I couldn’t help but have a knee-jerk reaction to the news that a new kid-friendly spa was opening in Philly. I can’t quite pinpoint what didn’t sit right, but it had something to do with sending the wrong message to little (very little) girls and boys about external beauty … and maybe also a little something to do with Honey Boo Boo. But then I actually read the press release and found myself getting excited because this wasn’t shaping up to be your typical Toddlers and Tiaras type of place. And my recent visit confirmed just that.
First, Primp & Play — which opened just last week near Washington Square — is the brainchild of a smart and classy local mom named Tara Murphy who spent her career working for Sprout, the NBCUniversal-run cable channel that focuses on educational programming for kids. In fact, you won’t see leopard prints, sparkly princess paraphernalia or a dress-up boa anywhere. Next, this isn’t really a spa geared towards kids (like, say, Sweet & Sassy), but is more of a place designed to be welcoming for kids, in a cool, casual, urban way. Lastly, one of the founding concepts — that parents can get a quick beauty treatment with the kids in tow — is really not much different than when we drag our brood to a Marc Vetri restaurant or beer garden, in that it’s about us trying to fit in a little “me” time without hiring a babysitter. Except here, kids are actually welcome. And thanks to the awesome crafting area and staff, they will actually be entertained without a screen.
What to expect
Primp & Play is a bright, spacious and airy space that basically has a few options: You can get some pampering and beauty maintenance (think manis, pedis, waxing, brow-and-lash tinting, make-up application, massage) while your kids do a craft; you can indulge in some fun time with your little one thanks to some kid-friendly services you both can enjoy; or you can throw a creative birthday party. Services are geared towards both men and women, and they accept appointments or walk-ins. Also, the prices are amazingly fair: A parent pedi is $25, a child’s is $12; an hour-long massage is $60.
A note about those crafts
There is an artsy staffer (someone with childcare experience) always on hand to sit and craft with the little ones, so you don’t need to worry about showing up at a set class time. You can book in advance or you can just show up (a mom’s dream). The crafts change weekly and are created by the in-house art teacher. So far, they’ve made adorable salt art bottles, cool mobile sun catchers and paper plate crowns. There is a large craft room in the back so kids don’t have to worry about being closed in. Crafts range in price from $8 to $14, and can be adapted for any age group (they’ve had tweens and babies alike).
Other things to love
There is an adorable mini-shop with goods for kids and adults (think sweet hand-sewn dresses, headbands, bracelets, wall art), made by locals. They also have some upcoming classes geared towards parents (like Estate Planning 101), and will soon rollout BYOB parent nights.
Primp & Play
249 South 10th Street