By Amy Cunningham
It’s no secret Champaign-Urbana families love to be active and burn off some energy with the kids, no matter what the weather is outside. Now families in Champaign-Urbana have a new indoor play space to add to their options when they’re looking for somewhere to play — and it’s completely free.
Windsor Road Christian Church (located at 2501 Windsor Road in Champaign, between Mattis and Duncan) recently completed the first phase of its building expansion, which includes an indoor playground for children in fourth grade and under, open to the community throughout the week.
I visited the playground with my active four-year-old and curious toddler. Our expectation was not that this space would mirror other indoor play areas in the community (such as the well-known one over at First Christian Church) but that it would be a new experience for us. This playground did NOT disappoint.
The area’s racetrack theme is named “Road Rally”, and has bright colors with a giant construction cone area children can walk through, two rubber tire climbing structures, and a giant “toolbox” full of blocks and various accessories to build with. There are also two slides, one much larger than the other, and plenty of fun places to run through or hide under. All of this is contained in a secure room with doors leading to the main entrance area of the church.
I found it very easy to supervise my two young children in this play area. My 4-year-old confidently scaled the different tire climbing structures and played independently on the slides, also spending a ton of time building with blocks. My toddler climbed up the stairs and went down the slide over and over.
Hands down, the best part about the playground was that it was a safe place for BOTH of my kids to play, at ages 4 and 1, without too much hovering from me. The larger slide is completely enclosed at the top so the only place she could come down was the slide or back down the stairs. The rubber floor was soft enough for all her tumbles. (We played for an hour with plenty of tumbles and not a single tear!)
Personally, this will be a place I suggest to friends when we want to meet up with our kids to play and chat. I love that I don’t need to worry about them escaping the play area and that there’s plenty to keep them from being bored, while also encouraging them to be active.
I spoke with Valena Claiborne, Windsor Road’s Community Outreach Director (and mom of three) during my visit to learn a little more about the play area and their current building project. Valena says, “The purpose of our whole addition was for the kids, to give them more space and more security. Additionally, this (playground) is a nice space to offer the community to come in and enjoy, regardless of their connection to Windsor Road or any other church. “
The new playground at Windsor Road is now open to the public weekdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m., excluding holidays. You can call them at 359-2122 if you have any questions.
Amy Cunningham is a Chicago native turned proud C-U resident for over ten years. She lives in Urbana with her husband, energetic four year old son and adventurous one year old daughter.