PlayArts turns 1 with week-long celebration

It will include daily events, parties and more

Krista Yutzy-Burkey the owner/director of PlayArts reads to gathering children on Tuesday, August 29.

After a full year of laughing and learning together with the children and parents of the city, Krista Yutzy-Burkey, the owner/director of PlayArts, located at 1241 N Front Street, will be celebrating the first birthday of the indoor play space with a series of daily events, parties and more taking place from Tuesday, Sept. 5 through Sunday, Sept. 10.

“We’ve got events planned all week. We’re closed on Labor day, but starting Tuesday we’ve got something every day, from storytime and Singalong, to Member Happy Hour to Playspace Dance Party to Dollar Play Day,” Yutzy-Burkey said.

Although its actual date of inception was Sept. 1, 2016, PlayArts will wait until after the holiday weekend to host six events to commemorate its successful first year. Starting things, on Tuesday, Sept. 5, a Storytime and Sing-a-long will take place from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Here, instructor Ben Perkins and Yutzy-Burkey will lead children of all ages on a morning adventure.

Then, on Wednesday, Sept. 6, open sensory play (birthday edition) will take place from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m., and on Thursday, Sept. 7 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. PlayArts will host a dance party. The following afternoon, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., a members-only happy hour will be held, allowing the play space to thank its members and offer them beer and cookies, as well as the chance to win various door prizes.

Next, a Dollar Play Day will take place on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the official PlayArts Anniversary Party will be held on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon. At the party, Cake Life cupcakes will be served, and door prizes and discounts can be won. Regular drop-in rates and playspace hours apply to this party, and RSVP is required for the final three events. It can be submitted via: http://www.playartsphilly.com/events/.

These events were selected because PlayArts, according to Yutzy-Burkey, has a lot to offer and wanted to use this as an opportunity to showcase the variety of services it provides. She added anyone with kids is welcome to come out and enjoy the offered events which don’t require membership.

“[The community response to PlayArts this past year] has been phenomenal. We’ve had an overwhelming show of support from the community, from both families and the business community,” Yutzy-Burkey said. “We wouldn’t have been able to make it happen without the support from our clients and members. I am so grateful to be part of this community.”

In the past year, PlayArts has seen 4,000 people added to its system client list, roughly two-thirds of which are participating kids. Yutzy-Burkey believes one of the greatest successes of PlayArts was simply to return its space, a former Philly Public Bath, back to a community hub.

“The most frequent comment we hear from parents is that they love the way the space looks and feels and they enjoy the space as much as their kids do. That always makes my day, because the design was one of the major components of the entire business plan,” Yutzy-Burkey said. “Kids usually just lose their minds when they come in for the first time.”

She continued that the Open Sensory Play on Wednesday mornings is a huge draw, and has remained PlayArts’ most popular class. Furthermore, the business is committed to keeping it as a “community drop-in” service, so it’s just $5 and has been so popular that PlayArts has even started offering it as a birthday party add-on.

In continuing to adapt based on community response, PlayArts has “been dialing things in for the entire first year.” It has added toys and stations monthly, tweaked and added services based on its customer feedback. It also replaced and improved lots of infrastructural components based on daily use.

“Our commercial baby gates, for example, couldn’t stand the wear and tear and had to be replaced within a few months of opening,” Yutzy-Burkey said. “My husband is a carpenter, so he’s pretty instrumental in keeping this place functioning.”

Despite this and other challenges that have been presented in the past year, including learning to manage such a multifaceted job and still trying to maintain a healthy balance for herself and her family, Yutzy-Burkey has experienced many more highlights. For example, she noted meeting and befriending so many local families is by far the best part of her job.

“Some of our members come every week, multiple times a week — we’ve seen kids learn to crawl and walk in our space,” Yutzy-Burkey said. “We’ve gotten to see certain kids really open up and develop socially as they’ve learned to interact with other kids and families so regularly. It’s pretty great.”

Feeling fortunate to have surrounded herself with such “good people,” and having acquired “the most talented and dedicated staff,” Yutzy-Burkey said that she has a lot in store for the year(s) to come. Through focusing on making each PlayArts’ membership experience the best it can be, her and her team are constantly working to refine their class offerings and implement additional services.

“We’re really excited about using what we’ve learned in the last year to just continue to improve,” Yutzy-Burkey said. “We’re exploring some really exciting partnerships with other businesses and look forward to hosting more events too.”

For more information on PlayArts, visit: www.playartsphilly.com, call (267) 225–8434 or email info@playartsphilly.com.