Location: The second floor of Crown Center, near the atrium. Crown Center is at 2450 Grand Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri.
Cost: Free, but there’s lots and lots of tempting merchandise to buy.
Web site: http://www.crayola.com/ (This is for information about Crayola in general; I wasn’t able to find a link for the store itself.)
The Crayola Store is a surprisingly neat place to visit: where I usually think of stores as places to buy things, the Crayola Store is also a place to do things. The store is bright and colorful and has tons of things to spend your money on; it also has lots of things for children and their parents to play with. The store’s designed to be interactive to the point where there’s even a special area for children’s birthday parties. (I believe you do have to make arrangements to use that in advance–don’t just show up with your party!)
One of the neater–and cleaner–activities is a giant magnetic tic-tac-toe board. It’s very tactile, as the lines on the board are raised, so you don’t have to be able to see to play the game. The pieces are big wooden stars and o’s. As long as you understand the concept of the game, you can play on this giant board.
There is also a giant chalk board with some of the biggest chalk I’ve ever seen. There are buckets on either side of the chalkboard with chalk in different sizes, so children don’t have to use the super-big chalk pieces. (Seriously–the big chalk is probably the size of a baguette.)
There’s a large square column near the chalkboard with a big pad of drawing paper on each side. Children can draw and color on the pads of paper, then either take their drawings home or put them in the recycling bin incorporated into the column.
Along the front wall, there are four activity desks in with the other merchandise. One has a spinning activity board where you spin the pieces to make faces, one has flipping pieces (shown at the right), and two had books on easels for children to read.
By the check-out counter, there’s a light projector overhead that projects different patterns on the floor. The patterns move, so they can be used to practice tracking. Some of the projections are much easier to see than others, however.
Since Peanut is a colorer, the Crayola Store is a hit with him. He can color with crayons or with huge chalk, and there are tons of brightly-colored displays to capture his interest. If your child has some vision, this is a great place to visit. It can be a challenging place to visit, however, if there are lots of kids, or if your child has a case of the “I wants!” because there are definitely tons and tons of things to buy.