Neighborhood Finds: HelloBaby

HelloBaby; 600 East 61st Street, Chicago, IL 

Being a mother to three boys, three years apart has me constantly on the hunt for fun, cool things to do in the area (or relatively close by). Having the activity be completely free is an added bonus. I'd heard whispers of excitement about the new FREE drop in play center dubbed HelloBaby in Woodlawn on the southeast side, but I had yet to check it out for myself. When I was watching my friend's son for a short time in September, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to check this place out. I went with Tina, my friend and admin of our Facebook group, Moms of Beverly and we had four children with us ages 3 months to 3 years old.

Upon arriving, we were greeted with warm, welcoming smiles from the staff as well as owner, Debbie Frisch. We were instructed to remove our shoes and offered a pair of socks. I, for one, love the idea of removing your shoes as it adds to the cleanliness of the play place. Check. To ensure safety, you sign in with all of your information as well as your child's and then you take a selfie. That's right, a selfie. Check. I began to look around and saw baskets that contained clothing and toys. When I asked what they were for, Debbie explained that she asks those who can to donate gently used clothing and toys. They are then free to those who visit and have a need for them. BIG CHECK. There were even diapers and other essentials for babies. If you are familiar with the Woodlawn area, you would know that it is, although up and coming, an impoverished area where there are many families in need of such basic items. So, the fact that owner Debbie Frisch made this a part of her business model speaks volumes. Can I also say that I was super excited about the child-sized bathrooms as well as the baby seat in the adult bathroom? Raise your hand if you've struggled with bringing your baby in the bathroom with you?! I can say that we truly enjoyed our time there as we spent two hours and the children were busying themselves with the plethora of toys and books at their disposal. The staff even did a little activity with my three year old. Check, check, and CHECK.

I will most definitely be back to HelloBaby as it is no more than 20 minutes from my house with ample parking and Debbie are her staff are total sweethearts. They made us feel welcome from the moment we stepped in the door. Thanks, Debbie!

Debbie Frisch (owner) and Tina Peterson

Here are some other cool tidbits about HelloBaby:

  • There is a 2 hour maximum
  • They offer awesome, free programs such as mom/baby yoga, book group, and play smart literacy
  • Owner Debbie Frisch has served 15 years in foster care
  • Snacks are given as you're leaving (also known as a bribe for your child leaving without having a total meltdown)

Activity center with chalkboard wall
Children "painting" with water

Play area for babies
Children's artwork display

HelloBaby is open Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm. For more information on HelloBaby, click here or email

Have you been to HelloBaby? Tell us about your experience in the comments! If you haven't, what are you waiting for?! 

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Lauren Kent

Lauren is the co-founder of the Facebook group Moms of Beverly. She's a mom to three boys who gets joy from baking and feels alive when writing.