So it’s 0°, or it’s March and muddy, or it’s raining for the 16th day straight in October, AND let’s say you have a wily tot who is packed with wiggles, or sillies, or a strong desire for
open space. And let’s say it’s Wednesday or Thursday morning because there’s a place you can go in Middlebury to run the wiggles away. Inside the new Middlebury Rec Center has TotTime. Inside the large gym space, Mary Lafountain hosts children of all ages, but mostly the under-5 set, to run and play in the large open space of the gym. From out of the storage room, come a legion of wheeled play toys for kids bolder toddlers and pre-schoolers. There are balls of all shapes and sizes, a few tiny basketball style nets for the tiniest of ballers, and even the occasional mat to flop upon. There’s also plenty of room to run!
It’s a simple concept, but on a cruddy day, during the school year, the playgym is a life saver. It’s a great big open room to let your kids play in. That said, it’s a big room with a lot of kids inside. It can get a little wacky at times. It’s a fun wacky though. Also, the age range and the relative amount of freedom granted to children does occasionally mean there are some minor collisions between little, little kids and slightly bigger kids. But if you think of it like a playground on a beautiful summer day, you’re close to setting of Tot Time.
As you enter the building there’s ample bench and coat space, so shedding all your winter layers is made relatively easy. There are tables at which to snack and some big windows that look into the classroom of the Rec Center. It’s a great way to preview some of the fun classes that are on offer there. Word of warning: no street shoes inside the gym. So pack a pair of clean gym shoes, or be OK with just wearing socks. (It’s a highly polished gym floor inside, so socks can be an unexpected fun mode of transport.) The Rec Center also has big clean bathrooms with diaper changing stations in each. And finally as you enter the gym, there’s a sign-in sheet and a place to drop the $2 fee.
Minibury grabbed a few minutes with the host of Tot Time Mary Lafountain and she shared her answers to our usual questions.
MB: What’s your favorite part of story time?
ML: Having fun with all the kids.
MB: What’s it like to be a child at this playgroup? A parent?
ML: It’s fun for kids to be active and move around. And it’s nice for parents to get a break.
MB: What’s a good thing to know about before someone attends this event?
ML: Come as often as you want!
MB: What’s the best spot for little kids in town that no one knows about?
ML: There’s great sledding on the hill behind the Rec Center.
MB: What do you enjoy about working with young children?
ML: To see their smiles – I love it. I’ve been working with kids for 24 years!
Middlebury Rec Center Tot Time
154 Creek Road, Middlebury
Wednesdays, Thursdays 10AM-12PM
For ages 5 and under