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Alli Cat’s Cafe | The Story Behind It

Alli Cat’s Cafe, the kid’s barista play area at Main Street, has been one of the most enjoyed additions to the newly completed project. We have answered many questions regarding this little space and thought it might be interesting to share some behind the scenes information and photos of how this cafe came to be.

Several years ago, we spent a family day visiting the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Of all the displays and exhibits at the museum, the one most enjoyed by our kids was the China Exhibit, where they got to pretend to be chefs. The kids could make sushi, grill food, and serve guests. We watched as our kids put on aprons, chef hats, and served the adults pretend fish, and other fine foods.

The most interesting thing to us, was how well the kids played with other children they had never met, and thoroughly enjoyed their time with simple toys and pretend play…No electronics or video games needed. The kitchen was entertaining children of all ages for long periods of time!

We left the museum, and started talking…about how we could do this in a much smaller scale at Main Street. How we could let kids get creative, pretend to be baristas or bakers, take orders, and serve each other, and most of all – use their imaginations!

As this idea started to grow, we started by doing some basic research. Unable to find any other idea like we had in mind online, we started by finding an espresso machine and a cash register that looked realistic, after that we added more green or wooden toys until we felt we had enough to outfit the bar.

Approximately a year after the museum visit, we met with Jamie Miller, designer at Ayr Cabinet Co. He understood what we were trying to accomplish, and he took exact measurements of our current bar and pastry case, and scaled it down to miniature size. He also used the measurements of our toy cash register, and other toy brewing equipment, and tried to fit them into the space we had. After the plans were completed, Alli Cat’s Cafe, named after our youngest daughter Allison, quickly took shape.

We hope this little corner of our shop continues to be a place where your family can have fun together, and most of all – make memories!

Enjoy the pictures of Alli setting things up during the construction period, below:

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge,  but imagination.” – Albert Einstein

 

More photos of some of the little people that have stopped by at Main Street.

As a note: We would love to encourage all of you to let your kids enjoy the space as it was created and designed for – to interact with other kids and adults, to pretend play, and to enjoy all the toys provided here. However, Please use respect when you leave the space, ensuring it is ready for other kids coming after you. Use caution in making sure your kids don’t damage or misuse the items provided for everyone’s enjoyment. THANK YOU to those of you who have donated toys to our space. We greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

 

Source list: (some affiliate links included)

Custom Barista Bar and Pastry Case by Ayr Cabinet  

Custom Sign by Aimee Weaver Designs 

Chairs and Tables – RH Baby and Child

Cash Register- Pottery Barn Kids

Melissa & Doug Brew & Serve Wooden Coffee Maker Set – Amazon 

Fisher-Price Wooden Toys, Early Bird Barista Set –Amazon

Donuts Pretend Play Toy Food Set for Kids (1 Dozen) -Amazon

Green Toys Cupcake Set- Amazon

Espresso Machine – Amazon

Pastries – Pottery Barn Kids

Melissa & Doug Wooden Steep & Serve Tea Set, Pretend Play, All-Wood Tea Service – Amazon

Melissa & Doug  Let’s Play House Baking Spice Set – Amazon

Apron Shelf and Hooks – Hobby Lobby 

Child Size Aprons by – KNG Design

Wall Mounted Book Shelf – Pottery Barn Kids

Melissa & Doug Tip & Sip Toy Juice Bottles – Amazon

 

Photography credits include MG3 PhotoJessica Rose PhotographyEl Jefe Photography

 

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