Conquering the Great Indoors

Planting seeds for at-home playtime.

Almost seven years ago, we met while trying to fit both our sets of twins in their double strollers into an elevator for a children’s music class. This nearly impossible (and incredibly humorous) task led to a close friendship and the idea for the indoor play space called apple seeds. We were raising twins in a neighborhood that was becoming increasingly popular with families, but there was nowhere to take them to run around indoors, play and explore in a safe, clean and fun environment. With help from an incredible team of child specialists, children’s museum designers and our unbelievable staff, apple seeds has become a go-to play space for children and families in NYC. Our mission is to provide an interactive play arena that offers families a sense of community in an environment where children can play, explore, grow and have tons of indoor fun in Manhattan.

There are many ways that parents can enjoy indoor play with their kids, from wacky science experiments in the kitchen, to a pop-up art studio in the living room. Building a fort or having a (freeze) dance party always makes for great indoor fun. For those who want to step it up a notch, here are other activities that take barely any planning.

Build a Boat

From our Little Adventures Class, build a boat and see if it floats. This is a great way to get kids to eat yogurt and take a bath.

  • Gather recycled materials from your house for building the body of the vessel and decorating its outside.
  • Have your kids eat yogurt so that the container is squeaky clean. Other options include soup/veggies cans and empty plastic water bottles. (No egg cartons or toilet paper rolls— they stink.).
  • Then, have the kids go on a scavenger hunt for materials around the house to decorate the boat. Think buttons, pieces of material, corks, craft sticks and more.
  • Take out glue and a paint brush.
  • Have your child choose a body for the boat and decorate it with all your found materials.
  • Let dry for five minutes (while you fill the bathtub). Kids can watch if their boat floats during bathtime.

See Beautiful Color Combinations in Milk

  • Pour milk into a shallow bowl.
  • Pour liquid dish soap into a bowl.
  • Take out food coloring and a toothpick.
  • Put a drop of each color of food coloring into the bowl of milk. See how beautiful the colors look.
  • Dip the tip of the toothpick into the liquid soap and put the tip of the toothpick into the colorful bowl of milk. The erupting colors amaze youngsters.

At apple seeds, we also take cleanliness seriously. We have a shoes-off, socks-on policy; a playground lifeguard on duty who makes sure the “wet” toys are sent for washing; hand sanitizer dispensers; a rigorous three-times-a-day toy cleaning schedule; and a permanent on-site maintenance team to ensure our play space is as clean as possible every day. At home, you might consider applying some similar techniques.

  • Remove shoes when entering your home. Ask visitors to do the same to keep dirt and germs outside.
  • Wash all fabrics, such as aprons, smocks and scarves, after each use.
  • Put plastic toys in the dishwasher for cleaning. Then place them in a mesh laundry bag to run them through the spin cycle in the washing machine to quickly dry them.
  • Use a glue gun to plug up holes in bath toys or plastic toys you clean in the dishwasher. This keeps mildew at bay by preventing water from getting trapped.
  • Make sure to use clean sections of your cleaning cloth for each toy to prevent spreading germs from one object to another.
  • Use non-toxic cleaning solutions, especially when living, working and playing with kids.

apple seeds has locations in Chelsea and on the Upper West Side. For more information on the latest class schedule, visit www.appleseedsplay.com, @appleseedsnyc or www.facebook.com/appleseedsnyc.