The Urban Chalkboard is a Play Café & Learning Studio created for the

Imaginations with no limits can create their very own area of discovery while stretching their social skills and building character. Our open-concept play area benefits parents by letting them take a moment to relax and connect with other parents. Research shows benefits for parents who take some time out for themselves and who make meaningful connections with their families. All of that happens, right here, at The Urban Chalkboard!

save by loading up a punch pass to redeem for play sessions!

Everyday at The Urban Chalkboard is about creativity & fun. We offer a wide variety of activities, classes, events & unique opportunities to connect with other parents & children in the community. The tabs below are full of opportunities for you, and your entire family, to take full advantage of our unique Learning Studio & Play Café


$ 12 per child
  • Walk-in admissions are subject to play capacity limitation*
  • Children at, or over, 9 months of age pay admission to play
  • Adults, and infants, under 9 months, do not pay admission
  • Daily activities included with admission. view calendar


$ 10 per child
  • Reserve online, before arriving, to save $2 on each admission
  • Children at, or over, 9 months of age pay admission to play
  • Adults, and infants, under 9 months, do not pay admission
  • Daily activities included with admission. view calendar
  • Play Sessions last 3 hours or until we close. Which ever comes soonest.

Punch Pass

$ 40 per pass
  • Load up a pass and redeem for play sessions
  • Share with siblings & friends
  • Passes make great gifts!
  • Good for 6 months from date of purchase
Best Value


$ 12 per child
  • Walk-in admissions are subject to play capacity limitation*
  • Children at, or over, 9 months of age pay admission to play
  • Adults, and infants, under 9 months, do not pay admission
  • Daily activities included with admission. view calendar


Café capacity is limited to 30 "players".  A wait list is available to guests without a reservation. Wait times generally start at 1 hour. You will be sent a text, when a spot opens on the wait list, and will have a half-hour to return.

How do you know if we are at capacity? Find a play session time slot on our activity calendar & follow the booking link. The number of remaining spots will be shown before you make a reservation. Guarantee admission by reserving online.

Hours of Play


Open Late Thursdays- until 7pm!

Activity Calendar

December 2017

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  • Rosa Parks Day
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • ShooBeeLoo
  • Urban Beats
  • Drop-In Play 11:30a-5p
  • Grandparents' Day
  • Nutcracker with CIDE
  • Bricks 4 Kidz
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Babies Play Music
  • Toddlers Play Music
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Fiber Optic Exploration
  • Drop-In Play 9a-7p
  • Deconstructed Play
  • $5 Family Night
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Mr. Daniel
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • $8 Discount Day!
  • Hanukkah Exploration
  • theCityMoms Meetup
  • BEAM Interactive Play
  • Bricks 4 Kidz
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Babies Play Music
  • Toddlers Play Music
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Multiples Day
  • Fiber Optic Exploration
  • Paws & Read
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Deconstructed Play
  • Ugly Sweater Day
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Mr. Daniel
  • Santa Paws with CCI
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • BEAM Interactive Play
  • Bricks 4 Kidz
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Babies Play Music
  • Toddlers Play Music
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Fiber Optic Exploration
  • Paws & Read
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Deconstructed Play
  • Drop-In Play 12p-5p
  • Mr. Daniel Holiday Show #1
  • Mr. Daniel Holiday Show #2
  • Closing at Noon
  • Closed
  • Kwanzaa Exploration
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Fiber Optic Exploration
  • Urban Yogis
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Deconstructed Play
  • Drop-In Play 9a-5p
  • Mr. Daniel
  • Baby Rave
  • Drop-In Play 9a-2p

How to find us


452 East Carmel Drive  Carmel, IN 46032

Contact Info:


-View our HOURS

Take A Tour!

Hover over areas of the cafe to learn more!
Our Reggio inspired Play Café is the epicenter of open-ended play. Little imaginations with no limits can create their very own area of discovery while stretching their social skills and building character. Open play is always encouraged at #theUC!

Main Play Cafe


Science behind the play: Pretend reality play helps children to sort out the roles they see their care-givers & peers maintain in their daily lives. Utilizing items they want to learn about & use they can develop story-lines and imagine how they fit into the world. Fine & gross motor skills are developed by pushing carts, handling small appliances & pretending to eat a variety of foods.

Under 18 Months

Science behind the play: Toys like NogginSticks & NogginRings help babies reach early milestones by encouraging grasping, batting, visual tracking, sound orientation & object permanence. Time spent on the tummy develops core muscles that will eventually support independent sitting. Contrasting colors, like black & white, grab the attention of new eyes. Simple light & sound combinations encourage focus & attention.

The House

Science behind the play: Open-ended dramatic play provides numerous opportunities for developmental growth. A favorite of many children is to act out "home" roles. They try to understand their surrounding dynamics through pretend play. Sorting out conflicts while learning problem solving skills, creating an imaginary worlds & choosing the roles they want to play help lay foundational executive thinking skills.

