This review from spring 2019 highlights the fun of Tot Spot at the Flip Factory. As of winter 2021, we have heard that Tot Spot has recently been expanded and renovated with brand new play structures, equipment, a bouncy castle, and more fun. Check it out when things reopen after COVID!
Do you struggle to think of new places to take your busy littles to help them burn energy? It’s a real problem! My own mini-human is a year and a half and very outgoing. He attacks each day with the kind of enthusiasm that is strictly reserved for those under 5. He is inquisitive, energetic and social- He wakes up literally begging to get in the car because he knows that once we’re in the car we are going to explore the world. As a result I am constantly looking for interesting spots to keep things interesting day-after-day, week-after-week, forever. Ok, maybe not forever, but like… until Friday would be great!
This week we headed out to the Flip Factory to discover their Tot Spot (Bay 2, 4500 – 5th Street NE). Located in a converted warehouse this gymnastics club is an exciting find! They have two large gymnasiums for various classes and to top it all off, literally, on the top floor, a café with a play space for little ones 5 and under.
This is not like most play spaces you have visited. First off, there is a bouncy castle, because who DOESN’T like that?! And all of the equipment is geared towards functional, gymnastic style movements. There is a low cushioned balance beam. There are 2 different climbing structures to scale and hang from. There are incline and decline wedges, a half ball and soft barrel… These are the sort of soft gym equipment that anyone familiar with Gymboree will have come across but there is no formal instruction so your little one is free to explore anything that piques their interest for as long as they want. In addition to the obvious gym type equipment there are slides and play houses and a rocking horse that my toddler thought was the best thing in the whole space.
Busyness of the area really fluctuated with the start times of the gymnastics classes downstairs and the adjacent café picked up a bit at lunch time but at no point did it feel overcrowded. The café serves fresh, healthy-ish fare and had wonderful toddler sized tables to accommodate the tiny people the space is aimed at. My child, who is still in a high chair, had never seen miniature tables and chairs before and literally squealed with excitement when he spotted them. He was so proud sitting like mommy in his own chair while we took a break for snack time.
We played for well over an hour and at no point did we run out of fun things to try and investigate, and my kiddo is at the low end of the age range for the space. I would highly recommend Tot Spot to anyone with kids under 5! Especially as, with the set-up of the café, you can turn your kids loose into the play space and enjoy an adult moment with your own (hot!) cup of java. For any busy parent, with energetic kids like mine, this place is pretty perfect!
By Kaeleigh MacDonald
Kaeleigh MacDonald runs the popular infertility blog Unpregnant Chicken where she writes her musings on the wild world that is “trying to conceive”. She holds a B.Ed. in Educational Psychology as well as an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology although nowadays she spends most of her time entertaining her toddler and exploring Calgary.