July 31, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Giving District Kids a Place to Play

Tom Williams/Roll Call
Addie Ferguson, 2, and her cousin Cassie Hoffman, 5, take advantage of a Be With Me Playseum office suite.

But for the kids, it’s all about fun. The D.C. Playseum is themed around the District, offering an Eastern Market-themed room and a canoe sitting on a felt Potomac River in one downstairs area. Families can do free crafts in one room and can pay Playseum dollars to paint ceramics, birdhouses and tiles and to mold clay in another. There are dress-up activities, a pirate ship and even a DNA test and fingerprinting in the courtroom-cum-jail. The location even boasts a Chinatown.

“We like to say that we sell by attention span,” Seebachan said, noting that they try to have something for everyone. Even at the pasta-making and cupcake-decorating stations, Seebachan offers dairy-free options.

And in every room, on bookshelves lining the walls, sit new and used books that follow the room’s theme. Parents can pick up a book to read to their children or purchase ones that catch their eye.

“Reading has become a lost art,” Seebachan said. “Kids are doing stuff on the computer, they’re doing stuff on their iPods, their iPads, but they’re not picking up an old-fashioned book anymore. And kids are missing out on that.”

Part of the purpose of the Playseum, too, is to provide parents with a respite — a place where they can rest while they spend time with their kids or even meet other parents in D.C.

Seebachan said she doesn’t want to increase the price, a move that would raise more money and also make the Playseum a little more exclusive.

 “It’s not about money. It never was,” she said. “It’s about bringing love and value to every person that walks in the door. People are coming from all different racial backgrounds, economic backgrounds, physical backgrounds, spiritual. ... Every person deserves to be valued, and they deserve respect.”

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