Process Art Table

Science behind the play: Like reading with a child; creating with a child builds a bond that solidifies relationships and teaches all involved about listening, imitation, following instructions, patience & leadership. Process-focused art projects do not focus on the final outcome, but rather the steps taken along the way. Each of us has our own process which should be nurtured so that we are inclined to build upon our creative efforts.

Building Blocks

Science behind the play: Block play is magical. Dozens of developmental milestones can be met just by playing with blocks. Any type of block will do. Early block play translates into measurable aptitude achievements by middle school. Open-ended dramatic play builds vocabulary and important social skills. Impulse control becomes a factor when building socially, and block play sets up simple interactions that test children's ability to maintain control and pay attention.

Train Table

Science behind the play: Dexterity and fine motor skills are developed while snapping together tracks and trains. Social concepts of sharing and comaraderie be come evident when this activity is enjoyed with others. Logic & mapping skills are developed as plans are made to move vehicles along tracks with organization.

Studio Tour

Paul Dana Learning Studio

Our studio is home to many learning opportunities & our BEAM system- a unique interactive digital floor. The space is also available for parties & private rentals!

Dream Tree Nook

The Dream Tree

Created by Indiana artist C. Thomas Lewis. A one-of-a-kind 6 foot maple tree that represents nature in all of it's beauty. Projected upon the tree are weather events and related algorithms predicting climate change. Adding to the tree's ambiance are nature sounds from the mountains. Find out more about the tree's history here.

Chalkboard Calendar

Local artist Kate Oberreich helps us maintain our unique chalkboards. You can find her work all over Indy at many local restaurants and shops. Her cool, unique vibe lends itself to our modern space. She has even trained our staff on the latest hand-lettering techniques so that they can lend their own style to the Play Cafe. Kate also had her art featured in the movie Fault In Our Stars. Very Cool!!!

Logic Nook

The concepts of consequence, comparison, mapping & classification are introduced throughout this type of play. Consequence becomes evident socially and physically as structures are planned, built and possibly destructed. Sorting of different objects by color & size develops comparative thinking and classification skills. Planning a build utilizes mapping and planning skills that lay the foundation for advanced executive functions. Fine motor skills are tested and developed.

Reading Nook

Books for everyone. Turning the pages of an actual book ignites senses in all of us. Little ones can enjoy pages that are rough or soft with pictures or words. Beginner readers will find literature just right for them. Adults will find something for themselves amongst our selection of currents and books.

Velcro Wall

Trial & Error encourages and inquiring mind to keep exploring new opportunities. Failures teach children how to become successful by leading them to the correct process. The introduction of scientific inquiry should be done at an early age. This introduction teaches the concept of hypothesis testing, expected outcomes & secondary outcomes.

Cafe Hub

The Cafe Hub

A birds-eye view of the Play Cafe! Our cushy bench is the place to be when you need to relax or get some work done while your kids play. FREE Wi-Fi is provided for all guests. Food & drinks, purchased in the cafe, are allowed in the play area at one of our tables to keep spills & sharing to a minimum. Outside food & drinks, from other restaurants or home, are not allowed at #theUC.

Full Service Cafe

Bottomless Cups of Coffee

Fresh brewed pots are available so that you can serve yourself with unlimited cups of coffee during your visit. We serve freshly ground brews by Liberation Roasters & Noble Coffee & Tea. Fresh dairy cream & sugars are available. Dairy alternatives are available upon request.

Espresso Bar

We love to make delicious handmade espresso drinks like lattes & cappuccinos. In addition to espresso we also have a variety of specialty tea drinks. Our espresso is an amazing roats from Liberation roasters called Ricks Potion #9!

Nelson's Tea Bar

Handcrafted tea varieties made by local makers Nelson's Tea.

Grab & Go Deli

Our fresh deli case is full of locally sourced and healthy small bites for the entire family. We encourage healthy, allergen-friendly & simple choices to nourish growing minds.

Waiver Kiosk

All children ages 1 day to 18 years of age need to have an adult signed waiver on-file to be present in the cafe. Before arriving the waiver can be filled out online. The kiosk is available to patrons without a current waiver on file & to anyone who needs to add a child to their account.

Retail Shop

Love what you see & experience at The Urban Chalkboard? Take a little home with you. Our favorite brewed coffees, chunky crayons, music CDs & super-soft t-shirts are all available for purchase.

News & Reviews


Tonya Bergeson-Dana Ph.D.

Co-Founder | Owner
Tonya is an Assistant Professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Butler University. Her work in speech, language and music development in babies and young children is world-renowned. She’s also a single working mom to a sweet energetic son who keeps the academic in her grounded in reality.

