A friend recently told me about a cool kids place in Bethesda, MD that she thought would be right up our alley. On Thursday I organized a playdate with a couple of other Mama friends and we made the trek from NoVa to Maryland to check out the Playseum.
On Thursday morning my friend Marcy, who was also going on the playdate, texted to see if we wanted to ride with her since our destination was a bit far. Marcy recently got a mini-van, so she had the room to take us too. A side note, Marcy DID NOT want a mini-van. I’m pretty sure her husband laid down the law and said if they were getting a new car, which they needed, then the only practical thing to get was a mini-van. Although Marcy was not all that thrilled, she got a mini-van and I am happy to report that she is truly enjoying it. And I was very excited to get to hang out with my friend for uninterrupted drive time. It was great! The kids were good in the car and mentioned once again that they can’t wait for us to get a mini-van. Me neither boys, me neither!
The Playseum was pretty cool. It is in downtown Bethesda and although a bit of a drive, easy to get to. You might not realize it was there if you weren’t looking for it. It is just a door off the main entrance with a stairwell that leads to a little ticket window. It is $5 per person, no matter your age, to enter. However, they are always looking for donations including books. The website says if you bring 25 books to donate then you will get 1 admission for free. Both of my friends brought books to donate. Elizabeth couldn’t fit her 25 books in one bag, so she had them in two slightly smaller handle bags. Lo and behold, she got 2 admissions free. Note to self (and the greater group) if you have books to donate, put them in multiple bags and you will probably get multiple admissions for free! Next to the ticket booth there is a door that takes you into the actual Playseum.
Basically this is a basement space that has been split into tons of fairly small rooms. Each room opens to a hallway and many of the rooms connect to each other either with doorways or small tunnel openings for the kids. The rooms had varying themes. There was a firehouse with a few play firetrucks and dress up clothes, a building room with a blocks, pulley system to hoist the blocks, tools & sand table, a play kitchen with real food that had been schalacked(?) to preserve it, an entire craft/painting room, a room with live animals including bunnies, birds, fish & lizards, a big open area with a stage with musical instruments, games of all sorts including foosball and several other rooms I just can’t remember. It was a very cool concept. The kids were able to wander a fair amount and although you may lose sight of them, it was completely enclosed. Another neat thing about it was that all of our kids were able to interact and enjoy the environment. The barely 1 year olds had as much fun exploring and playing as the nearly 4 year olds did. It really appealed to everyone. The one drawback is that if it were a very busy day, it would be crazy chaotic. Since the rooms are all pretty small, with too many people I could see my kids getting overwhelmed or upset at not having space or ability to really play. And even if the kids were okay, I think I could get a little claustrophobic with too many kids & parents. Overall, it was a great place and one that we will visit again. Jack has asked several times if we could go back and take Daddy along, so I know they loved it!
After the Playseum we walked to pick up a few food items at a deli to supplement our picnic lunch, then walked to a park to eat and play. By this time everyone was pretty tired. We mainly just ate our lunches and played for a few minutes on the playground. Then we hoofed it back to our cars for the ride home. My kids ALWAYS fall asleep in the car, but because they were so excited to be with Jacob & Ellie they didn’t this time. In fact, I was able to keep them awake all the way home from Marcy’s house. It was a no nap day for both boys and they kept it together really well. Jack fell apart a bit at bedtime, but for a very active day with no naps, they did well. Overall, the Playseum day was a hit!
On a side note, we are having multiple days a week where both boys have no nap or only sleep for 10 minutes on a car ride. I have a feeling that by mid summer I may have two boys who don’t nap regularly. I’m not sure how I feel about this. If they keep it together and are in good spirits, then I don’t mind the no nap. BUT, if they are crabby but refusing to give up, then we are going to have big problems. As every Mama knows, nap time is the one bit of silence in your day. I often wait to eat my lunch when both kids are sleeping and relish in the quiet time to use the computer or *gasp* read something! Plus, nap time is the best time to quickly power through picking up the house or making phone calls without screaming in the background. I’m sure people like the plumber and credit card companies appreciate actually hearing me on the phone and not my crazy kiddos! Alas, I feel the nap is nearing an end at our house. I will mourn my alone time but I’m pretty sure it will bring early bedtime for all!!