Last week we finished up our first art camp for ages 3 to 7. The kids learned about the seasons and we did related art projects according to each season. It was the most rewarding week yet at Imagine Play.
Every morning we started off with an activity. The kids learned the reasons for seasons, the weather for each season, and the calendar months associated with each season.
We also played season themed games, sang songs, read books and incorporated felt boards.
But most of all we did ART!
Art projects included painting of a beach, a scroll tree hand that represented fall, winter photo blocks and a spring flower pot with included grass seeds for them to plant at home.
Every month we change our pretend area and July’s theme is Summer Cookout as inspired by the season.
To develop our dramatic play area we tried to think about all the fun things about summer such as going to the beach, barbecues and outdoor games. Here’s what we came up with to incorporate our Summer Cookout Pretend Play ideas.
The statement piece of this area is the giant connect 4, which we have to admit that we’ve had in our amazon wish list since before we opened. It’s is a great representation of fun childhood games only giant size and made for backyard fun.
Even though most of the kids haven’t grasp the concept of the game, they still like to put the donuts in the connector just the same.
This little Webster grill looks like the real thing. It even comes hamburger items that the kids can have fun stacking and taking apart. The kids love cooking on it. You can get it in the bigger version as well. We opted for the more beach friendly version.
Our interpretation of the beach us this felt aquarium. The kids love making their own water scene and it’s educational too by helping the kids recognize animals. They love the ones that look like our favorite Disney fishes.
You can come visit us for Open Play to enjoy July’s Summer Cookout Pretend Play area or visit us next month for another surprise.
All the toys listed in this blog can be bought below.
One of our goals upon opening Imagine Play is to keep strict cleaning practices. After all, a mom and her kids lives and breathes here, among other things.
We implement cleaning in several ways.
If you have been to Imagine Play you’ll see that an employee is usually on the floor putting back the toys. We call this resetting the floor and we try to do as often as possible, even though not as often as we’ll like. This is to help keep the floor fresh for incoming patrons, but also to prevent a tripping hazard for little and big feet alike.
Mid-Day, everyday, when we are the slowest we wipe down every toy and station with a cloth and disinfectant spray. We use to do this upon closing, but it would take us until after dark to finish. To be more efficient we do it mid-day so closing becomes less of a time consuming process. Don’t worry, play is encourage to resume during our wipe-down times.
At the end of the day, once the whole floor is reset from Open Play, we do a final spray of disinfectant before we lock the doors for the night.
Vacuuming is done everyday after closing and a professional cleaning crew comes every other day to mop the entire floor and clean our bathrooms. The cleaning crew is a life saver!
What about other things that can’t be wiped down? Such as our costumes. Well truth be told, a lot of them get thrown away and replaced because they get a lot of use and torn in the process, but for those that stay intact every 1 to 2 weeks the costumes are taken to be washed with our cleaning towels.
This is what is takes 7 days a week to keep Imagine Play clean because we understand the importance of a nice clean place for your kids to play in and while we can’t keep every germ away, just know that EVERY DAY we try our best.
We love this paper roll car. It’s a fun craft that involves paint. Painting is one of our favorite activities at Imagine Play because kids of all ages love it and this one is extra special as you can paint a 3d object, plus turn trash into craft.
What you’ll need to create this craft:
Empty paper roll
Paint (2 colors is good, 4 colors or more is great for creativity)
Circular hole punch
Start by cutting out a square flap at the top of the roll. Folding it up creates a windshield.
Pre punch our circles for wheels
Have kids paint the roll to their heart content
While paint is still wet glue wheels on (some kids may be not paint the whole roll, so you can use glue to glue some wheels).
What we love about this craft is kids of all ages can enjoy by painting the roll as intricate as they want. Kids that love cars love this paper roll car.
Here’s another craft that involves an empty paper roll. Remember that fireworks craft that we did during 4th of July?
We used the left over stampers to make squids by letting the kids paint and apply googly eyes.
Join us for Open Play M-F and create crafts just like this.
Do you have a child who loves Paw Patrol? We know that kids love these crime-solving pups and we do our share of Paw Patrol Kids Birthday Parties + Special Events. This one is one of our themed private parties where the parents trusted us to decorate for them, which our staff has so much fun doing! We love all the colorful details of this pup party.
Our themed birthday party package comes with a fully decorated party room. We do all the leg work, so your party parents can enjoy the party as stress free as possible.
For this party we started with a Paw Patrol themed banner and table coverings and complimented them with our favorite things: paper fans and blue star garland.
One of our custom details included this paw print garland and table decorations from summer mason jars we picked up from Hobby Lobby.
How much do you love these pin wheels? It’s such a fun way to include color and decor. Of course, we also provided themed goodie bags with pup play packs and other Paw Patrol related items.
We finished off the party with some plates and balloons for the main play area.
Inquire about having a character visit your party for even more fun.
Do you ever wonder why most place spaces require a sock only rule? We’ll give you a bit of insight of why we came to the decision regarding our open play sock policy.
It’s a hygiene thing. We want to prevent any transfer of outside debris such as mud into our place space, but mostly to keep fungi or bacteria out.
Speaking of mud and things. Since we do have little ones that are in the putting-everything -in-their mouth phase it will help prevent small objects such as sticks or small rock being picked up and swallowed by little ones.
Little fingers safety. We want to prevent any accidents that can happen if something falls on tiny toes or hands.
BUT MOSTLY. Here’s the honest truth, it’s really to keep our play equipment and floors in tip top shape! A $10K floor replacement is just something we can’t afford within the first years of our business.