Jessica Beer Ph.D.

Co-Founder | Owner
Jessica earned her Ph.D. in social cognitive developmental psychology at City University of New York. A homegrown Hoosier, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at IU School of Medicine studying development in preschoolers. She contributes to the design of the classes at The Urban Chalkboard from the perspective of a researcher and a mom.

Michelle Weber RN

Managing Director
Michelle is an experienced Pediatric Nurse who has spent the past 6 years staying home to be with her two children. While maintaining her SAHM lifestyle she has been busy volunteering for Saint Pius X Parish, MSPC CO-OP Preschool, & theCityMoms Michelle's unique skill set has encouraged her to develop her Design, Marketing & Management skills; all of which she will put to great use at #theUC!

Laurel Price M.A.

Communications Director
Laurel works as a professional speaker, trainer and consultant in higher education, primarily working with fraternities and sororities. She has a bachelor degree in Public Relations from Ball State and a Master's degree in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University.

Dana Hueftle

Play Coach Specialist
Dana has Music and Journalism degrees from IU-Bloomington. Over the last 20 years, Dana has been teaching voice lessons and leading and programming worship services at Indianapolis-area churches. She has taught music and kindergarten concepts to kids at her sons’ preschool, and also from her home studio. Dana is currently exploring a Music Therapy degree.

Jenny Woods

Play Coach Specilaist
Jenny has a BA in French and has nearly completed her AS in Early Childhood Education. She is passionate about play-based learning and the Reggio approach to early childhood education. She has many years of experience teaching preschool and running a home daycare. She enjoys music and spending time with her husband, two little boys & step-children.

Abby Charlebois

Play Coach Specialist
Abby is an Elementary Education student at Butler University. She is fantastically organized and loves children. Her smarts and personality will take her to big places. We are happy to have her at #theUC for the time being.


Play Coach Specialist
Savannah is a senior at Ball State University studying Respiratory Therapy. She is currently doing her clinical work through IU Health in Indy. Savannah loves working with children in the hospital and out of the hospital and she intends to work in pediatrics/NICU after completing her degree.


Play Coach
Carmel High School Student


Play Coach
Carmel High School Student


Play Coach
Anika is a senior at Carmel High School who enjoys running Unified Track, playing the violin, watching movies, and most of all traveling. She has been to 15 different countries with her favorite being Iceland! Her favorite part about working at the Urban Chalkboard is playing with the kids in the studio doing a variety of activities like the BEAM or working with handmade clay.

Cheyenne Land-Requiz BHD

Deconstructed Play & Experience Development Consultant
Cheyenne has a bachelor's degree in Human Development/Family Studies from Indiana University. She has taught preschool for many years, and has experience owning and operating a licensed bilingual daycare/preschool. Cheyenne's strengths are play-based, child-centered learning and the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching. She has two sons and enjoys making an impact on the lives of children during their most formative years! She also volunteers in the Pre-K class at Northview Church in Fishers and at Nature’s Pointe Cooperative Preschool.
Join Cheyenne for Deconstructed Play in The Learning Studio every Thursday.

Meghan Sissom M.A.Ed

Fiber Optics Exploration
Meghan Sissom has 20 years of experience working with children. She holds a Masters in Education with a focus on the arts as a pathway for learning. She is a certified children's yoga teacher through Next Generation Yoga and trained and taught at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle for ten years. Meghan is the Co-Founder of Mindfulness For Toddlers an enrichment childcare program in Indianapolis.
Join Meghan for Fiber Optics Exploration on Wednesdays in The Learning Studio.


Invitation to Play

Looking for something new and fun to inspire your child’s creativity? Come to the Chalkboard for our weekly Invitation to Play! Each week, we will feature a new invitation with different elements to explore. What exactly is an Invitation to Play? It is when you set out a variety of interesting materials that invite children to come and play, investigate, explore, manipulate and/or create. Invitations can have a theme or be as simple as setting

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Reinvention Of The Working Mom

MOTHERHOOD rewires the brain to care for another human being in indescribable ways. Senses are heightened and others dulled. New instincts and skills emerge that before may have seemed impossible- ability to function on 20 minutes of sleep, smell the scent of your own child across the room, mitigate a cry with the simple sound of your voice or touch, maybe the skill of sustaining life with your very own milk. Talk about a return

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The Importance of Musical Exploration

Did you know that moms and dads across the world sing lullabies to their babies? There’s just something about the calming lilt of lullabies that has the power to soothe a fussy baby, not to mention help the caregiver to relax for a moment or even let out some pent-up emotions about a child who won’t go to sleep or maybe an absent spouse (have you ever paid attention to the lyrics in “Rock-a- Bye Baby”?). Music has been called

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452 East Carmel Drive Carmel, IN 46032  | | 317.815.5711