Promising “flexibility without sacrificing quality”, KidsPark child care centers are quite unique.
They’re open in the evenings and on weekends in addition to weekdays, plus you don’t need to book a place in advance.
You can just drop off your child at any time, whether it’s for one hour or ten!
But are KidsPark centers good? How much are the fees compared to other less-flexible childcare centers? And is KidsPark worth it?
Here’s a full KidsPark review.
KidsPark is an incredibly convenient and helpful childcare option for parents that need help in the evenings, on weekends, or who just want a more flexible alternative to traditional daycare. The rates aren’t cheap, but if you’re in a pinch KidsPark is well worth the price.
However, some parents have complain about the facilities and the staff at certain locations. Make sure you tour your local KidsPark to see it for yourself.
Let’s take a closer look at KidsPark pros, cons, costs, and more!
What is KidsPark Childcare?
KidsPark is a chain of 20 childcare centers with locations in Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
Offering a flexible childcare option for children aged 2 to 12, KidsPark is different from most other preschools and daycare centers in that no reservations are required.
Parents can drop off their children as and when they need, whether that’s just for an hour or for the full day.
KidsPark is open weekdays, evenings, and weekends, offering non-traditional hours that can fit around most parents’ busy work schedules.
The company was founded in 1988 by Debbie Milner, a mom who struggled to find the flexible childcare she needed for her two-year-old child.
Her original KidsPark center is still in operation, along with 19 others and several more scheduled to open in the near future.
KidsPark Teaching Philosophy Explained
KidsPark is quite different from most other childcare centers because it’s so flexible.
It’s something of a hybrid between a daycare and a play center.
While some children may attend KidsPark on the same days each week, others families use it for backup childcare when a babysitter or grandparent is sick or on vacation.
The main focus at KidsPark is fun.
Kids are allowed the free choice between a series of structured staff-led activities that are on offer at any time.
KidsPark centers are all open-plan, with no walls between classrooms.
This means that siblings of all ages can play together and parents can see what kids are doing when they arrive to pick them up.
Each KidsPark center has the following play areas:
- Creation Station – Hands-on activities like art, cooking, and science
- Activity Area – Organized games are offered hourly based on the interests of the children present
- Mountain of Energy – A large structure where kids can climb and slide
- Theater – An area used for storytime, music, movies, dance, and drama
- Blue Crew – School-age kids can do homework and distance learning, play video games, and create artwork
The preschool curriculum at KidsPark focuses on Kindergarten preparedness and includes the STEAM topics (science, technology, engineering, art, and math).
The curriculum includes:
- Knowledge Base (letters, numbers, colors, shapes)
- Daily Life Skills (time, calendar, weather, personal care)
- Science (color mixing, movement, reaction, bugs, solar system, ocean life)
- Math Concepts (sorting, quantity, patterns, graphing, measurement)
- The Arts (art projects, music, drama, literature, cooking)
KidsPark also offers a distance learning solution for school-age kids called Plug and Play.
Children bring their laptop computers to the virtual learning classroom and can attend their online classes under the supervision of staff.
Afterward, staff can help with any homework or kids can just enjoy the fun play space with their friends.
KidsPark Day To Day Procedures/Typical Day
As KidsPark centers are all franchises that are individually owned and operated, the day-to-day procedures tend to vary from location to location.
Here’s a general overview of what you can expect.
Some KidsPark centers are open from 6:30 am until 10 pm and are also open on weekends.
With others, the day starts a little later at 7.30 or 8 am and finishes around 6 pm.
Most centers are open on Saturdays (some at late as midnight) and many also offer childcare on Sundays.
Preschool classes at KidsPark are usually only offered on weekday mornings in term time.
However, children can also attend before or after their preschool class.
Some centers have a maximum time limit of five hours per day for two-year-olds, but older children can generally attend for up to ten hours per day.
For preschool kids, there is a set focus each month that includes certain letters, numbers, a color, shape, science concept, math concept, and an enrichment activity.
Meals and Snacks
At KidsPark, you can send your child with a packed lunch or you can pay for a hot lunch or dinner.
Snacks of apple juice and crackers are provided free of charge at 10 am, 3 pm, and 8 pm.
Some centers allow you to also purchase fruit and yogurts for a more substantial snack at snack time.
Meals cost between $3.50 and $5.95 each, depending on the center.
There’s no choice available and meals aren’t the healthiest with a lot of pizza, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets on offer.
You may find that there’s little or no mention of fruit and vegetables on the menu.
With this in mind, you may wish to send a packed lunch and use the meal service only on days when you really don’t have time to prepare anything at home.
In a pinch, it’s a great option and the kids love it!
There’s no requirement for kids to be potty trained to attend KidsPark.
Staff will remind children to go to the toilet and change them if they have accidents, but that’s really the extent of the assistance that’s given.
There are no scheduled nap times at KidsPark, although some centers do have a dedicated quiet time.
