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Playtime's Response to COVID-19

Children participate in the Step Afrika! event to launch Playtime's partnership with The Rolark shelter in Ward 8.

As D.C. shut down schools and businesses in response to COVID-19 in March 2020, Playtime made the tough decision to close programs temporarily at our partner shelter sites. In the fall, we were pleased to begin outdoor, socially distanced play for small groups of children at two sites. We were especially thrilled to be partnered with the city’s Ward 8 short-term family shelter, The Rolark, allowing us to serve children with outdoor play in this Southeast facility. We kicked off the partnership with a socially distanced outdoor Step Afrika! event for children.

As the coronavirus continues to rage on, the health and safety of our children and families, as well as our volunteers and staff, are our highest priority. Playtime’s office staff is continuing to work remotely with limited office hours. We are accepting in-kind donations and deliveries at the office by appointment only. Please contact us to discuss any donations you may have.

Empower Poster

Art created by one of our preteens, who used the Empower Poster craft project in a Playtime to Go kit.

During the quarantine period in 2020, Playtime regularly distributed Playtime to Go kits to more than 125 children (with each mailing) living in our partner shelter sites; the kits included reusable toys, books, art activities, and more. Parents also received a "Parent Survival Guide" with online resources and activities that can be done in their rooms with few or no materials. We are continuing to provide families with emergency supplies, including gift cards for food support, diapers, and wipes, as well as emergency referrals for online services, as needed. Staff and volunteers have created Virtual Playtime by posting videos of guided play and read-alongs on our YouTube channel. In addition, staff frequently checks in with families to assess their immediate needs and challenges, so we can best advocate with D.C. government, community partners, and shelter providers. 


We were thrilled to hear from one mom who has been homeschooling her three-year-old son—he didn't get the chance to start preschool before schools shut down. She has been using the materials we send and says he's getting really good at writing his ABCs and sounding out the letters.

Thank you to all whose generous gifts provide play programming and kits for families living in isolation. You help create learning and play equity for children experiencing homelessness in our nation's capital.