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September APAS with KOOP

The kids (and playworkers!) of Adventure Play Afterschool are having a blast so far this year! It’s been a pleasure getting to know our new KOOP Kids and playing again with our returning friends from last year! Thank you for trusting our work and this program. We are so honored to offer your kids this unique time and space where they can explore their interests, passions and ideas freely through their play.

We began the year with very few “loose parts.” We wanted our kids to get acquainted with our space, our philosophy and with the idea of truly self- directed play. During this phase we saw a lot of sand and water play. We saw sports with very specific and self-made rules. We saw tree climbing by the kids who were able (we don’t help kids into the trees and instead wait for them to be ready to get up and down.)

Homemade swings, a common sight from last year, were requested and enjoyed by all age groups. Forts, kitten nests and homes were made from tree clippings and grasses. We accompanied group excursions to the tall grass where we hid, explored and ran through the pathways.

As the days went on, we began adding things like tubes, fabric and cardboard. One of my favorite things to reflect on is looking at one single item and watching it be used in many different play frames. Look at this shimmery, sheer blue fabric piece as an example. A sail on a ship, a cloak of invisibility, a slide buffer, water to swim in and costumes like a dress, cape or headdress.

It’s a prime example that loose parts can promote imaginative play and creative thinking and can truly be transformed into anything a child can dream up.

Another unique aspect of KOOP’s program is mixed- age play. We have kids aged 3-11 years old who aren’t exactly used to having a space to play together. Of course, all the kids have played together beautifully and friendships have formed that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. We see preschoolers and 3rd graders, kindergarteners and 5th graders forging meaningful friendships and seeking each other out during this special time after school. Child- directed play is beautiful and special and it truly doesn’t discriminate based on age!

A few reminders:

  • Please send a water bottle with your child. We are noticing a lot of waste from kids using lots of cups.

  • Some kids are coming to APAS extra- hungry. We serve a snack, but some kids still need more. Play is hard work! Please send a snack if you are hearing from your child that they’re hungry.

  • We get messy! Please make sure your child is dressed in clothes that are okay to be wet or messy depending on the day. We also encourage sturdy footwear.

  • The weather is changing. Please make sure to send your children with appropriate attire for all weather. Rain or shine we want to be outdoors!

  • Pick up is by 5:30 pm. The Play Team has clean-up and other obligations after work, so please be prompt.

  • Contact us if you need to change your schedule or check in with us about anything. Kelsey: 217-649-6074 and Naomi: 217-607-4902. We try not to have our phones out for anything but pictures during APAS, but that is still the best way to reach us if needed.

Our only regret is that we begin picking up before most parents arrive- we wish that you could see everything each day! We take a lot of pictures and will send those out with our monthly newsletter. We also post regularly on our Facebook page, so if you haven’t “liked” KOOP yet, please do! (

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