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Playtime Project

Creating play spaces for children in transitional housing.

AREA - D.C. and Prince George's County, MD

AGE RANGE - 18 and above

What is Playtime Project?

Playtime partners with homeless shelters in Washington, D.C. to create safe and fun play spaces for the children where they live. Trained and screened volunteers provide activities, healthy snacks, and fun for children at emergency shelter and transitional housing and community sites throughout Washington, D.C. and Maryland's Prince George's County.

Playtime serves children six months to 14 years old. During weekly or biweekly, evening or after school programs, children choose from a variety of fun and developmentally appropriate play activities that aim to promote problem-solving and social-emotional skills and optimism for the future. Children receive a healthy snack. Field trips provide opportunities for program participants to get out of the shelter and explore the city. Past trips have included museum exhibits, amusement parks, baseball games, and more. Special guests increase children's worldviews; past guests include: the Uncle Devin Show, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, and Step Afrika!

“Pop-Up” Family Playtime events at community spaces like schools and local housing organizations include family play activities, play kits, information about Playtime’s services, supplies for parents like diapers and grocery gift cards, and special guests.

The Playtime-to-Go play kits program provides age-appropriate toys, games, and activities to children entering D.C.'s housing systems at Virginia Williams Family Resource Center and to families at partner sites and "Pop-Up" events.

How can I volunteer?

There are a number of different ways you can support Playtime as a volunteer, including: becoming a General Volunteer and supporting us with behind-the-scenes work, undergoing training and a background check to become a Play Ranger and serve in our playrooms, and signing up as a Volunteer in Motion to help with transportation needs.

Playtime also seeks group volunteers. Groups of 5-8 individuals looking to volunteer together on an ongoing basis (minimum once a month) can choose to go through the onboarding process as a group. Everyone in your group will have to complete background checks and training before getting started. Group Play Rangers must be able to commit to volunteering at least once a month for a period of 6 months minimum.

Another way to volunteer for Playtime is to host a party. At least once a quarter, Playtime looks for creative, enthusiastic groups to host themed parties. Party Hosts plan and lead age-appropriate activities, in addition to supplying food, decorations, and party supplies. Parties take place during regular program hours (6:30-8:30 PM) on dates set by Playtime staff, and party hosts are asked to arrive early for set-up and stay after to help with clean-up. Party hosts typically spend between $250-$350 to provide the food, decorations, and party favors for the event. Before your party, everyone in your group will be asked to review materials about Playtime and sign an electronic waiver. All volunteers in your group must be over the age of 18.

If you love playing with children and bringing joy, this might be the place for you!

Feel free to share extra information and personal experiences in the comments below, or head over to the forum!


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