When Battle Ground residents Matthew and Janelle Parker and Brian and Stephanie Loll would go out with their children, Janelle said they would end up spending more time chasing the kids through the restaurant or coffee shop, or wherever they were, than they spent actually talking and enjoying themselves.
“We would wish for a family-friendly place that our kids could enjoy as well that wasn’t Chuck E. Cheese and would dream about the day that we opened one together,” Janelle said. “Last spring, after a long boring winter, my husband and I took our kids for a walk and we were on Main Street wishing that we could stop for coffee somewhere that our kids could be happy in. We had always loved Cafe Sip n Play, but being in Camas we didn’t have the desire to spend the gas or the time to drive there. On that walk, we decided that if we wanted this so much then we needed to
do it ourselves.”
Janelle and Matthew then called their friends Brian and Stephanie Loll and the planning for Little Cups & Grownups play cafe began. As a mom, Janelle said she wants to have the ability to see her girlfriends and arrange coffee dates with them or play dates with the kids. She said it can be hard at times to plan a get together at home, and the mess left sometimes afterwards isn’t worth it. Janelle said taking her children to a coffee shop in town usually ends up being a hassle.
“I spend more time chasing my kids, asking them to sit quietly and not to disturb the other customers than I do socializing with my friends,” Janelle said. “The mall has always been a good option as they have a great play space for the kids and a Starbucks nearby, but the drive time and planning it takes to get there isn’t ideal for me.”
The Parkers and the Lolls are hoping to have Little Cups & Grownups open this week, but they may not open until early October depending on final city approvals and a inspection by Clark County Public Health. The cafe is located in Old Town at 614 E. Main St., Battle Ground. Little Cups & Grownups is not only a cafe with coffee drinks, teas and some light food items, but also has a more than 800-square-foot play space for children to enjoy.
Janelle said the play space will have lots of activities for children, including a play house, a climbing play structure, a play kitchen and market with play food and shopping carts, a puppet theatre, toddler school bus, baby dolls and strollers and numerous age-appropriate toys for infants. There is also a reading nook with an art bar for craft times.
Janelle said the age range for the play space is walkers to kindergartners and will cost $4 per child to play. With that paid admission, each child has access to the toys and to the music and movement classes and other activities offered during the week.
In addition to regular paid admission, Janelle said they also offer memberships and play punch cards. Because they don’t allow older children in the play space for the safety of the little ones, Janelle said they offer games, crafts and an interchangeable game table for the older children outside of the play space.
Different events and activities for children are hosted at Little Cups & Grownups Monday-Friday, in the mornings. These classes/activities are free with the $4 admission and include Music and Movement two days a week with Dawn Raltz, a story hour twice a week with Namma and Yoga on Tuesdays with Krista Risner. Janelle said Raltz is experienced in teaching music to small children and “will make it very fun.” There will be lots of silly songs to help children get their wiggles out and learning what instrument does what, as well as dancing and quiet floor-time music. Classes will focus on story time, finger songs, bells and scarves to music, letter of the day or words of the day and a weekly craft.
During yoga classes, Risner will focus on large body movements and games with participating children. All of these classes are 45-60 minutes long, but Janelle said children who don’t wish to participate can always play in another area of the play space.
As far as the cafe part of Little Cups and Grownups goes, there will be teas, a custom Chai, smoothies, frozen mocha drinks and other coffee drinks. There will also be some food items, including homemade baked goods such as organic cinnamon rolls with vegan cream cheese, apple muffins, lemon loaf, banana bread with cream cheese and plenty of “specials” each week. Janelle said they will also offer salads, homemade soups from October to April, wraps, sandwiches, flatbread pizza, hummus, pita and veggie plates, apples and cheese, yogurt, chips, cookies and more.
“We are keeping it light and simple,” Janelle said.
Janelle, 35, and Matthew, 40, live in Battle Ground and they have four children, Faith (10), Anna (8), Matty (6) and Grayson (23 months). Their oldest daughter was adopted through foster adopt and they plan to adopt again one day. Matthew has been in the auto body industry for 15 years and has decided to pursue building this business so he can be with his family more. Brian and Stephanie also live in Battle Ground and have three children, identical twin girls Chloe and Haley (7) and Annabelle (10 months). They are expecting baby number four in March.
Hours at Little Cups & Grownups are Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat., 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. From 4-8 p.m. on Saturdays is reserved for birthday parties, baby showers and other such event facility rentals and Sundays are also reserved for parties and facility rentals.
“We are so excited to open Little Cups and give parents and families an opportunity to connect with other parents and families,” Janelle said. “A chance to meet new people and make new friends.”