages 2 and younger; free for adults. More Information: 631-727-4386; thesafariadventure.com.
Pump It Up
“Lil’ Tikes” is open play for kids 6 and younger at Pump It Up (135 Dupont St Plainview). Little ones can play with an interactive motion game that turns the floor into a multiplayer video game. There is also a 17-foot slide with double lanes so kids can race or slide side-by-side with a friend, a classic bouncer, a coliseum inflatable where kids can joust with one another, an inflatable rock climbing wall and more. Children ages 2 and younger need to be accompanied by an adult. The "Lil' Tikes" open play is offered Monday through Friday, but check website for hours. Price: $10 per child (socks are required). More Information: 516-466-7867; pumpitupparty.com.
Sky Zone Deer Park
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, children 5 and younger are in for unlimited fun during “Toddler Time” at Sky Zone Deer Park (111 Rodeo Dr, Deer Park). This play space features about 20 wall-to-wall trampolines and basketball-like courts. The facility also features four foam pits and trampolines. Price: $14 per child; $3 for grip socks. Note: During school breaks and holidays, the class is typically canceled. More Information: 631-392-2600; skyzone.com/deerpark.
Cup O’Fun Cafe
Infants as young as 6 months and children as old as 8 can have fun at Cup O’ Fun Cafe (6 Rockaway Ave, Valley Stream). Open play is available weekly from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. This play space features air hockey, a build-a-bear machine, ball pit, dress-up area, ridable cars and more. There is a large-scale jungle gym with play mats and two large slides, and an interactive gaming area where games are projected onto the floor. The baby area for kids 6 months to 2 years old features a small inflatable with two slides and small hand-held toys for them to play with. Price: $16 first child; $14 second child; $8 crawlers; free for adults and infants. More information: 516-872-2600; cupofuncafe.com.
Sippy Cups Cafe
A cafe built just for parents and their little ones, Sippy Cups Cafe (3890 Merrick RD, Seaford) features a full cafe area with a play space for children 6 and younger. Inside there are two slides connected by a bridge and some small pullies in the jungle gym. There is a Lego table, books, matching puzzles and more playthings to entertain any kid. Outside the Cafe is a small area with a playhouse and ride-on cars. The cafe for parents serves Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee, sepredipiTea, baked goods, chicken nuggets, bagels and more for an additional cost. Parents must wear socks in the play area. Open play is 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday through Friday; registration is required for play sessions on holidays and weekends. Price: $14 first child; $10 for the second; $6 crawlers. More information: 516-221-3814; sippycupscafe.com.
Flight Fit n’ Fun
A few times a week during the school year, Flight Fit n’ Fun (1850 Lakeland Ave., Ronkonkoma) hosts “Kids Flight” for children 5 and younger. Kids can jump around in the open play areas, which feature about 10 large trampolines, foam pits and basketball courts. The Kidz Zone is a smaller trampoline area for children 48 inches and smaller (adults are not allowed to jump here). There is also has a small arcade with 10 different games to choose from. Open play is held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday, noon to 3 p.m. Friday and 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. “Kids Flight” is offered every other Sunday (but not the first Sunday of the month). In order to jump, kids and adults must wear grip socks. Price: $10 per child; $3 for grip socks; one adult is free per child. More information: 631-619-6000, flightfitnfun.com.
Center for Science Teaching and Learning
“Tiny Tots” is a science program for children 18 months to 3 years old at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning (1450 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre). This program is for kids who want to learn more about the world around them. Each week there is a different theme where children will do arts and crafts, and interact with live animals like lizards, snakes, owls and more. Children should be dressed to get a little messy during water play. "Tiny Tots" is offered 9:30 to 11 a.m. every Monday during the school year. Price: $8 per child. More Information: 516-764-0045; cstl.org.
Cradle of Aviation Museum
The “Junior Jet Club” within the Cradle of Aviation (Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City) is a play room dedicated to little ones 6 and younger. The interactive space features aerospace-themed activities, blocks, books, Legos and more. There's a space shuttle cockpit for kids to sit in, a reading corner and a magnet wall. The "Junior Jet Club" is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Price: Included with museum admission ($15 adults, $13 children); $2.50 per person without museum admission. More Information: 516-572-4111; cradleofaviation.org.
Children’s Museum of the East End
The Children's Museum of the East End (276 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Tpke., Bridgehampton) shuts down the Legacy Tree Gallery for "Tot Spot" from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. every Wednesday for kids 16 months to 3 years old. The gallery is built to look like a miniature town with a tree house, a bedroom, a working windmill, a library and more. The soft play area is covered with foam mats and soft blocks for little ones to build and play. In the Baby Garden exhibit there is a soothing chair for nursing mothers. Price: Free for members; $24 non-members (includes admission). More Information: 631-537-8250; cmee.org.
Bouncers & Slydos
Bouncers & Slydos (1835 New Highway, Farmingdale) features “Toddler Time” for kids 5 and younger, which takes place 10 a.m. to noon and noon to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Kids will find five inflatable jumpers, with one featuring rock climbing and another allowing parents to play with their children. There’s also a dance floor for some added fun. Prices: $14 per child (socks are required ). More Information: 631-752-2324; bouncersandslydos.com.