COMMUNITY: Come out and play on Zip Code Day (2/09/12)

play day mask


Pat Rumbaugh was still in the preliminary planning stages of this year’s Mid-Winter Play Day when a friend told her he knew when it was going to be held — though she had yet to choose a date.

“You know when it’s going to be, too,” he said. She was confused. “What’s our zip code?” he asked her.

Then it hit her: 20912! This year’s Mid-Winter Play Day would be held on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012.

Pat Rumbaugh

Pat Rumbaugh, Takoma Park's Play Lady. Photo by Julie Wiatt.

None of this Playful City’s unique play activities would be possible though without Rumbaugh, lovingly known by many as The Play Lady.

After the first Play Day in 2009, Rumbaugh received a phone call from a fellow asking, “so you’re the play lady?”

“He said ‘The wife and I are moving and we’d like to donate all this [play] stuff.’ So he brought all this stuff over. He wouldn’t tell me his last name, address, number or anything, so I could only thank him,” said Rumbaugh. “And so I started telling that story, and before I knew it I was called The Play Lady.”

Mid-Winter Play Day 2012 will feature many new and exciting attractions, along with some old favorites.

This year, children and adults alike will be able to participate in a sing-along with Wendy Lexner, an elementary music teacher, and some of her local student musicians. If singing doesn’t grab you, there will also be new opportunities to channel your creative side and work with your hands. The play day will feature a Play-Doh room as well as origami classes — the Japanese art of folding paper.

Another exciting addition to this year’s program is Laughing Yoga, taught by John Love, a specialist in the area.

“But the board games and the rec room will be back — and the face painting and the dress up — because those are staples that kids always love,” said Rumbaugh. “And adults. It’s fun!” she added.

Intergenerational board games

Intergenerational games — with no computer, tablet or phone screens! Photo by Molly Mehling

Rumbaugh said she is really looking forward to seeing the intergenerational interactions that the play days foster.

“This warms my heart so much to see Mary the 92-year-old playing Rummikub with some teens, or even younger than teens, and it’s fun to see them gain a respect for her, because she’s pretty good,” said Rumbaugh.

“Somewhere between 2009 (when Takoma Plays was instituted) and now, it hit me that my life mission is to promote play,” she said.

For more information, visit

Read previous Voice articles on Playful Takoma:

Spirited adults join younger playmates at September Play Day
October 2010

Pied Piper Pat makes Takoma Park more playful
September 2010

About the Author

Sarah Kraut
Sarah Kraut is a senior studying journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. Hailing from Baltimore, Sarah is a Maryland girl who is delighted to be working at a small, local newspaper. Though half her heart lies with writing, the other half is devoted to food. She loves to eat (but hey, who doesn't?) and try new and exciting dishes. Sarah hopes to go to culinary school after she is graduated from college and sees her future in food writing. When she's not sitting at the computer or standing next to the stovetop, Sarah likes to involve herself in social justice work — handing out food to the homeless, organizing after-school tutoring programs and working with students on the UMD campus to raise awareness of various social justice issues people face both locally and abroad.

1 Comment on "COMMUNITY: Come out and play on Zip Code Day (2/09/12)"

  1. Sarah you wrote a fabulous article about my dreams for our Mid Winter Play Day. I loved how you shared our playful story. May your dreams of writing about food come true. Have a playful journey. The Play Lady

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