Several modern family clubs across the country are providing support— and fun—for the entire family and redefining the ever-important third space.
Kefi offers programming like movie nights and yoga.
We’re all familiar with kids’ play spaces and coworking spaces, but in recent years, several industrious businesses have combined the two concepts to create modern family clubs, offering everything from coffee shops to meeting rooms to family-first programming. The idea is to support an entire family’s well-being. “We are constantly changing our projected environments and rotating content platforms to enhance physical play, and we try to shake things up with mixed reality games,” says Sarah Kilpatrick, VP of culture and brand activation at Atlanta-based and tech-savvy Kefi. Plus, “radio-frequency identification-based check-in ensures kids are correctly matched up with their grown-ups,” she adds, and rigorous cleaning systems keep everyone safe.
The interactive canteen at CAMP
Pivoting, of course, has been key to survival during the pandemic. Kefi ramped up its adult programming to help parents struggling with work-life balance. The Lane in Washington, D.C., has found itself making a hard shift after opening last February. Says co-founder Rachel Lubin: “We took the charge upon ourselves to continually pivot to meet the needs of our community. … We eventually transitioned into hosting learning pods to support kids whose schools are 100% virtual. While it’s far from what we imagined, we’re proud that we have found ways to help our community and are committed to doing that.” She continues, “Parents should not have to sacrifice their own happiness to ensure their kids’ satisfaction, or vice versa. Families need spaces outside of work and home that fit everyone’s needs and desires. The Lane is designed to appeal to a parent’s aesthetic while offering play features that are highly engaging for kids and adults alike.”
The Lane’s kid-approved ball pit
For CAMP, which has locations in New York City, Dallas and Norwalk, Conn., change has always been constant. “We answer the perennial family question: What should we do today?” notes co-founder Tiffany Markofsky. “This means we are constantly finding ways to engage the entire family and meet them where they are: our stores, online and in their communities.” Rotating themes change every few months, so there’s always refreshed content and experiences, both online and in person, such as family games, kid-friendly recipes and even virtual travel. “CAMP has become a ritual and we give families a reason to keep coming back and make it a part of their everyday life. Our in-store experiences mix shopping and play in a magical way… with new play elements and merchandise to discover.” Kilpatrick perhaps sums up the trend best: “While families come for our space and experience, they stay for the community.”