Have you ever been invited to a party that was too cool for you? Was it a kids’ party? That is how I felt at a recent open house at a new child-centered arts and play space in Fishtown called Play Arts. But I loved it. More importantly, my kids loved it. They saw the “play loud” tagline and took the challenge (sorry, Krista!). Play Arts is so cool that award-winning, local author and illustrator Zachariah OHora designed their logo.
Play Arts started as the dream of a husband and wife pair who have years experience in wood-working and music education, respectively, that they poured into “an antique swimming hole under the El.” The ecological design and restoration of this historic site is meant to be as much for the parents as it is the kids, with beautiful architectural design and a cafe overlooking the kids playing below. The toys are meant to stimulate the imagination and foster STEAM play: Magna-Tiles, Legos, trains, a kitchen set, costumes, and push-toys. There is a reading nook, climbing structures, and mini cut-out hiding spaces under a loft. The art teacher told me there are further plans to build a look-out tower, monkey bars, and a felt garden. Although already quite magical, the space is still in evolution.
Play Arts seeks to become a community hub by providing art and music classes, a place for parents to meet up while their children play, and birthday parties. They have drop-in options for classes, in case your child “blows through a nap,” an after school program, and a drop-off brunch option. Membership rates are competitive with similar venues, but the classes are cheaper than most I have seen. I am excited to see how Play Arts continues to grow and the creative ways they determine to use their beautiful space.
The Fall class schedule begins Tuesday, September 6th. Membership and class registration is now open.
[I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.]