What is a Playguide?

Playguides are observant members of Greentrike Children’s Museums staff, there to lend a helping hand and make sure everyone is safe. Playguides greet children warmly, interact with and guide children through their play experience, and facilitate museum operations at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and the Children’s Museum at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Playguide Maddie interacting with visitors at Water

Playguide Maddie

They also serve as models for children, encouraging play through verbal and nonverbal leadership in activities. You may find playguides asking questions and making observations in the art studios, building a tower alongside a child, or reading a book to a group of visitors.

Each playguide is encouraged to bring their spark to the museum and build community among those who come to play. There is so much to gain from the different styles and approaches each playguide brings to the museums. 

Playguide Teiya

Let’s see what our playguides at the Children’s Museums of Tacoma and at JBLM have to say!

Play is for Everyone

Laysha, a playguide at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, shared that a day in the life of a playguide is spontaneous and a bit unpredictable, but that those features are what makes it fun. 

“It’s different every day. You have no idea what’s going to come through the doors, and I love that. I am the type of person that likes constant change…I like not knowing what to expect, and kids are always funny.”

Play is at the center of everything at Greentrike Children’s Museums. There are a variety of playscapes to explore, and the playguides are present to guide you and your little one in your play journeys. 

Playguide Jessica

Playguide Jessica

When asked about what the most meaningful element to being a playguide is, Laysha emphasized that play is for all ages and beneficial to everyone who comes into the museums:

“When people come into the museum, we want them to be comfortable and to feel like they can be a kid again. Adults can get really into it. It’s not just the kids. Everyone needs that time and space to get back with your inner child and just have fun, actual unrestricted, uncontrolled fun. No one is judging what you’re doing, and there’s so many different ways to [play], there’s no way that you can play wrong.

Play not only promotes child development in important areas like adaptability, confidence, and self-regulation, but it can also teach us all lessons. Laysha shared what she has learned from being a playguide and engaging in children and youth’s play:

There are no mistakes. I remember there was this one little girl and she spent so much time on her painting and someone went to go grab another paintbrush and knocked over some paint [that] splattered on her painting and she was so upset, but I [told her], it’s okay, now it looks really cool and you can make something else out of it. She felt a little bit better and that kind of situation working with children gives you a different perspective on things that you can apply to your adult life.”

Connection, Imagination, and Bravery

Another playguide, Latisha, who has been with Greentrike for over two years, has learned what she values and the kinds of play she enjoys engaging in as a playguide at Greentrike Children’s Museums.

“I love dress up and joining the kids with pretend play, like tea parties and playing with the stuffed animals. Dressing up is the easiest way to get the kids to interact with you!”

Playguide De’Ja

Facilitating playful experiences for the children and youth who visit the museums is one of the most rewarding elements of playguiding for many of staff members. Latisha shared her favorite part of being a playguide:

“I think my favorite part is connecting with the families. You get to grow a bond, especially with our member families when they come in often and it feels really special when the kids recognize you and you start to see them grow up.”

Creativity and Friendliness

Another playguide at the Children‘s Museum of Tacoma is Atlas, who brings a jubilant and artistic personality to being a playguide. When asked about their favorite part of their role, they talked about how playguides have the freedom to set up the playscapes for those that come to the museums.

“I think the creative outlet we get to have a say in how the playscapes look…you can see [every playguide’s] personality through how they set up the playscapes.”

Playguides Jazmin and Andi

Being a playguide means interacting with many children and youth, both verbally and nonverbally. Atlas takes this as an opportunity to spread joy with their cheerful and playful body language.

“I like being able to interact with kids and make a difference in their day. I’ve helped numerous kids by making a funny face and making them laugh.”

Playguides’ Pick of Playscapes

Getting Involved

For anyone interested in becoming a playguide, Latisha shared some advice:

Take that first step to be brave, just do it! It’s really fun and it’s really worthwhile.”

Apply to become a Playguide at Greentrike Children’s Museums on our Indeed page. To learn more about Greentrike’s Children’s Museums, you can explore our A Day at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and A Day at the Children’s Museum at Joint Base Lewis-McChord articles, which showcase the unique playscapes at both locations! If you are interested in ways you can support Greentrike and foster play, you can also volunteer.