May 18, 2023
Kids at Play, an indoor playground and therapy center that gives children opportunities to learn and grow while having fun, is moving to a larger space.
The organization, which has been operating in East Falls since 2016, will unveil its new facilities at 7201 Ridge Avenue in Roxborough during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, May 31. The expanded location will offer a bigger space for the sensory playground as well as more rooms for therapy sessions.
Kids at Play offers outpatient occupational, physical and speech therapy and will soon launch an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) program. The facility accepts insurance and Medicaid and aims to foster a comfortable and fun environment for patients receiving services.
"Our goal here is to be open and welcoming to every type of family that there is," Julia Bookbinder, director of operations at Kids at Play, said.
"When you are a caregiver to a child that ... [needs] some extra support, it can feel really overwhelming. And so to be able to find a place that feels more like a community rather than a giant medical system is really important to us," Bookbinder said. "And to make it a place where it's not more of a stressor on a parent. So if we have a child that's coming here for our clinic, the siblings can come and play [on the playground] during their session."
While working with local early intervention therapy provider Kutest Kids, Bookbinder, a Boston native who studied social work at Temple University, saw the need for a comfortable and enjoyable environment where kids can receive care. This led to the creation of the Kids at Play therapy-playground facility.
"Basically, our goal was to create a space where you could come and play and also get therapy, but you don't know who's getting therapy," Bookbinder said. "So it's what we call a natural environment. We saw a lot of specialty outpatient clinics feel very medical and sterile, and it doesn't really reflect in the natural environment of where kids learn best."
Soon after they began leasing the 7,000-square-foot East Falls facility, the Kids at Play team set their sights on purchasing a larger space to host therapy sessions, birthday parties and public open play on the indoor playground.
The years-long search led them to the 9,000-square-foot site of a former CVS on Ridge Avenue. The organization has spent the last 10 months converting it into an ADA-accessible therapy center and playground.
New features include rooms dedicated solely to birthday parties, which previously had to be conducted in shared therapy rooms, as well as nine therapy rooms with high-tech equipment located in a private wing.
Kids at Play's playground incorporates features from the old facility while offering new amusements for kids and families of all ages. The equipment includes a jungle gym structure, zip line, rollercoaster car, ball pit, giant Lite Brite, blow-up archery, basketball, chalkboard walls and more.
"As a parent myself, I know it's very difficult to find something that can attract multiple ages and keep them entertained and also keep them safe," Bookbinder said.
Open play is available for children up to 12 years old. Time slots can be booked in advance online. Membership opportunities are also available. More information about Kids at Play's services can be found on the organization's website.
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