Our recent kitten birthday party has still got us swooning, which inspired this craft idea for open play. We love that you can turn a bag into any animal puppet you want, but this cat puppet craft is too cute!
Supplies you’ll need for this cat puppet craft:
Construction Paper (two colors if possible)
Crayons or Markers
Hole Punch (optional)
Other Decorative Items (optional)
If you have younger children like most of our Open Play age demographic you can start by cutting triangles (for ears) and thin rectangles (for whiskers) out of the construction paper. We also used a hole punch to make a circular nose, but you can cut out noses just the same. If you have older kids you can make this activity last a bit longer by having them cut out their own ears and whiskers.
Have the kids glue their ears, nose and whiskers on to the bag.
They can draw eyes and a mouth with crayons.
Once they have finished you can have them decorate the body with their crayons.
To make it more fun, you can provide stickers, gems and other fun items such as glitter glue (kids can’t get enough of it).
Once the cat puppet is assembled and dry, the kids can stick their hand in it and enjoy. Extend this activity out by finding a cat related book and incorporate the puppet into story time.
Every weekend we are in awe of the themes our parent’s bring to us. This one was no exception and was just cute enough to meow! Purr over the details of this kitty party.
We are in love with these creative yarn ball center pieces and birthday mom made them even more special by personalizing them with the birthday child’s picture! We this creative idea 5 meows!
Also, notice the darling kitty party plates, matching napkins and cups! Purr-fection.
We noticed some plates were missing, so we filled in the gaps with an easy cat plate idea with black construction paper. It was a kitty-tastic match.
Of course, no paw-ty is complete without a dessert table. Our new favorite accessories is this fringe table cloth and large garden flowers from Hobby Lobby. You can also see this same fabric as a backdrop as seen above or in our Moana Luau Birthday. It’s also perfect for princess parties and more. We also, customized this chalk board with a kitty drawing.
Lastly, the kids had so much fun adoring a cat, complete with adoption certificate and decorating a box to take their new adoption home. Such a brilliant craft idea from birthday mom!
Next month, marks the one year anniversary of when we signed our lease at our current location on Grant Line Rd. At least once a day we hear, “I can’t find you”. We agree, we are inconspicuous and there is a story behind it. Let’s talk about how we came upon our currently location that is now Imagine Play.
Last year around this time we were actively looking for a location and in mid July we found one that was perfect. It was 4,000 sq ft. and had really high ceilings with plenty of parking, but in the end after getting all the bids to build out bathrooms and such it would’ve cost us over $200K to get the location up to where we needed it to be and frankly we really didn’t have the funds to start up that location.
We went back to the drawing board and found several other locations that were great contenders, but there were some obstacles that prevented us from getting into those locations and some of those objections even surprised us!
Cost to Build Out: This by far was our biggest hurdle. After finding out that our first location wasn’t going to work cost wise, we started looking for spaces that already had bathrooms build out and pre-existing electrical. Knocking down walls and putting in floors was much more cost effective. Our current landlord negotiated the build out with us, which was a great help.
Lease Restrictions: In at least two of our desired locations there were businesses that had lease restrictions that didn’t allow for another children related business to be in the complex.
Parking: This was one of those surprising elements. There was a location we loved that had a really charming exterior and in a nice central location, but at last the owner came back and said he felt like there wouldn’t be enough parking to accommodate us. We were really disappointed with this news, but everything happens for a reason right?
Rent: In the end, this was the deal breaker for us. To be honest, some of the prime locations would have cost us about $10K a month and for us the smart decision was a location where low rent would make it easier to sustain.
With our options dwindling Grant Line was really the only location that fit all our requirements and without it there would be no Imagine Play location today and while we are hard to find we hope that once you do find us you’ll continue to help this location thrive!
We continue to learn and change each day. Here’s some before and afters of the progress that was made from construction to opening. If you have been recently you know we have grown since even these pictures and if you haven’t been yet, come visit us soon.
If you still have a hard time finding us you can follow the directions below or visit out homepage footer for complete address.
Coming from 99.
-Turn right in the first parking lot off the freeway
-The front building may say 10471.
If you miss our parking lot.
-Turn right onto Survey Rd.
-Continue on Survey Rd pass the stop sign until you hit the gate to the freeway or until you see when East Stockton Blvd Continues.
-Turn right into parking lot.
-You’ll come behind New Songs School of Music.
Coming from Elk Grove Park or Other
-East Stockton Blvd turns into Survey Rd.
-Continue on Survey Rd pass the stop sign until you hit the gate to the freeway or until you see when East Stockton Blvd Continue.
-Turn right into parking lot.
-You’ll come behind New Songs School of Music.
If you are anything like our staff we are pinterest obsessed and since toddler friendly arts and crafts are part of our daily staple here are Imagine Play, we decided to try this heavily pinned fireworks painting project in celebration of our Independence Day and it was everything that we had hoped for!
Empty Toilet Paper Rolls
3-4 Colors of Paint
1. Cut strips halfway down the center of the Roll
2. Fan them Out
3. Prepare plates with globs of paint
4. Place fanned out rolls on the paint
5. Show the kids how to make a firework by stamping their paper with paint and encourage them to mix the colors. It looks best with three-four stamps per firework.
On a side note, plan to give them bigger sized paper. We have pictured here an 8×11 sheet, but the kids ran out of room quickly and soon their fireworks became muddled because they could stop stamping. 🙂 A bigger sheet of paper will allow them more room to make more fireworks so they are not tempted to not stamp over their already good looking fireworks.
This fireworks painting project is a perfect to repeat for New Year’s as well.