Playhouse offers summer fun
School's out, now what? Boone's children's museum, The Children's Playhouse, may have an answer, rain or shine.
With a packed lineup of music, science and art activities, from bug safaris to tie-dye shirts, the Playhouse aims to keep your kids busy this summer, culminating in the ultimate summer blow-out, the 4th annual Playhouse Family Music Festival on Aug. 21.
Located near downtown Boone, The Children's Playhouse boasts a number of indoor play areas - a pretend vet clinic complete with real X-rays, an art room, indoor "romp and stomp" with ball pit and bouldering wall, and a pretend play area complete with dress-up clothes and a play kitchen - all tucked into an intimate, child-friendly space. Outdoor fun includes sand and water play, climbers, and gardening and art activities. Board member Frank Veno has built a fence to create an additional outdoor play space that can also be used for picnics.
The Playhouse is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parents or caregivers must stay with their children. Admission is $5 per person, and infants one year or younger are admitted free.
Labors of Love
Called the "little museum that could," The Children's Playhouse is the beloved product of many talented, generous community members. One example is the huge new custom train table complete with pop-ups and a view of Grandfather Mountain created this spring by parents Jesse and Pete Washburn.
"Our love of High Country traditions is also reflected in our new 'farmers' market' area, where kids can buy and sell (pretend) local produce," executive director Kathy Parham said. "We invite families to send us pictures of the real farmers' market to help kids make the connection.
"Our wonderful lineup of summer programs is thanks to people willing to share their time and talents. This allows us to offer programs for free or at very low fees for our members and visitors."
At 11 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month (June 12, July 10 and Aug. 14), Lynette Walters, by day a "Parents as Teachers" educator at the Children's Council of Watauga County, will teach "Angel Bear Yoga," a class celebrating nature and positive character traits for kids and parents.
Playhouse intern and Appalachian State University child development graduate Amanda Martz will offer "Wave Your Flag," a craft workshop celebrating Flag Day at 11 a.m. and again at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15. An accomplished gymnast, Martz will also present "Bend Your Body from Head to Toe: Storytime plus Gymnastics" at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 19.
Alison Moser donates her time to teach "Third Thursday Musikgarten" at the Playhouse every month; the next class will be Thursday, June17, at 10:30 a.m.
Also on June 17, Mary Beth Knight-Greene, a science teacher at Ashe County High School, will present "Backyard Bug Safari" at 11 a.m. This program for kids 4-8 will include real praying mantis hatchlings and the opportunity to use microscopes.
Mother of two, Emma Yarborough gives her time to offer "Tunes on Tuesdays" at 10:30 a.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month (June 22, July 27 and Aug. 24). An elementary school and Montessori teacher, Molly Russell presents "Preschool Science" on Wednesday, June 23, at 11 a.m.
For a complete list of the Playhouse summer programs, see the Playhouse website, http://www.goplayhouse.org. Got a talent to share? Contact Parham at (828) 263-0011.
All programs take place at The Children's Playhouse, 400 Tracy Circle, Boone. For more information, visit http://www.goplayhouse.org or call (828) 263-0011. Unless otherwise noted, programs are free to members or with paid admission to The Children's Playhouse.
11-11:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 23
Tie Dye Month
During normal Playhouse hours July 1-31 (The Playhouse will be closed July 3)
Cost: $7 per shirt for members, $12 for nonmembers (includes admission to The Children's Playhouse).
10-11 a.m., July 14, and Aug. 11 (2nd Wednesdays)
Developmentally appropriate activities for babies and toddlers facilitated by Playhouse board member Rebekah Cummings, who has a doctorate in child development.
Tuesday, July 13-Saturday, July 17
Come visit Snowball, a live rabbit, on loan this week from Mary's School.
Make a Sea Turtle Nightlight
11 a.m.-noon, Thursday, July 15
$5 for Playhouse members, $10 for nonmembers (includes admission to The Children's Playhouse). Maximum 10 participants. Registration required; call (828) 263-0011 to sign up.
About The Children's Playhouse
Situated in a renovated house at 400 Tracy Circle near downtown Boone, The Children's Playhouse provides children from birth to age eight with an enriching, educational play environment while at the same time offering their parents and caregivers friendly support in the important job of raising children.
Scholarship memberships are available for families that meet income guidelines. The Children's Playhouse is supported in part by the governments of Watauga County and the town of Boone and the High Country United Way. For more information, call (828) 263-0011 or click to http://www.goplayhouse.org.