If children are tired, they will be encouraged to lay down and rest in a quiet area. You can bring a pillow or blanket for your child if you wish.
KidsPark provides a lower teacher-child ratio than state licensing requirements.
There are always at least two teachers on-site at all times.
Staff at KidsPark are trained in early childhood education and recreation, first aid, and CPR. They are also screened by the Department of Justice.
If you have any questions about KidsPark, we recommend that you get in touch with your local center to arrange a visit.
You may wish to come prepared with some questions. We found a great list here that may help you to know what to ask.
KidsPark Tuition Examples
The tuition fees for each KidsPark center are published on the KidsPark website.
Most centers have daily and hourly rates, with generous discounts of up to 50% for siblings.
Here are the ballpark rates for childcare at KidsPark:
|$8.50 to $12
|$51 to $84
|$4 to $6
|$24 to $48
|$3 to $6
|$28 to $48
The day rate applies for 8 to 11 hours, depending on the center. Additional hourly rates apply after that.
Some KidsPark centers also offer weekly rates of $250 for Monday to Friday, up to 8 hours per day.
In addition to the daily fees, there’s a one-off family registration fee of between $25 and $40.
No payment is required until your first visit and you’re welcome to pay on the day when you drop off your child.
Discounts may also be available for advanced payments.
While the rates at KidsPark may seem a little higher than other childcare centers in your area, it’s important to remember that KidsPark is totally flexible.
You don’t need to book spaces in advance and you won’t pay for any days that your child doesn’t attend.
Most standard childcare facilities charge you for days when your child is sick, on vacation, or when you may not need childcare, such as when you’re between jobs.
Some even charge for times when they’re closed, like Christmas.
You’ll want to add up how much you would spend on those days when comparing the prices of KidsPark versus other childcare centers.
If you have a job that requires you to work evenings and weekends, a place at KidsPark can be very handy to fill a gap when your usual daycare is closed.
You might even want to consider enrolling your kids in more than one place.
What Real Parents Are Saying About KidsPark Schools
So, is the KidsPark flexible daycare offering too good to be true?
To learn what real parents are saying about KidsPark, we read through hundreds of reviews and summarized the comments into common themes.
When reading online reviews it’s important to remember that each center is an individually-run franchise.
So, as well as reading this general guide, you’ll want to have a look at the reviews for your local KidsPark. We’ve found that Yelp is a great place to start.
On the whole, KidsPark play centers get great reviews online. Here’s what parents love the most.
“There was so much area for the kids to roam around in, as well as toys galore.
“There was a movie theater area for the kids, there was a small veterinary area, toy trains, dollhouses, a gaming area, tables, and chairs for kids to eat and craft.”
“Loved the flexibility of setting our schedule. Some weeks we did Monday-Wednesday, some Tuesday-Friday, some weeks not at all if we were busy, sick, whatever, and I didn’t have to worry about losing money for days missed.”
The opening hours
“Great alternative for a babysitter! My husband and I almost missed a concert because we couldn’t find a sitter.
“A friend told me about this place and decided to try it out on a Saturday night (open until 11 pm). My boys (9 and 6) said they had a good time (watched a movie), and I liked that they were able to be with their 2-year-old sister at all times.”
Here are a few areas that crop up in several negative reviews of some KidsPark centers.
None of the staff really seem to be a kids-lover (I always get the impression that they are just doing their “job”.
Kids are allowed to watch TV
“I asked that he not watch TV because he’s been watching TV the majority of the day and the woman informed me that because they close in an hour that they’re gonna put all the kids in front of a TV and let them watch a movie while they clean up.
“I’m not gonna pay for my son to watch a movie when he can do that at home.”
“It was beyond disgusting and dirty!! I didn’t let my daughter touch anything! The lady there said they plan on patching the holes in the wall but needed to wait and see if they were renewing their lease first.
“Not even sure how people drop their kids off in such a filthy place. I ran out so quick and sanitized our hands!!”
If you’re looking for a flexible childcare option that includes evenings and weekends, then KidsPark is ideal.
You don’t need to give any notice to attend and you’ll only be charged for the hours that your child attends.
While KidsPark is perfect for occasional hours when you have a doctor’s appointment, meeting with the vet, or some other matter that you don’t want to bring your kids along to, you may be wondering if you can use it for your regular childcare.
The answer is yes.
Many parents enroll two- to five-year-olds in KidsPark’s preschool program that runs every weekday morning.
Your little one can also stay and play afterward, although you may want to consider that after 3 pm and in the school holidays there will likely be some older kids sharing their play space.
In any case, you should definitely visit and take a tour of your local KidsPark before enrolling or even using it as a backup childcare option. You’ll want to see the facilities for yourself and meet some of the staff.
Look out for coupons online, and your first visit may even be free!
If you’re still looking for more of a traditional daycare option, check out:
- Kids R Kids Review
- Primrose Schools Review
- The Goddard School Review
- The Learning Experience Review
- Sunshine House review
- The best daycares and preschools
Hope this helps!