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IMAGINATION PLAYSCHOOL: Helping Kids Exercise Bodies and Brains

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Many of us long for the warmer weather to enjoy outdoor activities. The cold temperatures are even tougher for kids looking to get rid of their extra energy. The Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department has a way for preschoolers to run around and exercise their imaginations.

You’ll find cars, slides and trikes inside the gym at the Pioneer Columbus Community Center on Southeast 5th Street every Wednesday and Friday. Caregiver Linda Edvenson says, "We love it."

Mom Marsha Rickertsen says, "I work part time, and it's something we can do to get out of the house, especially since it's cold. It gives them room to run."

Des Moines Parks and Recreation hosts the Imagination Playschool every Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through March 29. It’s an open gym with toy cars, a toy kitchen, slides and more. Rickertsen says, "A lot of these toys we have outside, but we don't get to play with them until summer because it's cold."

The program is for those five and younger. It costs $1.50 per kid. The program used to be called Preschool Park. But, now there's a new addition that works kids' bodies and brains. Edvenson says, "It looks like fun. I don't know what you do, but we'll learn."

The new attraction this year is the imagination playground. It's several life size building blocks you can move around to make different things. The Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department Marketing Supervisor Jen Fletcher says, "It really is what we're calling life size tinker toys and blocks. It lets kids just do free play. They can build whatever they want, however they want, and they're only limited to their imagination."

Fletcher says the imagination playground cost $5,800. She says Des Moines Parks and Recreation is the only department to have it in the area. And, they plan to get plenty of use out of it. She says, "We can have this in the community centers. We can take it out to our parks. It's safe, it's versatile. It's pretty long lasting."

Imagination playschool runs through March 29th on Wednesdays and Fridays. An adult must stay with the kids. There's an extra treat on the last Friday of the month. Crews put out inflatables for the kids to burn off even more energy.

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