Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Providing indoor play options

by the Grosse Pointe News

November 22, 2012

Q: It’s already fall and the weather makes it hard to get my little ones outside. Do you have any advice on how to survive the fall and winter with them?

A: Young children certainly have limitless amounts of energy and parents begin to feel cooped up when the weather gets cooler.

There are many indoor options for poor-weather playtime from fast-food play areas to local retail venues. Locally, Play Central opens in October as a drop-in open play group run by The Family Center at Barnes Early Childhood Center.

The program began in October, when it starts getting kind of cold for outdoor play. The gym is open from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. The cost is $5 each visit. Children of all ages can attend.

The format is open for the time to be child directed to play with a large selection of toys; large motor skill equipment, such as bikes and a slide; a kitchen and grocery store for dramatic play; balls, big blocks, dolls and musical instruments. Play Central provides an opportunity for young children to run around, practice their skills, make a new friend and practice social skills.

While children are playing, adults can interact. All caregivers can come.

Twenty-minute mini-classes with Paula Doak, The Merry Music Maker, are offered.

Play Central participants have the option to join a structured preschool play group led by Barnes teachers offering circle time and various activities based on a theme.

This is a wonderful opportunity for children to get a taste of preschool while maintaining the comfort of their caregiver’s support. If your child isn’t in the mood for structure one day, walk down the hall back to the gym.

Play Central is a fun, flexible and affordable program designed for young children and their caregivers.

Whitton has a degree in elementary education with an endorsement in early childhood education and runs the morning Play Central program.

The Family Center serves as the community’s hub for information, resources and referral for both families and professionals. The Family Center is a non-profit organization founded to promote a deeper understanding of the role of parents and others in supporting our youth to become competent, caring and responsible community members.

All gifts are tax-deductible.

To volunteer or contribute, visit or call (313) 432.3832.

E-mail questions to or write to: The Family Center, 20090 Morningside Drive, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236.