A Peoria Park District Facility

Play Transforms Us

Childhood play shapes our identify and helps us grow into the adults we become. Through play we learn to explore, experiment, create, interact, and imagine.

Please support the PlayHouse today by making a donation of any amount, and give all our children the gift of play.

Play introduces us to our future careers


“I used a lot of markers and crayons with both coloring books and sketchbooks. Being creative as a child helped develop my interest in art and design.”


“My most memorable toy and greatest joy was getting a handheld calculator at Christmas when I was 7 years old. I think it was called The American 1776.   I can still feel that joy. It was the best Christmas EVER! … I'm a financial advisor now.”


"As a kid I collected pine cones and butterflies. I was a bird watcher, and also learned how to make molds from animal tracks. These early experiences exploring the natural world led me to study science; first biology and chemistry, and eventually physics, always, it seems, searching for a for a more fundamental explanation of my natural world."


Play teaches us to imagine and create

"I was really into ‘toys’ that let me be creative. I remember having a blast with paper dolls because I could change the outfits and accessories as I saw fit. I enjoyed toys that let me express that creativity in my own way.”


"My cousins and I used my grandmother’s sheets and clothespins to create forts as big as rooms, all over her house. In the fort worlds we created, my cousins and I formed strong bonds and wonderful memories. Building forts allowed me to develop my imagination and realize that watching tv wasn’t nearly as much fun as creating new worlds!"

- Nicole

"Blocks and toggle blocks formed the way I think, and my erector set completely altered the way I think. How to screw a screw together and how to unscrew it is so hardwired into my brain stem now… and that’s because of my erector set. I learned my 3-dimensional spacial reasoning. My fingers can map things I can’t see. I really learned how to make things."


Play connects us to community traditions...

"When I was a child my grandfather gave me an antique toy tractor. He was Native American, and farming was a way of life and a means of survival for his family. I loved to push the toy tractor around the kitchen, imagining that I was farming, too. We still carry on the farming tradition as we grow food to eat year round, preserving it using the same natural methods."

- Heather

"Cooking is an important part of my family's culture. I used to love my play kitchen, where I made play food as my parents made me real food. I'm still not as good a cook as they are, but I cook all the time for my friends."

- Misa

"My mom and dad were both teachers, and always brought home clipboards and teacher textbooks and little white boards. I would play School ALL THE TIME. With parents as teachers and playing with teacher things I knew I wanted to be a teacher like them."


Your donation allows the PlayHouse provide interactive, engaging exhibits, educational programs, and ongoing outreach, year round. We can't wait to hear the stories today's children will someday tell!

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum