Room to romp: Indoor Park seeks more members

April 2019 Posted in Community

Silverton Indoor Park board chair, Eric Nelson, his three-year-old daughter Charlotte (far left) and infant MacKenzie interact three-year-old Scott Miller. Melissa Wagoner

By Brenna Wiegand

Being home with a houseful of kids can be a lonely business. Those who’ve discovered Silverton Indoor Park have found a remedy and an effective way to improve their kids’ lives.

However, with membership down the group fears they’ll be unable to open next fall. Although their host, Silverton’s United Methodist Church, charges a nominal rent, they must also pay for insurance, cleaning supplies, batteries and new toys. Grants from the Judy’s Party fundraiser for the last two years have helped them stay afloat, but it’s been a struggle. Board members often pay for incidentals themselves.

“They’re so generous,” Elizabeth Grossen, mother of two, said of the church. “They charge us so little and only for days we are physically there, even though our toys eat up their space all week.”

“I can’t figure out why it’s not wall-to-wall people here,” Jill Miller, mother of two and four-year-old sons, said. “It’s a great deal because you can come all morning five days a week. I can drop 50-60 bucks just taking them to one place one time.”

Silverton Indoor Park is a co-op and members take turns getting the toys out on Mondays, wiping them down and putting them away on Fridays so the church can use the space. Board positions are available.

“Some days I don’t talk to any other adults until my husband gets home,” Grossen said. “At Indoor Park you can interact; commiserate with each other about the things your kids are doing with people who’ve been there or are going through the same thing.

“At home my daughter doesn’t have to share toys and gets all of my attention,” Grossen said. “Indoor Park is a safe place to interact with other kids and learn social skills that they can’t at home.”

Mother of four Brenda Sparks most treasures the ability to relax, visit and watch her two-year-old child play without worrying about him running off at
any moment.

“We get a lot of babysitters, nannies and grandparents too,” Sparks said. “It’s a great place for independent play or for the kids to make friends.

“Before we started going to Indoor Park my oldest daughter didn’t know how to play with kids; we didn’t get out much,” Sparks said. “Our older kids still ask to
go to Indoor Park. It would be sad if it went away.”

“They can wear themselves out in a safe space that’s not muddy; no cars close by and balls don’t go in the street,” said Susan Hicks, two grandkids in tow. “They can play, make friends and develop social skills – then they go home and take a wonderful nap.

“In the summer we’re at the park but in the winter it’s nice to have this big open space,” Hicks said. “Putting them in a stroller and going for a walk is fine but they need to move – and I really want them ready to nap.”

“If you just get tired of being in your own house and the kids playing with their own toys, this is a great space,” Grossen said. “It has lots of windows and all sorts of riding toys; climbing structures; there’s kitchen, dress up clothes and baby stuff. My daughter learned to drive her trike here; we lived out of town and only
had gravel.”

Board Chair Eric Nelson, in attendance with three-year-old daughter Charlotte at play and six-month-old MacKenzie strapped to his chest is confident the park will continue – and extend its reach.

“My vision for this place is to have enough community support to be a free, open community space,” Nelson said. “Parenting’s tough; raising kids is hard no matter what you do and this is a place where parents and caregivers can share their stories and feel a little support.”

Parents and caregivers of kids five and under are invited to visit Indoor Park throughout the month; Indoor Park will close for the summer June 1. Kids must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver.

Silverton Indoor Park

Ages 0-5 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – Noon; follows school calendar
United Methodist Church 203 W Main St., Silverton
Dues: $50 a term or $80 for the year
silvertonindoorpark@gmail.com; silvertonindoorpark.org; Facebook; Eric Nelson, 540-841-6864

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.