Stop, Swap & Play! 5 Family-Friendly Co-Ops Doing It Right
Fall is here, and it’s time to find new friends at a neighborhood co-op. For a modest monthly fee, members can enjoy clean play spaces with cool toys, and have the opportunity to save money and resources when they “swap” clothes and toys with other members. On damp days, you’ll be glad to have an indoor space for the little adventurers in your family to jump, hoot and holler. Here are five faves.
photo: St. John’s Swap N Play by Andrea D. via Yelp
St. John’s Swap N Play
This fun zone is located just a block from St. John’s Park, just off of Lombard in North Portland. It is sure to delight even the coolest of cats with a nap room, activities room and full kitchen. Their art room is well stocked. When there’s not a class going on, members can go in and use the room and any of the art supplies, as long as they clean up afterwards. The community is warm and welcoming, too, just in case you’re new to NoPo, or if you’re looking for a tribe of mamas to call your own. $20-$40/month
7535 N. Chicago Ave.
Eastside Swap & Play
Filling the indoor and outdoor play void on the east side of the Portland/Gresham border, Eastside Swap & Play is open every glorious day of the week you need it to be. This is another welcoming group, and dub themselves an Intentional Caring Community, where members enjoy hang out with one another while their kids up to seven years old play. There are several different play areas, including the Community Play Room, with a mini town facade lives alongside ride-on toys; a Beginners’ Room for babies; an Outdoor Play Space; an Art and Craft Room; a Big Kid Room and a Parents’ Lounge. $20 joining fee, $80/quarter
17720 NE Halsey St.
Photo: Southside Swap and Play
Southside Swap and Play
Southside Swap and Play (formerly known as Sunnyside Swap Shop) debuted in its current location one year ago. Membership is available on a quarterly basis, and if you’re not sure if this is the spot for you, simply pop in for a visitor play pass to take the experience for a spin before signing up. There are two main play areas: the Meadow Classroom and Nest Classroom. The Meadow is great for babies and kids who want are looking for active play, while Nest is a quieter space for more creative sit-down activities. $30 joining fee, $20-$35/month
5239 SE Woodstock Ave.
Woodlawn Swap ‘N’ Play
Sidled up next to great coffee shops and restaurants, and a stone’s throw from Woodlawn Park, Woodlawn Swap ‘N’ Play is best for kids ages up to five. The smaller indoor play space combines well with the upstairs second floor Village Ballroom for lots of room to roam. Trucks and buses go by all day long, so watching the action out the front window can be endless fun. The space hosts some great kids concerts from musicians like Mr. Ben and Red Yarn. Check their website for a full rundown. $20 joining fee, $25/month
704 NE Dekum St.
Harrison Hill Swap N Play
Just opened in February 2014, this family co-op is conveniently located in the heart of the Richmond neighborhood in Southeast Portland. Be sure to come for the weekly “big play” in the hosting church’s Chapel Hall, when kids can really spread out and let loose with a bigger space to roam with the co-op’s toys. Monthly membership fees are charged on a sliding scale. $25 joining fee, $30/month
At St. David of Wales Episcopal Church
2800 SE Harrison St.
Portland, OR 97214
Did we miss your favorite Swap and Play? Let us know in the comments section.
— Kelley Gardiner