Indoor Playground: Rainy Day Fun
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Living in the Pacific Northwest, where on average we get about 38 inches of rain a year and about 150 days of sun, it’s important to come up with some fun and DRY activities for little ones. Once Fall hits, it’s very rare to see the sun for several days (months?) at a time and holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving are usually done inside or while wearing Gore Tex.
Before having our son, I had no idea that there was such a thing as an indoor playground. Now I see them everywhere. An indoor playground is a great way, especially during the rainy season, to let your kiddo burn off some energy.
Recently, we took our son to Discovery Playtown, an indoor playground on the East side of Seattle. Located in a strip mall, this small space packs a lot of activities. Below is a breakout of what this indoor playground has to offer.
It seems, based on the kiddos today, that the piece de resistance was the fire engine in the middle of the facility. Discovery Playtown equipped the engine with working lights, a dalmatian and lots of space for the driver and ‘crew’ to put out the towns fires. The fire engine is located in front of the fire station. It includes a couple of work benches inside and fireman attire to go along with the theme. Boys and girls, alike, were enjoying themselves and worked hard at taking turns driving the fire truck.
For aspiring beauticians and barbers, Discovery Playtown includes a storefront designed for kiddos who want to play dress-up. The little building includes a chair, barber tools, dresses and makeup for all kinds of make believe scenarios.
One of my son’s favorite spaces was the vet clinic. He spent a good amount of time helping sick chickens, kitties and other animals feel better. I liked that kiddos could make believe with the vet tech tools. Our son would listen to the animals’ heart beat, administer vaccinations and mend wounds. I’m hoping that by giving the chicken a shot, Charlie could see that going to the doctor wasn’t so scary.
Post office and Grocery Store
Another fun space was the grocery store. Inside, kiddos can grab a grocery bag, shop for yummy food and check out. At the check out stations (there are two), our son loved scanning the food items, ringing them up on the cash register and collecting his change, before moving on to another round of grocery shopping. Just outside the grocer, kiddos can mail wooden letters in the post office box, which drops into the grocery store for reuse.
Within the middle of the facility is a large playhouse with living room, kitchen and a staircase that leads up to the tree house. From the tree house, kids can slide down a twisty slide and run back over to do it all over again. Under the tree house space, the indoor playground offers a camping tent, complete with campfire and Adirondack chairs to roast ‘marshmallows.’ Charlie really enjoyed the toy kitchen. It came with food, pots and pans and a kitchen table. He served me up a great plate of orange juice, banana spaghetti and baked grapes with yogurt.
Tips for an Indoor Playground Visit
- Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. While they keep this indoor playground pretty clean, I saw a few kids putting things in their mouths….my son included. They have restrooms and a hand sanitizer station, so take advantage often.
- Go early. We got there shortly after the facility opened and Charlie was able to play on his favorite (the fire engine) toys first without having to take too many turns. Once other kiddos got there, he was more inclined to give up his spot and move on to something else. Also, the ticket will allow you in all day, so if you want to leave for a bit and come back, you can.
- They allow you to bring your own snacks, so take advantage of this. They just ask that you eat in the designated area.