Come Have Some Fun at PB & Jack
Tucked away in a busy, construction-filled strip mall in the heart of Fairfax is a gem of a kid’s place that Northern Virginia parents need to know about. PB & Jack is a secret too good to be kept to myself! In fact, it won’t be a secret for much longer…
My youngest child, Kiefer (22 months), and I recently sloshed through the rain on a particularly dreary morning in late winter to check out PB & Jack. Sunshine—albeit of a figurative source—met us right inside the door.
As Kiefer toddled around the play area, I chatted with the owner, Dominique Deleague, whose third son also played around while she talked with me and worked.
Clearly a smart businesswoman, Dominique was frustrated that many of the indoor play areas had such limited open play sessions. She wanted a place with more flexible hours, and she definitely succeeded in that mission.
PB & Jack is many things. First and foremost, it is an indoor play area where kids (aged newborn to about six years show up during the week, a little older on weekends) can run, romp, and climb around in a bright, safe, wholesome environment.
Kiefer’s eyes got big when he saw the large structures—the slides, the climbing hills, the giant pink octopus. There were also large, moveable toys to manipulate in a variety of creative ways—a wagon, digger, a soft bag of plush dinosaurs. There was a book nook with a box of well-loved books. And in another corner, separated with a soft tube with toys of its own, was an area for babies.
This open play is wonderfully accessible and reasonably priced. For $10 (second child is $5), you can come and stay as long as you like—the open play hours are from 9 AM to 5 PM. For $60, you can get a family pass for all of your kids, as many hours as you’d like.
Some moms (or dads, grandparents, caregivers) stay with their kids and play with them. I was in this camp (you’d think by the third I’d have figured out how to make ‘em less clingy…alas, no).
While I was there, another mom also stayed in the play area with her kids—she came with her baby and two older kids. She had time to sit with her youngest while her older kids had a chance to play with other kids while being supervised and stimulated by the cheery staff.
Second, PB & Jack has classes for moms. Most moms leave their children in the play area while they attend a yoga, Pilates, or scrapbooking class. Or they simply sit with their laptop in the nearby café area, catching up on life. Perhaps they do what I would do if PB & Jack were around the corner from me—catch her breath and complete a task for 15 minutes without a single interruption.
Third, PB & Jack has classes for kids. Past the bright and open play area are three equally bright rooms that hold classes throughout the week. Right now there are Lego, language (Spanish, Mandarin, French) immersion, Music Together, ballet, and yoga classes held during the week and on weekends.
Fourth, PB & Jack has a nice sized café right next to the open play area. For better or for worse, it is close enough to hear your own child call out: “Mommy!” But they’ll soon be engrossed with the staff and play and their new friends, and you can buy a coffee and snack and eat as slowly as you’d like.
This is a nut-free facility; right now they allow food to be brought in from outside, but as soon asDominique figures out a way to stock fresh items (she has an eye for healthy things), she hopes to be able to provide enough to satisfy her customers and let their cooler bags stay home. The refrigerated display case is a sight for moms—a nice variety of your kids’ favorite snacks.
Fifth, PB & Jack has classes for parents. With on-site childcare! So parents can actually pay attention! For example, they offer a class by a local museum educator on how to navigate through and get the most out of D.C.’s museums with young children.
Lastly, you can tell a place is child-friendly when you visit their restroom. At PB & Jack, each toilet has a stepstool and a training seat, and there is a nice, tall stepstool at the sink, too. And Kiefer’ favorite detail—there were additional paper towels available even though a tree-friendly blower was installed. These details are examples of how thoughtfulDominique has been in creating this space.
I really can’t say enough great things about PB & Jack. I wish it was closer to us!
For details on classes, hours, cost, and more, visit www.pbandjack.com.
PB & Jack
9540 Main St.
|I Would Return to This Store
|I Would Recommend to a Friend
All ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being highest.
Meet the Reviewer!
Kate Schwarz is a full-time mom
and wife living in Great Falls, VA.
In addition to reading to her three
small hildren, Kate runs marathons,
Crossfits, and blogs about raising
kids with books at