I have seen the playgrounds of the future on the streets of London, and they all have one thing in common: Cafes.
No, I’m not talking about tiny kiosks that sell nothing but candy bars and bags of chips. I’m talking full-on, honest-to-goodness cafes. With fresh food. Ice cream. And, best of all, espresso machines. That make strong coffee drinks. Quickly.
After two weeks on the ground here, three of our four favorite playgrounds have such snack bars. And I’m already spoiled rotten. Heck, the café at the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens even sells hot pizzas. Who in his or her right mind wouldn’t be all over something like that?
Specifically, I like the trend for a number of reasons.
First, for parents like me—humans who regularly operate at a sleep deficiency—knowing that you’re never more than a swingset away from a double Americano does wonders for the energy levels (and the patience levels while “negotiating” with cheeky kids).
Second, when you forget to bring snacks from home, the baristas/snack-keepers have you covered.
Finally, these on-site cafés offer a certain degree of flexibility to reward good behavior (or to splurge on lunch away from home). If the kids are being good and you don’t really feel like racing home to eat, you can dash into the café to buy relatively healthy sandwiches and fruit at the playground and chow down there.
I beg of our community leaders back home: HOOK US UP! As an expat who has appreciated the beauty of playground cafes here, I publicly cast my vote. Tens of thousands of parents across our nation would agree if they had the option to do so. Who says we grownups can’t have fun at playgrounds too?
To what extent would you patronize a café at your favorite playground?