Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

Sticking close to home this summer? We’ve got you covered with our favorite picks in our local areas. These tips translate if you’re traveling from far away, too! Check out the rest of our Staycation Summer series

Simple Positive Play is one of the newest and lesser-known treasures in the St. Louis area. If you’re looking for a safe place where your kids can play with toys and create artwork, and maybe meet a few new parent friends yourself, this is a great free resource. And there is no charge to come play!

Simple Positive Play is designed for children ages birth through third grade. Created by a librarian, the nonprofit organization’s website states that Simple Positive Play’s mission is to “help facilitate playful learning experiences for young people and their families while also promoting an engaged and informed community.”

During recent visits, my daughters have played with train sets, a play kitchen and food, puzzles, dress-up clothes, and large gross-motor-development foam play structures. They also have used paints, crayons, colored pencils, Play Dough, made animal shapes with Perler beads (with adult help using a hot iron), and built a marble run. A few picture books are available to read on site or to borrow and take home. On some visits, my girls also have enjoyed free Popsicles, water bottles, and juice pouches. What’s not to like about all that?

Parents must remain in the building to supervise their children, but this is also a good opportunity to meet and chat with other moms and dads. This is nice especially if you’re a new parent, a stay-at-home parent, are new to the community, or are just looking to make new friends.

Simple Positive Play is located in January-Wabash Park at 501 N. Florissant Road near downtown Ferguson, Missouri. It is open every Sunday, as well as some Wednesdays and Thursdays. Because times may change, or new times may be added to the schedule, it’s important to check the Facebook page or website to get the most current schedule. When you arrive, you’ll be asked to sign in with your children’s names and your name, and you have the option to submit your email address so you can receive updates about Simple Positive Play. They don’t send you junk mail. I promise.

If you can’t make it to Simple Positive Play’s main location in Ferguson, you can also stop by their booth at the Florissant Knights of Columbus food truck events, scheduled regularly during the spring through fall months. The booth offers simple fun activities for kids.

At either location, whether you visit the Ferguson play area or the booth at the food truck nights, Simple Positive Play accepts monetary donations, but donations are not required. Money given goes toward the purchase of toys, craft supplies, snacks, and cleaning supplies (because somebody’s gotta clean those toys that little Johnnie puts in his mouth). Simple Positive Play is operated and staffed entirely by volunteers, so your donations go directly to purchases that benefit kids.

While St. Louis County as a whole offers many great opportunities for family entertainment, Simple Positive Play is unique because it is free and because it is located in an area that lacks some of the more popular family destinations such as the zoo or science center. If you’re looking for a treasure that is off the beaten path, Simple Positive Play is well worth checking out this summer, or any time of year.

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Category: Family Free Time

Tags: Rachael