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Free play opportunities for kids and their grownups

Play with LEAP this summer

Lake Erie Adventure Play (LEAP), a new, nonprofit program under United Way Ottawa County, will provide free Pop-Up Play events for kids 12 and under throughout the summer. 

LEAP will offer Pop-Up Play at Bay Meadows, Lake View Estates and Ida Rupp Public Library from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the months of June and July. In addition, they will be at Friendship Park or Waterworks Park during the Art Walks that are held the fourth Thursday of the month from 5-8 p.m., for your family’s fun. LEAP will also be at some area festivals. (For specific dates and locations, see schedule below or visit us at www.facebook.com/lakerieadventureplay.)

“We’ve held a few events over the past several months and we’re excited to be offering Pop-Up Play events on a regular schedule for our community,” said Creative Director Tricia O’Connor. 

LEAP provides opportunities for child-directed play throughout the community by setting up play environments with cardboard boxes, fabric and other recycled and donated materials that kids and their grownups can change and use as they please. 

“We don’t tell kids how to play, we set up materials and give them freedom to play in their own chosen ways, just like many adults used to do when they were kids,” said O’Connor.  O’Connor and her colleagues, Melissa Bayer and Carol Clemons, are play workers with training on how to support this type of child-directed play for kids.

Studies show that through child-directed play kids find innovative ways to think about their world and how it works, based on their own self-led interests. They gain skill in creative problem solving, communicating with others, taking healthy risks, and above all experience the joy and confidence that come from pursuing their own creative ideas without the fear of failure that often arises when there is one predetermined or “right” way to do something. The Pop-Up Play format also provides a wonderful time and space for grownups and their children to reconnect and re-experience the whole-heartedness of family life THAT is often lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Those interested in volunteering to help strengthen families and communities by participating in the set up, monitoring and clean up of these creative play spaces for children, Lake Erie Adventure Play would welcome your help.  For more information on volunteering, contact Carol Clemons at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 419-341-1558. If you want to make a donation of money or unique materials, contact United Way at 417-734-6645.

LEAP is operated with funds from United Way Ottawa Co. and donations from 2014 Leadership Ottawa Co., WSOS Community Action and Portage Resale.

LEAP into Summer!

June

Thurs, June 12, 1-3 p.m.
Champions Summer Program (open to Champions only)

Tues, June 17, 9-11 a.m.
Bay Meadows Apartment Complex

Thurs, June 19, 9-11 a.m.
Lakeview Estates Apartment Complex

Tues, June 24, 9-11 a.m.
Ida Rupp Public Library

Thurs, June 26, 5-8 p.m.
Port Clinton Art Walk

July

Tues, July 1, 9-11 a.m.
Bay Meadows Apartment Complex

Thurs, July 3, 9-11 a.m.
Lakeview Estates Apartment Complex

Tues, July 8, 9-11 a.m.
Ida Rupp Public Library

Thurs, July 10, 9-11 a.m.
Champions Summer Program (open to Champions only)

Tues, July 15, 9-11 a.m.
Bay Meadows Apartment Complex

Thurs, July 17, 9-11 a.m.
Lakeview Estates Apartment Complex

Tues, July 22, 9-11 a.m.
Ida Rupp Public Library

Thurs, July 24, 5-8 p.m.
Port Clinton Art Walk

Tues, July 29, 9-11 a.m.
Ida Rupp Public Library

Thurs, July 31, 9-11 a.m.
Champions Summer Program (open to Champions only)

August

Sat., Aug 2, 12-2 p.m.
Conestoga West End Festival

Thurs, Aug. 21, 5-8 p.m.
Port Clinton Art Walk

September

Friday, Sept 12, TBD
United Way Day of Caring Adult Pop-up

Thurs, Sept. 25, 5-8 p.m.
Port Clinton Art Walk

Sat, Sept. 27, TBD
Port Clinton Harvest Festival 

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