COMMUNITY • BY SARAH KRAUT
Pat Rumbaugh was still in the preliminary planning stages of this year’s Mid-Winter Play Day when a friend told her he knew when it was going to be held — though she had yet to choose a date.
“You know when it’s going to be, too,” he said. She was confused. “What’s our zip code?” he asked her.
Then it hit her: 20912! This year’s Mid-Winter Play Day would be held on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012.
None of this Playful City’s unique play activities would be possible though without Rumbaugh, lovingly known by many as The Play Lady.
After the first Play Day in 2009, Rumbaugh received a phone call from a fellow asking, “so you’re the play lady?”
“He said ‘The wife and I are moving and we’d like to donate all this [play] stuff.’ So he brought all this stuff over. He wouldn’t tell me his last name, address, number or anything, so I could only thank him,” said Rumbaugh. “And so I started telling that story, and before I knew it I was called The Play Lady.”
Mid-Winter Play Day 2012 will feature many new and exciting attractions, along with some old favorites.
This year, children and adults alike will be able to participate in a sing-along with Wendy Lexner, an elementary music teacher, and some of her local student musicians. If singing doesn’t grab you, there will also be new opportunities to channel your creative side and work with your hands. The play day will feature a Play-Doh room as well as origami classes — the Japanese art of folding paper.
Another exciting addition to this year’s program is Laughing Yoga, taught by John Love, a specialist in the area.
“But the board games and the rec room will be back — and the face painting and the dress up — because those are staples that kids always love,” said Rumbaugh. “And adults. It’s fun!” she added.
Rumbaugh said she is really looking forward to seeing the intergenerational interactions that the play days foster.
“This warms my heart so much to see Mary the 92-year-old playing Rummikub with some teens, or even younger than teens, and it’s fun to see them gain a respect for her, because she’s pretty good,” said Rumbaugh.
“Somewhere between 2009 (when Takoma Plays was instituted) and now, it hit me that my life mission is to promote play,” she said.
For more information, visit takomaplays.org.
Read previous Voice articles on Playful Takoma:
Pied Piper Pat makes Takoma Park more playful