Playtime marks 3rd anniversary with festival, freebies and fun

By LISA STARK
Published May 26, 2016

The colorful decor at Playtime is cheerful inspiration for both kids and staff alike. Lisa Stark photos.

The colorful decor at Playtime is cheerful inspiration for both kids and staff alike. Lisa Stark photos.

Playtime in Apollo Beach will celebrate its third year in business with a Fun Festival (open to the public) on Saturday, June 25, featuring kids’ activities, face-painting, games and free refreshments for both children and their parents.

“It’s our way of saying thank you to our loyal customers and supporters in the community,” said owner Chrissy O’Brien, who calls Playtime “a friendly happy place full of love.”

Playtime is an indoor play center for infants and toddlers up to 5 years old, offering walk-in open-play sessions, preschool classes, private birthday parties and special-event planning. Their goal is to provide a safe and fun environment in which children can grow physically, mentally and emotionally through interactive play and creative arts.

A growing number of parents and working mothers today rely on some sort of special activity center for their children, whether it’s in the home of a relative, neighbor or an organized childcare provider. Playtime has become a welcome alternative for families in Apollo Beach, Ruskin, Riverview, and beyond for families looking for quality and dependability in their children’s activity needs.

“I really enjoy meeting the families and watching kids learn and grow,” said Chrissy. “I have a lot of long-term relationships with parents who have been coming in since the day I opened. Some are now bringing second and third children in to me.”

It’s this dedication to longevity and creating a “family feel” that has made Chrissy’s business such a success. She is no stranger to the childcare industry, with a 20-year history of partnering with her mother, Debbie, in owning daycare centers in her home state of Maryland. Since moving to Riverview, mother and daughter have enriched the local community with their two decades of experience, and plan to stay for many years to come.

In addition to weekly open play sessions, Playtime offers a variety of reasonably priced classes that promote physical activity and creativity, including Lil’ Yogi’s  (yoga for ages 2-6);  Lil’ Picasso  (art for ages 2-5); Preschool Skills  (ages 2-5); Lil’ Explorers (ages 22 mos.-4 yrs.); Music & Play (ages 0-3 years); and Baby Picasso (ages 1-2 years). Children can enjoy things like music, bubbles and parachute play, as well as learning about color, texture, music and movement.

Studies show that activity centers like Playtime can provide different experiences for children that they wouldn’t get at home, especially when children reach the age of two and are ready to interact with other children.

Chrissy O’Brien, owner of Playtime, poses with one of her regular daytime toddlers

Chrissy O’Brien, owner of Playtime, poses with one of her regular daytime toddlers

Organized activities and classes can complement good parenting.  “Parents tell me they appreciate the atmosphere here of fun and learning,” said Chrissy. “It’s that family connection that makes it all so rewarding.” At Playtime, Chrissy and Debbie O’Brien have combined years of practical experience with a variety of college-level courses in Early Childhood Development to build the foundation of their center.

“People have come to trust us, and that’s why they keep coming back for our classes and birthday parties time and time again,” said Chrissy.

Playtime is at 6124 U.S. 41 N. in Apollo Beach. For more information, visit www.playtimeapollobeach.com or call 813-645-8777.

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