It takes a village: Newly opened Sunshine Play + Learn offers community hub for parents and children

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A new children’s play center opened its doors to the community last week.

Sunshine Play + Learn, located in St. Augustine at the Shops at World Golf Village, specializes in inspiring creativity and fostering imagination through play for children up to 6 years old. Lisette Perdomo opened the center with the hope of introducing the center’s indoor playground and its unique concept to local families in the St. Johns County area.  

The center focuses on the “importance of play” for cognitive development in children’s growth. Its model is based on the idea that play is an essential tool for nurturing creativity, confidence, social development, emotional strength and problem solving, as well as advancing motor skills. 

Seen last weekend at the grand opening, for example, a “police officer” carefully watered the flowers on her windowsill inside the brightly lit and colorful storefront of the center. Across the room, “Wonder Woman” was putting on makeup at her vanity while singing softly to herself. To the right, there was a “veterinarian” who was conducting a questionable procedure on an “exotic animal.” As the “vet” tossed the “animal” aside, a second “police officer” drove by and hit a “pedestrian,” who started to cry.  

The center promotes this type of imagination with various play spaces that Perdomo says “mimic real life.” Perdomo also hopes to offer an environment that nurtures the caregivers of children as well.  

“It’s great to meet other people from the community,” Perdomo said. “A lot of people that live here are not from here. They don’t have family and they don’t have friends that have kids. That’s kind of how I started (Sunshine Play + Learn). When I came here, I didn’t know a soul and would just go to the library.”

To help connect the community, Perdomo is working on introducing a few educational classes to the center next month. These would include a pre- and postnatal class, single mother’s groups, speech therapy, grandparent story time, a dad’s group, a developmental milestone class and a special needs group. 

Perdomo said that not only will the individualized classes offer something different for every parent, but there will also be classes that every parent and child can learn from. 

“I don’t have a child with special needs,” Perdomo said. “But I want my child to know how to interact with another child that does.”

Mainly, however, Perdomo wants moms, dads and grandparents from the community to have a place to come and interact with their children. She said that although there are more and more families moving to the area, there is a shortage of available kid-friendly activities. People as far as Ponte Vedra and Fernandina Beach have expressed interest in coming to the center, she said. 

“There are a lot of people in this area that want more things to do with their kids,” Perdomo said. “Especially when some of the older ones are in school.”

Daily play passes for the center start at $8 for infants and $15 for children 1 to 6. Additional siblings are $6. Outside of play days and educational classes, Sunshine Play + Learn can be booked privately for birthdays or events in their Rainbow Room, as well. To find out more about the center, visit sunshineplaylearn.com. 

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