FALL CREEK, Wis. (WEAU) - With temperatures hovering around zero, it can be hard to find activities for young kids, but one woman's idea could change that, while putting an old building to use.
Sally Ellison said there are few places like it in the area where parents and kids could play together, but said donations will determine how far it goes.
“I've been to a lot of places to take my two-year-old and I don't see that mother and tot atmosphere anymore. There's too many texting on the phones, 'I’ll take you to the zoo or the park and here go play.' There's none of that interaction anymore and it's lost, and I want to bring it back,” Ellison said.
Ellison, a mother of five, is on a mission to return playtime and quality interaction to families to Fall Creek and its surrounding areas.
“With the Wisconsin weather, the bad winters, is hard, you hibernate inside the home and there's nowhere to go and you go stir crazy, and just to get in the car and go somewhere and play, and not have the mess in your own home,” she said.
She's put that plan into play by finding the vacated Peace United Church in Fall Creek and using it as Tiny Tots Inc., a non-profit play group where parents can bring their kids for different activities games and play areas.
“We're going to have stencils that the children can paint, crayon, sandbox, anything that involves mess, the kids are allowed to come here and make that mess. A lot of parents don't want that mess in their homes, come here. We'll tidy up after your children. We want them to play through imagination.”
Although she's encouraging children to use imagination, it's Ellison’s own that will give them that opportunity.
“We're going to have platforms for the kids to climb up, a little platform area at the top, and some slides to go down.” “We'll have a theater stage. Every kid likes to dress up in fancy clothes. Mom’s heels and feather boas and cowboy hats.”
“We're not a licensed daycare or a drop off service or babysitter, our aim is for you to play with your children,” she said.
But with fundraising just starting, her dreams have yet to become reality.
“We would hate to have the doors not open and we can only do this through donations.”
“We want you to put your cellphones down, forget work, decompress and spend a few hours with the children and have quality time.”
Ellison said she hopes to open Tiny Tots Inc. on May 1. For more information, contact Tiny Tots Inc. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the play group as construction moves forward at 320 Wisconsin Street in Fall Creek.