DAVIDSON – Giving mothers and other caregivers a social outlet while offering a safe and clean place for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers to play is exactly what Ashley Vincent envisioned when she opened Davidson Playhouse this month.
Sitting on a couch in the midst of a play kitchen, a table with toy trains, dress-up clothes and other activities catered toward youth, Vincent has plans for her business to become a community sanctuary for parents, caregivers and youth ages 0-6.
Vincent opted to leave the workforce to be a full-time mom for her two young children, but found they were missing interaction with others.
“I didn’t have a place to meet moms and caregivers and let my kids socialize,” she said of why she and her husband, Jon, started Davidson Playhouse. “Cleanliness, fun and safety are important to me. Children get to play with other children in a good environment at the Playhouse and families get to do things with other families.”
Davidson Playhouse offers toys, events and activities for youth to do while their chaperones talk. Ideally, she said, she’d like the Davidson Playhouse to be a family social network.
"It’s hard to meet people if you are not coming to the same place and events,” she said. “This is a community room where you will always see a familiar face.”
Memberships are offered for six- and 12-month spans. The annual membership comes to roughly $30 a month. Part of the membership includes coming to the location as often as they’d like, participating in the events free of charge and using the facility for a birthday party.
She is offering events that are open to the public for $5 per child, including a storytime and craft time on Wednesdays and Fridays, though, in the future, these will be for members only.
“I’m trying to incorporate a lot of education, sensory and motorskills in group play,” Vincent said.
Recent activities include listening to a story about fish, using motor skills to do a craft like gluing tissue paper onto a fish and then using sensory skills to dig through a sandbox to find buried treasure.
Children have also cut out letters from magazines to make a letter collage in the shape of a fish and crafted flowers using handprints.
Judging by her two kids, she knows how different youth can be – as 4-year-old Caden loves being a superhero while 1-year-old Ella Grace prefers to run around.
The toys and activities cater to those different interests, including grocery carts to play grocery store, a fake kitchen to cook, a chalkboard, train set, dollhouse, reading corner, dress-up clothes, art room, building blocks and a small stage. Some will be changed out based on feedback from parents and participants.
“It’s a great way to introduce kids to other kids,” said Petra Howard, a nanny for a youngster who enjoys playing at Davidson Playhouse. “We love this place. We would come here every day, and we wish there were more places like this, even for older kids. This is paradise for kids to play, interact, sing and dance. It’s the perfect place.”
Want to go?
Davidson Playhouse, located at 228 Caldwell Lane, offers a place for mothers and caregivers to socialize while youngsters ages 0-6 play. The playhouse is membership-based, though some events are open to the public. Details: www.davidsonplayhouse.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-795-8935.