Playground in a Box brings creative play to urban kids

Playground in a Box is sort of Legos meets Lincoln Logs in giant blue foam. Now, put those pieces inside a brand new urban community center where it’s always warm and dry – no matter what the weather. And, voila! You have the concept for imaginative, physical, indoor play.

Playground in a Box is comprised of large foam blocks that are oddly formed with unique, abstract shapes that make kids curious and want to start building immediately. With their uniform blue color, abstract shapes, and infinite configurations, these blocks from Imagination Playground get kids’ minds working fast and keep them active. Instead of prescribing activities (climb this, sit on that), the blocks prompt kids to “fill in the blank” with their own ideas.

The blocks can be used to make anything kids can think of, and encourages socializing and cooperation. Younger, smaller kids may need help balancing and moving them, so they work in pairs or small teams. Older, larger kids quickly realize that if they want to build structures that are bigger than life, they need to plan and work together with other children.

Seattle Parks and Recreation, The Downtown Seattle Association and the Seattle Parks Foundation have partnered to bring this indoor playground to Belltown Community Center, 415 Bell St.

Children and their caregivers are invited to play on Wednesdays from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Entrance to the playground is free. Playground in a Box is appropriate for children at least 2 years old and older. For the very little ones, Belltown Community Center also has an indoor play room that is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:30 – 7:30 p.m. The drop-in fee is $2.

Playground in a Box can be used indoors and outdoors, and is waterproof. It will be housed at Belltown Community Center, but will be loaned out for special events at Westlake Park, Waterfront Park, and Bell Street Park when it is finished.

For more information, contact Belltown Community Center at 206-684-4093.  

Indoor Play for Toddlers at Community Centers

Soon we’ll start getting the wet, soggy weather that Pacific Northwest winters are so famous for. The playgrounds will be wet. The playfields will be wet. It will be cold outside. The last thing you want to do is take your toddler (who’s probably just recovering from the latest cold to get passed around) outside to romp around. 

Instead, try taking them to one of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s indoor toddler gyms and toddler playrooms. Toddler gyms and playrooms offer toddlers, parents and siblings a safe, warm, dry place to play with room to run and lots of toys. 

Toddler gyms have more space and more toys, but fewer hours. They are often set up in the community center’s gym. After playtime, staff put the toys away so the gym can be used for other activities. Toddler playrooms are permanent spaces in the community center dedicated to toddler play. They do not have as much space or as many toys, but they are open more hours. 

The rates for using gyms and playrooms are very reasonable, and some community centers even offer discounts with the purchase of a multi-use punch card. For more information about the toddler gym or playroom nearest you, call your local community center. 

Toddler Gyms 

Ballard Community Center

206-684-4093

6020 28th Ave NW   98107 

Monday /Wednesday/Friday: 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Fee: $2 per family

Punch card $20 =12 visits

Bitter Lake Community Center

206-684-7524

13035 Linden Ave N   98133  

Wednesday/Friday: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

No punch card

 

Delridge Community Center

206-684-7423

4501 Delridge Way SW   98106

Monday: 1 – 4 p.m.

Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Friday: 1 – 5 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20 = 10 visits; $10= 5 visits

 

Garfield Community Center

206-684-4788

2323 East Cherry St   98122  

Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Friday: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20 =12 visits; $10 = 6 visits

 

Hiawatha Community Center

206-684-7441

2700 California Ave SW   98116

Monday/Thursday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child; $5 per family

No punch card

 

 

High Point Community Center

206-684-7422

6920 34th Ave SW   98126

Tuesday/Thursday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20 =12 visits

 

Jefferson Community Center

206-684-7481

3801 Beacon Ave S   98108  

Tuesday/Thursday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2  per child

Punch card: $20 = 10 visits

 

Laurelhurst Community Center

206-684-7529

4554 NE 41st St   98105  

Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

No punch card

 

Loyal Heights Community Center

206-684-4052

2101 NW 77th St  

Seattle, Wa 98117  

Tuesday/Thursday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Saturday:  9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20 = 11 visits

 

Magnolia Community Center

206-386-4235

2550 34th Ave W   98199

Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20 = 11 visits

 

Magnuson Community Center /Gym & Windermere Room (TotTown)

206-684-7026

7110 62nd Ave NE   98115  

9/17 – 11/5 Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

11/19 – 12/17 Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

No punch card

 

Meadowbrook Community Center

206-684-7522

10517 35th Ave NE   98125  

Monday/Friday: 1 – 3 p.m.

Tuesday/Wednesday/Saturday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

No punch card

 

Miller Community Center

206-684-4753

330 19th Ave E   98112  

Tuesday/Thursday: 10 a.m. – 12 noon

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $10 = 6 visits

 

Montlake Community Center

206-684-4736

1618 E Calhoun St   98112  

Monday/Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20= 15 visits

 

Northgate Community Center

206-386-4283

10510 5th Ave NE

Tuesday/Thursday: 10 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20 =10 visits; $10 = 5 visits

 

Queen Anne Community Center

206-386-4240

1901 First Ave W   98119

Tuesday/Thursday: 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20 =12 visits; $10 = 6 visits

Rainier Beach Community Center

206-386-1925

8825 Rainier Ave S   98118

Tuesday/ Thursday: 6 – 7 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

No punch card; Ends 12/18/10

 

Rainier Community Center

206-386-1919

4600 38th Ave S   98118

Tuesday/Thursday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20 = 10 visits

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

206-386-1919

6535 Ravenna Ave NE   98115  

Wednesday/Friday: 10:15 a.m. – 2 p.m.

$2 per child 

 Punch card: $20 =12 visits

South Park Community Center

206-684-7451

8319 8th Ave S   98108  

Monday/Wednesday/Thursday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

No punch card

 

Van Asselt Community Center

206-386-1921

2820 S Myrtle St   98108  

Tuesday/Thursday: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20 = 10 visits

Toddler Playrooms

Ballard Community Center

206-684-4093

6020 28th Ave NW   98107  

Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Tuesday/Thursday: 1 – 8 p.m.

Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Activity: $2 per family

Punch card: $20 = 12 visits

 

Green Lake Community Center

206-684-0780

7201 E Green Lake Dr N   98115  

Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20 = 12 visit

 

Miller Community Center

206-684-4753

330 19th Ave E   98112

Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 1 – 9 p.m.

Tuesday/Thursday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday: 12 noon – 5 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $10 = 6 visits

Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center

206-684-7534

6535 Ravenna Ave NE   98115  

Monday: 10:15 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday: 4:45 – 8:30 p.m.

Friday: 2 – 8:30 p.m.

Saturday (9/25 – 12/18): 10:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Activity Fee: $2 per child

Punch card: $20 =12 visits