Indoor Play for Toddlers: The Childrens Play Gallery

One of the challenges as a mom of a toddler is finding a place where I can bring my kid to play. A lot of articles online about fun places to bring your kid are usually places where someone under 2 years old will feel overwhelmed or worse, get knocked down and run over. Thankfully The Children’s Play Gallery in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, is not one of those places. It is a great place to bring a young toddler, as I learned last weekend with my son.

About the Children’s Play Gallery

From the website:

“In June of 2013, Bob & Denise Mantz had the opportunity to purchase the assets of The Children’s Play Gallery. It had been a fixture in downtown Delafield since 2007. It was started by Ron and Sarah Sullivan who wanted to build a place for child development, enhanced family time and strong community bonds.

Bob & Denise Mantz had spent time at the gallery with their grandchildren and loved the concept. So, they took the exhibits, built to allow children to explore and use their imagination, and used their imagination to renew and recondition them. They found a new home in downtown Oconomowoc.

They hope to become a community gathering place, where children and parents can bond.  A place where young families can make connections and children can build their imaginations.

Their goal is to constantly renew and refresh the gallery, always giving children a chance to learn and discover when they come in.

Our Favorite Features

One of the reasons I enjoyed bringing my son here was it had so many toys he could explore. Unlike the small toys at our house, the Play Gallery has big open spaces dedicated to different types of play. For example, there’s a kitchen area with a stove, sink, and cupboards, right next to a food stand with little baskets of different produce and multiple toddler sized grocery carts. You’re not just playing with toys, you’re playing inside a toddler sized microcosm. It’s an immersive, engaging environment, not just a set of toys. This set-up seems to hold my son’s attention far better than the books and blocks and toys we have at home.

There’s so much to love and explore here. My husband, ever the engineer, built an impressive structure out of foam blocks. Our son loves climbing things so he was all over that, literally.

There’s also a Science Area where kids can build Lego cars and race them down the track. My son ignored the Lego cars and spent his attention on the magnetic gears, which can be arranged on a wall and spun like a machine.

On days when the weather outside is uninviting, I need a long list of places to take my son where he can explore and play. Along with our local libraries, the Children’s Play Gallery is part of that list.

Where do you take your toddler to play?