When COVID-19 closed schools and museums in the spring, Oak Forest’s Erin Clayton had a 3-year old at home to educate and entertain. Her solution for keeping her son engaged has turned into a growing business called PEACE Play Kits.
“We were working on the pre-school (curriculum) but home is his ‘play zone’ so I knew I had to get creative,” Clayton said. “I was struggling to find activities and games to keep my child engaged, which is why I decided to create a better sensory bin, one that was engaging but also educational.”
When the first bin kept Parker’s attention for over an hour Clayton knew she was on to something. Because she had bought materials in bulk, Clayton asked if anyone on the Oak Forest Parents Facebook page wanted the extras.
“That night I had 30 messages,” she said. “I knew I had to keep this going.”
When Clayton was trying to decide what to call the kits, she started writing down words that described what they had to offer.
“I landed on the name PEACE Play Kits, which stands for Pretend. Explore. Achieve. Create. Engage,” she said. “My kits are sensory-based but always include educational elements that tie into the theme of the kit.”
Clayton has several options for sale, including a Fall Play Kit Collection, a Birthday Play Kit Collection and Sensory Bases and Fillers. She is premiering her Christmas box at a pop-up event with the children’s boutique Threadfare on Nov. 14. Threadfare also sells PEACE Play Kits.
Kits include a sensory bin container and a sensory base, which varies depending on the kit but could include colored rice, colored chickpeas and moon sand. There are also themed small toys, scoopers, cups and containers as well as other various items for sensory play. Two to four laminated educational activities and instructions are also included.
“For example, my birthday kit includes confetti letters, (which are) letters printed in fun color circles, confetti sight words, (which are) sight words printed in colored circles, a birthday cake counting animation, and a printed-out birthday cake without candles,” she said. “The child uses their included candles to count their age.”
Clayton said the recommended age for the kits is 3 and up as some of the parts can be small and a potential choking hazard.
“I have had clients purchase for their 4-, 5-, even 6-year-olds and they absolutely loved their kits,” she said. “Sensory play is designed to stimulate and help develop children’s senses. There are so many benefits of sensory play but to name a few, sensory play is extremely beneficial for language development, strengthening motor skills and problem solving.”
Large kits are $32, and the mini kits are $25 with tax and shipping also available. Clayton offers free pickup to locals.
In a few months of marketing the kits, Clayton has expanded from local pickup to shipping to cities all over Texas and other states.
“Local moms have loved these kits so much that I wanted to figure out how I could expand my local options,” she said. “I am continuing to hit the ground running with this business and I cannot wait to see where it goes.”
Find PEACE Play Kits online at https://peaceplaykits.com/ or visit https://www.instagram.com/peaceplaykits/ or