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Play Date Place Opens in South Hadley

SOUTH HADLEY — Play Date Place, a creative and interactive play and party experience for children ages 6 and under, is open for business. The vision of founder Darlene Sattler is to bring a kid-sized, interactive town to Western Mass., promoting imaginative play in a clean, safe, enclosed environment.

Children can interact with parents, grandparents, caregivers, and friends in a climate-controlled, camera-monitored facility, which includes a six-building town — fire station, market, restaurant, theatre, boutique, and gas station. The town also includes a train station, park, and ball-pit ‘lake,’ as well as an infant play area.

Play Date Place, which is located at 470 Newton St., also offers party packages, with the ability to host two parties simultaneously with the use of two party rooms. Party packages can be purchased, as well as private rental of the entire facility. Each weekend, Play Date Place has the capability to book eight parties plus 12 hours of open play. Operating hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The facility features several amenities for parents and caregivers, too. A flat-panel television and free wi-fi are available along with a wall monitor showing camera views of the entire facility so children can be monitored at all times. Play Date Place is a socks-only facility and will have socks available for purchase for those who come without them.

“We aim to be the only facility of its kind promoting old-fashioned imaginative play, and encourage growing a strong family bond and social skills without the use of electronic devices,” said Sattler.

There is reason to support imaginative play. Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, a cognitive psychologist specializing in the development of intelligence, creativity, and imagination in education, business, and society, noted in Psychology Today that “systematic research has increasingly demonstrated a series of clear benefits of children’s engagement in pretend games.” More specifically, imaginative play develops social and emotional skills, language skills, and critical-thinking skills.

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