Wed08202014

Business & Real Estate

A business that’s all child’s play


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

An employee at Play! Los Altos guides young summer campers through a bracelet-making project. The play space, located at 170 State St. in downtown Los Altos, opened in March.

Executive director of Play! Los Altos Rashelle Auby knows all too well the common misconception some have about the new enterprise.

So to clear things up for the uninformed, no, it’s not a day care service, according to Auby.

She noted that when Bumble Los Altos proprietor Mary Heffernan opened Play! Los Altos at 170 State St. in March, she did so with the intent of creating a fun, engaging indoor play space for children to enjoy with their parents. Unlike a day care, however, parents must remain onsite to supervise while their children participate in the activities at Play! Los Altos.

“People do kind of assume that it’s some kind of sitting or day care service, but it’s not,” said Auby, who previously served as director of the Menlo Park-based Brilliant Babies, another Heffernan creation that served as a drop-in play center for children. “It’s a place for kids to come in with their parents and explore. It’s just a safe and fun place for kids to come and play.”

Auby added that Heffernan, the mother of three children, is acutely “in tune with children’s needs,” thereby creating a space that is safe, contained and community-focused for children to visit throughout the year, rain or shine.

With this in mind, for children 2 1/2 to 6 years old, Play! Los Altos offers parents and children walk-in hours starting at 9 a.m. daily where they can participate in a host of different activities. Among the play center’s offerings are “playtivities,” free-form art and science classes, as well as “move and groove” music and dance classes. The play space also hosts guest entertainers.

Parents and children are free to come by for as little as 30 minutes or as long as two hours at any point during play center hours, Auby said. No appointment is necessary.

“It’s so hard with kids to try and stick to a schedule,” Auby said of the reasoning behind Play! Los Altos’ drop-in hours. “We really try to make it as flexible as possible for parents.”

Parents can purchase play passes for $30, valid for two hours of playtime. For those stopping by for a shorter visit, 30-minute fast passes are available for $10.

Play! Los Altos’ staff facilitates play between parents and children with activities such as fort building, soccer, songs and impromptu games of hide and seek, according to Auby.

Several staffers are college students studying psychology or early childhood development, she added.

The play center offers two-hour summer camps that serve as a structured, educational environment for children to learn while having fun. Summer camp classes like “Atomic Adventures” and “Colossal Explorers” provide art projects and games to learn about science concepts.

For more information, call 559-0960 or visit www.playlosaltos.com.

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