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Stop, Swap and Play! 4 Family-Friendly Co-Ops Doing It Right

Portland loves co-ops. We’ve got cooperative markets, preschools, yoga classes and acupuncture sessions. What you may not know is that we have four cooperative ‘swap and play’ spaces, geared up for the baby to elementary school set, that are nothing short of awesome. For a small monthly fee, member families can enjoy art, music and dance classes or play freely in a fabulously clean, thoughtfully appointed, not-too-crowded indoor (and sometimes outdoor) space. Each family takes on a job like cleaning toy bins, putting away art supplies or vacuuming. There’s no time like the rainy present to discover a new place and way for your little ones to play.

Swapping Is Good For You
Many of us are uber-lucky to have the “stuff” we need to raise our kids (clothes, toys, books). Why not shift the goal from having it, to sharing it, borrowing it or reusing it? The swap and play model promotes cutting back on the amount bought by each family, while increasing the amount they borrow and share with others. Who can argue with saving money and sharing? And won’t the kids be grinning huge when they take home (borrow) a “new” toy or two.

Not Just 9-5, Tuesday though Saturday
Right alongside the swapping is the playing. Open for business seven convenient days a week (mostly) from early morning to evening, the ‘swaps’ cater to the real times when kids and their grown ups like/want/must get out of the house. Attention has been paid to natural light, too.  These havens of creativity and energy burning are anything but drab and dreary. Classes and meet-ups abound, but there is also ample time to just go there and be.

Getting in for a look around is easy. Tours and open play hours for non-member families are available every week at all four facilities or making an appointment with the director is a snap as well. Memberships are in the $20 – $35/month range and a registration fee of $20 is standard. Go now!

St John’s Swap N Play
St John’s is located just a block from St Johns Park and right 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. Think of it as a 6,000 square foot extension of your home! There is no way you and your kiddos aged 0-10 can stay home a minute longer.

7535 N Chicago Ave
Portland, Or 97203
Online: swapnplay.org

Eastside Swap and Play
Filling the indoor and outdoor play void on the Eastside of Portland/Gresham border, Eastside Swap & Play is open every glorious day you need it to be. Best suited for kiddos aged 0 – 7, the space is simply amazing. Families who discovered this gem already are psyched. You will be, too.

17720 NE Halsey St
Portland, Or 97230
Online: eastsideswapandplay.com

Southside Swap and Play
Southside Swap and Play (formerly known as Sunnyside Swap Shop) debuted in October 2013 exactly six years after Sunnyside Swap Shop first opened its doors. 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. 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.

5239 SE Woodstock Avenue
Portland, Or 97206
Online: southsideswapandplay.org

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 0-5. 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.

Check This Out: The space hosts some great kids concerts from musicians like The Alphabeticians and Pointed Man Band. Check their website for a full run down.

704 NE Dekum St.
Portland, Or 97211
Online: woodlawnswapnplay.org

Did we miss your favorite Swap and Play? Let us know in the comments section.

–Liz Overson

Photos courtesy of ST John’s Swap and Play, Facebook of Eastside Swap & Play

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