Mother brings ‘purposeful play’ to Edmond
Edmond Life & Leisure
January 25, 2018
By Erika Williams
A new indoor children’s playground will open in Edmond on January 27. Annalisa Douglass created Okie Kids Playground with the goal of creating a safe, fun, and educational play space for children six and under.
“Children under six have different skills that they are learning with social play, numbers, letters, counting, writing skills,” said Douglass. “And, they are needing to learn in a friendly and welcoming environment, so we are trying to create that here.”
The playground focuses on purposeful play which is a play atmosphere that encourages learning.
“It’s kind of like sneaky play because you don’t realize you’re learning.” Douglass added, “When we look at kids and we think ‘Oh they’re just playing,’ they’re actually learning. Purposeful play is giving them the opportunity to learn while playing.”
The playground offers museum quality exhibits, playhouses, a craft area, a café and more.
Douglass, a mother of four, came up with the idea about a year ago after being stuck inside on some rainy days with three toddlers. She has spent countless hours choosing specific equipment for Okie Kids Playground.
“Each item has been specially researched and picked to make sure it gears toward each different level that those children are needing.”
Douglass added that the museum exhibits are from the same places that build for the top five museums in Oklahoma. She hopes to rent and feature new exhibits periodically so that the children always have a new learning experience to look forward to.
While the playground is intended for children under six, Douglass offers “Big Kid Days” where children ages seven to 10 can also play.
“Our Big Kid Days will be days that school is not in service, Fridays after school from 3-6, and then any event that’s a big event.”
Douglass plans to offer different events and support groups geared toward all ages.
“We are community based. That’s something that makes us different from other playcenters. We really want to build on community. We’ve got Kindermusik coming in to teach classes, lactation consultants, mommy support groups, and Wilson Chiropractic coming in to teach about physical health,” said Douglass. “We’ll have family night, Lego night, fire prevention safety week and more.”
There is a private event room that individuals or groups can rent out for parties or events. Douglass said she has already received interest from parents, daycares, and homeschool co-ops.
Each parent must sign a waiver for their child to play at Okie Kids Playground, but it can be filled out at Okie Kids Playground or online beforehand. Parents can choose to buy a monthly membership which includes unlimited visits during the month and 10 percent off of parties, café, and retail purchases, or pay an admission fee every time they visit the playground.
A percentage of all admissions are donated to a different charity being sponsored each month.
“Our donation process is 25 cents of the admission goes into our bucket, and 25 cents of the café purchases also goes into it. Five percent of the play passes and monthly memberships that are purchased go into the charity donation as well.”
The Okie Kids Playground grand opening is January 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be two character performers, three door prizes, and 75 grab bags with treats for adults and kids.
Although this location is just opening, Douglass already has her sights set on the future.
“Hopefully this is first of four stores. That’s my big goal. Each one will have a different theme, and we’ve sort of got a spot located for our next one.”