When I saw the new local playspace was looking for a branding photographer, I jumped faster than I think I ever have. First off: outer space, absolutely my aesthetic. But more important than that: their entire philosophy is built around making play and play spaces accessible for children of all ages and abilities. This is HUGE for me. My oldest is autistic and sometimes play spaces just aren’t as accessible for us. Maybe there are little nooks and crannies I can’t crawl in to help him through, or maybe I just worry that the staff or the other parents there aren’t going to be as cool if he needs help or doesn’t quite know how to interact with other kids yet. So when it turned out that our vision for displaying the space (light, bright, airy, colourful) matched up, I was over the moon.
Below are some of my favourite images from my time working with them before the pandemic (I’ll have another post about their work to pivot in these, well, horrible times later).
Snacks and drinks for days!
There are multiple levels for kids to climb on and a multitude of play spaces for running and exploring. I’ve seen many, many a game of chase through this space.
I can’t wait until they can host birthday parties for kids again. They’re so much fun, they always go over the top with decorations, and it’s such a joy to see the kids having so much fun together.
This mural spans the entire long wall of the space and it’s so stunning in person.
I love this little toddler play area. Not every place has a space that works for parents with kids of different ages, or they’re so separate that you have to choose which kid to watch or just to make one kid play in the other’s area. This one is right with the bigger kids area, and honestly, I see bigger kids playing with these blocks and having fun with the littler ones so much anyway.
There’s this fantastic little sensory room in the back of the space that is so welcome. Sometimes kids just need a break, or one kid wants to play and the other wants to read or climb on smaller equipment. There are a ton of science-focused books and hands-on toys in here that kids can play with and explore the natural world.
This equipment is fantastic for gross motor play for kids of all abilities. My oldest loved running up and down it, putting into practice the skills he’s learned in occupational therapy.
I love all the signs and posters on the walls, but these are some of my favourite: reminding kids to check in with themselves and to be mindful of how they’re feeling and how they’re interacting with one another.
When I say they’ve gone above and beyond for neurodiverse kids, this is what I mean: there’s a sensory backpack for kids to borrow while they’re here. Sunglasses if it’s too bright, headphones if it’s too loud, sensory toys to calm down and ground themselves. So much thought went into making this place one that parents can feel comfortable bringing their kids to and knowing they’ll be looked out for.
Above all, the owner families are a joy and a delight. They care so much about our community and creating an inclusive, welcoming space for everyone. Especially during this pandemic, it’s more important than ever to support our women- and BIPOC-owned businesses, which this space is.
I can’t wait until we can be back together in spaces like this again.
While we’re stuck in lockdown, please consider buying a gift card to support them (I did!!) or if you need childcare, enroll in one of their camps!