How to Open a Shopping Mall Play Center. Shopping mall play centers are an innovative and exciting way to start your own business if you are interested in become an entrepreneur. Consider a number of factors when opening your own play center, including hours of operation, equipment, rules and other safety mechanisms. Remember that start-up costs are involved with any business venture, and you can expect to spend about $10,000 to $50,000 starting up your play center business.

Decide where you want to open your mall play center. Most mall play centers are located in enclosed shopping malls rather than strip malls, but you can also open a play center in any shopping area where people come to do extended shopping, such as an outlet mall.

Contact the mall location for rates and information about leasing store space. Check to learn about any special regulations that the shopping mall may apply for business owners wishing to provide child care within mall store space, such as liability waivers or insurance requirements.

Decide on a theme for your play center. Picking a theme will make your play center more attractive to kids and adults, and make decorating and buying equipment for the play center much easier to organize. Some examples are a fairy tale theme, a beach theme or a zoo theme.

Purchase materials and equipment for your play center. Remember that you will have a high turnover, so purchase materials that can be easily replaced and easily cleaned. Create rules that you can post in a prominent location to ensure that your equipment is not damaged, and get cubby holes for children to plays shoes inside so that they can remove them when entering.

Decide on all of your operational choices before opening, including rates (per half hour, hour or day) and accepted payment method (before or after service) and liability responsibilities. Remember that you will do the best business if parents feel confident that they are leaving their children in a safe, clean and fun environment.


Plan to create a space for your mall play center that is subdivided into different types of activities to accommodate different children's interests. Some children may like active play, while others may want to sit and read, draw or play a video game, and some children may want to have access to private space away from other children to do these activities, so plan to have a quiet space within the play center.