CORRECTION: This story was updated Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at 12:05 a.m. to correct prices, to denote Alexandrea Massingill as a grandmother and to clarify that caregivers have to stay on-site with their children unless doing the "working parent" option.
When Alexandrea Massingill, a certified Occupational Therapist Assistant, recognized a growing need for a safe play place for toddlers in her area, she decided to open one. A grandmother, she understood the need for a healthy way to occupy children while their caregivers worked.
When she began to look at local statistics, she saw a trend.
"I was seeing a trend of growing subdivisions of young families in Ringgold and the surrounding area," Massingill said. "They had nowhere for their kids to play while they worked, which became an even bigger issue when COVID hit and school was all online."
She opened Everlasting Play, an indoor sensory playground for children ages 3 months to 6 years, in March at 88 Helpful Place in Ringgold. With its play equipment and free Wi-Fi, it offers a place where families can spend the day together while being productive.
Massingill said she chose a central location that would allow parents from Ringgold, Chattanooga and Cleveland easy access.
"We're right off the highway and only 15 minutes from downtown Chattanooga and 30 (minutes) from Cleveland," she said.
One of the main attributes of Everlasting Play, which can accommodate up to 60 children, is its wide variety of sensory toys and play areas.
As an Occupational Therapist Assistant, Massingill knows how much sensory play can benefit children.
"Sensory play, from a pediatric standpoint, engages a child's mind and allows them to improve key developmental factors," Massingill said. "This is especially helpful for children with ADHD or autism."
Daily play passes for the playground are $8.99 for children age 1 and under and $12.99 for those age 2 and up. According to Everlasting Play's website, in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines, the playground sanitizes with a non-toxic cleaner every morning, afternoon and evening and provides sanitizing products for customers.
Everlasting Pay also offers a monthly membership ranging from $50-125 for one to four children. The membership includes benefits such as 10% off party packages, as well as members-only after-hours sensory parties, Massingill said.
Party packages start at $200 for eight children plus $13.99 for each additional child, which includes two hours of playtime, juice boxes for each child, and cleanup afterward.
Additional silver, gold and platinum party bundles range from $299-$499.99. Each event includes 80 minutes of play and 40 minutes in the party room as well as juice boxes for every child, decorating help and cleanup afterward. Additional food and beverage varies according to which bundle is chosen.
Parents can also enjoy a "working parent play" option, which costs the same as daily admission plus an additional $10. Unlike the regular daily admission, which requires parents to supervise their child, this option allows parents to work on-site while their child enjoys one-on-one play time with staff.
Massingill said she hopes Everlasting Play will allow parents to be able to enjoy both one-on-one time with their child while giving them peace of mind knowing that they can leave their child at a safe place while they work.
"I hope to show them the love of Christ by helping to care for each child through their most important developmental years," said Massingill.
Contact Samantha Burgess at firstname.lastname@example.org.