New playhouse to open soon at the Morris Public Library

The Morris Public Library will soon be home to a brand new playhouse and playkits that will be available for use by children in the community.

Constructed by the Friends of the Morris Public Library, a 501(c)3 organization whose purpose is to “encourage interest in the use of the Morris Public Library, focus attention and promote library services, and to stimulate gifts to the library,” the playhouse and playkits will be free to use.

Naomi Skulan, a member of the Friends of the Morris Public Library, says that the group recognized the need in the community for an indoor play space for children in the community. 

The library already had toys frequently used by children and daycares in the community, but Skulan says the group said they felt that more could be done.

Local contractor Larry Nelson Construction constructed the new playhouse and it will be open and ready for play soon.

The playhouse will contain a rotating group of playkits, of which there are 20, all sponsored by local businesses and organizations. Since the kits will be on a rotation, children will have the opportunity to experience new toys when they visit the library, and it also allows the library to promote businesses and organizations throughout the community. The kits will be swapped every one to two weeks.

The playkits range in theme from grocery store to doctor’s office; “get active” to bilingual; and dog park to lions. Skulan adds that the Friends of the Morris Public Library tried to vary the types and age ranges for the toys in each playkit so every child should have something they would enjoy playing with and that can spark imagination and creativity. Each playkit is based on a theme that the sponsoring institution chose. Some of the themes were based on the type of business the sponsor does, such as grocery store or restaurant themes, and some were based on completely different themes of getting active or emergency services. The kits come with at least four toys that fit with the theme, and most have five to seven different toys included. The toys included in each kit vary in type, from dress-up to practical, puzzle, and motor skills.

“We are incredibly grateful to the community businesses and organizations who have sponsored these kits, and the kits should be ready for play in the next few weeks. The organization sponsoring the kit will be highlighted on a sign outside the playhouse when their kit is “in play.” A list of our playkit sponsors is: Spring Valley Farms, ELC Fitness, Willie’s SuperValu and Caribou Coffee, The Fireside, Dental Depot, Morris Area Women of Today, Old No. 1, Superior, SCMC, Heartland, Julie’s Eats & Treats, The Lions Club, Friends of the Morris Public Library, Connexiones, Riverview, Pomme de Terre Garden Club, and RUSC Kinship,” says Skulan.

Skulan also added a personal note that as a parent of two young children in the community, they cannot wait to spend time at the library and use this resource, especially in the winter months when it can be hard to find a local and free place for children to explore, learn and play. 

The Friends of the Morris Public Library hopes that when families come to play at the library, they will also consider getting a library card, which is completely free, to check out books and read to their children.