A former full-time nanny from Stony Brook has taken her passion for childcare to the next level by opening an indoor play area called “Play à La Mode” in East Setauket.
Rita Karapatakis remembered working with a child who was a bit reckless and enjoyed climbing. She said she looked for a suitable play area to properly stimulate the child and found a play café — located 45 minutes away.
“The one I found was a little babyish,” she said. “My goal was to find something a little more trendy and upscale for parents.”
So, Karapatakis decided to create her own. Her Play Ala Mode space is designed for infants, toddlers and children up to 6 years old and features a kitchen, market, gym, and a café that comprise a little village.
Parents can book time blocks of one and a half hours through the website, with prices ranging from $28 for “walkers,” $24 for “crawlers,” and free for infants. The facility also serves up a variety of snacks, drinks and wraps available for purchase.
In addition, Play à La Mode offers birthday party packages and classes throughout the week. Karapatakis team is also looking to offer drop-off services soon, so parents can shop or attend appointments while their children play.
Karapatakis is seeking volunteers who need community service, indicating her dedication to creating a space that benefits the community.
“I put my heart and soul into this and I just want kids to have a blast,” she said. “And I want parents to be excited to have a local place for their kids to spend time socializing.”
Check out what Karapatakis has created, in the photos below. Click on the numbered boxes to see them all.