Your kid will have a blast at Kids At Play, a fantastic local resource for families with special needs children — or not. This indoor “multi-sensory playground” packs thrills for all skill levels with zip-line, ball pit, swings, slides, and more. Plus, support & education, too. Only in East Falls!
For the uninitiated, Kids at Play looks like a McDonald’s play place on steroids. But marketing director Julia Singer Katz explains much more is going on than all the jumping and laughing around us — kids of different abilities are having fun together.
No one knows who has “special needs” or what those might be, everyone is simply enjoying the colorful, exciting space side-by-side. For many families, such normalcy can be a real treat.
Julia knows from first-hand experience. She started out in social work at Kutest Kids, an early intervention agency that provides therapy and instruction for kids with developmental delays. There, an interesting fact about families with “special needs” children surfaced: other siblings in the same family often did not face the same challenges. Or any challenges, even.
In fact, most of the families who came to Kutest Kids had other children in tow who did not need developmental assistance. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a place where kids of all abilities could play together so seamlessly, you couldn’t tell who was enrolled in therapy and who was along for the ride?
Julia and her coworkers were tasked with imagining a fun, natural environment that could blend the lines between therapy and play, plus also create a community for local families to meet and exchange resources.
Such a place had to be indoors, of course, because many times kids with developmental delays might also have allergies or immune sensitivities. It’d have to be super safe and super clean — they’d use materials that could be easily, regularly sanitized. There’d need to be bright colors but also calm, quiet spaces an overstimulated kid could chill out. And enough room to host birthday parties & special events, too.
Julia and her husband sketched out a plan — a dream, really, but they knew if they found the right space they’d figure out how to make it happen. Enter Mark Sherman, the well-known local developer behind his own namesake multi-use complex off Scotts Lane. He had just the spot, and creative contractors who could help bring Julia and her team’s vision to life.
Kids at Play opened its doors earlier this year, and it’s already getting good buzz. Last February, Philadelphia Magazine featured Kids at Play in their post “What To Do With the Kids When It’s Gross Outside” and sites like PhilaFamily and MetroKids include Kids at Play in their popular calendars.
Most recently, the mother/pediatrician behind MommyCallBlog.com checked out Kids at Play with her two kids, who particularly enjoyed the ball pits and “roller coaster” (a ride-on toy). Mommy Call approved of the open design with padded floors, and is excited to see the place develop as business grows. So much potential! She was really impressed with Kids at Play’s therapists and instructors, as well.
Kids at Play really is a fantastic playground for all children — a thoughtfully-designed indoor gym, library, studio, classroom… It’s a safe, supportive space that celebrates children, in all the ways they play.
BEFORE YOU GO:
- Sign the waiver first, it’s easier (and your kids will be squirming to get into the playground when they see it!)
- Wear socks (or buy them here for two bucks)
- Bring water or money for the vending machine
- Be advised: there’s no elevator yet for the second floor (featuring archery, kinetic sand, cocoon swings)
- Closed Saturdays
- Open Gym sessions up to 6 hours, plenty of time to explore for all paces
- Extended hours for members (monthly membership $75/child includes unlimited playground access plus discounts on classes, speakers, events & birthday parties)
- Drop-ins Welcome for Open Play, Sunday thru Thursday 11 am – 5 pm, Friday 11 am – 2 pm ($15 for 1st child, $10 each additional — pre-crawlers & adults free with paid admission)
A big welcome to Kids at Play, a fantastic local resource, a one-of-a-kind space offering active fun and engagement, plus acceptance, support, and friendship, too. East Falls is just the place for such an ambitious, innovative undertaking. We’re psyched to see the ideas Julia and her team put in motion as they grow to their full potential.
PS: Philly’s “Daily Vacationer” Blog provides even more photos and details.