Renovations bring new life and programs to KidsPLAYce

A quiet moment is enjoyed at KidsPLAYce. PHOTO CREDIT: Studio ten13

KidsPLAYce, a children’s discovery center located in the heart of downtown Brattleboro has been offering a fun and engaging play space for families since 1983.

In 2011 KidsPLAYce went through a major renovation of its facilities with the help of several local organizations and businesses, and close to 100 community members. The efforts of these committed organizations and individuals have revitalized KidsPLAYce into a beautiful, clean, fun environment for families to play, learn and grow together.

New improvements of the community space include a musical marimba bench, musical zoom tubes, and coming soon, a new ball run, all created by Garry Jones. Local artists Simon Reed, Jason Aden, Sarah Adam and Siiri Peterson have brought the walls to life with colorful murals.

The old standby structures members know and love have been transformed to look like a real boat, castle and townhouse. There are also some new spaces, such as the “Toddlin’ Tots” area and the puppet theater for families to explore. All these changes were made possible by generous donations from dedicated community members and by local businesses such as Sandhill Builders, Perkins Building Supply, Sherman Williams, Brown & Robberts and Laughton Flooring, not to mention the cadre of caring community volunteers who all deserve special thanks.

The kitchen has been enhanced, thanks to generous donations by Renew Salvage. There are also incredible new tables for the snack and craft area built by Temple Peterson and Morrell Metalsmiths. With these new additions, KidsPLAYce has become a great place for families to come to enjoy a picnic lunch in a fun kid friendly environment.

With these new additions KidsPLAYce has been able to establish its newest program, “The Cozy Kitchen,” created by Megan Stafford of Brattleboro. Executive Director Elizabeth Johnson said, “Our goal with this program is to provide a warm meal and a fun evening for families in the area, in hopes that we can provide a welcoming experience for all families to come together beyond their life circumstances to enjoy a fun evening with their children and find community.”

Each Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m. the program provides two homemade soups, one of which is always vegetarian, and local bread. KidsPLAYce is looking for more people to get involved with this program by helping to organize food donations or by donating gift certificates from local grocery stores so that they can sustain this program.

KidsPLAYce is also the host of community programs such as Musical Mornings with Ali Chambliss, which gets children to age 6 hopping and bopping every Tuesday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. Chambliss combines music and movement and other engaging activities in, on and around the storybook structures.

On Friday mornings from 10:30 to 11, families can join in for a story while nibbling on some healthy snacks, provided by the Brattleboro Food Co-op. The Brattleboro Area Adoption Playgroup and Potluck meets at KidsPLAYce on the third Friday of the month, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and is organized by Susan Heimer, who can be reached at 802-387-2650.

KidsPLAYce is looking forward to a Saturday morning music program beginning in the spring, which will be organized by Peter Seigel; but the next big event is its “Visit with Santa” on Friday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. Children are welcome to come and share their wishes with Santa and play games with the elves. Families can enjoy goodies from the holiday bake sale and there will be professional pictures available by Zach and Michelle Stevens from Studio ten13.

KidsPLAYce is committed to providing a safe, fun, and educational environment for families from all walks of life and believe in building strong community ties with individuals, families and organizations.

Staff members are excited about future projects, programs and space development, and welcome all input, donations, working hands and warm hearts.

KidsPLAYce is at 20 Elliot St. in Brattleboro and is open Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 802-254-5212 or email info@kidsplayce.org. For up-to-date information about programs that take place at KidsPLAYce, find them on Facebook.